About Me

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I am a below knee amputee. More importantly, I am also Mommy to two boys, a very active 10 year old (Robby) and an mischievous toddler (Timmy). I have learned that being a parent with a disability can create some unusual and sometimes humorous situations. This blogger is available for hire! Let's talk and learn how a blog can expand your business.

Friday, January 17, 2014


After much back and forth, yesterday I was able to declare victory. I received a curt email from Robby's former school, graciously informing me that my account balance has been zeroed and that they are no longer pursuing the $1,754.00 they were seeking. Although I had little doubt that I would win, knowing that it is officially settled in my favor felt liberating. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to bask too long in my victory because I need to prepare for my next battle.

It turns out that my insurance adjustor, Elsie (name changed to protect her own identity) has decided in her infinite penny-pinching sadistic wisdom to deny my pregnancy socket. According to her, I should be able to "proceed with the remainder of my pregnancy utilizing crutches and/or a wheelchair." Needless to say, being handicapped by my insurance adjustor is not something I plan to accept passively!

Asserting that I should rely upon crutches, which would pose a huge safety risk for both me and the baby-to-be, is utterly absurd. My sense of balance is already askew because of my baby bump and my inability to see my toes. Take away my prosthesis and I would become a series of accidents in the waiting.  Since Elsie only seems to care about saving as much money as possible, I am surprised she did not consider the costs of the emergency room visits which would ensue if I was reliant upon crutches instead of my leg.

In addition to the safety issues, which are glaring, forgoing my prosthesis would have a negative impact on my health, my work and my family life. I have been encouraged to remain as physically active as possible during the pregnancy. If I were to give up my prosthesis,  my activities would be severely limited. I would have a difficult time navigating the stairs in my home, would struggle taking Robby to and from school, and would not be able to travel as much for work. My prosthesis has become integral to my daily life, and living without it is something I am not willing to try simply so Elsie can save some money.

I was quite surprised yesterday afternoon when I received a phone call from Elsie herself. She began the conversation with this matter-of-fact question: If I approve this new socket, are you willing to sign a document stating that you are not going to get pregnant again?"  It took me a few seconds to process what she had said, and I don't think the ramifications really struck me until hours after I hung up the phone. Talk about an illegal request! Considering my dismay, I managed to respond, "Um.. Are you willing to sign a document stating that you will no longer be a heartless bitch?" The phone conversation ended quickly!

To add insult to this entire situation is the fact that Elsie is an amputee. Like me, she knows what it is like to lose a part of your body. Obviously that is where the similarities end. Admittedly, she does not have a comfortable prosthesis, apparently does not have an active sex life and seems quite content living a more limited lifestyle. I am tired of my needs being denied because she chooses to settle for poor prosthetic care. 

I am appealing this decision and, much like the issue with Robby's former school, I have little doubt that I'll eventually be victorious. I am ready to fight, but the fact that I must appeal such a heartless and nonsensical decision is frustrating. Yesterday my friend reminded me that I've been dealing with this lady's nasty demeanor for 15 years.

After calming down from this infuriating exchange, I logged onto the internet to begin searching for my rights. I always log onto my Hotspot VPN because, as this encounter with my adjustor has proven, I don't trust anybody. Right now, anonymity is my friend! 

I become overwhelmed when I envision myself fighting the same battles for the rest of my life. I'm not asking for anything elaborate or cost prohibitive.  I'm asking for a socket so that I can remain ambulatory and healthy for the remainder of my pregnancy. Elsie's request almost makes me willing to go through this whole pregnancy thing again, just to spite her!

#100happydays  Watching the boys play Xbox after school

Thursday, January 16, 2014


It has been 2 1/2 months since Robby's ear surgery and, although he has physically recovered, we still don't know if the procedure has restored any hearing.  The surgeons recommended that we wait at least four months before attempting the audiology tests again. At the risk of pointing out the obvious, waiting has not been easy!

In order to minimize stress, we have purposefully underplayed the potential of this surgery with Robby. He is such a sensitive little boy, and we didn't want him to assume personal responsibility if no improvement was reaped. Instead, we have continued with our lives and try to put the thought of improved hearing out of our minds.

In spite of knowing better, I find myself quietly analyzing his speech, his auditor responses, just about anything that would indicate an improvement. There is little doubt that his speech has improved dramatically during the past few months, but it is impossible to determine if that change is due to his increased speech therapy or the surgery, but any improvement is welcome regardless of the cause!

While there are times I relax and allow myself to believe that his hearing has improved, there are also moments I am full of doubt. This week several new kids joined Robby's hockey class. Because enrollment jumped from six to ten, an assistant coach was added to help watch over the eager young brood. Robby spent the majority of his skate time under the stewardship of the new assistant coach. 

It only took me a few minutes to recognize a problem, but I also knew that there was nothing I could do about it. Robby was lost, trying to follow his teammates but floundering. The assistant coach reprimanded him several times for not paying attention, but I knew that inattention was not the culprit. The rink was loud, the coach was barking instructions to Robby's bad ear, and my little skater wasn't hearing anything that was being said.  I felt utterly helpless watching him struggle on the ice.

Then something happened that immediately uplifted my mood.  Robby put down his stick and skated over to the other side of the rink. He tapped Coach Mike (his primary coach who has been with him for more than a year) on the shoulder and began to talk. Although I didn't hear what transpired, I did see Coach Mike and Robby skate over to the new assistant coach. Coach Mike spoke for a few seconds, and then I saw Robby begin to talk. After that conversation, the assistant coach looked at Robby when giving directions and my little guy wasn't reprimanded for goofing off again.

After Robby came off the ice at the end of his lesson, Coach Mike and the assistant coach came over to speak with me. Robby explained to Coach Mike that he couldn't hear anything that was being said and that he wasn't goofing off. Mike, knowing that Robby has a hearing problem, immediately acted and helped Robby relay the information to the assistant coach. I couldn't be prouder that Robby recognized the problem and felt comfortable enough to speak up and ask for help. 

So many kids would have skated off the ice in tears. Instead, Robby chose to communicate and advocate for himself. Although we still don't know if any hearing has been restored, I am resting easy knowing that regardless of the results, my little guy is going to be just fine!

##100happydays--  Sophie (my 16 year old kitty) stretching out and soaking in the warmth from the wood stove.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Salon Switch

It is no secret that I have not been feeling attractive lately. Between my growing belly, my limp (the result of a swollen limb) and a gross lack of sleep, I am beginning to look more like a mutated pregnant zombie. Even if I don't look like a mutated pregnant zombie, I certainly have been feeling like one!

Yesterday afternoon, I was motivated both to unwind and to beautify, so I headed out to get my hair cut and colored. Long overdue for some pampering and primping, I was looking forward to feeling somewhat presentable again. I drove to the salon, checked in with the receptionist and sat in the not-so-comfortable and slightly odoriferous waiting lounge.

I continued to wait nearly 20 minutes past my scheduled appointment. I went back up to the receptionist to learn that my hairstylist was "running errands" but I was assured that she would return shortly. When I resumed my position in the lounge, another customer asked what I learned. Apparently she had an appointment scheduled before me with the same stylist and had been waiting even longer than I.

Trying to channel my inner calm and to remain true to my "stay calm" vow was becoming difficult. After waiting for five more minutes, I decided to become proactive. I contained my natural compulsion to make a scene and opted instead to look after myself. I calmly approached the receptionist again and asked to borrow their phone book.

Using her desk, I laid the book out and looked up the telephone number for the salon next door. I pulled out my cell phone and placed the call. After explaining that I was in their competitor's establishment waiting for an AWOL stylist, they quickly fit me into the schedule. I grabbed my coat, a handful of Hershey kisses from their bowl, and headed out the door. The staff appeared stunned. Perhaps they are more accustomed to a ranting and vocal customer rather than one who simply makes a stand by taking her business elsewhere. 

Needless to say, the new salon was extremely gracious and welcoming. As an added bonus, they had a plate of butter cookies in the waiting lounge! I emerged from the establishment with a fantastic new color and style,  with energy and, for the first time in weeks, presentable and normal. I was also proud of myself for containing my ire and staying calm despite encountering such a blatant demonstration of incompetence.  I feel like I was rewarded with a dazzling new hairstyle and cookies!

#100happydays  My new cut and color!  (And my monkey jammies make me happy too.)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Just Calm Down

The past few days has taught me an invaluable lesson: it is imperative that I try to remain calm and refrain from emotional extremes. Considering that I am a passionate person by nature, I know that this is going to be a tall order. 

The pregnancy coupled with my resurfacing thyroid issues combine to create some wicked and uncomfortable side effects when I become emotionally riled. My heart starts racing and beats in an abnormal pattern, I can't catch my breath, and I become lightheaded when I get worked up. Of course, it took several incidents before I made the correlation!

Friday afternoon I received a letter from Robby's former school demanding $1750 and threatening to take me to collections if the sum is not paid immediately. Since I had paid his tuition in full (to receive the early bird discount) in August of 2012, this notice took me by surprise. My shock quickly morphed to ire when I called and learned that they have decided to retroactively revoke the discount for early payment. The frustration of dealing with such blatant incompetence was enough to send me into a tailspin. I ended the telephone conversation with a glimmer of hope that everything would be resolved, but I was feeling the physical ramifications of the confrontation. 

The majority of Friday evening was spent trying to calm my physical reaction. Although I knew that the abnormal heartbeat was "normal" for the dosage of medication I have been prescribed, the experience was scary.  Yesterday I became enraged again, resulting in my experiencing the same physical response that I endured a few days earlier.

Although I know that it is not going to be easy, it is paramount that I try to remain composed during the next few months. Perhaps hormonal fueled (although I'll never admit that to Scott), I have been short fused lately. Scott told me that I need to stop becoming frustrated about things over which I have no power or control. While I understand his logic and I know that he is correct, passively remaining idle has never been my forte.

***Robby's unique attire for going to play hockey yesterday.  #100happydays

Monday, January 13, 2014

A Leg-Up

Per my routine, I woke up Saturday morning and poured myself a large mug of coffee. I settled into my rocker, grabbed my computer and fired up Facebook. Scrolling through the news feed I saw a fundraising effort that was started by my friend Erin. While I'm extremely proud that she is taking this proactive step, I am also saddened that she has been brought to this decision.

Erin is an active Mom, wife and full-time employee. She is also an amputee due to a medical error. Her only mistake was daring to go into labor with her second child over a weekend. Despite losing her leg, Erin has adjusted and resumed her life as a vibrant and active woman. 

This past spring I encouraged her to attend the Challenged Athletes running clinic in her hometown. Although she initially squelched the idea because running was perhaps the only thing that she hadn't done since becoming an amputee, she finally decided to give it a try. In a few short hours, my friend's life was transformed. 

She began going on daily jogs with her children, relishing in the physical and psychological benefits of returning to an activity which she used to adore. Unfortunately, her prosthetic issues threatened to cause injury, and she had to stop. Despite wonderful prosthetic technology, there is not yet a "one leg fits all activity" prosthesis. Most amputees are fit with a good walking and light activity device. Running or jogging on a consistent basis requires a different prosthesis in order to thwart both injury and component breakdown. 

It is an unfortunate reality that in this country an amputee's ability to run has less to do with talent, motivation and athletic prowess and more with their affluence. Most insurance companies consider activity prosthetics to be luxury items and are not covered under the policy. The middle class amputee who works full time, is raising a family and pays taxes often cannot afford the $10,000+ out of pocket price for a specialized prosthesis.

Literature is full of research proving that remaining active and fit will help thwart injury and minimize secondary health issues. Apparently insurance companies deem these findings irrelevant when it comes to the physical fitness of the amputee population.  As things stand right now, an amputee who has the desire to run and has proven that dedication, is relegated either to begging for a grant or fundraising through friends on the internet. Individuals who have never asked society for any type of financial assistance are forced to ask for help. For too many, this prospect is simply overwhelming and they settle for a limited lifestyle. 

I am proud to support Erin in her efforts to obtain a sport prosthesis. I am also saddened that she must ask others for assistance because the insurance writers in this country do not value the physical abilities of amputees. It is no wonder that secondary health conditions are a plague in our population when we consider the disregard placed upon providing amputees with the correct tools for every aspect of their lives!


#100happydays  Robby winning $1 from our waitress at IHOP, who bet him he couldn't eat his age in pancakes.  He proved her wrong!