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, February 14, 2014

Snowy Valentine's Day

All told, the snowstorm dumped about 16 inches of fluffy white happiness in our yard. After putting off his pleas to play until after the heaviest bands of snow passed through the area, Robby and I bundled up and set out into the white abyss. The first item on his agenda, shoveling Mr. Bill's walkway, was accomplished in record time. I have to admit I was surprised how quickly he was shoveling, but I suppose the reward of sledding was enough motivation to get the job done.

Scott hopped on the tractor almost as soon as he woke up, anxious to start clearing as much snow as possible. Thankfully, he didn't delay the chore because the depth was nearly too much for the little John Deere to handle. After some trial and error, he was finally able to clear our driveway. As soon as he broke through the imposing mound of snowplow pushed snow, he drove his tractor up the street and freed all of our neighbors. It took him a few hours, but I know that he made everybody happy.

After Mr. Bill's walkway was shoveled, Robby and I spent almost two hours playing outside. Between the pregnancy, the depth of the snow (which made it laborious to try to walk) and my cold, I was barely able to keep up with him. Of course, he had the fun part of sledding (going downhill) while I was stuck with the Sherpa duty of hauling the sled back up the hill.  Although I thoroughly enjoyed my time with him, I was elated when I saw his friend trudging down the street towards our house. I was summarily dismissed to go inside to bake cookies and make hot chocolate almost as soon as his friend arrived. In this situation, I was thrilled to be displaced!

Today both boys are home again from school. I'm sure that Robby will spend much of the afternoon sledding and throwing snowballs. With the plowing done, I fully expect Scott to stay in his Angry Birds fleece lounge pants  as he watches the Olympics all day from the comfort of the couch.  I don't have the heart to throw a kink into his relaxation plans with a reminder that today is Valentine's Day. Unless they mention it during the Olympic coverage, I am not holding my breath on his remembering. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

SNOW DAY- again

After several days of battling bronchitis, Robby turned the corner yesterday. He slept through the night (finally) and woke up quasi-chipper. He was happy that his "old man voice" was leaving and that his throat didn't hurt anymore. Although he was feeling better, I opted to keep him home from school again. I didn't think it was beneficial for him to attend school for one day when, in all probability, classes would be cancelled for the remainder of the week due to snow. 

He spent the day playing XBox, watching cartoons and building rather impressive Lego creations. By lunchtime he was doing so well that I was second guessing my decision to keep him home. Feeling better myself, I was able to get caught up on some paperwork. Once my reports were done, I had enough energy to bake some treats for Valentine's Day.

By 6:00, the relatively light activities of the day had taken their toll on me. While Robby was still playing, I ended up curled on the couch under the electric blankets. The impending storm was wreaking havoc on my limb causing the tissue to swell and making each step painful. Phantom pain, which I thankfully don't experience often, always leaves me frustrated. I guess the constant pain is a reminder of the limb that I'm missing.

Typically I would take a Tylenol PM and go to bed when the pain becomes as severe as it was last night. With my being pregnant, that option was eliminated. Instead I alternated between massage, heat and cursing. Sometimes being a pregnant amputee is miserable, and last night was a prime example!

This morning we woke up to nothing less than a beautiful winter wonderland. We have about six inches so far with a predicted 15 inches by the time the storm ends. Robby could not be happier with the snow windfall, begging to go outside and play as soon as he woke up. At this point, he will never admit that he had been sick; there is a lot of snow outside and he plans on building an igloo and sledding down our hill.

This morning my limb is tender and the nerves are twitching, but the constant pain has lifted. I am not about to let a little tenderness keep me from building in the snow with my favorite little guy.  But he is going to have to wait a little while.  I don't plan on venturing outside until the white out conditions subside.  Until then, it looks like more Scooby Doo on the couch. 

We'll post pictures of our snow creations later!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Sick Day Part 2

Robby is entering this third day on antibiotics and so far he has shown some signs of improvement. His days have been spent lethargically lounging on the couch or half-heartedly playing video games. At night his symptoms become more severe with the near constant coughing causing his throat to hurt.  I have tried to ease his symptoms and make him comfortable, but I know that we just need to wait it out until the medication kicks in, and his body begins to fight the infection.

As luck would have it, I have come down with a cold. My energy was completely zapped, although at this point it is impossible to tell if I am depleted from the pregnancy, stress, insomnia from taking care of Robby or my own virus. Regardless of the causes, I spent much of yesterday afternoon curled next to Robby on the couch, napping.  I guess my body finally decided that I needed to slow down!

Thankfully Scott was able to take off from work an hour early. Lying down and taking a proper nap, in a real bed instead of a couch, made the world of difference in my energy levels. Although I still feel systemic, I am beginning to see hope that my healthy self might return (someday).

This evening we are expecting a snow storm but I certainly didn't need Accuweather to confirm the impending flurries. My leg has been aching and sore heralding the storm with its usual phantom pain announcements. Trying to find the bright side, I suppose that one bonus of being exhausted is the fact that phantom pain does not keep me awake! 

With everybody lamenting the impending snow totals, I have to admit that I am looking forward to it. From the comfort of my rocking chair positioned next to the wood insert, the snow is beautiful. My being excused from shoveling this year certainly adds to the tranquility!

I also love hearing the squeals of laughter and giggles coming from Robby and his friend as they throw snowballs, sled and build forts.  Hopefully Robby will recover enough to enjoy his predicted snow days. After all, staying home from school because you're sick and having classes cancelled because of snow are two entirely different things.  This is touted as the biggest storm of the year; he would be heartbroken if he isn't well enough to take advantage of the sledding opportunities.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Sick Day

Sunday afternoon Robby was invited to a play date with his friend down the street. He was so excited to play with his friend that he literally sprinted out of the car to run to her door. About two hours later our door bell rang, and a sick little boy was on the other side.  Apparently while his friend was getting a game from her room, Robby had curled onto the couch, covered himself with a blanket and fell asleep.  Obviously, this is not usual behavior for a play date!

Sunday evening he continued to disintegrate. Between near constant coughing and a fever, he had a difficult night. By the time the sun rose, I had already made the decision that he was not going to school. He was most unhappy when he staggered into the living room and in a raspy voice stated that "his cough had eaten his voice."

Thankfully we have a wonderful pediatrician who was quickly able to fit him into the schedule. After his exam the verdict was rendered. My little guy has bronchitis. I hate seeing him sick, but I did take solace in the fact that his ears were clear of infection. If we had not had the tubes inserted, I have no doubt we would be dealing with bronchitis and double ear infections. (I fully admit that I am grasping for positives, but at this point I'll take what I can get!)

He spent the afternoon curled up on the couch, lifting his head only to ask when his daddy would be home. I tried to get some work done, but I had a difficult time focusing. I felt so helpless listening to his coughing, and although I knew that he would be well again soon, seeing a child sick is always hard. I finally put away the computer and resigned myself to streaming Scooby Doo for the rest of the day. (Spoiler alert- the phantom/ghost/monster is ALWAYS either somebody wearing a mask or an elaborate machine.)

With antibiotics coursing through his body and lots of tender loving care (and a little spoiling), Robby should be well enough to return to school on Wednesday. We are, of course, expecting a major snowstorm so I am not holding my breath about his attending school this week. Thankfully I have more than enough work to keep me busy at home while housebound. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Pregnancy + Cancer = A Frightening Reality

I learned a long time ago about the power which comes from putting words to your emotions. Left unsaid, fears and frustrations can become a toxic force. Lately I have been guilty of not taking my own advice because I've been struggling, and I have been hesitant to share.  Instead of openly acknowledging the situation and the fears, I have been trying to put on a stoic face. Needless to say, this approach has not been working. It's time I start being honest with others and with myself.

I have openly written about my experiences as a cancer survivor. I try not to dwell on my cancer experience; in truth I would rather erase those memories all together. I suppose my avoidance is partly out of fear of a recurrence but primarily because I don't want to be the recipient of the "poor thing" look which is often bestowed upon survivors.  I detest being viewed as weak!

Although my status as survivor does not define my life, the experience has certainly had a profound impact on who I am today. I often refer to Robby as my little miracle because, had I listened to the experts, he would not be here. I was told that although I had the heart and soul of a Mom, my body could not make that dream a reality. I never expected to receive yet another miracle which is why we were shocked and overjoyed when I learned that I was expecting again. 

Just when I began to digest the news that I was going to be a Mom again at 40, our miracle was overshadowed by a devastating report. The cancer which I have fought against and have feared for a decade, has returned. I am officially considered a pregnant cancer patient.  To be more specific, my medical record touts me as an amputee, pregnant cancer patient with advanced maternal age and active pituitary cluster tumors.  I have grown weary of labels and would much prefer to be called Peggy.

I have taken solace in the the experts' assurances that I will be okay. Approximately six weeks after the baby is born, I will undergo surgery to remove my uterus, including any (and hopefully all) malignancies. We are hoping that no further treatment will be needed, but we won't have a guarantee until after the baby is born. I am being monitored closely, but there is nothing else to be done at this time.

As if the cancer diagnosis wasn't devastating enough, I learned that the pituitary clusters which had gone dormant, have now fully ripened. A few weeks after my uterus is removed, I will again be in the operating room to remove the clusters. Thankfully we know that these little tumors are benign! I do have to admit that the prospect of neurological surgery, a few weeks after gynecological surgery, which will happen a few weeks after I give birth, has rendered me both scared and overwhelmed.

I'm hoping for the best, but my mind is spinning with worst case scenario preparations. I wish that I could just enjoy the pregnancy with my only worries revolving around integrating a newborn into our family dynamic. At times I feel such paralyzing fear that I can't move. I want to run away and hide, but I know all too well that this is not something that evasion will fix. I look at Robby or I feel the baby kick, and I know that somehow I will figure out a way to cope. After all I have to--I'm a Mom and Moms don't have the luxury of hiding.

We have tried to deal with this diagnosis internally. Other than family and a few close friends, I haven't spoken openly about the newest battles. I suppose I just wasn't ready to face it, or maybe I just didn't think I had the strength to cope. I have come to realize that this isn't news that I can deal with privately. I am not SuperWoman, and I don't have the strength to pretend that everything is okay.

Much of my hesitancy in writing about the diagnosis lies in fearing the reactions from others. I don't want to be cast as living in a shadow of despair. I detest pity and cannot bear to be viewed as pathetic. I need others to help me focus on the true blessing of this situation;I am about to be a Mom again and for that I could not be happier!

More than anything, I just want to enjoy this pregnancy and feel the rush of anticipation and excitement as the delivery approaches. Instead, I have felt guilt because I am afraid of what will happen after the baby is born. As long as my little miracle is inside me, I know that I can avoid reality. Delivery will mark the beginning of a medical journey which I am dreading. Sometimes I think that we are both safer as long as I'm pregnant.

With time, I know that these experiences will simply become memories. The latest medical blips will be added to the list of obstacles which I have overcome. I don't know how, but I do know that we will figure a way through this situation. 

In the meantime, I am sure I will continue to struggle with a roller coaster of emotions as I come to terms with what lies ahead. I'm scared, and I've never dealt with that emotion gracefully. I'm hoping that I will be able to draw strength from going public and being true to my feelings. At this point, I figured it can't hurt to be honest!