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, May 16, 2014

Young Adult

Having my Mom stay on Wednesday night to take over the night shift with Timmy helped me more than I anticipated. I knew I was feeling worn down, but I didn't realize the depth of my fatigue until I was able to sleep for more than a few minutes at a time. I am fairly certain I fell asleep within moments of my head hitting the pillow, and I didn't wake up until 8 the next morning. I felt invigorated after sleeping for so long! I'm going to turn 40 on Monday, but I have no shame about admitting that I still need my Mom.

The fact that I am embarking on my final weekend in my 30's is difficult to grasp. I vividly remember my Mom's 40th birthday. I wondered how she could be smiling when she had just turned an age I equated with being decrepit. I felt sad because I assumed that her best years were behind her, and the only things she had to look forward to were adult diapers and pureed food. 

Thankfully, I was wrong, and my Mom turning 40 did not mean that admittance to the nursing home was imminent. She defied my naive oh-so-low expectations by continuing to live an active and happy life. While I no longer view 40 as a death sentence, I can't say that I am looking forward to turning the page on this milestone!

It is hard for me to embrace turning 40 because I still view myself as being youthful. I can no longer pretend that I am a young adult; 40 is definitely middle age. I feel like throwing a juvenile temper tantrum by holding my breath, stomping my foot and screaming, "I don't want to be middle age!" Of course, my outburst would not change the reality of the calendar and would probably just result in my breaking a toe, injuring my voice and fainting. 

Like it or not, 40 is barreling down on me at lightening speed. In mere hours I'll be the dreaded 4-0. This weekend I am going to try to put the number out of my mind and just enjoy spending time with the boys. For right now, I'm still in my 30s, and I plan on embracing every remaining second as a "young adult."

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Liner Breakdown

I have been an amputee for more than a decade. During this time I have remained vigilant about my limb health and have not taken short cuts- until recently. Ever since Timmy came home and was put on a revolving cycle of near constant feedings, along with the directive that he be held upright on his stomach as much as possible, I have been lax about limb care. In order to compensate for the baby responsibilities,  have been sleeping with my liner on so that I could quickly pop out of bed to prepare a bottle. Although I know better, some days flew by without my removing the liner.

My shortcut worked in the short term, but have now made my life more difficult. I have developed a flaky, bloody and painful rash along the trim line of my socket. I wish I could be angry and blame somebody else, but I know that the fault is my own. My skin breakdown is directly related to my constantly wearing the liner.

As soon as the severity of the skin breakdown was known I took action to try to minimize the damage. I dug in the back of the closet to find a new liner. Although I hate the unavoidable friction that I feel when stepping into my leg with a new liner, I figured that it would behoove me to start with a clean slate. I also started to cover the area in Neosporin, hoping to thwart yet another infection from developing. At this point my body is working overtime trying to beat back the infections which are already raging, I certainly don't need to add another battle to the war.  Perhaps most importantly, I have started removing my leg and liner whenever possible.

While it isn't an issue during the day, I know that having to constantly don my liner and leg every 90 minutes will quickly become a nuisance at night. (Of course, at 2 in the morning anything that doesn't involve REM sleep is an annoyance.) In order to minimize the frustration, I've rearranged the living room to meet my amputee mom needs. Bottles, formula, spit clothes, clothes and diapers are all within arms reach. The living room now resembles a make-shift baby nursery, but right now I care more about functionality instead of style. Sleeping on the pull out sofa next to Timmy's cradle, I will be able to care for him in the middle of the night without donning my leg. 

On top of all of our other worries, I certainly don't need to contend with amputee issues. But this one was brought on by myself, so I really shouldn't complain. I have learned an important lesson, and I won't be lax about limb care again. The seconds that were saved by me wearing the liner all the time were not an equal trade for the situation I am currently facing. I would kick myself for making such a poor decision, but right now that would be too painful!

Last night,whether or not I wore my liner was a moot point.  My Mom came down to take over the night shift with Timmy. I slept for over eight hours, which is something I thought would never happen again. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


I suspect that most and my friends and family would agree that I am stubborn. Sometimes this trait is an asset because I will push myself to achieve a goal to prove the naysayers wrong. Being stubborn has helped me adjust to using a prosthesis, deal with cancer, cultivate a new career which I adore, and regain an active lifestyle. I owe much of my success to being stubborn.

Unfortunately, stubbornness does have drawbacks. The most glaring at the moment is my reluctance to ask for help. I feel compelled to be completely independent  even when it is abundantly clear that I need assistance. Timmy's exhausting feeding regiment has completely worn me down. I am now operating in a perpetual daze which is making even the most mundane household tasks difficult. In addition to Timmy's needs, I am still contending with a uterine infection and liver injury. Neither condition seems to be healing (at least not at a pace I would appreciate) and the pain and fever are only exacerbating the issues. Despite these mounting obstacles, I have a hard time asking for and accepting help.

Yesterday I finally broke down and accepted my neighbor Sue's offer to watch Timmy so that I could take a nap. I felt a little awkward at first; it is a strange feeling lying down when you know that somebody is in your living room. Sue's husband has recently been diagnosed with ALS, and I felt guilty taking her up on her offer when she has so many pressing needs at home.  However, fatigue quickly consumed me, and before I knew it, I had slept for over an hour. When I finally emerged from my bedroom, my neighbor was still sitting on the couch holding Timmy. She had a beaming smile and seemed comfortable and relaxed helping me out. I realized that maybe helping me was an escape from her own daily stresses. (Holding a baby can be healing, especially when you can give them back after a few hours!) By allowing her to help me, she was also receiving something that she needed.

At my doctor's urging, Scott took off work today so that I could spend the day resting. My Mom is coming down this evening to take the night shift with Timmy. I feel guilty asking her to drive and give up sleep, but if the situation were reversed, I know that I would be frustrated if she didn't let me help.  

Although asking for and accepting help is probably going to continue to be difficult, I am actively working to overcome my "Superwomen" stubbornness. In this situation, the only way I am going to heal is if I figure out a way to take better care of myself. I am going to need to rely on my friends and family to help me through this situation. Instead of feeling weak because I need help, I am going to remind myself that I am incredibly blessed that I have so many people willing to lend a hand to help us out!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Shopping Fail

Waking up to feed Timmy every 90 minutes has left little time to accomplish much else. With the exception of going to doctors and dropping Robby  at school, I have become a hermit. Robby is too little and his feeding schedule is too regimented to take him into public spaces. Thankfully through internet shopping I have been able to keep up with our household and gift-giving needs.  The UPS truck is in my driveway on a daily basis, delivering everything from baby formula to Robby's summer wardrobe.

While I enjoy the convenience of shopping from the comfort of my couch, I have discovered some pitfalls. Specifically, the home pages of the major e-commerce sites should come with a warning label. Might I suggest something along the lines of "Shopping while sleep deprived could result in erroneous purchases?" 

Last week, while holding a swaddled Timmy in the middle of the night, I went online to find my Mom the perfect Mother's Day gift. Because she has done so much to help me during the past year, I wanted something special this year. I scoured her Pinterest page until I located the perfect gift, the suspended lounge chair she has been coveting.  Looking at the photo of the chair I immediately recognized the design. The lounge chair is nearly identical, only larger in scale, to Timmy's cradle swing. If you swapped out the mobile for an umbrella shade, they would be a matching set! I clicked through the photo and proceeded to order the chair.

Somehow, and I'm still a little confused about the specifics, I managed to order a total of four lounge chairs from two separate companies. When I learned of the mistake the next day I tried to cancel three of the loungers only to discover that they were all in fulfillment and set to ship. After the first chair arrived, I revealed the mistake to my Mom. I encouraged her to pick her favorite color and I would arrange for the return of the other three.

Apparently I am slow to learn from my late night shopping blunder because I went online a few days later to buy some padded envelopes to use when shipping out my pins. I thought I was ordering 100 envelopes. It was only after I read the confirmation email the next morning that I realized I had ordered 500. It's a good thing that envelopes won't expire because I'm fairly certain I'll be using these to send care packages to Robby in college!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Not a Favorite Holiday

Yesterday afternoon I was feeding Timmy while trying to help Robby with his homework, I had an epiphany. I have come to despise Mother's Day. In my opinion and experience, it is a holiday which has been so heavily commercially hyped that it simply cannot meet the unrealistic expectations.

There is no way that my Mother's Day experience will ever mimic the feel good made for TV movies or the flower commercials. For one thing, the moms featured always look relaxed, well groomed, and live in spotless homes. They lounge in bed with perfectly coiffed hair until presented with a tray full of delicious goodies lovingly prepared by their children.  I banned breakfast in bed this year. After staying up all night to take care of Timmy, the last thing I wanted to do was clean the kitchen after the "gift" was presented. Instead I ate a Ho Hos in my pajamas while sorting the laundry.

Images of moms wearing beautiful (and clean) sundresses, relaxing the day away with their families, were pervasively streamed on commercials and television shows. The moms look so put together and beautiful. They are always basking in the doting of their families. They are showered with love, attention, surprises, and adoration.

I, on the other hand, was proud of myself for remembering to brush my hair and change my formula stained shirt.  I never got around to putting on make-up, but the beautiful purple hue which is developing in the bags under my eyes does add a pop of color to my face.  We did pose for our traditional Mother's Day photo, however it taken outside because the interior of my home is cluttered with assorted spit clothes, dirty bottles and plastic army men strewn on the floors and furniture. Doting was kept to a minimum. Had I been afforded the entire day of leisure, I would have twice the number of chores to tackle today!  Obviously, my reality of motherhood varies from Hallmark.

Despite my life not resembling my commercial role models, I consider myself lucky. I have two wonderful little boys, whom I utterly adore. Scott openly admits that he hates Hallmark holidays. He  refuses to bow to the commercialism and would prefer to ignore the event altogether. While I can intellectualize his stand, I am the one reaps the results of his boycott. Thankfully, after a decade together, I have learned to lower my expectations to thwart disappointment.

Yesterday I read an article which I feels exemplifies Mother's Day. The woman who started the movement dedicated the first half of her life towards lobbying for national recognition. After the holiday was recognized by Congress as an official holiday, greeting card and floral companies began the "show mom you love her by spending lots of money" assault. The founder then spent the second half of her life fighting against the commercialism of her heartfelt and well intended holiday.