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, June 27, 2014

Slowing Down

The first week of summer vacation is in the books, and we are slowly easing into our summer schedule.  Scott and Robby have been enjoying lazy mornings sleeping in, slowly waking up to the morning by watching Spongebob or Scooby-Doo. Despite my protests, they have also been enjoying staying up much later than the preferred bedtime for an eight year old, watching whatever survival show is airing. Meanwhile I try to sleep when Hamlet is asleep, creating a somewhat disjointed schedule. 

Other than playing with his cousin for two days, we have not done anything noteworthy. In the past we have always kicked off the beginning of summer vacation with an adventure. This year on the last day of school I swung by McDonald's for milkshakes.  The new baby, coupled with my surgery, have certainly crimped our on-the-go style.

Although we haven't had our traditional adventure, Robby has been thoroughly enjoying his summer vacation.  Each afternoon he and Scott head to the pool, leaving me at home to take care of the baby. I miss going to the pool with them, but I know that I will be able to join the fun as soon as my leg heals. In the meantime, I am glad that the boys have time to have fun and strengthen their bond. Robby comes homes from swimming famished, pink cheeked and wearing a smile from ear to ear.

While Robby is busy splishing and splashing with his Daddy, Timmy is enjoying being held and rocked by me. I am in awe at how quickly he is catching up and developing. He is now over eight pounds and growing like a weed. I love watching him perch his little head to look out the window when I am trying to burp him. He is utterly fascinated by our ceiling fan and is beginning to reach out for toys. He can't roll over yet, but he sure pedals his little feet quickly.  

This summer we have been forced to slow down.  I'm not healed enough to plan a big family outing, and doing anything requiring a large time commitment is daunting with Timmy. Having an empty schedule is certainly a change, but our summer vacation does not seem to be suffering because of the lack of activities. Robby is happy and Timmy is thriving. For right now, that is all the adventure I need!

Thursday, June 26, 2014


My Mom came down on Tuesday, providing me with a much needed respite. When she left last week I had hoped that I was recovered enough to be completely independent. It turns out that I was incorrect. I struggled with just about everything, from changing diapers to those all-too-frequent middle of the night feedings. By the time the weekend closed I was running on empty, and it became clear that I needed reinforcements. 

This time my Mom did not come alone; she brought my nephew Jared. Jared is seven years old and is similar to Robby in both personality and interests. Despite their similarities, they haven't had the opportunity to bond and become friends. Family functions are often congested and confusing affairs, allowing for a lot of socialization but very little dedicated playtime. I was glad that the cousins were finally going to have the opportunity to get to know each other. 

Robby has many wonderful traits, but learning and remembering names is not among them. Instead of putting forth the effort to remember the individual's name, he resorts to referring to everybody as "dude."  Jared was at our house for two days, without his siblings, yet Robby still could not remember his name and opted to call him Dude for the entire visit. 

Despite not caring about his name, Robby and Dude had a great visit.  The two cousins quickly became friends, bonding over Plants vs. Zombies, Minecraft and swimming at our pool. Watching Robby play and have fun was the best distraction from my own recovery anxieties. It is impossible to be depressed when you are surrounded by mischievous giggles and the banter between young friends.

My Mom took charge with Timmy, allowing me more time to rest and heal. I slept soundly through both nights, waking up feeling stronger each day. My fever is finally breaking, and my fighting spirit is returning. I am beginning to think that I just needed a little more motherly TLC to hasten my recovery.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

All I Can Do

Yesterday I woke up not feeling well. I didn't feel sick, instead I felt an underlying fatigue, toxicity and sadness. Although I know that each sensation could be easily explained, the knowledge did nothing to minimize the impact. Fighting the urge to hide in bed, I struggled to complete even the simplest tasks.

My limb is infected and, despite the fact that it is responding to the antibiotics, my body is having a difficult time dealing with the latest bad bug assault. It feels like I have been sick for the past six months, probably because that statement isn't too far from reality.  My doctor has switched the antibiotics and I'm trying to remain optimistic that I will finally lick the infections. I am to the point where I can barely remember what it feels like to be well, without a fever and pain!

I am also struggling with my own emotions, no doubt a result of everything which has transpired recently. In the midst of a crying fit I realized that, in the past two months I have had a premature (high need) baby, a severe uterine infection, a liver contusion, a re-amputation and my beloved Sophie Cat died. Add the diagnosis of cancer and the resurgence of the pituitary tumors and I suppose I have earned the right to breakdown and cry Uncle.

I suffered with post-partum depression after Robby was born. After Robby I felt void of emotions, as if I was an empty shell just going through the motions. I didn't realize the depths of the depression until it began to lift nearly a year later. I have been extremely worried that I would have the same reaction after giving birth to Timmy, but this feels different.

Right now I don't feel empty, just overwhelmed and sad. I want to be an active Mom, but at the moment I am limited by my body. I hate being limited and I find it utterly infuriating. Everything is harder right now, and I just want a break. I want to be healthy and happy so badly that the fact that I am healing and without my leg is making me feel useless, not empty.

Thankfully the pain is quickly fading and I am seeing the light at the end of the re-amputation tunnel. Within a few weeks I'll be able to get a new leg, and this will be a memory. I just need to figure out a way to navigate through the next few weeks without crying all the time. I want to deal with this gracefully, but instead I have been reduced to a sad, blubbering mess. 

I know that after my leg heals I will be facing additional surgeries for the cancer and pituitary tumors. The thought of undergoing at least two more surgeries this summer paralyzes me with fear and anxiety. I just want my life back! 

The need to heal, and adapt, will reemerge and I'm sure I'll struggle with the same feelings and frustrations. I also know that the surgeries are necessary, and that worrying about them is simply going to compound my current emotional issues. I don't know how I'm going to handle everything, but I hoping I figure out a way. In the meantime, I am taking it day by day and, when Timmy is fussy, moment by moment. Right now, that's really all I can do.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Legless Issues

Yesterday I spent a great deal of time personally reflecting about whether or not I am a hypocrite. I have yet to determine the answer, but thinking about the issue certainly provided some enlightening internal debates. Perhaps talking to myself at such length is an indication that I am becoming stir-crazy holed up at home!

The surgical pain has faded, leaving the nagging dull sensation as a reminder of the recent revision. Because the pain is no longer debilitating, I can't use it as an excuse for staying home. Instead, I'm forced to be honest with myself (and others) by admitting that I hate leaving the house without my prosthesis.  I tend to become a hermit when I am reliant upon the knee scooter or wheelchair.

I would love to blame the added fatigue of utilizing a knee scooter as the sole reason for my staying put, but that would not be entirely honest. While it is definitely more laborious when scooting, I can certainly handle the exertion for short periods of time. If I were to be completely honest with myself, the main reason that I tend to stay inside when I am without my leg is due strictly to vanity.

I detest being seen without my prosthesis. This reality makes me feel hypocritical, especially since I was the National Spokesperson for the Amputee Coalition's Show Your Mettle Day, an event designed to obliterate the shame and embarrassment associated with limb loss. While I have no problems showing my prosthesis, which is black carbon fiber without a cosmetic cover, I shrink into a wallflower when I am without it.  I would rather remain isolated than have to face the relentless stares from others as I wheel into a location without my leg.

It seems that the stares I receive when I'm legless are different, and harsher, than those which arise when I am wearing my prosthesis. When I have my leg, onlookers tend to be curious and intrigued. Without my leg, my stump elicits looks of shock and pity. I also feel more vulnerable which I am sure is impacting my interpretation of the reactions. 

I don't shrink from the public because of a sense of shame. Instead I think it is more of an avoidance of receiving pity. The "oh that poor thing" looks that wash over the faces of onlookers when they realize that I don't have my leg make me feel defensive and uncomfortable.  Rather than desensitize myself to the discomfort, I find it easier to avoid the situation.

I am going to be an amputee for the rest of my life, so I have confidence that I will have ample opportunities to confront this issue. I would love to write that I'm going to face my issues today by scooting through the mall at lunchtime, but that isn't going to happen. Right now I have too much on my hands to embark on a self-improvement project. Someday I'll work through my feelings about being legless, but today I'll just hang out inside and rock Timmy.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Figuring It Out

After ten days of live in help, my Mom packed her bags and headed home. To say that I was sad to see her leave would be an understatement; I am certain that I would not have been able to have the revision surgery without her. Knowing that she was taking care of Timmy and Robby provided me with the peace that I needed to simply let go of the parental responsibilities and just rest.

With her gone, I have been finding my way through caring for a newborn without the use of my leg. It certainly isn't easy by any means, but given no other options we are making it work. Although I am capable of caring for my family without walking, the time and extra energy required to do basic tasks from my knee scooter make me miss my prosthesis. It is going to be a long and exhausting summer until I am up and walking again!

My living room has been virtually transformed into a make-shift nursery. I have been sleeping on the couch with Timmy in his cradle or pram so that I am within close proximity to the bottles, diapers and all of our other baby related needs. (It is amazing how somebody so small requires so much large equipment.) Although sleeping on the couch is pragmatic, it is certainly not comfortable. It is nearly impossible to elevate my limb, and Charlie Cat feels compelled to use my body as a climbing structure in the middle of the night. 

When I am not being climbed like Mount Everest or soothing a fussy and gassy baby, I am trying to adjust to the night time noises of our living room. I am occasionally startled awake by an unprompted crashing sound. Last night I caught Charlie Cat in the act as he leaped full velocity directly into the patio door in a determined attempt to pounce on an unidentified animal with shining eyes on the other side of the glass.

Although I can hold Hamlet while using the scooter, I feel more comfortable keeping him in his pram. I realize that having a large stroller in the middle of my living room is unorthodox, but at this point I find it practical. I am able to propel the scooter while pushing or pulling the pram to various locations. When I don't use the pram, Timmy is securely strapped to my chest with his baby carrier.  I have figured out ways to move him independently, but it is certainly not quick, easy or pain free.  (The surgical wounds are still fresh and tender when I scoot.)  As a result, we spend much of our day in the rocker or recliner. 

I'm slowly accepting that I may have to do things in an unconventional manner, but the important thing is that they are getting done. Timmy doesn't care how he gets to the changing table, and he is a content and happy little baby because he is held so much. The next few weeks will be difficult, but I know that we will manage. I am no stranger to adapting and figuring things out.