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, July 04, 2014

Fourth of July

Happy Fourth of July!!

Today will be laid back and quiet. Robby, Timmy and I have been at my Mom's for the past few days and Scott is due to arrive today. My Mom is throwing a family picnic on Sunday, so today will be spent cooking and resting up for the big party. 

I am hoping to be able to take Robby to see some fireworks, but this will only happen if we can find a location which requires minimal walking. I hate that so many of our summer traditions have been stymied because of my surgery. As far as I am concerned, I am ready to get my leg and start walking. Of course, my doctor might have a different perspective on the topic.

A few nights ago, while changing into his pajamas, Robby saw lightening bugs in the yard. He excited ran to me and asked me to come outside and help. Yet again I had to explain that I can't walk, but offered to watch him from the window. It breaks my heart not being able to do things with him!

Undeterred by my absence, he slung his bug box around his shoulder, stepped into his cowboy boots and ran outside. Unfortunately he never finished putting on his pajamas. I watched from the window as my little eight year old boy ran through the yard in nothing more than his Angry Bird underwear, cowboy boots and a bug box.

Seeing my naked little bug catcher outside, I realized that my current limitations are impacting me more than my family. Although he would prefer I be with him, Robby has adjusted well to our new arrangement. It is definitely harder for me to accept sitting on the sidelines watching the summer fun through the window. 

If we don't make it to the fireworks today I am going to try to shrug it off. I know that I will be better by Labor Day, and there will be more fireworks to see. This definitely isn't the summer I wanted, but it is the one I have so I'm going to make the best of it. It's the Fourth of July weekend, and we are going to have fun despite my surgery!

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Eleven Years

Eleven years ago today I started a new life. Scott drove me to the hospital with my left foot, disfigured by the constant pain I had been living with for five agonizing years. I did my research and took a leap of faith that my life would be better without the pain, even if that meant living without the limb.

The morning of July 3, 2003, was one of the scariest of my life. We didn't speak during the 2 hour drive to Baltimore; my crying was the only sound breaking the silence in the car. I was terrified of being an amputee, but I also knew that I couldn't live the rest of my life hostage to the pain from a defunct foot. I didn't know what to expect, but I did know that my life would be forever changed.

Opting to amputation was, without a doubt, the hardest decision I have ever made. The finality of removing a limb was petrifying, and I feared that I would live to regret the choice. After eleven years, I can honestly say that I am a happier and healthier person because I surrendered my foot. Amputating my foot allowed me to return to my life, and for that I will be forever grateful. 

Today is my Ampuversary! I'm not sad or mournful. Instead I am feeling reflective and content. If I hadn't made that brave decision eleven years ago, I wouldn't have the life I am living today. I have a wonderful husband and two amazing boys. I have a job which has become my passion. I have met amazing people and have had some surreal experiences, all because I am an amputee. Although I continue to have my struggles, today I am realizing that I am incredibly fortunate.  Happy Ampuversary to me!

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Super Freak

This past fall I was presented with an unexpected, yet intriguing opportunity. I was contacted through this blog and invited to participate in the filming of a music video. Lacking both dancing and singing talent, I knew that sight unseen would be the only way I would ever be in a music video. I jumped on the opportunity with very little information, excited about the experience and confident that I would end up on the cutting room floor once my lack of talent was realized.

In October I left Robby at my mom's and hopped onto a train for New York City. I was already feeling the impact of being pregnant, nauseous all the time and bloated.  I desperately wanted to feel pretty and confident, yet in reality I felt fat, ugly and toxic. I tried my best to push my insecurities to the side and concentrated on enjoying the moment and the wonderful adventure of participating in a music video.

With the eclectic cast, I was unsure about what to expect or how I would fit in with the production. My insecurities were so strong that I was confident that everybody involved with bringing me to New York instantly regretted their choice when they saw me. I was definitely out of my comfort zone, but I also knew that I would regret not seeing my commitment through to the end. I mustered all of my acting ability, which granted is limited, and pretended to feel both confident and pretty.

I haven't heard anything since the filming and was beginning to believe that I was cut altogether. However, last week I opened up Facebook and was surprised to find a message from the artist. In preparation for the video release, a behind the scenes video was created. Nervously excited about what I would see, I wheeled into the bathroom with my computer (the only room in the house where I was confident I would be undisturbed) and clicked play.

Instead of being horrified, I was delighted by the behind-the-scenes video. Not only had time completely skewed my memory of how I looked on that day, but I was happy that I didn't appear nearly as nervous and insecure as I felt. Although the title of the song, SuperFreak, may be off-putting to some, it has a message that I am proud to put my name behind.

The song celebrates diversity in all forms. Although I don't view myself as a freak, I have come to accept that others might. Some perceive anybody with a difference with a filter of shame and scorn, ignorantly believing that different is automatically bad. I have long believed that different is neither good nor bad; it is simply an opportunity to be unique. This song parrots that belief and celebrates the individual. 

I am prepared to hear from those who are offended by my offering myself as a "freak," but I stand by my participation in this video. I talk with amputees frequently who are apprehensive about showing their prosthetic. Fearful of the looks and words of others, they are resigned to live in the shadows. The looks of others should not define a person's self worth, nor should the absence of a limb. I know that people look at me when I am in public, and if they have a problem with my prosthetic showing, the problem is theirs alone. I am not ashamed of missing my leg, and I am proud of living my life as an active and happy amputee woman.

Chipping away at the stereotypes that are held about amputees, I am optimistic that we will eventually be able to change the perspectives and dialog concerning limb loss. This video provided another platform for me to share the message that life does not end with the loss of a limb. So, with no further adieu, enjoy the behind the scenes video. And yes, I promise to post the completed video when it is released. 

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Clear the Aisle

Despite my constant pleas, directives, demands and downright begging for clear pathways for my knee scooter, I am constantly kicking toys and maneuvering around obstacles just to get around the house. For whatever reason, I just can't get the boys to understand the importance of keeping things off the floor right now. I contemplated putting a trash bag in the basket of my scooter so that I could just pick up and throw away whatever toy or item was carelessly left in my path, but I quickly realized that kicking the items out of the way is much easier. Maintaining my balance while bending on my knee scooter is not an easy feat and would surely lead to a fall.

Instead of taking the time to pick up their clutter, I have perfected my technique to kick it all under the couch. During the past two weeks I venture to guess that a platoons worth of plastic army men have been declared AWOL because their Commander-in-Chief failed to have them retreat into their storage bin. Numerous pens, magazines, game CD's, one television remote and several batteries have all suffered the same fate. Although all of these items are small and seemingly benign, they all pose a hazard if I had run them over with my scooter.

The past few months have been difficult for all of us, and I am struggling to maintain my patience. I don't want to be the Mom and Wife who constantly complains and places demands. That being said, using the knee scooter is already difficult. Forcing me to maneuver around various items carelessly strewn through the house makes everything harder. I wish that I could get everybody to appreciate my situation without being labeled as a nag.

I realize that my immobility is inconvenient for everybody, but I find myself wanting to remind the boys that I am the one without her leg. I love them dearly, but I am fighting the urge to scream and throw everything which impedes my path. Being without my leg is difficult enough, I don't think that asking for an unobstructed way to the bathroom and kitchen is too much to ask!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Long Weekend

I am doubtful that I will ever look back on this past weekend with fondness. Robby was pushing the limits of our family rules, forcing us to remove access to electronic devices. Although removing the devices is an effective punishment, doing so also creates more work for us. Instead of occupying himself, especially during times when I just want quiet, he becomes a bundle of need and want. When his devices were removed he quickly began to serenade anybody who would listen with pleas of "I'm so bored" and "there is nothing in the whole wide world to do." Of course, his tune quickly changed when I provided him with a lengthy list of chores that needed to be completed. 

Timmy seemed to follow the lead of his big brother. Nothing we did pleased the little guy. Instead of cooing and smiling, he spent the entire weekend fidgeting and screaming. All he wanted was to be held and rocked. Typically I love holding and rocking him, but it is not nearly as relaxing when he is a squirming bundle of discontent.

I tried every tool in my mom arsenal, yet nothing was effective in calming Timmy down. He spent all Saturday fussing and crying to the point of exhausting both Scott and me. Robby, banned from his XBox, sought refuge by throwing poppers out of his tree house and informing every neighbor that his baby brother was "screaming like a naked chimpanzee." I'm sure that they didn't need to be warned; the screaming emanating from our home was all the information necessary.

It is a terribly helpless feeling trying to soothe a baby who is not responding positively to anything. At one point I felt utterly defeated, consigned to the fact that my newborn simply hates me. When I voiced this feeling, Robby piped in and agreed that his baby brother must hate me.  For good measure, he also added that I am a mean Momom too because I banned him from Xbox. So much for mother of the year!

By Sunday night Timmy had finally calmed down and, although he was fidgety, he was not as miserable. Robby had re-earned access to some electronic devices, affording me a quiet house for a few precious moments. If I wasn't still on pain medication, I would have poured myself a drink.  I definitely earned it.