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 11, 2014

Walking Day After Re-Amputation

My re-amputation surgery was four weeks yesterday. My incision is completely healed and, although only a month has passed, I am chomping at the bit to regain my mobility. With an abdominal surgery looming in a few weeks, my ability to be upright is paramount.

Thankfully Elliot, my prosthetist, understands my situation and was willing to work with me. He fully admitted that I am pushing the boundaries on being able to wear a leg again, but he was willing to build one so that I could try. I fully expected and accepted that pain would be a factor, but with needing to take care of Timmy and get ready for my next round of surgeries, I was determined to get moving sooner rather than later. Although I'm able to care for Timmy using my knee scooter, it is exhausting and difficult. 

Yesterday morning in preparation for my leg appointment, I sat in my rocker and prepared to don my liner. A task which had been second nature was suddenly wrought with pitfalls and pain. Twenty minutes and three attempts later, I finally had the liner in place.  Everybody in the house knew when I was rolling it over the incision. According to Robby, I "yelped like a hurt woman" when I made the final push over the tender wound.

An hour later I was in Elliot's office, nervously preparing to slip into a new socket. After the experience with the liner, I had no doubt that I was going to experience considerable pain in the attempt. Again I yelped, prompting Elliot to close the exam room door to shield his other patients and staff from the expletives he expected to spew out during the process. 

Holding onto both crutches, I stood up and slowly slid my way into the socket. I have no way of telling if the socket is fitting correctly because the tender bone pain was all-encompassing.  After what felt like an eternity, the bottom of my limb was finally at the base of the socket. Without much hesitation, probably out of a desire to put the worst behind me, I stood up and tried to walk.

Fully weighting the crutches, I was upright and walking for the first time since the surgery. I know that the pain will persist and that I won't be comfortable for a considerable amount of time. I am fully reliant on the crutches and don't see me walking unaided for several weeks, perhaps months. But I was upright and moving. Despite the mind numbing pain, I knew that I was on the right track.

I wore the leg home but removed it later in the afternoon. I am going to wear it again today, and I hope to increase both the amount of weight I put through the leg and the time I am able to wear it. For the third time in my life, I am learning how to walk.  At least this time, I know what to expect and how to pace myself.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Bottle Fix

During the past few weeks I have spent the majority of the time rocking Timmy. I love holding and cuddling him, but the time was anything but relaxing. Timmy was struggling in pain because of gas and, despite numerous changes in formula and medication dosing, nothing was providing relief. We were essentially held hostage by his gastrointestinal distress, forced to hold and soothe him in a fruitless attempt to ease his pain.  It is terribly frustrating watching your baby suffer!

By the time the weekend rolled around Timmy and I were both exhausted from our gas focused routine.  We were both pale and developing deep circles due to his lack of restful sleep. I was at my wits end, desperate to find a solution to his tummy troubles.  On a whim, I asked my mom (whom I was visiting) to pick up another type of bottle. I was doubtful that the change would make a difference, but having exhausted every other variable I figured it was worth a try. At that point in time, I was willing to try anything to help him.

My mom came home with two new bottles, both exorbitantly expensive but touting to deduce colic and gas. Unimpressed by the claims on the package, I skeptically examined the institutional looking bottle. The Dr. Brown bottle is certainly complex, featuring a straw like valve which I knew would make cleaning a multi-step process. But by this point Timmy was red faced and sweaty from screaming so I tore through the package and made him some fussy baby formula.

Almost immediately I noticed that he was latching on with more intensity, and that the constant dribble down his left cheek was gone. (I had asked his pediatrician about the difficulty he was having sealing around the nipple but was informed that he had some muscle tone weakness and was assured that it would resolve with time.) He gulped down the bottle in record time and, for the first time in weeks, seemed content.

I was encouraged by the expensive, complicated bottles and decided to keep using it for each feeding. Within 24 hours my cranky baby was gone, allowing me to become reacquainted with my sweet little Timmy. I had no idea that switching bottles would make such a difference. I wish I had thought of switching earlier!

Before coming home on Monday my Mom and I made one stop: we went to Babies R Us, where I stocked up to replace all of our bottles with Dr. Brown's. The relief that has been yielded by using the bottle makes it well worth the hefty price tag. As for the difficulty cleaning, I would rather spend a little more time at the sink if it means that my little baby is happy and calm.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Moving Forward

Yesterday I had my stitches removed. With the exception of providing a pillow, the experience with this surgeon was identical to others. I hear from other amputees whose sutures slide right out in a pain-free removal. Apparently my body likes to hold onto the sutures, embedding them and trying to hide remnants deep inside the wound.

The doctor was extraordinarily kind as he dug and cut, chatting about the Fourth of July and summer vacations. I tried to keep up with his repartee, but I finally admitted that I wasn't in a position for friendly banter. I didn't feel in control over what might come out of my mouth. 

After 40 torturous minutes, the sutures were finally all removed. The examination table looked like a mini war scene with blood soaked gauze pads strewn around my freshly angered limb. I was bandaged up, given a pat on my head and sent on my way.

When I went to my appointment, my pain level was at a nagging two. When I emerged from the visit, the level had jumped to a six. Much to my chagrin, it stayed at the elevated level throughout the day, making it difficult for me to function.  Scott and Robby went to the pool, and I spent the remainder of the afternoon holding and rocking Timmy.

Thankfully the pain is fading this morning, and soon the suture removal will be just a memory. On Monday, out of a sense of optimism, I made an appointment to see Elliot to cast for a new leg today. Looking at my limb, riddled with tiny scabbed over trenches, I am doubtful that he will cast. I know that he wants the limb to be completely healed when the process begins, but I am going to give convincing him a try.  At this point, I am so desperate to return to walking that I may even resort to begging/

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Stitch Removal

This morning we are all piling into the car and heading to see my surgeon. After an extremely long and frustrating month, my stitches are finally going to be removed. In my mind, the stitch removal marks the beginning of my regaining my mobility, and for that I couldn't be more excited.

I was up most of the night, not with Timmy for a change, but because I was apprehensive about today's appointment. I know that I have healed well and that the stitches are ready to be snipped. Unfortunately the prospect has prompted flashbacks where the removal of stitches in my limb was not nearly as swift or pain free. 

I vividly remember laying on the examining table as the surgeon dug and cut my leg in the quest to find thread remnants left embedded in my healed limb. On more than one occasion, in fact with my amputation and every subsequent revision, my surgeon has had to poke and dig around my tender limb with sharp tweezers and scissors in order to obtain a complete debrided wound. The pain brought me to tears.

Going in for a stitch removal, I always leave with a bloody and extremely painful limb. The fact that the process occurs so callously in the office, with complete disregard for the pain being caused by repeatedly poking into my freshly cut limb, simply adds insult to injury. I wish that the surgeon had recognized the sheer agony being caused, and would have taken steps to make the process more comfortable.  At the very least, a pillow for me to hide my head into would have been appreciated.

This procedure was performed by a different surgeon, so I keep trying to remind myself that the stitch removal might be different. Regardless, I can't seem to shake the memories from my past procedures. I am going to this appointment excited about moving forward yet terrified about the final step.

Wish me luck!

Monday, July 07, 2014


This morning I am again waking up at my Mom's house. I had every intention of going home yesterday but was swayed by Robby's pleas to stay another night.  To be completely honest it didn't take much to convince me, the promise of a good night sleep and relinquishing nighttime bottle duty to somebody else is rather appealing!

I was surprised when Robby wanted to stay, not because he doesn't love his Nana but because he tends to be a homebody. Scott left yesterday evening to go home to care for the cats and check on the house, and typically Robby becomes upset when he sees his Daddy drive away. This time he offered a curt wave good-bye as he ran down the back stairs to the trampoline.

Yes, a trampoline. The mother who refused to let us on one, who summarily shut down our requests to buy one when we were little because they were "too dangerous and we'd all break our arms" now has a 16" jumping trampoline in the center of her backyard for her grandchildren. This leads me to the conclusion that she either loves her grandchildren more or doesn't care about broken arms when they are not on her health insurance policy. I'd like to think it is the latter.

Robby and his cousins were over-the-moon with the trampoline, spending the entire weekend jumping and playing outside. Each evening Robby would finally come inside, a sweaty mess but wearing a smile from ear-to-ear. At our family picnic yesterday the trampoline was full with extended cousins and friends, allowing the parents to stay on the deck to talk without constant interruptions. The only child who was not jumping was Timmy, who as it turns out was content to be held by everybody.

It is going to be difficult to convince Robby to come home, but if he wants to stay a few more days I am not going to argue. The sleep has done me wonders. I'm feeling better, and stronger because of the help and rest. She has also provided me even more motivation to heal and start walking again. I can't wait to get on the trampoline!