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, October 03, 2014

Personal Grief

Last week I had my final post-operative appointment since the hysterectomy. Physically I am healing well, albeit a tad slower than we both would like. The prescription to slow down and take it easy is nearly impossible to fulfill when I'm trying to take care of Timmy and Robby.  I'm doing my best to take care of them and myself and have come to accept that my recovery may take longer because of my obligations. 

After the pelvic examination I was asked the normal barrage of questions. Am I bleeding? Do I have pain? How many hot flashes am I having on a daily basis? All of these questions I expected and have fielded many times since the surgery. At the end of the medical interview, I was asked something that stopped me in my tracks.  Are you grieving?

Am I grieving? I didn't quite know how to respond to that question, but it certainly gave me pause. I have been feeling an overwhelming sadness since the hysterectomy, but I chalked it up to pain, fatigue and hormones. I never considered grief; I guess on some level I somehow felt that my situation wasn't worthy of this process.

It took me a long time to acknowledge that I needed to grieve the loss of my foot after my amputation. During those difficult and dark months I was stuck in limbo, pretending to be okay for everybody else while inside I felt like I was caught in a tornado of anger, fear and sadness. As soon as I allowed myself to grieve my little piggies that went to market, I began to heal and move forward.

It never occurred to me that I would be reliving this scenario, only this time I am processing the loss of my uterus and ovaries. On some level it feels silly to admit that I am grieving the loss of these organs. After all, they aren't something that are seen or relied upon daily. Unlike adjusting to my amputation, where I found myself grieving the bone and tissue of my foot, this time I find myself mourning the lost possibilities and dreams.

Logically I know that Timmy is my last child. I'm 40, Scott is 47 and our family is now established. I love my two boys with all my heart, and I am so very lucky to be their mom. I guess I just wanted to hold onto the dream of the potential for more children a little longer. 

I've tried to talk through these feelings with Scott, but after being shrugged off numerous times, I've come to accept that he just doesn't understand. His perspective is very pragmatic. I needed the hysterectomy so that I could be alive to raise the Timmy and Robby. We weren't going to have any more kids, so in his eyes I haven't really lost anything.  Heal, take hormone replacement therapy and move forward.

Moving forward is impossible until I acknowledge what I've lost. The surgeon didn't just remove the ovaries and cancer. I forfeited something precious in exchange for removing the cancer; I surrendered my fertility. In my waking life I know that we were done having children. However in my dreams at night I always held out a glimmer of hope, exploring the possibilities of what could be. That spark has been forever extinguished, and it hurts.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Bad Day Perspective

Yesterday was not my best day. Timmy had a difficult time sleeping the night before, forcing me to yet again see the sun rise with less than 2 hours sleep.  In my sleep deprived stupor, I put my coffee cup under the Baby Breeza formula maker spout and Timmy's bottle under my Keurig.  Thankfully I caught the mistake before feeding Timmy my coffee, but not before I took a rather large swig of baby formula.  If I had the opportunity, I would have just gone back to bed.  But Timmy surely wouldn't understand the Mommy-do-over, so I put the bottle and coffee mug in the sink and started again.

Robby did nothing to enhance my morning enjoyment. Instead of my sweet little Koopa, Robby Rotten sauntered out of his bedroom. After a few attempts to say good morning only to be scuffed off, I had no doubt that he had a severe case of the grumpies. 

I hate clashing with Robby, but I love him enough to discipline him when necessary. In the period of 30 minutes he managed to lose every electronic device and was banned from the television. As I gathered up the cupcakes, cake, birthday gift and cards I secured for him to give to his teacher for her birthday, I began to fully appreciate the irony of being called the "World's Meanest Momom." 

 I love him to death, but he becomes extraordinarily dramatic when he is being reprimanded. My "You need to respect and not sass me" conversation was immediately skewed and regurgitated as "You hate me and you never want to hear me talk again."  I assured him that I will always love him to the moon and back, and reminded him that he is a good person who made a mistake. Trying to explain that I am punishing him because I love him is a lost concept for an eight year old. I was arguing what he perceived as being completely illogical.  After listening to Robby Rotten complain and lament his punishment for the entire drive to school, I have to admit that I relished the silence in the car after he was dropped off.

I came home and tried to load the dishwasher only to have the rack fall off of its braces. I just left the dishes in the sink and walked away. I just don't have the energy for one more thing breaking down in this house. I sent Scott a text and asked him to add superglue to the grocery list. 

The remainder of the morning was spent combating creeps on Facebook. I don't know if it is season, but aggressive devotees seem to be strutting their feathers lately! I am fairly easy going, but I have no tolerance for individuals who reap sexual satisfaction through interacting with amputee women. After a cyber confrontation in which I was called horrific names which, considering the source, I opted to wear as a badge of honor. 

My afternoon was monopolized by caring for an inconsolable Timmy. He was agitated and fussy. He only stopped squirming and fussing long enough to vomit all over me which he did repeatedly throughout the day.  I hate seeing him so uncomfortable and feel both helpless and frustrated when I can't calm his colic. 

To top off my terrific day, Scott had to go to the dentist after work. Yes, the dental drama is live and well in our household. I tried to be supportive by pointing out that this was just a routine cleaning. I was summarily told that I was being dismissive. I know enough that when the dentist is involved, I can do nothing right. I gave up and finished my stash of chocolate truffles.

On my way to pick up Robby from school I was close to my wits end. I was exhausted, covered with baby vomit, feeling disrespected and just plain sad. As I turned the corner near a major intersection I saw a bicyclist being struck by a car. I immediately pulled over and ran to see if I could be of assistance.  By the time I arrived, the cyclist was standing and, although shaken, appeared to be okay. 

All of a sudden my bad day didn't seem so bad. I guess it is all about perspective.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Comprehension Issue

On Friday Robby and his cousin Tiffany accompanied me on errands. On the way home we decided to surprise Nana with some donuts. (Apparently the love of sweets has a strong genetic link.)  Typically quick with complaints when I add stops to the errand run, both of my young passengers were delighted by this impromptu stop.  They were more than willing to help me pick out the sugared and decorated treats.

After showing me the donuts that they wanted, the pair stood behind me towards the entrance of the store. After what seemed like an eternity, I was finally handed my box of donuts. (I almost recommended that the employee enjoy one of their sugary confections to get some energy, but I thought better of my observation and simply smiled.)  I turned around to gather the kids and leave only to realize that they had migrated to the outside door.

When I reached them, neither one of them had their shoes on, and Robby was in the process of desperately trying to remove his shirt. Tiffany, his slightly older cousin, was uncomfortably pulling at the bottom of her shirt. But Robby was really struggling to strip down. Surprised by their sudden disrobing, I snapped, "Robby, put your clothes on. What do you think you're doing!" 

He looked at me with an expression of great concern and pointed to a sign on the door.  "Momom, they should not have served you.  You see there (pointing to a hand written sign on the door.)  "See here. It says, No Shoes. No Shirt. No Service." 

While he has certainly come a long way in his reading, we obviously have some more work to do on comprehension. 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

New Liner, No Problems!

I have been an amputee for more than a decade, and during that time I have learned volumes about living with limb loss. Socket fit, liners, suspension systems and other related terms have become a normal part of my vernacular. The time when the jargon was unfamiliar and scary feels like a lifetime ago. Perhaps the most important thing that I've learned is that things will always change and that I will constantly discover new aspects of living life with a prosthesis.

The socket fabrication after my most recent surgery has been frustrating and labor intensive. Kudos to Elliot, my prosthetist, who never gave up on me or on the process. He continued to make adjustments, new molds and changes in the quest for comfort. When we finally got my leg to a point where I could wear it and feel okay, he pushed for improvement. By that point I was willing to accept the little discomforts that popped up through the day.  Elliot continued casting, fabricating and tweaking because he wanted me to be pain-free from the moment I donned it until I took it off at night.

Last week I had an appointment for what felt like the 100th socket adjustment. I just couldn't find the words to describe what I was feeling, but I knew that it wasn't ideal and completely comfortable. I wasn't in pain, but I did feel an awkward soreness after I began to walk. As I grasped to find the correct adjectives, I could feel tears welling up in my eyes. I hate crying in public, especially when it is out of frustration!

Elliot had me take off my leg and thoroughly examined my limb. He handed me a new type of liner, one without the seals that I have been utilizing for years. I slipped it on, stepped into my leg and instantly felt normal. The indescribable sensations were gone, and my walking felt reminiscent of my pre-surgerical life. My tears turned to a glint as I informed him that he was not getting this liner back.

After all of the socket adjustments, the hours of work and worry, my issues were something as simple as a liner. While I love the seal-in technology afforded by my previous liner, my limb is just not healed enough to handle the pressure. The liner seals wrap around the surgical site, causing the torquing and compression that was so difficult to describe. I am now back in a regular liner, without the seals, and completely comfortable. While I am not thrilled about the prospect of wearing a sleeve again, even if I know it is short-term until my limb completely heals, I am delighted to be comfortable.  I never would have guessed that the discomfort I perceived as a socket issue was really the result of a liner. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

State Fair!

This past weekend the weather was unbelievably beautiful. It was warm and sunny without the sticky humidity that often accompanies those temperatures. Acquiescing to responsibility and spending Saturday running errands and working around the house, I was anxious to get outside on Sunday. It wasn't hard to settle on the family outdoor activity; the state fair was nearby.

I made several bottles for Timmy, verified that his diaper bag was stocked after stowing a few bottles of water in the bottom before we headed out for a day at the Fair. Robby was a non-stop chatterbox during our 90 minute drive to the fairgrounds. Typically consumed by iPad games during car drives, it was refreshing to spend the time talking. I was reminded again that he is an extremely perceptive little guy!

Sporting their all-access ride wristbands, Scott and Robby nearly ran to the midway amusements. Scott claims that he endures the rides out of a sense of paternal responsibility. Looking at the grin on his face as he was being whizzed, twirled and whipped around by the rides, I began to realize that Robby comes by his love of amusement rides naturally. Obviously Scott loves putting his equilibrium to the test. I'm just glad that he found an eager ride partner!

Although he didn't go on any rides (despite Robby's offer to take him and my being mean for saying no) he smiled the entire time. I finally quelled Robby's pleas with the promise that he could take his little brother on the kiddie rides next year.  My goodness he has come a long way towards embracing his role as big brother!

Timmy adored the fair.  My fears of his crying and becoming agitated never materialized. He was mesmerized by the lights, sounds, smells and movements. Smiling from ear to ear, he charmed everybody who stopped to peer into his stroller. 

While the two older boys were occupied on various rides, Timmy and I spent the time people watching and walking. We did a lot of walking. On my feet and moving for 5 hours straight, I really put my revision surgery and new leg to the test. Happily both delivered, and I was able to remain pain-free.

I was pain-free but exhausted by the time we meandered back to our car. I suppose the fatigue should have been expected since this was the most active I have been since being  put on bed rest in March. It was wonderful to feel tired from an active day instead of from pain medication and sleepless nights. What a wonderful day, and as an added bonus I finally have my first tan lines!