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, March 25, 2016

Last "First"

I knew that all of the "firsts" after losing my Dad were going to be difficult. Yesterday was the first year anniversary of his death, meaning that I have now muddled through them all. Some "firsts" were easier than anticipated while some dates came unexpectedly out of the blue and threw me back into the spirals of grief. Despite the tears and emotional breakdowns, I survived my first year without my Dad.

Yesterday morning was difficult. I woke up crying and felt weepy until the boys awoke. After lighting a candle and shedding a few tears, I resolved to trudge through the remaining hours so that I could could the final "first" in the past.  I just wanted to stay as busy as possible so that my mind wouldn't remember.

The weather cooperated with my plan, allowing us to stay outside. Scott worked on the yard all day, transforming it into a child friendly oasis. The leaves, sticks and various junk (he did manage to find an old pitchfork while working in part of the woods) have been cleared, leaving flowerbeds full of ripe soil just screaming to be filled. 

While he worked, I played with Robby and Timmy.  Robby was feeling better from his surgery but I still wanted to make sure that he didn't overdo it. I made sure to keep him in sights as he played with his friends. (They are such a good group of kids. I explained the issues and limitations to them and each friend went out of their way to make sure that Robby was both safe and that did not become auditory overwhelmed.)

By the end of the day the yard was beautiful, the boys were happy and I realized that I was smiling. Not a forced smile, but a genuine smile.  Not wanting the day to end, Scott and I made an impromptu decision to throw a party.

We lit the fire pit, invited over the neighbors and hosted our first fire pit party of the season.  The kids were able to play into the night while the adults sat around the fire laughing and sharing stories. As I went to bed last night, I almost felt guilty for having had such a great day on such a solemn anniversary. Then I realized that I was happy, which is probably how my Dad would have wanted it. 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Surgical Update

I have an extremely brave little boy. Although he was nervous about his surgery, he handled everything like a champion. He remained composed and polite despite his surgical anxiety. I could not be prouder of my little Koopa.

The surgery lasted longer than anticipated, which had both Scott and me on pins and needles in the waiting area. Robby's right ear (his bad one) had more scar tissue than anticipated during the pre-op assessment, requiring the surgeon to spend more time cleaning out the canal. The entire ear drum was blocked by debris. 

Robby's left ear also had significant tissue build up which needed to be scraped. It was discovered during the surgery that the debris had punctured through his ear canal, leaving him with a hole. I guess now we know why he has been complaining of pain. 

Because the surgery was more involved, my little guy experienced more discomfort last night than we originally anticipated.  Again, he handled everything like a little warrior. In a few weeks we will have his hearing checked again, but the surgeon is optimistic that significant hearing has been restored through the surgery.  Until then, we're going to encourage him to take it easy and let everything heal.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Surgery day

We are headed out to the surgical center with Robby. Last week we learned that he has lost more hearing due to the development of scar tissue in the eardrum.  The doctor recommended removing his tubes and scraping out the scar tissue to clear the drum.  While I know that in the scheme of things this is minor, I hate seeing my little Koopa have to endure any surgery!

Robby has been brave about the situation. He is worried about the mask, but other than that has remained fairly level headed. He even hinted that he plans on "playing his cards right and getting a large milkshake for dinner."

Wish us luck with the surgery. We are hoping that some hearing will be restored, and that the procedure and recovery will be pain free.  I'll post an update when we are home. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016


I am not a seasoned world traveler, but I do consider myself fortunate to have been to Europe twice. The first time I I traveled to England as part of an Honors exchange program through my college. Despite my youth, I knew that the experience was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I relished staying in the Oxford University dormitory and tried to absorb every experience in its entirety. 

The second time I traveled to Holland to celebrate the Millennium with my family. The trip was made more difficult by the fact that I was in pain and on crutches (post injury but pre-amputation), but I still tried to make the most of the trip. My Mom and I, feeling particularly adventurous one day, set out to take a train to Germany.

Not knowing the language, navigating the train station proved more difficult than we anticipated. Regardless, we felt quite sophisticated when we finally boarded the train and took advantage of the pastry and coffee cart. Our "we've got this" demeanor was quickly slashed when the Conductor handed us back our tickets.  Despite his broken English, he clearly stated that we were en route to Belgium, not Germany. 

We hadn't planned to go to Belgium, but we decided to roll with it. It turns out that walking through Brussels with my Mom was one of the best days of my life. I have never seen a more beautiful site than La Grand-Place. Just remembering the beauty of those buildings leaves me in awe.  Envisioning that my life would involve hosting dinner parties, I purchased an extremely expensive, albeit intricately crafted, lace tablecloth in one of the shops.  (Incidentally, I have used it once in the past 16 years.)

My Mom and I both became giddy when we discovered that Belgium waffles are sold on the street corners throughout Brussels. I'm sure that it wasn't difficult to surmise that we were American as we gleefully posed for photos with our street waffles. We became lost through the city numerous times, but each wrong turn led us to a new adventure and story.

This morning I woke up to the reports of the bombings throughout Brussels. As soon as I heard the reports my mind started to drift back to the wonderful day with my Mom. We still laugh about going to Germany and ending up in Belgium. Although it was a navigation and ticketing mistake, I'm glad that it happened.

The senseless destruction in a city of such beauty is incomprehensible. Sometimes it feels like this world is imploding while everybody is wringing their hands and drying their tears. I don't know the answer, but I do know that I worry about the future for my boys.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Adventures in Massage

For Valentine's Day, Scott surprised me with a gift card for a massage. I've been holding the card, waiting for the right time to use it. After an exceptionally long week, I was looking forward to relaxing and unwinding. I pulled out my gift card, scheduled an appointment and headed to the spa as soon as Timmy went to sleep.

Having a massage is a luxury to which I am not accustomed. I can count on one hand the number of times I have received a professional massage, but each experience has left me wanting more. I am always amazed with how relaxed and pain-free I feel afterwards. With my back aching from sitting and working long hours, I couldn't wait to lie down and let the masseuse work her magic.

After entering the heavily perfumed room, I was greeted by Teresa, my assigned massage therapist. She was professional as we reviewed the intake forms (seriously, there were almost as many questions as when I visit the GYN) and after the questions were complete, I was instructed to disrobe and climb onto the table.  When she reentered the room, her demeanor seemed to change from professional to giddy. 

Teresa proudly showed me her blue cup which was adorned with silver graffiti.  Without missing a beat, she explained that Jesus woke her up in the middle of the night and told her to create the uplifting cup of life. Hmm.. this is a bit unexpected. Maybe I'll just smile and she'll stop talking. Not really sure how to react and because my instinct to bolt was stymied by the fact that I was naked and without my leg, I opted to just smile and nod. She continued to tell me that the energy from the inspiring words written on the outside of the cup penetrate the water and provide strength. Um, okay. How about drinking some of that strength water and start working on my back?  Finally she put down her strength cup and dimmed the lights. I was hoping that this would end the chatter and that my evening of relaxation would begin.

As it turns out, Teresa had quite a story to share. As she was rubbing my neck and shoulders she revealed that she has lived through an out of body experience. "One night I was dog tired but woke up in the middle of the night to pee. I got halfway to the toilet when I realized that I had left my body in bed. I saw my soul, and it was a silvery shade of blue." Hmmm... I wonder if I could get dressed and get my leg on the next time she reaches into cabinet for another hot towel?

She continued to tell me about Jesus breathing on her face each night when she prays. "His breath is warm and smells like a combination of peppermint and chocolate."  Well, Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies are quite yummy.  Makes sense that Jesus would like them as well. I don't really need my clothes. If I could just get my leg on, I could run out of here naked. I have a close parking spot.

Teresa continued the massage and our odd therapy session. I learned all about her evil deeds and the "dirty things" she used to do with her body when she was young. She mentioned several times that massage was the perfect calling for her because it was one of the few professions where she was still "safe to believe, if you know what I mean."  I don't need my leg. I'll hop out naked and Scott can pick up my leg later. Shoot. My keys are in my jeans. I'm stuck.

To be honest at this point I really had no idea what she was talking about, but I found myself just agreeing out of fear that my questions would prompt more discussion. Besides, I learned early in the hour that she continued to massage when she was talking, but her hands stopped moving if I spoke. I finally just stopped trying to make sense out of what she was saying and acquiesced that my silent and relaxing massage was not going to materialize. Instead, I was treated to a soliloquy from an enthusiastic, albeit unusual, massage therapist.