Tuesday, Aug. 30 - 04:09 PM
legs amputated below knee
How long have you been an amputee?
How did you become disabled?
What type(s) of prosthesis do you use?
pin socket, alpha liner
I'm 57, became an amputee in 10/09, after having lung surgery in 11/08 for cancer.I had 2 good years of retirement before I got sick, & hope to be able to resume my activities, somewhat altered, soon. I'm married with 2 adult daughters.
Most recent - The Help, MASH, Catch 22, Silkwood, Funny Girl, Dr. Zhivago, Psycho, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Knocked Up, Vacation, 12 Angry Men
Law & Order, House, The Doctors, Without a Trace, Bones, Most Dangerous Catch
The Bible,Gone With The Wind, To Kill A Mockingbird, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, The Help, Catch 22,The Prophet, anything by John Grisham or Nora Roberts
Gardening, reading, spending time with my family & friends
Poor health, mean people
I like to "lay around the shanty."
My husband, my grandmother, Rosa Parks
Number of Children
White / Caucasian
Sunday, November 13, 2011, 10:43 AM
Finally! I found this site again. Sometimes I have to sign in, and then I go to my "alter ego" site, the site I started when I couldn't get to my "real" site. This is confusing. Anyway, I had a birthday last week. Now I'm 58. I don't know whether it's aging another year or being disabled that's got me extremely depressed, but something's going on. I've noticed since being on chemo last winter that my body chemistry seems to have changed in many different and annoying ways. Maybe this depression is one of them. And now I have a sore on the side of my knee. I'm afraid to wear my prosthetic on that leg until my dr checks it out tomorrow. Question: when y'all have a problem with a sore on your stump (& you're not diabetic - that seems to make a difference), which dr do you go to? Your family dr, your "specialist" (whatever, like dermatologist, oncologist, vascular dr?), your prosthetics guy? I was all ready to go out partying for my birthday Friday night, then realized I'd better not push my luck.
I'm tired of being "sick". When I wear jeans, no one can tell (except for my cane) that I wear prosthetics, but I know. I FEEL different from everyone else. Now that my hair's growing back, I don't LOOK much different than I did before, but I sure miss the life I had before my legs were amputated. I can now walk 24 houses in my neighborhood (12 down, 12 back). Don't know how far that is, but if I go the other direction, it's 22 houses total, with no bench to sit on at the end of the block (my friend lives in house # 12 the other direction & has a bench on her porch). I've been depressed for years, but before amputation I'd walk from home to the beach, about 5 miles, hang out with friends, have a beer, then walk home. Can't walk like that now, so when I'm frustrated or pissed, I throw things (spent an extra day in the hospital last week because I was so mad I threw my cell phone across the room) or try to put my fist thru a wall - that hurts! I know I also hurt my family in emotional ways, just seeing me like this and knowing there's really nothing they can do about it. In my younger days, I did a lot of drugs. Sure wish I had some of them now, because they could be relaxing & get me thru the rough spots. I have a therapist (mental), and many good friends, but none who have been thru ANYTHING like I have the past 3 years. October & November have been lousy months for me for years. My dad died the Saturday after Thanksgiving (years ago), my upper left lung lobe was removed 10/31/08, and my legs were amputated 10/21/09. I've spent the past 3 Novembers in bed for the most part. Thought this November would be better, then I got thie f---ing sore!
Thanks for listening. Don't mean to bring anybody else down. I'll get over this, like I always do. Everyone refers to me as an "inspiration" and "MARVEL" at how I'm doing so well. Well, I'm not doing well now. Next time you see me, though, I'll have a smile on my face, a drink in my hand and a "Cheers, Mate" to Blair!
Wednesday, October 26, 2011, 10:15 AM
"Even if you fall on your face, you're still moving forward." Marlo Thomas quoting Victor Khan (whoever the h he is!).
Wednesday, October 26, 2011, 7:52 AM
Hi, Laura. I'd love to reply to your post, but can't because of the privacy settings. I feel the same way often, and I keep trying to come up with ways to cope with those feelings. Please change your settings so we can all chat.
Sunday, October 23, 2011, 10:55 AM
Tomorrow I'm having some (minor) skin surgery performed. A former minister once said that "minor" surgery is somebody else's! Ain't it so! So many of us are diabetics that I feel wimpy complaining about the Arikstra shots in my stomach my husband gives me prior to the surgery, since I can't take the Cumadin to thin my blood beforehand. Yes, I know I could give them to myself, but I just can't bring myself to do it. I've been kind of depressed the last couple of weeks, probably due to the change in weather (cooler) and the fact that old friends have visited, making my disability even more apparent. These were people I used to party with, go dancing with, stayed out all night talking & drinking with, and in general, living life to the fullest with. My body has changed considerably after taking chemo like I can't stay up late anymore, laugh at jokes the same, and I find I just want to forget that former life, although I love the friendship we all share(d). I have met no other amputees in my area that maybe I could forge at least an acquaintanceship with, if not a friendship. There is an amputee support group in the area, but it's quite a distance from my house, & I hear it isn't well-attended by other than prosthetics salespeople!
On the humorous side, after 2 years of having gallons of blood drawn for tests, being MRI'd, CT'd, & PET'd, it occurred to me that I hadn't had a skin exam in quite awhile. Living on the coast all my life, I spent every sunny summer day out on the beach, basking, baking in the sun. So, I went to my dermatologist, who asked if there was a particular concern I had. She could hardly hold back her giggles when I told her how funny it would be for me to die of a melanoma or something after being probed & prodded by every other specialty. Think about it! At the funeral: "Well, she had lung cancer, but it was a mole that killed her." If I were a guest at that funeral, I'd HAVE to laugh.
Hope this doesn't offend anyone, or bring someone down. I've already been unfriended by unfriends on Facebook, so my personal feelings aren't hurt by s--- like this.
Friday, October 7, 2011, 9:15 AM
opcnews.blogspot.com That is the link Facebook shows for an article about Amputee Awareness Day (Oct 7, TODAY), and Amputee Awareness Week (10/4 - 10/11). During this week in 1846, the 1st patent was awarded for a prosthetic device. The patent marks what is accepted as the modern age of prosthetics. Guess that's when peg legs were phased out, huh? I tried to copy & paste the article, but I'm technologically challenged, so I'm trying to sum it up, or check out the above site. The patent was actually awarded on 10/7/1846.
This week is internationally recognized & was created to provide a global platform for limb loss issues, ranging from land mine placement to access to prosthetic devices. If you're an amputee, consider honoring this day by educating peers or co-workers on limb loss issues. If you can, wear shorts or clothes "strut your stuff". Bring amputee issues out of the shadows & "utilize this global platform".
Thanks to Orthotic Prosthetic Center, Inc. for this Facebook posting.
Thursday, October 6, 2011, 8:57 AM
I've been up since 6 AM, waking before my husband & daughter left for work. After 3 cups of coffee (the 3rd with Baileys) & doing all I can from my wheelchair, I'm putting my legs on to go outside & do laundry & water plants. Listening to Janis Joplin sing "Try (Just a Little Bit Harder), has me getting up & going about an hour or so before I usually put on my legs & get out of the house. NO - the album (vinyl!) has a skip in it. Guess I need to get the CD, huh?
My mother will pick me up in a little while to go to my oncologist for blood work & a talk with the dr. I hate the words blood work like I do root canal, child birth, and traffic ticket. Hopefully, the nurse can use my port; the bruises from the last needle stick 3 months ago have finally faded (record is up to "Cry Baby", how appropriate). I feel good, so I hope the dr doesn't burst my bubble with test results.
Cancer sucks, life is good.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011, 3:18 PM
I replied to a post day before yesterday, & had to log in. When I did that, I got a different account, because I had a typo in my e-mail address. So, new e-mail, new account. Then I realized the things I'd already posted weren't "there". I wondered if they were gone for good.
No, Blair, I hadn't hit the bottle yet before all this started, but I was about to start early today, if I hadn't somehow gotten back to my original site here a minute ago. Don't know how that happened, but here I am.
If I sign out, will I be able to get back here? (Twilight zone theme)
Monday, September 5, 2011, 9:30 AM
Here in the US it's Labor Day, a day many working folks have a holiday. It's officially the last day of summer, as kids go back to school either right before or the day after Labor Day. Here in Charleston, they started back a couple of weeks ago. This is a holiday that families spend in their backyards, grilling hamburgers & hot dogs, drinking beer, and enjoying the last real holiday until Thanksgiving in November. In fact, I read where this day was selected for Labor day because it's halfway in between the 4th of July, Independence Day, holiday, and Thanksgiving. For much of the US, the weather gets iffy after this, and winter's not far off. Here in the South, it means 2 more months of hot weather, then winter!
BA (before amputation) I spent this weekend laying out on the beach with a book, walking down to the water to cool off, wade awhile, float awhile, jump waves, walk the beach looking for shells, have a beer, read my book, start all over again, for hours! Shower off, dress, sit at a beach bar, watching the surf, dancing the shag (dancing, y'all, not R-rated!), having a margarita, and wishing the summer wasn't over yet. I hate cold! Even with all these darned socks on, I still hate the cold.
It's almost my 2-year anniversary of my amputations, and I still don't have a backup holiday plan. 2 years ago, I spent this holiday in agony because my legs felt like pins & needles, and I wanted it to stop! I don't have the pain anymore, and my lower legs are gone. I'm sitting in my wheelchair on the back porch, thinking about putting my legs on & going into my "garden" in the very back of the yard, to fill bird feeders & read a book. But I'm not ready to do that. Everyone in my house, but me & my dog, Norman, is sleeping late, & to get my legs would mean waking them up. I want a ramp on the back porch for my chair, or the electric scooter that's in a back bedroom, and some paving stones across the yard, so I won't need my legs to get from here to there. I worry about fire, if I needed to get out of this part of the house in case of emergency, & there was no ramp at the back door (we have a ramp in the front of the house). So many thoughts, so many issues. ISSUES. Life's not easy anymore.
No. Now there are legs to put on, chairs to be climbed into, canes to take (I keep forgetting mine, but I really do need it sometimes), logistics to be worked out. It seems like too much to remember. When I quit smoking, I remarked that I wouldn't need to carry a purse anymore, since I wouldn't have a cigarette pack, lighter, backup lighter, back up cig pack, etc. All I needed was my drivers' license, money or debit card, and my car key. Now I need all that, plus hand controls (portable ones), cane, extra socks. So much to remember.
Ok, my rant is over. I'm going to go inside, watch The Doctors on TV (is it on today, a holiday?), and get ready to go to lunch with a friend from out of town. Have a great day, everybody. Thanks for listening.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011, 4:25 PM
Sorry, I didn't know how all this works, so I didn't approve the comments folks here had left me. I thought the approved comment thing was for MY comments, not y'alls. Anyway, next time I see that, I'll check it out & approve it. Does everybody wear their prosthetics all day? I usually don't put mine on until around 9 or 10 AM, staying in bed or on the couch until then. I'm pretty good in my wheelchair, but I can't get in the yard or in some rooms with it. Usually, I'm not ready to go outside till later. But like right now, my left leg says "Take it off!". I've taken my Gabapentin(?), and it doesn't really hurt, but it feels better without the prosthetic. Right leg is fine with it on. I hate to take all this stuff off, leg, liner, socks, and then have to put it all back on if I want to go out later. Does anyone ever walk on their stumps? Is this possible if they "toughen up"? Questions, questions?
Tuesday, August 30, 2011, 12:14 PM
I keep wishing I'd found this site before my legs were amputated! Maybe I'd have recognized the symptoms of legs losing circulation before gangrene set in, maybe not. I vaguely remember the vascular surgeon saying that amputation was necessary, but not much after that. The pain was excruciating! I was glad to have my legs cut off, if it would only stop the pain. For approx 2 months, I'd had that pain. One doctor after another, still pain. I woke up from surgery - no pain. At that point, someone could have shown me to this site. I'm passing it along to the people in the rehab unit of my hospital. I developed an infection in my left leg and had to wear a wound vac for awhile - awful. Noise, wires, smell, awful. But it worked. Now my left leg seems stronger than my right, maybe because I worked it more in rehab. I had home health care for months after I got home, great nurses & physical therapists who helped me cope with medical issues & physical fitness issues. They helped me thru fits of crying thru the pain of cleaning my wounds and fits of self-pity, crying to one therapist "So this is my existence!" dramatically, and her answer that this existence isn't so bad, relaying stories of amputees going on to do great things, like surf, play ball, run, and just generally doing normal stuff, too, like raising a family, shopping, and having a well-balanced life. That's really all I want to do. I've lived here all my life, so many places I go, I already know people there, and they're very supportive of my situation. I still have anxiety, going into new places by myself and try to blend in as well as possible. When I had chemo last winter, my hair fell out, making it difficult to "blend". Now that my hair's growing out (I always wore it long before chemo), it's easier to go places anonymously, and if I don't want to "stand out", I wear long pants or skirts. Since it's summer in the South, though, jeans aren't the thing to wear when it's over 100! Shorts are acceptable everywhere here, and I wear them almost all the time. Depending on people's reactions, when they glance at my legs, I try to look them in the eye & wink, or if appropriate, make some kind of remark. Children say the darndest things, and I'm happy to show them my prosthetics & stump, if they're curious. I'm curious, though, about things, too. Like, does anybody ever walk on their stumps? When I was a teen, I met a woman whose legs were amputated (or maybe she was born without them, I don't remember), leaving only the very tops of her thighs, which she "walked" on, surfed on, lived on. This was the 60's, so I'm sure prosthetics weren't very technologically advanced or comfortable, and she only wore hers on Sunday - so people at church wouldn't be uncomfortable with her husband's carrying her into church! He built cabinets, a sink, and things in her house so she could do things without having to put her prosthetics on. In addition, she only had 1 whole arm, the other only coming to her elbow. She used her one hand to move around the house. It would be really nice to not have to climb into a wheelchair to get to the bathroom at night, just being able to climb off the bed & walk on my stumps (amputated just below the knee) to the bathroom. I could take a real bath, too. Or maybe there are things y'all know about, that I haven't found out about yet. Swimming - there's another question. Do I put these "water sleeves" on over the shoes on my prosthetic feet & legs (this is so awkward & difficult to get them on), or do I wear them on the prosthetic feet, taking off the shoe? Do I roll down the beach to the water, or wear my legs a safe distance from the salt spray, then take them off, hand them to my husband, and get in? Does anyone walk around with just their prosthetic feet? I never wore shoes in my house before, always taking them off at the door. One reason I don't "lay around" in my prosthetics is due to the (dirty) shoes on the feet. Help. I've only seen one other person out, socially, wearing a prosthetic, and he only wore it on one leg. I'm a woman, and my prosthetic people are men, not that it makes much difference, but I'm not inclined to ask questions like I would if there was a woman available. One of my prosthetics guys went to an amputee support group here and said it was mostly business people who market to amputees (medical, prosthetic, etc), and amputees who were otherwise isolated from the community. I'd like to meet other amputees who like doing things, but not running marathons or surfing competitions, but just average things, going for walks, meeting at restaurants, things like that. Are you out there? Anyone else with questions no one seems to have answers for?