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Heather Mills - Amputee Forum


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  1. 3 points
    Sorry to hear about your ongoing problems Cheryl and I wish you all the best for your forthcoming surgery. Yes, it's a pain, but as you say, better than losing part of your foot... I honestly don't think you're overreacting (sp?) about your alarming experience - I'd be fuming too!The woman showed not only extreme ignorance, but her insensitivity is unacceptable for someone in her position. I'm sure that her 'boss' ( I think here in the UK it would be the Sister-in-Charge) would want to know about the incident. As you so rightly point out, there are other patients who may not be as alert and assertive as yourself who will also have to experience her bizarre and unorthodox practices! There are so many people who are unemployed who would LOVE a job like hers, and if she doesn't like her work I'm sure there are plenty of competent, sensitive and professional women who would gladly do it for her. You can always temper your complaint by praising those areas of care which you found to be excellent. Good luck and do let us know what you decide to do - and what the response is. And keep us posted about your surgery too!
  2. 2 points
    Hi Everyone, I hope you are all doing well - And greetings from snowy, cold NYC! I just wanted to send a quick update - Lauren is doing well. She's back at school now for the second semester and so far, it's going very well. We really enjoyed having her home for the winter holidays and for the new year. While there are still many things that she can't do independently, it's gotten so much better as she's adapted to using her feet and even her mouth. There are highs and lows, of course, but the lows are getting less frequent. She has been dealing with some bursts of phantom pain the last week, so we are getting that checked out - There may need to be a change in her meds. I will continue to keep everyone updated. And again, thank you all for your support.
  3. 2 points
    Hi All, Lauren has officially started school! Yesterday was her first day back, and we're back in NY now. Overall, I think it was a very good day for Lauren. She is definitely excited to be back, as school really is where she should be now. She's always loved the freedom and independence of being away, as well as the social aspects of being at a large, dynamic university. I think being surrounded by her friends will only be a good thing for her, and I can tell you that they are all very glad that she is back. It is going to be a major adjustment in that some of that independence and freedom doesn't quite exist just yet, but it will over time. Lauren told me that it felt really weird to be sitting in a class and not have the ability to raise her hand, take notes, etc, but she does have a note taker in each and every class. She did mention that there were plenty of stares, but I (and she) are expecting that -- It is very, very rare to see a double arm amputee, let alone one of Lauren's age, and people are curious. She did not wear the cosmetics yesterday as the weather was so warm. The aide seems to be very helpful and kind, and Lauren is getting used to her. I expect this will take time as well, as there's no doubt that it's an adjustment to have someone brand new touching you, bathing you, feeding you, etc. We are excited to see how she progresses - And I am looking forward to my daily call from her! Thank you for all of your love and support!
  4. 2 points
    Thank you Ann and Cheryl! We've been very, very busy getting Lauren ready for school! We flew down there last week to start preparations for her return (we're back in NY now), met with the therapists who she will be working with, and met with the 24/7 aide who will be with Lauren. She's very nice, and very willing to help, which is great. Lauren is definitely excited to get back to school, but I think she is nervous at the same time. It's absolutely going to be a challenge for her on many levels, but I know she's going to be able to conquer it. I think the emotional aspect of seeing people for the first time since losing her arms is going to be very hard for her, but I know that her true friends at school will help her get thru it. On the physical side, David and I are comfortable knowing that she's going to have the help she needs when she needs it, and that she'll be continuing her therapy. Lauren is continuing to make progress on all fronts, and her feet are getting more and more flexible as they continue to learn and adapt. She still needs help eating and still needs to be dressed, but she's making progress slowly but surely. She does sometimes get upset about the fact that progress seems slow, so we try to remind her that Rome wasn't built in a day, and that she's undergone a major, major physical change that will take time to adapt. I think she was initially expecting that it would be a matter of a few weeks until she was fully independent, but that's just simply not realistic, and it's going to be a marathon rather than a sprint. We leave Tuesday to head back to school to finish getting all set up - We will keep you posted!
  5. 2 points
    Hi Marian, I am not an arm amputee but a RBK. I thought you and your daughter might find the following you tube channel a useful and inspirational resource: Tisha Unarmed - on You Tube. Tisha is a 26 year old women who was born without arms and her right leg shorter than the left. Tisha has posted 52 different videos on her you tube channel demonstrating how she does everyday tasks with her feet including: Going shopping/Cooking Taking care of her dog Doing her laundry & other tasks Painting her toenails/Putting make up on Many more topics included on her channel documenting her active/independent lifestyle Kind regards, Sara
  6. 1 point
    A friend of mine said I should write up an article with all the things I use to help me ride and something about myself tp put it in perspective and this is the result. I hope you find it useful and please feel free to either post or email me comments good or bad :) Enjoy. --------------------------------------------------- An Amputee and a Mountain Bike January 06 I had an operation on my ankle to lengthen every tendon to allow me to put my foot flat on the floor, this was a left over from a large accident I had in 1983 which left me as a RBK amputee and my left leg having loss of muscle and joint movement. After a second operation to treat the arthritis in the ankle and lots of physio it was time to sort my fitness out. I started at Redbridge Sport and Leisure Centre as the people where great and it was fully accessible, after 4 months I was talking to a friend at work about getting fit and he said “why not get a mountain bike, you love the countryside?” I laughed thinking to myself yea right like I could do that..... But it had started me thinking, perhaps I could, I used an exercise bike at the gym.....hmm maybe. I bought my mountain bike a month later with no idea what I was actually getting but luckily enough was steered very well by the shop I bought it from. The first ride wasn’t very interesting consisting of a ride up the road to the local park once around and back home (about 1.5 miles) I was tired out and very sore, but buzzing from the feeling of freedom. That ride immediately showed I needed to make some changes as the back of my knee where the socket had dug in was a nice red sore mess. I needed something to stop the need to bend the knee to much, lots of internet searching later this turned up. This helped massively and solved the problem almost totally although has it’s own drawbacks as we’ll see soon. I’d also been trying different ways of keeping my feet on the pedals especially the prosthetic one. I tried normal pedals...bad, toe clips which where ok till you needed to stop and get the tin leg out quick then I ended up on the floor then a suggestion from a mtb forum was to get some GOOD quality flat pedals and a pair of 5:10 Impact mtb boots. WOW what a difference, the soles of the 5:10’s are made from the same rubber as rock climbing shoes and they stick like a limpet, problem solved. For a good 3-4 months I was a happy bunny going further and further around the park then venturing to Hainault forest which had........HILLS, this is when you find out how unfit you are again after all that time on the flat. During this period I’d signed up and been chatting on a cycling forum (www.uk-mtb.com) and the guys on there had been and still are incredibly helpful and supportive, a group of them went every weekend to another nearby forest called Thorndon Country park and after lots of prodding and cajoling finally got me to join them. They kept to a much easier route than they normally did and also kept the pace down but boy oh boy was it hard work especially as it was deep winter and the mud was 6-8inches deep in places and I’d never been off the fire roads before. I didn’t do bad but it showed up two things. The first I still wasn’t anywhere near as fit as I thought I was and the swing crank once you get properly off-road was hitting every root and rock and making going extremely hard, also because of the way it works you lose power on that leg as well. I bowed out halfway round finding the going very hard but more due to being totally exhausted, finding my way back was interesting going the wrong way at one point and finding myself face to face with a 25 foot deep V gully covered in mud and roots, I cycled down then got off and proceeded to spend a good 10 minutes getting up the other side then sliding all the way back down in the mud and finally getting up by holding onto a fence and pulling myself and the bike up an inch at a time. By the time I got back to the car I was so past exhausted it wasn’t funny and covered head to toe in thick mud, but DAMN had I enjoyed myself or what. This was the start of a slippery slope I’m still on. The realisation dawned that I needed to take the swing crank off if I wanted to get off-road to any great extent so one afternoon took the bull by the horns, well my spare leg anyway and took a saw to it. I cut it 4 inches shorter and also cut out the back of the socket with a Dremel to allow the knee to bend further and the various tendons in the area to work unhindered. It was amazing, so much more comfortable and quite a bit more power as well. This was what I ended up with Needless to say my prosthetist Laura was none to happy and I got a good tongue lashing, but now months down the line the legs been lengthened back to normal with some other tweaks being made and we’re both happy The next month was great fun out and about all the time in the mud and rain but two big issues I still had where getting up hills and getting off the bike. Hills, the problems here is power and the ability to stand and pedal. With the pedals in the 6/12 position the only way to move forward is to push with one knee and pull with the other till the pedals are in 1/7 then you put your weight into it. For a BK it’s very hard to do this and for an AK impossible on one side so on anything slightly steep I would just run out of steam without the ability to stand and power up the last section. Off I go back to the internet hunting for a solution and finally found the Rotor. This is geared so the power pedal is always in the 1 position when the other pedal is at 6, this allows you to always be putting power into a stroke. After this was fitted the difference was amazing, I could now get up hills I previously walked and could stand and pedal for short periods allowing me to get over tough obstacles. In all honesty this one item has made more difference to my cycling than anything else and is the one thing I would NOT give up even if I had to give everything else away. Ok, getting off and on the bike how hard is that? Well on the road or in the park it’s not, but once you start getting to do off-road area’s no matter easy they look it becomes a problem. If you have the seat adjusted as it should be it’s quite hard for an amputee as you can’t point the toes on the prosthetic leg to keep in contact with the pedals, this gets really stupid if you on an off camber slope. I mentioned this on the uk-mtb forum and said wouldn’t it be great if someone made a seat post that went up and down so I could click a button before stopping and the seat would drop. The immediate responce was “have you looked at the Gravity Dropper?” Well blow me down its exactly what the doctor ordered. Short time later it was installed, solved the problem totally and has been superb ever since. Roll forward 6-8 months and I’m out 2-4 times a week doing things I’d never have thought I could of over distances I could of only dreamed about and loving every damn minute of it, well apart from the huge muddy puddles full of horse poo, as it tastes awful. Now before I end with a list of all the bits I’ve found useful I’d like to thank a few special people who’ve helped me greatly. Trent, for always pushing me but knowing when not to Luke and Tony at Triton Cycles (http://www.tritoncycles.co.uk/), for putting up with my constant upgrades and being a really great couple of blokes always willing to help www.uk-mtb.com, to many people to mention who all helped me get going with support, suggestions and endless patience with my noobie questions Laura, my prosthetist who’s always patient, understanding and doesn’t mind trying something a little different. Hope you found this useful and please if you have any comments or suggestions drop me an email rikk@golum.co.uk ............Rikk Flat Pedals Something like these that are large and have a lot of pins to dig into the sole. 5:10 Impacts http://www.stif.co.uk/shop/mb_software_pro...ten&cat=211 http://www.fiveten.com/ Swing Crank http://www.highpath.co.uk/cycles/special/index.html Rotor UK Supplier http://www.velotechservices.co.uk/rotors.htm Manufacturer (lot more info here) http://www.rotorbike.com/2006/rotorgen.htm Gravity Dropper http://www.gravitydropper.com/ Pump Having to pump a tyre up on the trail can be a pain as we’re not very good at crouching so take a peek at this pump :- You basically stand on it and pull the rope handle like starting an outboard motor, pumps very quickly and no need to crouch or sit on the floor as you’d do with a normal mini pump  http://www.cyclaire.com/bikepump.html Ergon Grips The grips they do are fantastic for stopping numbness and tingling in the hands/fingers and as most of us use either crutches or a stick at times it affects us more. http://www.ergon-bike.com/en/grips/index.html Lifeventure Towels These little things are superb, pack down really tiny but absorb so much sweat and dry out in no time at all. I always carry one on the bike and stop for a dry off every 40-60 mins and finds it helps massively. You can pick these up in most hiking/outdoors shops like Milletts. http://www.lifeventure.co.uk/htm/washgear/...ibre-towels.htm X-Static Liner Liner These are liners that go in between your stump and the normal silicon liner, they soak up sweat and stop rashes/infections/smells due to the sweat. I used to stop every 30-60 mins depending how hot it was to dry off, now most of the time using these I either don’t stop or at most have one change halfway through. They are so much more comfortable and my stump dosn’t look like you fingers do when they have been in the bath for an hour anymore  Apart from the Rotor these have made the biggest impact on my cycling since I got them recently. http://www.kingsleymfg.com/KMFGStore/Catal...mp;advmode=True UK Supplier. CHANECO® Chris Hanley & Partners 4 Kilvey Road Brackmills Northampton, NN4 7BQ United Kingdom Tel: 01604-709999 Fax: 01604-700057 Dermasalve Great general purpose cream for the end of the day, very refreshing and soothing. http://www.pharmacy2u.co.uk/ Sheabutter This stuff is the dogs and I’ve not found any better moisturizer, a friend’s wife told me about this as it’s the base ingredient in every expensive moisturizer but unrefined it’s all natural with nothing extra. The stuff lasts for ages, a must try and even if you don’t like it give it to the wife she’ll love it  http://www.sheabuttercottage.co.uk/ Bodyglide This is a lubricant/protectorant for the body, idea is you get a sore spot/blister you pop this on and it stops the chaffing in the area, not had a chance to try it as since moving to suspension liners I’ve not had any. http://www.wiggle.co.uk/ProductSearchAdvan...e&cat=cycle Adaptskin Only just started trying this. Specifically for amputees, check the site out. https://www.adaptlabs.com/adaptskin.htm And lastly for anyone who’s interested my injuries where :- Left tib/fib compound fracture Left Femur compound fracture Left hip 1/3 of ball broken off 30% muscle loss on left side due to injuries Right below knee amp Right femur fractured Punctured lung For 20+ years I’d been walking on tip toe due to the muscles and tendons in my left foot shrinking till the operation mentioned at the start.
  7. 1 point
    Well, I went over a year without my recurrent foot wound popping open...and then in the middle of the Christmas season — oh happy, happy, joy, joy! — it put in a return visit, severe enough to send me into the hospital for six weeks on a wound vac and waaayyy too many hours spent with my leg elevated. My podiatrist now believes he's sorted out all the causes of this persistent sore, and I'm set for foot and leg surgery on Feb. 24. (These will be surgical procedures 5, 6, and 7 on my poor old right foot....but since only six weeks ago we were afraid that I'd be losing at least a part of that foot, I suppose that three more procedures and two months in a cast isn't that bad.........) Anyway, before I head off for the surgery, I'm seriously considering writing a letter of complaint to the rehab hospital where I spent those six weeks on the wound vac with my leg up in the air. Before I do so, I'm just wondering if I'm over-reacting to an incident that occurred there. I know it was "wrong," and quite "out of place"...but a week after it happened I'm still fuming about it. Please help me get some perspective here! One morning shortly before I was discharged, I was awakened by a a nursing assistant who asked if she could take me for an early shower. "I have nine patients to shower this morning," she said, "so if I can take you now it would help." I said sure, being a cooperative patient, so she helped me out of bed and into the shower chair and basically ran me down the hall to the shower room, giggling the whole time. I should have considered that a warning........ Once in the shower stall, I told her I was fine on my own and started to do the whole showering thing. She then announced that she was "in a hurry and would help me." Now I'm used to nursing assistants giving me some assistance in the shower, especially for those areas that are tough to reach...but this gal just barged right in, grabbed the shower head out of my hand and started soaping and scrubbing me, while I protested. Weird...but then it got really, really strange. She grabbed my stump, lifted it up, started to soap it...and then started giggling again and bouncing it up and down in her hand! "Oh, look! It's all floppy!" she announced, still bouncing it around and laughing while I tried to wriggle it out of her control. I have to admit that I was shocked. So shocked, in fact, that I couldn't come up with anything to say to express my outrage...beyond "DON'T." Normally I have a fairly quick comeback for anything that comes my way, so I was almost as mad at myself as I was with her. Then "shower time" was over, I was back in my room, and the whole routine for getting me discharged from rehab and sent home kicked in and I just thought in terms of "get me out of here right now" until I was indeed headed for home at last. Now I do have to say that all the rest of my stay in this facility was good and the rest of the staff was very professional and caring. They did a lot to get me healed, they did their jobs well, it was, overall, a good skilled nursing facility. If I ever need another stay somewhere for rehab, I would gladly go back to the place. But I am still fuming over that shower and the idiot girl who thought it was funny to manhandle my stump and laugh at my muscle atrophy. I am more than half-convinced that she must have been "high" on something to react in such a bizarre manner...and I also wonder what she might do with patients who aren't as alert and able to defend themselves as I am. Sooooo...I'm trying to come up with a letter to facility administration, and I want to make clear just how inappropriate that shower was and how outraged I was at my treatment and how concerned I am about the possible treatment of others at this girl's hands. But there's this part of me that's afraid that I might just be over-reacting, and I want to come across as not just an hysterical old woman. And so I ask you guys...would you be as mad as I am about such an event? And what would you do?
  8. 1 point
    Thank you! And yes - We will definitely plan on attending in July. It would be great to meet everyone!
  9. 1 point
    Hi Charu, Welcome to the forum! I haven’t been here in quite a while but I did see your post and your message. It is a pleasure to see another hip disarticulation amputee on the board. Yes, we are rare! That is one of the reasons I haven’t been on the forum much. It will be 6 years since my amputation on February 10th. I was 42 years old when my leg was amputated and I am now 48. I certainly respect your decision to not use a prosthetic. It is a very personal decision and especially for hip disarticulations, it can be a very challenge process to use a prosthetic leg. And I completely understand your reasons why. I almost made the same decision because I had walked on crutches for 15 years prior to my amputation and I had become so good at walking on them. It just seemed so easy just to keep using crutches. I do use a prosthetic leg now, but it is not always easy. I do enjoy the liberation of being out of my leg and walking on crutches, but I also enjoy being able to use my prosthetic and have the freedom from the crutches. For me, there are advantages and disadvantages to both worlds. If you feel more comfortable in not using a leg, then by all means that is that is what is best for you. The most important thing is for you to be happy, healthy and cancer free! But I would encourage you keep an open mind for the future. You are still so very young and there are so many new advancements in hip disarticulation prosthetics that have come out just in the past 6 years since my amputation. They are becoming more comfortable and less tiring to use. Your young age is definitely to your advantage! Please feel free to private message me again. I look forward to getting to know you Charu!
  10. 1 point
    Thank you! Yes, it's amazing to consider how far we've all come in just a couple of months. While Lauren still has a ways to go, the progress has been amazing and I can't express the joy I feel when I see her doing something that seemed completely impossible just a few months earlier. Her emotional progress has been great as well. I think that Lauren has accepted the fact that her life isn't really ever going to be the same again, but that doesn't mean that her life can't be just as good if not better than it was before - It's just going to be different. She does still have her down moments for sure, but that's still to be expected. Lauren is now home for winter break, and we're all so happy to have her back. Her sister, Alison, is especially happy to have her back! They've been catching up on "girl time", which is so good to see. It's amazing how much they love each other - Alison has been the most amazing sounding board and support system for Lauren. I wish everyone a wonderful holiday season, and will certainly keep you all updated. Thanks again for the amazing support!
  11. 1 point
    You gave me a good laugh there, Jane! I wonder what Lucey thought of the "show!"
  12. 1 point
    Hi Everyone, I hope you are all doing well and enjoying the end of summer/beginning of fall! I wanted to just give a brief update -- Lauren is continuing to make progress! She is doing well at school, and her grades are in-line with where they were previously, which is amazing considering the challenges that she now faces. She's honing her skills with her feet, and has made a lot of progress with being able to dress herself. While she still needs help of course, she is able to put on her own shirt, which even 4-5 weeks ago seemed like it would be so far away. She's also doing well with feeding herself, and only needs help with cutting - Again, major progress. Socially, her circle of friends remain her main support system - They are amazing. She is absolutely dealing with the stigma of being different, which is really hard, but she is coping. Lauren is going to come home this weekend for a visit - So I will post another update when I actually get to see her! Best, Marion
  13. 1 point
    Thank you! BethMarie, we will absolutely try to make it to the meeting in July. It sounds great, and I think it would be a great experience for us both -- Especially for Lauren. Lauren seems to be doing well as she continues to adjust to her new norm at school. It's a struggle for sure, but she's managing and learning to accept it. She does definitely feel the effects of being "different" though, and that's tough for her (and for me to hear about). She went to a welcome back party this Saturday with some friends, and had a good time, but did note that many of the boys (who she used to be friendly with) wouldn't even engage with her really. I think dating and relationships will be the toughest part for Lauren now that she's back at school, and in an environment where relationships are blossoming. She is still absolutely beautiful, charming, and intelligent... and I know/pray that the right person will come along for her and will see her for those qualities rather than for her missing arms. Still, though, my heart breaks for her because I know that there are some who can’t look past it. This week, Lauren is resuming her PT/OT, so we are anxious to hear how that goes and excited about the progress that I am confident she will make. On my end, it’s weird not having her home! You’re right in that her care has been a 24/7 job - But that’s my job as a parent. It’s been relaxing, but like any parent sending her kid back to college, I miss Lauren! Her strength throughout this whole thing has been nothing short of an inspiration to me.
  14. 1 point
    The adaptive yoga class went very well! Lauren really had a good time, and told Alison that doing something that she always used to do made her feel normal. While it is a definite change from the way she used to do yoga, at least she was able to participate and enjoy herself! I'm also glad that this is a way for her to stay physically active. The girls had a great time together, and Alison is being amazing - Always willing to help her sister with anything and everything. In other news, Lauren's feet are feeling a bit better thankfully - And we are going back to the podiatrist tomorrow for the next round of shots. Also, her scars are beginning to fade a bit, which is very good news!
  15. 1 point
    Thank you all so much for your advice, I think what I may do then is just wait and see how it all feels when I have got used to my prosthesis. I will definitely let the DVLA know when I feel I am fit to drive, something that I didn't even think about before. Thanks again everyone xxx
  16. 1 point
    Hi Cheryl, It was a good weekend indeed! I have no doubts that Lauren will learn to swim again - Like everything else, it's just going to take time. I don't know if she's getting more comfortable with how she looks, so much as she is accepting the fact that this is her new reality and that despite what we all wish, her arms aren't going to grow back. She definitely struggles and is pained by her body image daily, but it's starting to become a new normal I think, which is an important step. I love your idea of the T-Shirt too! :) The meeting with the prosthetist went well, and the cosmetics will be ready in about 2 weeks. They did tell us that in the summer especially, they are going to be very hot, and that most amputees actually elect not to wear their cosmetics on a daily basis for this reason, and use them more for special occasions and such. I think Lauren will have to give them a try and decide for herself how and when she wishes to wear them. He also told us that many double arm amputees find that they get in the way. Nevertheless, Lauren is excited to get them - I think they'll go a long way towards helping her feel normal. After the prosthetist, we went for a nice lunch and did what any mother/daughter combo would like to do - Went shopping and went to the salon! We're definitely finding that there are certain styles of clothing that fit her new form better now that her torso is so slim and that make her more confident. Good news for Lauren, bad news for my wallet! All the best, Marion
  17. 1 point
    Hi, Marion... Glad to hear that Lauren's continuing to make good progress! You know, I'm one of those folks who think that, when you lose one ability/sense, what remains becomes that much stronger...if only because "what's left" becomes so much more necessary to you. Case in point: When I broke the foot that led to my amputation, I had recently had some really massive surgery to rebuild my other foot. Situation: Right foot (recovering from surgery) was "bad" foot...Left foot (unbroken) was "good" foot. After the fracture, though, instantly, Left Foot became my "poor sick baby" and Right Foot suddenly realized that it was long enough after that surgery and I really should start using it now! Now I know that was just my mind-set, but it was astonishing (and more than a little funny) just how quickly my mind-set changed. In Lauren's condition, I can imagine discovering that toes are ever-so-much-more useful than one had ever considered before. Now for the dating issue........that's another tough one, usually more so for the women than for male amputees. A guy can feel "tough" or "macho" about his missing part(s)...and a guy also tends not to think so much about his desirability being based on his physical state. It can be different for us gals....and even more so for a young woman...and (just speculating on this one) probably really tough for a young woman who's had a lot of her public identity caught up with physical pursuits such as sports and cheerleading. You're on the right track, though....there are plenty of young men out there who truly will not care about Lauren's "disability." They'll care about Lauren the person, and they'll admire how she's learned to cope with her situation. We have a good number of happily married amputees here...some who met their mates before amputation and some who lost limbs afterward. It's the people who matter, not the limb count. OK.......now for a warning.......and I don't know how much you would want to know about this little "sub-culture" I'm going to tell you about, or how much you'd want to talk with Lauren about it in these early days......but there are some folks out there who would be attracted to Lauren because she is an amputee. Not because she is a fine person who is handling her amputations well, but specifically because of her amputations. They are known as "devotees," and they get sexual pleasure of various sorts from amputees. There are various reactions to them among the amputee community, and it's something that I think each individual amputee has to decide for themselves, but a lot of what I've heard of them indicates that many of them treat their amputee "obsessions" not as human beings but more like a collection of missing limb(s). Just be aware of that.....and let Lauren know about that possibility in the best way you know how. (Heaving sigh of relief as I move on to other matters...........) In a strange sort of way, Lauren's particular set of amputations may actually help her with one of the major quandaries for amputees in the dating scene....specifically, "when do I tell my date about my amputation?" For a leg amp that can be a serious question...some of us wear pretty realistic-looking prostheses, or we wear slacks or long skirts....in other words, it's easy to overlook a leg amp's amputation. "When do I tell" can be a big deal. In Lauren's case, well, people are going to notice...and once she's adjusted to that "being noticed" business, it will be a good way for her to discover just who is superficial enough to be bothered by dating an amputee and who is someone worth spending her time on. She's also likely to become very good at expressing her romantic interest and affection in ways other than holding hands or hugging! (I'm expressing it humorously, but, honestly, I think she'll likely become a "master" at playing "footsie," snuggling on a fellow's lap, casting flirtatious glances, blowing in his ear.........you get the picture.......... ) So remind her of that, gently, if you wish........... OK, school! I think you'll all be surprised at how accommodating a university can be. My own work background was in an administrative office for K-12 education, where I spent several years involved with my district's special education programs. (Please note that "special education" can indeed mean "perfectly intelligent but physically disabled." Some folks have a problem grasping that, and I apologize if I've insulted you, there! ) "Accommodation and accesability" are the watchwords of modern education, and Lauren will be in a perfect position to benefit from that. I'll venture my own opinion here, for what it's worth......sooner is better than later. You can work and work to make sure that every possible problem has been addressed, but you'll never truly succeed at that. Some completely unexpected situation will eventually turn up......same as raising any other child. If Lauren's eager to get back at it, meet with the staff at her school on the accommodation issues, do what you can to be supportive, and let her see what she can accomplish! If she does find that there are still skills she needs to master, she always has the option of withdrawing from classes and going back to working full-time on those issues. (It might be good if she's at the point where "eating and dressing" are relatively independent actions, but beyond that....................................) Hang in there, Marion...you're all going to get through this. Have a nice Fourth yourself!
  18. 1 point
    Thank you Johnny! I will definitely check that out. I have been on that site before - It's a great resource for arm amputees. I really appreciate you thinking of us. Cheryl, you're so right - Lauren definitely is still in "overload" mode. It's all so new to her and every day presents a new challenge. She is definitely resourceful, though, and she's starting to make progress. Though small so far, the progress is exciting. Seeing her change the channels on the TV with the remote in her feet, for example, is exciting - As it's something she flat out could not do when she first came home. We look forward to celebrating more achievements in both the short and long term. Deep down, I think Lauren knows that she isn't and never has been defined by her arms or her lack of them, but with it being so new, and with so many challenges in front of her, I think it becomes something for her to dwell on. In other news, I have made contact with her college. They seem very willing to assist Lauren in any way! There is still the question of timing. If you were to ask Lauren, she'd tell you that she'd absolutely want to go back next semester, but to be honest, I think it's probably a bit too soon, especially as she's working so hard in rehab and focusing on learning new ways to do things. I have mixed feelings - On the one hand, I love the fact that she wants to get back to life, but on the other hand, she's undergone major, major physical and emotional trauma and I feel that she needs to focus on her rehab. If she does go back sooner rather than later, naturally the plan would be for aid to be with her - As she definitely needs help with basic tasks. It's something that we're going to have to decide soon though. Thank you, all, for your continued support and advice - It is very much appreciated!
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  20. 1 point
    Hi there...sorry you've had this decision "sprung" on you, but for your doctors to have put you through so many operations and then actually recommended the amputation, I'd have to think that it truly is the "best/only" solution at this point. I'm over on the "other side of the pond" in California, so I hope some of our UK folks can join in here to give you a better idea of what to expect over in your part of the world. I will tell you that you need to work very hard to make sure your medical team is up-to-date on the current theories on pre-/post-operative pain control. If you can go into your surgery in a basically pain-free condition (and remain so for as long after the surgery as possible), it can do a lot to prevent future episodes of nerve/phantom pain, which is a very good thing! This surgery is not one where you want to try and "tough it out" without pain meds...at least not for the first few days. I'm a below-knee amputee myself, and my experience has been a good one. I was in a lot of pain and facing a life of disability before I lost the leg...and losing the leg turned out to be one of the best things I could have done. After my first year of going through a great deal of changes, adaptations, and waaayyy more prosthetic legs than I'd ever expected, I was able to go back to living a more-or-less normal, active, and healthy life. I know of folks who were in and out of the hospital within a a day or two, and others (myself included) who spent several days in an acute care hospital and then followed up with several more days in an inpatient rehab facility. Your physical condition and reaction to the surgery will probably play a part in that. There's this saying about amputees: "Everyone is different." That's a good thing to keep in mind......you can expect to hear some general "guidelines" from your medical team, but a large part of figuring out what to do with prosthetics, physical therapy, adaptations around your house, etc... will have to be sorted out as you go and be tailored specifically for you and your lifestyle. Over here, it takes several weeks for a new amputee to get their first prosthesis...but I've heard about folks in your part of the world being fitted significantly earlier. During most of your first year, you are likely to spend more time than you ever thought possible getting to the point where you have a good fit on that leg: you'll likely have some massive changes in the volume of your residual limb as post-op swelling goes down and muscles that aren't being used as much start to atrophy. You truly do need to keep up with all of those alterations in fit of your prosthesis. A proper prosthesis makes it much, much easier to get back up and walking again. One thing to keep in mind: A prosthesis that is fitting properly WILL NOT HURT. If anyone tries to tell you otherwise, they are likely trying to excuse their own inadequacy. Now, it is difficult for a technician to tell how well an artificial limb is fitting, since they can't do so by trying it on themselves: it is built specifically for your body, so you will have to be the one to describe what you are feeling. Brush up on your communication skills, and make sure you feel very comfortable talking honestly with your leg team. These folks will be a major part of your life for many years to come. After my own amputation, I did OK at home, except that my apartment was not especially wheelchair-friendly. If your living space has obstacles that can be removed, remove them...especially at first. Getting up and down stairs was tough for me at first, and just remembering that I needed to "go slow" and understand that there would be some challenges that would be "easy" for me and others that would drive me mad for months and months was a challenge of its own. Ask any questions you can in the next few days and, especially, after your surgery. Remember that this is a brand new—and completely unexpected—lifestyle change...there is no such thing as a "stupid" question!
  21. 1 point
    Ann, I think you're absolutely right about that! We amp women have a number of issues that non-amp ladies don't have to think about...whatever makes us feel comfortable is a good thing. I have a very good friend who has an ongoing problem with my "naked" prosthesis. She is a lovely woman and has been very supportive, but she really can't seem to figure out why I wouldn't want my leg to "look normal." If she were ever to lose a leg, I'm sure she'd want to have the best cosmesis she could afford...that would be a comfort to her, and I think anything comforting in that situation would be nice. Now on the "dress and footwear" front, I love the description of your "formal dress" outfit, Kate! And yes, I think if anyone ever comes up with "cute shoes for women with foot problems" they will become overnight millionaires...wish I could manage that one! I happen to be a fan of TV's Dancing With The Stars, and it's been fascinating watching Amy Purdy compete, both for her ability as a dancer and for the combinations of her costumes and prosthetic feet/shoes..........granted, I'm not a wonderfully young, beautiful, incredibly fit amputee woman, but it's been grand watching one in action...and she has certainly looked really, really elegant! I don't know if all of these "offshoot" topics are addressing your original situation, Jane, but I hope it's helping!
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    Jane, I'm not much of a "dress" person...almost always wear slacks or shorts...but I have been thinking recently about what I'd want to do if I ever decided to wear a "dressy" skirt or dress. For me, I think I'd be more concerned about the shoes I'd need to wear than I would be the dress itself. I have a ton of requirements for my shoes...for a "casual" dress, I'd be fine with my usual orthopedic tie oxfords, but that just sounds so incongruous with a "dressy" outfit. My last time at a formal event I was still a very new amputee and was wearing a cosmesis on my leg...my dress was fairly plain, so my plain shoes were OK and my leg was more-or-less inconspicuous. I was fine with that. I think I'd also be OK with a plain short dress, my plain shoes, and my current uncovered prosthesis. But now, like you, I'm wearing a "naked" leg, which I truly love and do not want to cover up. However, a really formal, dressy, dress combined with a naked prosthesis and orthopedic tie oxfords just sounds "cringe-worthy" to me. Just a decent-looking pair of shoes (I have a major "thing" about shoes) would probably make me feel fine about the whole thing. I guess that It all comes down to "what feels right" to the individual amputee woman. I was very reluctant to wear a swim suit for my first couple of years...but after the first time I wore one, it was fine and I never looked back. Maybe you could try wearing a dress sometime when it would be among a small group for a short period of time and just see if it did turn out to "feel right." You might discover that you truly do feel uncomfortable with it...but my own experience makes me think that you might realize that it's not really a problem at all. Good luck on making up your mind!
  23. 1 point
    I've updated the article massively, have a peek here and let me know what you all think..
  24. 1 point
    Going to update the article soon as lots of stuff has changed so more advice to give, but on a different tack I treated myself to a helmet camera so here's a little video of me and friend at thetford forest. Enjoy :) http://rikk.smugmug.com/gallery/2860915_HL...4118_UinSV-A-LB
  25. 1 point
    My story I was a paratrooper in the army and I was deployed in northern Iraq. I was sleeping in one of Chemical Alis palaces. At about 3am I woke up and had a bad feeling didnt know what it was when all of a sudden BOOM an RPG came in through the window bounced off a wall and blew up at my feet. I crawled for my weapon when one of my sergeants saw that i was hurt and called a medic. I didnt really know how bad they were until i got back to the states about 10 days later. They originally told me I would only lose my left leg but when I finally saw my right foot I knew it was gone to.