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Savannah

Feeling sub-human

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Hello everyone. I'm new, and I hardly see how anyone here copes. I'm missing my fibula and some other bones in my lower right leg. I've worn a prosthesis pretty much since I was born. It's completely functional, and it's never kept me from doing anything I wanted. However, it's not very effective cosmetically. I haven't worn shorts since I was 9, and I never swim in public in fear of being seen. I've ruined many a vacation by breaking down in tears on the beach, cause I can't take the stares. You can't tell I wear a prosthesis when I'm wearing pants, so I rarely leave them. The reason I feel this way isn't that I'm ashamed of myself, it's that people are so cruel to me. I'm 15 yrs old, and I only have a few good people in addition to my family that I trust. I've had so many people call me horrible names, and make fun of me to no end. It's gotten to the point where I can't take it anymore, and don't leave home at times. My life used to be happy, but nearly everywhere I go someone is rude to me just because I am different. Guys break up with me once I tell them about my leg, that is if I was lucky enough to get a date in the first place having made it past the vicious rumors that circulate about me. Does this get any better? Will I never be able to walk into a crowded room without the whispers, giggles, and pointing?

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Hello again Savannah

I have just read this post having just sent you a message responding to your introduction post.

I was sorry and a little angry :rolleyes: to read the rough deal you seem to be getting from varius individuals. When I lost my leg in 1997 I was not able to be fitted with a prosthetic limb until some three years later. During this period of time my marriage ended :( and I was left with the terrible thought that I would be alone and not in a relationship for the rest of my life :( . When I was younger I was very popular with the girls :D , but I could not imagine who would ever love me again with just one leg.

Wow what a mistake I made. Now I am in love with a very beautiful girl who I met here in Belgrade two years ago :D . She is still 27 and could really have the pick of the guys here but chose me. It makes not a bit of difference to her or any of my freinds that I am an amputee. In answer to your question...it will get better...much better...I think that maybe some of the peope who have made fun of you are no more than foolish kids who need to grow up a little. If i was 16 again I would be honoured to be seen in your company. :P

Try and hang on in there knowing the future will improve.

Robert

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Dear Savanna,

Wow , I think you are absolutely drop dead geogous, and anyone who would dare make fun of you, must be so green with jealousy , they propably would love to be you, i find the one's that say so much , are the insecure ones.

Anyway do not let the turkeys get you down.

Be like a thourough bred horse , run your own race. and win, do not stay with the others in the paddock.

The tide can only go out so far, then it comes back in.

these are a few things i tell all my children

But i have a special reason for writing to you , its because i have heard all of these things before , from my beautiful courageous daughter, Niki, . I would love you to read some of her posts, it might help a little to know that your not on your own. Please dont get down, life has so much to offer, get on the forum and write away their are so many people willing to listen and understand your thoughts. Keep in touch.

Vicki Williams :D ( Niki's mum)

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Hi Savannah,

I can't begin to know how difficult you are finding things right now, but remember all feelings good and bad are transitory. I really encourage you to read about what other amputees here are doing, you need to get past all the negative thoughts you are having and build a future for yourself. The crap other people try to put on you, isn't you, its just them mouthing off because they feel inadequate themselves. That is why people pick on other people to try and make themselves feel better because they are insecure inside themselves. I was picked on at school occasionally but I always turned it around and wondered what was wrong with the person yelling stuff at me...I knew I was okay, what was their problem screaming their oddities at people, really think about it, what is that? Your prothesis is a part of you now, it helps you to get around, accept that people will be curious but you need to accept it first so that others won't see it as something different...I'm not sure I'm saying this right and forgive me because I'm not an amputee and I am only guessing here but in all things we teach others and you should grab every opportunity available to educate people. I'm messing this up, sorry, I hope someone who is out there and active can hop on this thread and let you see how they are in the world...making it and enjoying life.

I'm a bit of a quote maven so here is one for you...

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense. *Ralph Waldo Emerson

Catch today and be happy,

Lark

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~ Oh Hello Savannah,

Im new here but NOT an amputee~

wow your story made me sad not a little but alot~ you can walk right? thats a positive thing,..I have a friend thats an amputte and he cannot walk at all...and his other leg is dislocated from the hip~ my heart goes out to him..But you know what ?......If someone doesnt accept you fro the way you are to hell with em, right? Its their loss in NOT knowing a beautiful person, I was born with a birth defect that required me to where a metal brace for many years when I was a lil girl,..I know how you feel, I would feel ashamed sometimes,..but my mom would remind me that I tried to be postive saying " thats my palsey leg": I dont speak about it often,..people ask to many questions, and I feel embarrased sometimes, YES why are people so judegemental, I havent figured that out yet. Please dont let the things that you love stop you from living. Hugs not a little but alot~

be well & may you have peace in your heart~

Harleyblues~ B)

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Hi! My name is Vince. I live in Peachtree city. I am a recent bilateral above the knee amputee.(4/14)I am still waiting to get fitted for my prostetics in Sept., so I have only gone through the stares while I'm in a wheelchair. Adults and childrens responses have been good.Kids, I find their responses what I would do if I was a kid now.I'm sorry about your situation,just ignore and keep on enjoying whatever you want to do.Get involved in a support group,it will help a lot!!!This is a good place to post and get ideas,answers,support and esp. friends. Don't shut out anybody thats not disABLED. I believe my life was spared,was ran over by a train while working at the railroad :( , by my faith,the good Lord,my Guardian Angels,and all the prayers everyone said.So try a little praying and keep the "faith". My Mom always told me, one of the few things I listened," The good Lord gives you what you need,not what you want. And He'll never give you more than you can handle". Well, thats enough religion talk. Keep posting!! Vince :D

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Hi! My name is Shay. I lost my leg 6/12/03 to cancer. I am a LBK. I am not a teenager but my heart goes out to you. :( It turns out that I had my cancer when I was your age and just didn’t know it. I am 30 now and married. I was married before my operation and my husband was so great. He is sad that I had cancer and that he almost lost me. He is happy that all I lost was my leg. As you get older you will realize that the “good people or men” out there look way beyond your looks but to what is most important and that is you, the person. When I was young my family moved from the mid west to the deep south and I got picked on for the way I talked. I am 30 and people still bring it up! But that is ok, that is just one part of who I am. As is my missing my leg, or the 10 inch scar that runs down my leg cause a I fell and shattered my knee and femur. Surround yourself with the people who really know you and care about you. You don’t have to have 20 best friends. I found out that having 1 or 2 was enough. And who cares about wearing shorts! They are over rated!! :D (I don’t wear them either)! As for going to the beach on vacation, I have started going to places where there is no beach but where I can still have fun! Try San Fran. I was just there and it was too cold for shorts!! :)

Stay strong girl! Don’t let those a#@ho@es get you down!

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Hi Savannah,

I have been LBK for 32 years and it does get better. One suggestion: check the profiles on this site, there are a few other teens to whom you could write, because it is extra-hard to go through this as a teen. I was 18 but already in college when I had my accident. Also, I will write you more about ideas for clothing and shoes, swim legs and dressing for the beach (I live in Florida). One more thing: it used to help me to have some snappy comebacks ready for people's stupid questions, comments or stares. Please hang in there, let me know if you want the "fashion and shoe" tips. Please keep writing, we want to know how you are doing. We support you and you are not alone. Most of us have pretty tolerable lives--it DOES get better!

Best wishes, Ellen.

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Hi,

Being 15 can be tough enough without the burden of a prosthesis. Something as common as a pimple can turn a teenager's world into turmoil. Wearing a prosthesis didn't make that any less traumatic did it? You're you. You're human. You are just a girl who is missing a leg. I can't see why people would tease you, but kids can be cruel. Besides the burden of the prosthesis you have the burden of having to deal with ignorant people who have nothing to gain by making a person feel bad. You, on the other hand ,can gain something from it. You can gain self esteem. You CAN rise above the comments. Are you a bad person? Do you deserve such comments? No? Then gain strength! Did it ever occur to you that there just might be people out there, like myself, who look at you not with pity, not with horror, not with ridicule, but with admiration! You are a strong person. You made a choice to live your life dispite some limitations. That took strength & courage. Don't stop living because of the limitation & stares. You've got a purpose in this world with a lot to offer & I think after reading these posts you'll feel it.

It's ok to cry, but it's more fun to smile!

Keep smiling :unsure:

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I am fourteen and lost my leg september last year. I have been pretty lucky as my friends have stuck by me because they know I'm still me with just a bit missing and i've haven't have people be rude to me either. Some people seem a bit scared to even approach me, so I try and be friendly but if they don't want to talk to me thats their choice. I know it can be hard when people stare - I've been stared at plenty! I just try to ignore them and carry on as normal, after all it's them who has the problem - not me!

Just remember keep smiling ur amazing!! :D

Liz x :lol:

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Hey girl,

Still in high school huh? I'm eighteen and a year ahead of my graduating class, why? I went to early college and will be half way to my associates by the time they walk! (evil laugh) Anyway that's not the point, high school sucks no matter who you are. I wasn't exaclty a social bird, but I knew people. In college I tend to get along with the adults much better than anyone my age. They come from the "real" world, in other words, they have the brains to understand that Hollywood isn't reality.

I've meet guys that can't tell I am an amputee until I tell them. Then they get all excited and they want to see it. Those guys are the kind that get facinated with anything that can be fixed. I hate to cut this short but stick in there. High school isn't even the beginning, in fact I don't even think it's human.

Feel free to e-mail me, after all, eveyone needs a new friend.

Nicole :)

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Savannah, where are you? Are you out there still, reading these postings? I hope so. A lot of encouraging things have been said, and I know they will help you, but also any other person reading these postings who is struggling with the same feelings. I am sure we would ALL like to know how you are doing. You posted your first message last summer....how have you been since then?

Let me just add, I am 37 years old and was going thru some old files this weekend. Came across some stuff from high school and was thinking about those days. I am SO glad to be a grown up! High school was HARD, socially, and at the time I just had a weak leg, not an amputation yet. In "grown up" life you get to surround yourself with the people of YOUR choice. In high school you are surrounded by people that happen to go to your school/your classes. Find a few good friends and have fun with them. Know that grown up life can be a LOT more fun than high school, even though that is NOT what TV would lead you to believe. I have always just had a small cirlce of good friends and I have had a very fullfillling life, more to come, hopefully!

Let us know if you are still out there.....we would all like an update, I think!

Judy

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I posted a message a while ago and am still here if you fancy a chat anytime. Everyone on the board would be interested to here how you are doing if you still read these postings.

Best Wishes,

Liz x

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Hi Savanah,

First of all i completely agree and understand what Lark is trying to tell you.

I'm 33 and lost my foot 24 years ago. So i've been there , where you are now. Your teen years are a tough time anyway , what with all those hormones in a twist...lol!

I'm tall, slim and sporty and like showing off what i've got and so should you!!!!!!

You can't go through life worrying about what other people think of you. If it's hot throw those damn pants (pardon the french) away and put your shorts on. You feel more comfortable. It isn't really much different to wearing a purple hat with bright orange dots. People will stare cos it's different. But you enjoy wearing it....so stuff them. (These are harsh words, i know, but i want you to get the message!)

Please do me a favor. Next time you go to the beach or to the pool put your head up high and ignore the stares. I know its easier said than done . The beginning is tough. Grit your teeth and bear it with confidence. Be your own best friend.....Believe me, a time will come and it will come to you naturally, without the slightest unease, to walk down that beach and not give the 'starers' a second thought. I promise you!

Good luck

Kaz ;)

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It is great to have self-esteem. It is great if you are overweight and still wear shorts and tight jeans and could not care less what people think about you. It is great if you have a disability and do not hide it and could not care less what people think about you. But people are different. Just because one person is satisfied with her/his body does not mean that the other one with the same characteristics is to the same degree. So just do and wear what you feel comfortable with and do not think you "dare" less than others!

Regards,

Gizmo

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I have had only a few chances to go out in shorts so far, and all in my own driveway so far, so the "public" thing is coming. I *think* I will be okay with it, but honestly am a bit nervous! And I have a loving husband and supportive kids behind me...I FEEL for teenagers!

But if this helps, this is what I do.....I know people are going to look, just like they did when I wore the big clunky brace (in shorts!)....but I tell myself they are just curious, fascinated, respectful....that they admire me for living a full life without two legs....most people who stare at you will never talk to you, so if you tell yourself they are thinking these things about you, it makes the situation better for ALL involved! And SOME of it MAY be true!

I think when I wore the brace, and the way I wore a tube sock under it, folded over the top, a lot of people DID think I had a prosthetic leg. So I am really halfway there already. The only "problem" is that my current temp is being held together with BRIGHT purple fiberglass casting material! I think the kids who see me think it is cool...the grown ups are not so sure!

But always assume they are thinking positive things about you....admiring you for your ability to just go on with life.....and if they speak, and show you differently, just ignore them or have a *smart* answer for them...sarcastic, OR actually educational!

Just my two cents...

Judy

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There was a time when I hated being stared at and that was mostly in my teen years as I so wanted to fit in but fit into what?? Fit into other peoples perspectives of what someone should look like. Should I be a skinny cheerleader type? Should I be the the Athletic type? Now I look back and wonder why was I so worried about what others thought of me.. I am who I am and I can't change the fact that I was born without a foot and did I really want to? My family treated me as an equal and to me now that mattered more then the other stuff. I never hid my leg by wearing just jeans I wore shorts to but I hid my emotions so to me that is almost as bad. Now I hold my head up high have a very high tech leg with no cover and wear shorts, skirts, dresses and don't care if people stare.. I love it when kids stare and talk to them when possible.

Brenda

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savanah hpoe you are ok remember we are all here for you so get in touch and tell us how things are going we have a lot of people your age here now who share the same aniextys as you excuse my spelling beginning to lose my english lived in france to long just let us know how you are doing

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Savanah, I have been thinking about you a lot lately. We have not heard from you since your original posting, but it has generated some great advice. I have now had a few weeks of warm weather, wearing shorts, with my temp (bionic) leg. I have not had any trouble with stares or comments. I know it is early, but I took my own advice, and just assume that people who look are fascinated and respect me for having an active life. It is funny, the day I wrote that advice to savanah was the first day I went out for a full day, in shorts, and I thought about my own advice all day...thinking, "I told savanah to think this way....now I have to also..." It really worked.

I think the only thing that bothers me now is that I have really poor gait because of the muscle atrophy I have had in the past years. I know that even in a few months it will be much better, as I continue to work out. But for now I feel like I want to represent amputees as strong, stable people, and when I limp thru the store, I feel like I am giving "you" all a bad rap....does that make sense? But I tell myself, it takes time...that is what brenda would tell me...all people have good days and bad and my bad ones just mean I walk with more of a limp than I want. SOME day I will be that strong runner that brenda is. For now, at least I am not using the motorized shopping cart anymore!

Judy

Utah LBK

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Judy,

You got it....... Baby steps... I had to tell myself that many times after my revision and it was easier said then done as I wanted it NOW.. After I stepped back and readjusted my goals things started to fall into place. Isn't that a great feeling to be out of the motorized cart. After I got rid of that someone had suggested to me to walk behind the regular cart even if I was only going for a few items this really helped my gait a lot.

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This is something that I too have been feeling ever since my injury but because I live far away from any family , I have been dealing with this on my own . I am seeing a therapist now who I hope will help me get through this . I know that different people deal with this , well , differently , but we all need to get some help regardless of where it comes from to be able to take those first steps or baby steps as Brenda calls them . I guess I sort of got that much needed kick in the rear recently to push me to do what I know I should have done a long time ago . I guess that at the end of the day , it is fear of the unknown that holds us back from going forward .

mj

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Very true Marianne. But there is no need to look back and be hard on yourself because that defeats the purpose. When we are ready, that is usually the best time. Self motivation builds self esteem which is what makes us feel good. But we all have to overcome our fears in order to move ahead. I went through it, and still go through it. So you hit home with me. Thanks for sharing.

All the best.

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I too lost my leg to a defective tibia when I was very young. Most kids were cool with it when I was 5 or 6 but as I got older, especially in High school kids got really mean.

Growing up kids teased me relentlessly. I hated my life and even attempted suicide a couple of times. It was horrible. I was almost always picked last for teams in PE beacuse I could not run as fast as other kids. Once a bully even pulled my leg off and ran off with it. I didn't have a real girlfriend until I was well out of HS. I can tell you that the teen years are horible for everybody but especially for a disabled kid, or any kid who's diffrent.

But there is good news. It does get better. I would strongly sugest seeking out other amputees your own age. Hang out with them. Also tell your folks what you are going through. Belive it or not they will help and they have a lot more life experence than you do.

You can also e-mail me any time you want. I've been through what you're going through right now. In fact it's so close I cried with the memory of it.

I can tell you that a love life is out there for amputees. Just look at Heather. She got a Beatle for crying out loud! It's just a matter of finding the right guy.

Don't give up Savanah. Like Paul told me: You can get through this with just a little help from your friends (and us)

Eric

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