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Heather Mills - Amputee Forum
Jim T.

A common Amputation

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I have to tell you that I didn't put any where near the thoughts that some have into my amputation. I was told that clots had lodged in my foot during a "routine" vascular operation, gangrene had developed, and it had to come off. After the initial amputation, the doctor came in and told me that he was going to do a revision so that my leg would fit, and asked me if I wanted him to go above the knee - in case the circulation wasn't good enough - or try first for below the knee, and hoped that it was okay. I told him not to take any more off than he absolutely had to. The BK worked.

That's it.

I went home a month later - after pulmonary edema, which almost lost me - and a few other "complications", with a hole in my stump, (that felt like it had a red hot ice pick in it digging around), from the 3 faciotomy's that they performed trying to save the foot. The had taken a patch of skin off of my thigh to use on the one faciotomy that wouldn't heal, but I still had a hole about the size of a U.S. 25 cent piece.

I also went home without any pain medicine (because that is what I chose), and "toughed it out" for about 2 months in a cast, (talk about pain!!!!) until everything healed up. I never had any "therapy", ( Thanks to a greedy insurance company), and learned to use my new "leg", terracing a hillside in our backyard with a pick and a shovel so my wife could plant a garden.

In short, what I'm saying is that I didn't have the Rolls Royce stump, or the Dr. Ertl??? (I don't know who he is), treatment, but aside from the vascular problems, (43 operations), the amputation went just fine, and my leg and I get along like two old buddies today.

My stump is about 7 inches long, with three, 4 to 6 inch scars running up and down three sides of my stump - one of them about 1 1/2 to 2 inch's wide that never did heal properly.

My leg is the basic Suprcondulr Suspension, without any flex ankle, or built in piston, and I can do everything that I could before - barring my circulation.

I'm telling you all of this just to say, that when it comes to the body - no matter who the surgeon is, or what equipment you get, it is going to do what it wants to do. My surgeon was the Dean of Vascular Surgery in my County, just north of LA. When I asked him why my graft came loose and clots went to my foot he answered, "I haven't had one come loose in 25 years and I wasn't looking for it." The surgeons that were working on me when my bypasses clotted up and I got the infection that nearly cost me my life 6 different times, and led to the loss of a perfectly good kidney, among a few other things, were from Hollywood, and used to be part of the team that worked on President Ronald Reagan.

We just never know. Stuff Happens

I'm playing the "Devil's Advocate" here. Someone once told me: "It's okay to plan the picnic - just don't plan the weather".

I'm alive, ornery and making the most out of the remains of the leg that I have left. Life is good. They took my lower leg and foot, but they didn't take my a-t-t-i-t-u-d-e. That is the best medicine and surgeon there is.

Oh yes, to make it more fun, my insurance company cancelled my insurance after my third operation, after paying faithfully for 15 years, without a single claim, because they were afraid "that I was going to need more operations". Boy were they right. This cost us our successful Building Contracting business in Southern California, our home, south of Santa Barbara, and my wife and I living in our small camping trailer for a year because the subsequent surgeries bankrupt us.

Thanks for listening. Tonights my night to vent I guess.

I'm alive and well. My wife and I just celebrated our 48th wedding anniversery, and my 70th birthday. I may not be rich, but I am an extremely wealthy man. Like I said - they didn't take my attitude. :D Don't ever let them take yours.

This is my story - in part. I'd like to hear yours if anyone cares to add to this. The reality - without the rose colored glasses.

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Okey Dokey Jim....I think I'm up to it ;)

I don't think I wear rose coloured glasses. I don't think I have ever really told my story, what the reality is, to anyone.

First let me make sure there are no rose coloured items sitting on my nose (OOoo it's dark in here :wacko: )

My story is going to be in the minority, simply because all my stuff happened a long time ago. When I was born actually. Right foot and left hand congenital deformities. I don't remember my foot much ( or are those memories blocked?) I do know it was rotated medially so that it was pointing at my left foot, it had 3 toes (I've seen pictures) and it had one large bone, unlike the 26 bones in my left foot. My two memories of it are walking and it dragging along behind me, and the shoes I had to wear. Ugly black things with a brace.

The only thing I remember about my amputation is the Nurse who picked my leg up to change a pillow and dropped it. Blocked out again?

With the Amp done I was in plaster for what seemed forever. I remember my leg being SOOOOOOOO itchy. When the plaster came off they found all the pencils I had dropped in there trying to get to the itch.

Got my first leg. It was made of wood( I still have it somewhere). It was ugly. But now I can walk. In fact...now I can run :D

But wait. I can do all that stuff now......but people are telling me I can't. I have to be careful. Bugger that, says I..and I run like today might be the last day I will be able to ever do this again, that God ( who people keep telling me is responsible for this and that he has a plan for me...thanks Mate) might take it all away at any second.

My school mates tease me. Not only cos I have a wooden leg but they think I act like a girl. (Thanks again God......I am expecting a lightening strike any second even though the sky is cloudless here :lol: )

The I got to be thirteen....now I'm a teenager and the fun really starts. Now I have body image issues as well, and strange hormones making me do and think strange things.

At 12 I had a neuroma removed. At 14 I had a small revision to shave back the medial Mallioli ( Lizzie can explain :lol: ). Stuck in my room, told to lay on my bed and not go anywhere. I can hear my friends at the park at the end of my street. Oh the outright hate. Soooooooooo.......guess who sneaks through the house, finds my leg and sneaks out a window and goes off to the park. Guess who also comes back with broken stitches and a leg full of blood. Little did I realise that I would grow a callous out of that wound that would cause me a major revision and tons of pain.

Oh well.......I'd do it again. :D

Fortunately I found my soulmate and lived happily ever after :D

I worked my butt off to prove I am normal and can do anything required......and I'm happy :)

So......some things I have never done.

Stood in the shower on two legs.

Walked on a hot sand with two feet

Stood with two feet on a surfboard.

Eh...you get the idea

Thing I have never stopped doing.

Asking why

Things I will never get.

An answer

It's not Gods fault....nobody's fault.....Would just like someone to blame :blink:

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Ok, I could take a stab at this.....

I lost my leg in a car accident when I was 28 years old. My husband (ex) was driving. I was wearing a seatbelt and apparantly the bottom half of me swung out of the car and got mangled underneath while the car was bouncing off street poles and robots.

Ambulance came by on its way to another accident and picked me up. Bad internal injuries, told mom to call the priest because I wouldn't make it. Amputated the right light immediately (a GP did it, not a surgeon which is why I guess I have bad phantoms now).

Wouldn't stop bleeding internally, thought I had a hairline crack in my neck (if she survives she'll probably be paralysed). Left leg started to die so they wanted to amputate that too. They didn't - but that is another story :)

Kept my stomach open and stuffed with gauze to try and control the bleeding for a week. Took out my gall bladder and couldn't tell me what it was for when I asked. Woke up 5 days later with one leg and far too much pain for any one person to cope with. Had no insurance, was in a public hospital.

Moved from ICU 2 weeks later into general trauma ward. That was terrible - had to get out!! After they removed the 4 pipes from various places in my stomach and were sure I wasn't leaking anywhere inside, decided to go home. Asked first set of interns...they said no. Asked second set of interns, they said yes.

Was sent home by trainee doctor with a bottle of dolorol (basic aspirin), straight from morphine to nothing. Given a pair of wooden under arm crutches and no instruction as to how to care for the stomach wounds or stump. Stomach opened in 3 places during the following weeks. That was worse than coping with the leg for some reason.

Lost everything material - car, home, mom cashed in all her insurance policies - broke doesn't come close to describing our financial situation at the time.

2 months later bought a manual car, bought a small motorbike and became hell on the roads. Took a job, kicked out hubby, started a female duo, and got my WHOLE life back.

Don't believe that "things happen for a reason". Just accidents sometimes. Bad ones.

Whew.

That's it.

:)

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Thank you Cat and Ally. This is exactly what I meant. Most of us "put on our game face", when we are trying to encourage others. My father used to call that "Looking at the world through rose colored glasses". It makes everything look pretty, whether it was/is or not. It's only natural -AND - I expect that I will continue doing the same thing in the future.

I don't see any "Whiners" posting here, but once in awhile it does feel good to "Tell it like it - was/is."

The reality is that it was a bear to go through - for all of us. There was nothing nice about it. And I'll be the first to acknowledge that some - many - had it worse than I. There is no easy way to go through this however. Someone once told me: "No matter how rich and powerful one is - none of us are going to get out of this world alive. Something bad is going to happen". Something bad had to happen to loose a leg.

I was reading Roz's post and thinking how brave she is, and having gone through this myself, came to realize how much was being left out "between the lines". We all know that this has not been any picnic for her, but she sounds like she's pulling herself through, and I'm proud of her.

Through my tears, I asked an amputee friend of my sisters, that came to visit me in the hospital, what the worst thing about being an amputee was. He said: "The worst thing to me is that......Everytime I go swimming - I swim in circles". :D

IT'S ALL IN THE ATTITUDE.

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Jim, know what you mean, can relate to everything that has been said. I will not bore anyone on this thread with my own story as I have done this already here .

It is down to attitude, will,spirit and a sense of humour. Everyone on this forum has some if not all that in them. I think that is what brings us together, we recognise these things in each other, Oh, and the fact that we are amputees as well.

Stuck in my room, told to lay on my bed and not go anywhere. I can hear my friends at the park at the end of my street. Oh the outright hate. Soooooooooo.......guess who sneaks through the house, finds my leg and sneaks out a window and goes off to the park. Guess who also comes back with broken stitches and a leg full of blood. Little did I realise that I would grow a callous out of that wound that would cause me a major revision and tons of pain.

Cat, that brings back some grim memories for me. For quite a few years after my accident I was prone to some very nasty infections (I can absorb infection throught the skin. I haven't been able to use a swimming pool since my accident) that left me bed bound for weeks.

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Hi all;

I'm not sure I can accept the idea that one can have "rose-tinted glasses" about an amputation! After all, however the story is told, there is a combination of drastic circumstances, severe injury and/or illness, the loss of a body part, and extremely challenging rehabilitation, and none of that amounts to a picnic - whatever the weather!

I would add one thing about my situation: if it seems like my journey has involved rose-tinted glasses, Rolls Royce stumps, and specialised surgical techniques, none of that diminishes my own unpleasant "between-the-lines" experiences.

I had a catastrophic motorcycle accident, caused by a drink-driver. I had someone to blame, but that was no help. Like others here, I endured many reconstructive surgeries, with varying degrees of success, but I was still left with a completely wrecked and partially-paralysed leg. It took me a year to learn to walk on that leg, and in 27 years I've never taken a single step without considerable pain. It was not easy knowing that I would probably have been better-off if it had been amputated when I had the accident, but it had been saved - without my consultation - so I just had to get on with coping with it. It was unspeakably ugly too - shortened, wasted, scarred, and so badly twisted and distorted that it was impossible to camouflage - I was 20 when all this happened, and for many years, being attached to something so hideous severely harmed my self-concept. And it progressively degenerated until the pain was nothing short of blinding, which is what brought me here.

As I've said in another thread, my amputation has improved my quality of life, because I have first-hand experience of living with a leg that was actually worse than an amputated one. I can only apologise if my reactions to my improved life seem frivolous or give offense!

However, I still don't find myself enjoying a picnic! I can feel the joint of my unstable knee separating a little with virtually every step I take on my prosthesis, and it was to keep this manageable that I required the "Rolls Royce stump" as provided by the Ertl Procedure, but even with it I have to be very quick and very careful with my posture and muscles to keep that joint together. And a THR awaits me, ironically getting closer with every joyous step I take on my much-appreciated prosthesis; there are no glasses that can obscure the bad things that have happened, or those which are still destined to happen, but I've dealt with all the past stuff, and that's taught me that I can deal with whatever else is to come. ...might as well smile, then!

I would refer again to that other thread - in dealing with the non-"rose-tinted glasses" stuff we've all had to endure, we've been given a rare (yet expensive!) opportunity to view the universe from different perspectives to AB others, and to grow, and it's been experiencing the resulting strength and wisdom and indomitable optimism here that's helped me through another difficult step - choosing to undergo an elective amputation. That choice in itself was not easy, but you people helped me through it, and, in any case, enduring the alternative was worse. I didn't know how my amputation would turn out, but in cheerfully demanding excellence of myself, I'll get the best possible outcome - that's my a-t-t-i-t-u-d-e!

I think that it's not about rose-tinted glasses - it's about acknowledging extraordinary triumphs of the human spirit over unimaginable hardships. It was working with disabled children that showed me that it's possible to be undiminished by adversity, and for me that's about focussing on the good and dismissing the bad, so it has no power to diminish. The bad has been valuable and important in my growth, but only as an instrument of developing its complimentary opposite.

Pass the cucumber sandwiches, someone!

Roz. :)

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I think that it's not about rose-tinted glasses - it's about acknowledging extraordinary triumphs of the human spirit over unimaginable hardships. It was working with disabled children that showed me that it's possible to be undiminished by adversity, and for me that's about focussing on the good and dismissing the bad, so it has no power to diminish...

I appreciate your point, Roz, but I think I would have said that you had 'learnt how to be adaptable & resilient from children with disabilities'. In my experience, children with disabilities don't necessarily see themselves as suffering or experiencing hardships...it's just part of their life and who they are. If they come across something they can't do, then they find another way of doing it...it's more about resilience, acceptance and adaptability, because in the grand scheme of things, everything is relative. :)

Btw, I'm sorry everyone, perhaps it's because I'm having a bit of a C.R.A.F.T day, but I don't really understand the theme of this thread...:wacko:

Lizzie :)

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Thank you Roz - for filling in the blanks. I started this thread so that others, contemplating an amputation, or just going through would know, that when the going get's rough - and it does - that they are not alone, and that nothing is wrong with them. We all went through our own measure of hell.

Not to be whiners or complainers however, we tend to put our best face on it maybe to the point that others just going through with it will think that something is terribly wrong because theirs - hurts.

Most of us, like you, don't talk about the details too much. I for one tend to get rather emotional when I re-live the experience in too much detail. My wife was very aprehensive when I joined this forum because she knew how I got when I talked about it. I'm able to get around that by talking just in generalities, and leaving the details out. Now that I have done it, I will most likely pull back into my safe shell and just deal with the generalities again.

As I said before - I have the highest respect for how you are handling all of this. It's not often that we are allowed a day by day, blow by blow, window into this while it is happening. Thank you for allowing us to share with you.

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Hi Jim!

You're asolutely right - rose-tinted glasses be damned - it's extremely hard work, this amputee business!

I profoundly admire your gutsy attitude, and I'd like to think mine is similarly gung-ho, and for the seriously determined, an amputation will not stop us, or even slow us down!

But you're also right about the hard times; those early years were grim for me, but they did make me a lot tougher.

I must say that I do feel the greatest sympathy for people who have had non-elective amputations - that's a drastic change of life-style; in my case, the very presence of my wrecked leg at least kept the hope of recovery alive, but it must be a huge shock to wake up unexpectedly without a leg. At least I had a 27-year grieving period!

That's another amazing thing about the forums - there is shared experience of such extreme things here, and we can support each other in ways that would be impossible elsewhere. Not only that, but able-bodied people can't begin to grasp what we've been through, and I'd rather not hurt their sensibilities by describing my own horrible experiences!

Lizzie, I meant what I said before - the disabled children I worked with were just huge, charismatic souls, completely undiminished by their difficulties, and the thought of them put me to shame every time I thought I had it tough. It was from them that I learned to "re-centre" myself, so that my essential self was effectively separated from my difficulties; it's not denial or rose-tinted glasses, but choosing to prioritise success over limitation, despite those limitations sometimes being very, very hard work to overcome.

Onwards, people!

I'll PM you, Jim.

Very best wishes

Roz. :)

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Lizzie, I meant what I said before - the disabled children I worked with were just huge, charismatic souls, completely undiminished by their difficulties, and the thought of them put me to shame every time I thought I had it tough. It was from them that I learned to "re-centre" myself, so that my essential self was effectively separated from my difficulties; it's not denial or rose-tinted glasses, but choosing to prioritise success over limitation, despite those limitations sometimes being very, very hard work to overcome.

So, you did learn then? ;)

But, seriously, I think, Roz, that you and I are at completely different ends of the spectrum; you have just started on your journey, whilst I have grown up with my amputations...I have grown into them, so to speak. When a child has a disability, they do not choose to prioritise success over limitation (that's management speak), as there is no choice...you can either do something or you can't. Unlike adults who acquire a disabilty, children don't think about anything specifically, they just set their sights on what they want to do (e.g. climbing a tree...etc) and they simply do what comes naturally, after all, they are just children. If they can't do something, yes, they get frustrated (like we all do), but they soon move on and set their sights on something else.

I think you that although you should try not to wallow in self pity, you should always acknowledge your difficulties...that way you can have realistic expectations...and when you exceed those expectations, it's absolutely brilliant! B)

Lizzie :)

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An optimist's "rose-tinted glasses" are half full, aren't they?!?

Roz. :D

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Guest bearlover

:) Bravo Jim! Very well though out and put..It is exactuly as you put it!!! Thanks!!! :) :) :)

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I was born with the "defect" that eventually wound its way to my amputation... but unlike some of the others who "grew up with it," my defect was a mild one, a crooked ankle and twisted foot on my RIGHT leg. It never slowed me down -- I did what I wanted to do -- but it DID trip me up a lot, and I endured a lot of teasing about my clumsiness as a child... and a teen... and an adult.

However, no-one -- not even ME -- tied it to my foot and ankle... the defect was that minor-looking. In fact, nearly four years ago, when my podiatrist looked at the foot and said, "You know, we treat that birth defect in early childhood, now, while the bones are still forming," I was totally shocked: ME with a BIRTH DEFECT!?! I had never, ever thought of myself as "deficient" in any way, aside from being a klutz.

I think Lizze, Sparky, and Cat are right: kids "just do it," without agonizing or looking for the "growth experience." That comes with age. And, with age, WE may be able to look at kids dealing with disability and draw life-lessons from them... but THEY are too busy just LIVING.

So, in my late forties, the right foot failed at last, requiring a truly massive amount of reconstructive surgery, which was entirely successful. However, the strain on my LEFT foot from bearing all the weight (and a lot of "hopping" on my walker) during my recovery caused the fracture in that foot that would NOT respond to surgical repair, knit and re-broke repeatedly, developed infections which escalated to MRSA, and nearly killed me (a couple of times) before they removed it halfway up my calf. And here's where I can identify with Roz, as the pain, discomfort, and inconvenience of the amp was a tremendous improvement over the pain, discomfort, and inconvenience of the injured/infected foot. I don't think that's "rose-colored glasses": just a difference in perspective.

I would NEVER try to give the impression that this life is a pleasant stroll in the park... but for me, between the lessened pain, the increased mobility, and the personal/emotional growth I've experienced, I have to say that amputation has been good for me.

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Guest bearlover

I also was born with a congential birth defect..That also lead to my amputation. After many many years of operations and bone graphing. In and out of hospitals and braces and cast..Which only lead to a major bone inferction..I would take that leg back in a heart beat..Amputation has not been easy on me. And not at all what I was told..It is not a easy thing to deal with physically. Mentally Iam doing good. But get with my limitations. Iam much worse off than ever. :wacko:

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Nice thread, Jim. Moved me to write something too.

It was just before my 10th B-day (2 days before x-mas … ) My dad was driving. We were living in Greece at the time on our way to our summerhouse in the North. Suddenly a sharp curve, screeching, excruciating loud noise, then just silence. A metal barrier had gone through the front of the car (I had had my leg up on the back seat reading a comic … !!) I was conscious through the whole thing and what I saw, and what unfortunately stays ingrained in my memory, was beyond any horror movie scenario. Waiting for the ambulance to turn up was the worst part of it all ( 2 hours later which seemed like 2 years later. That my family and I are alive today is a miracle) They patched us up in a first aid station somewhere in the middle of nowhere and then later in the evening sent us on to the main clinic in Athens.

Although I had seen with my own eyes that my foot was gone in the car at the time of the accident and after having it treated (but I was in a morphine daze so unaware of what was actually going on in the hospital) when I was finally told a week later by a nurse I was shocked, my world had opened under me, a black hole, there are no words to describe how I felt …I was alone. The rest of my family were injured as well so I it was a while before I saw them. No relatives came to help as we were living abroad. To top it all off there was a major earthquake just after arriving in this hospital (this part of the world is active, oh yes…). We were on the top floor of 20 storey building. The nurses, doctors, patients who were mobile got the hell out, leaving us and all other ‘bed-tied’ patients to fend for ourselves…Can you believe it, the staff just left :o Anyway, after the doctors returned (the building didn’t collapse aferall…) and after many unsuccessful OPS I was sent by stretcher by plane to London where I was treated in Stanmore (RNOH) After 3 months there I want home, back to Athens.

So this was a trauma. One minute driving along nicely, next minute foot ripped off. I'm sure this alone has effected me and who i've become as an adult. There was never any therapy or talking about it within the family, it was all 'hush hush, it never happened' good or bad? i don't know. All i know is that i carry on with my life as ''normally'' (yes, what dos that mean anyway? :wacko: )as possible, work, play, love. I have been in some crappy situations just as I’ve been in some wonderful ones…Even though this happened to me when I was very young, I do respect the fact that life is fragile and try to live every moment of it fully. Not always easy but I think it works 70% of the time :)

Did it make me strong? Yes, it did .. I wish i could be weaker though more of the time..hm, maybe that makes sense to some people.

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Well, as for the rose colored glasses.... I don't think there has ever been any here.....

Any one who has asked has been told, yes, you can get through it if you choose.... you will survive, you will adapt, and you will get on with your life...if you so choose to do it and not set and have a pity party.....

When my accident happen, not only was my leg re-attached, and then amputated, but my body was busted up in so many places it wasn't funny... I didn't dare laugh about anything, due to pain from the pelvic fixator holding my together... it hurt like crazy.... For me, the amputation hasn't been nearly as complicated as spending months in the pelvic fixator with only a right hand to use, and a mouth to speak and eat with..

To me, that was hell on earth.....

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ooops, sorry i just realized how i have rambled on. I don't ususally talk about this so when it does come out its kinda like a waterfall effect :wacko: :lol:

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Guest bearlover
I also was born with a congential birth defect..That also lead to my amputation. After many many years of operations and bone graphing. In and out of hospitals and braces and cast..Which only lead to a major bone inferction..I would take that leg back in a heart beat..Amputation has not been easy on me. And not at all what I was told..It is not a easy thing to deal with physically. Mentally Iam doing good. But get with my limitations. Iam much worse off than ever. :wacko:

WOW Karen! That is some story! :o

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ooops, sorry i just realized how i have rambled on. I don't ususally talk about this so when it does come out its kinda like a waterfall effect :rolleyes: :lol:

This forum has that effect, done the same myself. I can totally relate to your story, does it make you stronger, I personally think that the trauma brings out what is already there.

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ooops, sorry i just realized how i have rambled on. I don't ususally talk about this so when it does come out its kinda like a waterfall effect :rolleyes: :lol:

Somebody commented earlier that they couldn't understand the reason for this thread. The quote above pretty much sums it up. Usually we gloss over the intimate details of what happened to us, (and still do to the minute details), and I just wanted to open up a little bit more and let newcomers to the amputee club, and those contemplating it, know that it may not be any "walk in the park", and we are not trying to make it sound like it is, but all here are survivors - and winners. And we keep right on winning day in and day out.

The stories that I have been reading on this - and all of the other threads - just amaze me. It makes me proud to be in your company.

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Jim, I am so glad you started this thread.....as we have all learned.....life is not a bowl of cherries. I believe everyone needs to "Tell it as it really is"!!

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Guest bearlover

ooops, sorry i just realized how i have rambled on. I don't ususally talk about this so when it does come out its kinda like a waterfall effect :rolleyes: :lol:

Somebody commented earlier that they couldn't understand the reason for this thread. The quote above pretty much sums it up. Usually we gloss over the intimate details of what happened to us, (and still do to the minute details), and I just wanted to open up a little bit more and let newcomers to the amputee club, and those contemplating it, know that it may not be any "walk in the park", and we are not trying to make it sound like it is, but all here are survivors - and winners. And we keep right on winning day in and day out.

The stories that I have been reading on this - and all of the other threads - just amaze me. It makes me proud to be in your company.

DITTO JIM! DITTO!

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I guess this is one reason why medals are awarded - so that a person's courage, bravery, strength, or remarkable achievements can be recognised, without them having to re-tell their incredible story to everyone.

But there has to be a place where those stories can be told, so that those who find that courage is now required of them can find inspiration, and those who have survived such incredible trials can, with the help of their peers, continue coming to terms with what that fight has cost them.

There are a great many such highly-decorated people here, and I'm very proud to know you, and be inspired by you.

...and, of course, I salute you.

Roz.

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I guess this is one reason why medals are awarded - so that a person's courage, bravery, strength, or remarkable achievements can be recognised, without them having to re-tell their incredible story to everyone.

But there has to be a place where those stories can be told, so that those who find that courage is now required of them can find inspiration, and those who have survived such incredible trials can, with the help of their peers, continue coming to terms with what that fight has cost them.

There are a great many such highly-decorated people here, and I'm very proud to know you, and be inspired by you.

...and, of course, I salute you.

Roz.

Spoken with eloquence - pride - and passion. Come to America and I'll vote for you - for something. :P :P

Well said.

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Cool, Jim!

We can form a new party - a third party - a WILD party!

...well, that was Alice Cooper's idea! (Elected, 1973)

Best wishes

Roz. :)

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