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Heather Mills - Amputee Forum
Afet

BILATERAL BELOW KNEE AMPUTEES

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I am a female bilateral below knee amputee of 7 months now, and am quite interested to know how any other bilateral b/k amputees are doing.

I lost my legs last year, when I was 24 yrs old due to an infection, leading to septicaemia.

Although I enjoy reading your posts and get much inspiration from other people's experiences/stories, I have a few questions that I think only other bilateral b/k amputees can answer, only because our amputations are slightly different.

How long did it take you to walk completely unaided (ie no stick or crutches, etc)?

How old were you when you lost your legs?

What are you able/unable to do now?

Will I ever get up off a chair without having to use arm strength (like I did previously)?

Can you walk up and down stairs without using a crutch/stick? If yes, how?

What legs do you use?

Are they comfortable and cosmetically pleasing?

Are you able to run?

What is the most useful tip you could give me?

That's all I can think of right now, but will post more questions when they come to mind. I hope you don't mind me asking, but it's just that I've never met another bilateral b/k amp, and anyway, it's easier to ask in the forum than it would face to face (as I also became deaf last year, and rely on lipreading only).

I look forward to your replies, and thank you for taking the time out to help me.

Afet xx

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have a look at this website http://www.markinglis.co.nz

Mark is a bi-lateral below knee amputee - if you contact him I'm sure he'll be able to answer your questions.

Mark lost his legs due to frostbite while in his 20's, he's now late 40's - climbs mountains, cycles runs (up stairs even).

He is a very approachable and helpful guy and I'm sure he will be able to answer all you questions.

David

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Hi,

I was 19 when I became a BBK due to bacterial meningitis. I learned to walk rather quickly. They gave me a set of canes, but I tripped on them & politely gave them back. My therapist wasn't much help. She told me to walk with my legs shoulder width apart & swing my arms in opposition of the moving leg. I was trudging around like Frankenstein. As soon as she left the room, & I was confident that I wasn't going to fall flat on my ***, I tried it my way. Meaning I just tried to walk like I had done for 19 yrs. It worked! :o

I guess at that age body image is a prority & demands of social life, bars & guys, etc. made me want to appear as "normal" as I could. So I've always tried to walk without thinking about walking. Make sense? Most people never noticed & prosthetists have often commented on my "gait". Then again on a bad day, Frankenstein does tend to resurface!

My first set was a pretty good fit. I had nothing to compare it with, but it got me around. Asthetically it sucked. I am still in my second set. I'm 41 now. I know I'm soooo overdue! My skin is pretty scarred so it's makes it a bit harder to fit me comfortably. So I just keep adding socks & changing feet. ;) I'm going to try the new seal in liner by Iceross. Sounds promising...no sleeves. :D

I never enjoyed running so I don't miss it. I am fairly active, & I have 2 boys & I drive a car unaided.

As for fashion.....I don't wear shorts. I don't think I'd find it much cooler & quite frankly I'm not comfortable showing off my gams no matter how much they cost. ;) Pretty much the same theory on dresses. My biggest gripe; HIGH HEELS! I know there are adaptable feet, I've tried them. It's just not a comfortable gait. It's like with stairs. They're doable, but it would be so much easier if we had ankles.

My advise......do whatever works for you.If you want to run, make your prosthetist get you there. If you think the fit is off stay strong in your convictions, you're the one who has to wear it. I've never been one of those people who say I've become a better person since this happened. Personally, I think I was pretty decent as I was. I just decided to play the hand I was dealt. It's not what I wanted but it definitely isn't the worst thing that could have happened to me. Just keeping things in perspective.

Hope this helped.

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Hi, I am also a female bilateral below knee, from the age of 12 due to an RTA. This was over 30 years ago and graduated with different limbs and from crutches, to sticks, to walking unaided. But have still got the same crutches and will use them when needed. My teenage years were not a lot different from my peers, part-time jobs, college, disco's (that shows my age!) and boyfriends. I worked, got married and have had 3 children. I also drive, but with hand controls.

If you have read my comments on other sites you'll see am currently having probs. with the limbs, but am currently considering revision surgery and/or diff. types of limbs. Stairs have been more of a prob. recently but in the past had no probs. Usually there is a handrail anyway. However, having said that in recent years have tried out some of the new liners and have found they hindered climbing stairs.

I have never jumped or ran with the prosthesis, but the components were not available then, even now if that is what you want, you will prob. have to push for it, specially if you are in the UK.

Shoes have always been a bit of prob. I have always stuck to the same heel height, but self-adjusting feet are on the market now.

I am sure you will do well and do everything you want to do, it is a challenge and a journey, for me I hardly remember anything else. you are welcome to mail me if you have any other questions.

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Thank you so much for your replies! :D

Firstly, David, thanks for giving me details of the Mark Inglis website. After your recommendation, I wrote him an email with some questions, and he has already replied! You're right, he is a very helpful guy, as well as truly inspirational. I can't believe he's planning to climb Mount Everest in 2005!! :o

Sanicki, thank you for your honest and informative reply. It was very helpful. And I am so glad you also say that you've "never been one of those people who say I've become a better person since this happened." I agree COMPLETELY. I was quite happy with myself before too. But, as you quite rightly said, it's just a case of DECIDING to play the cards that we have been dealt. What kind of life would we have if we chose the other options anyway....? ;)

Ann, thank you too. Another really helpful post. It's good to hear both your perspective on things. I'm amazed you and Sanicki both drive as well! I never drove before, and had already accepted that I'd never be able to now....Silly me! I suppose cars can be adapted for everybody. Well, "never say never!" :P

And Lili, after recently finding out you are a quad amputee, well, what can I say..? Thank you so much for replying. I know you're a bit of a whizz with typing on the computer now, but it can't be as easy for you as it is for some of us. You are an inspiration to us all! Whenever I feel that things are too difficult for me, I will remember you and what you must have to go through every day. I know that, having septicaemia myself (which is probably what you had also) I was very lucky to have been spared my hands, although my fingertips had turned black too. But, fortunately, they're all ok and back to normal now. The websites you recommended were really great too. Wendy is one amazing woman! I don't think I'll ever feel limited again!! B)

So, thank you all for your support, tips and encouragement and I wish you all the best with your walking and EVERYTHING that you do, my FRIENDS! :D

Will keep you posted on how things go!

Afet xxx

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