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Why Can't I do this?1

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I became an amputee 12/24/10, Merry Xmas!. I received my prosthesis probably around Sept of 2011. I never really had any rehab to speak of. I see and read stories of other amputees walking and I wonder to myself, why can't I do this? I have become so frustarted I really want to give up. How long does it take? I know everyone is diferent(blah,blah,blah)but really? I am sick and tired of this walker, putting this leg on for what. Its heavy as hell. When will it get easier?

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I became an amputee 12/24/10, Merry Xmas!. I received my prosthesis probably around Sept of 2011. I never really had any rehab to speak of. I see and read stories of other amputees walking and I wonder to myself, why can't I do this? I have become so frustarted I really want to give up. How long does it take? I know everyone is diferent(blah,blah,blah)but really? I am sick and tired of this walker, putting this leg on for what. Its heavy as hell. When will it get easier?

I became a left below knee amputee on 8/25/10 due to a car hitting my husband and I when we were riding his Harley. By the way my husband is also a left below knee amputee. I hear your frustration and I remember feeling that way too. I don't know how you lost your leg, whether you are a below knee or above knee amputee, or what caused the amputation but I can tell you what I know worked for me.

I am a physical therapist so I had a head start in terms of knowing what to expect and what I needed to do to get better. I did not go to a rehab center but I did demand out patient physical therapy. They can give you exercises to do that will help in walking. Walking as exercise is not enough. You have to strengthen your hip muscles in particular because the demand on them will be different with a prosthesis. They can also give you encouragement and emotional support for what you are going through and everyone needs that. It is a huge life change and it can feel really lonely. I was fortunate because my husband was going through the same thing at the same time but, even so, we experienced it differently and it helped me to have someone else to discuss my feelings with.

I received my first prosthesis in November of 2010 so I wonder why you had to wait 10 months for yours. The first day after I got my new "leg" I was in tears. It was nothing like my other leg, not even close, and I couldn't see how I could live and work with this thing on my leg. For the next 2-3 months my leg started to shrink and I kept adding more and more socks until I was at 30 ply altogether. I was pretty disgusted during this whole time with this process and again couldn't envision this as the rest of my life. However, I had been doing a lot of research and discovering different options for sockets and suspension systems and I talked a lot with my prosthetist to find out what he could and couldn't do and what would work for me specifically. I also did what you are doing - going on forums and reading what other people had experienced. It is good that you are asking why your experience is different from other peoples experience. That is the beginning of advocating for yourself. I now have a prosthesis that is really good for me with a foot that is energy storing and together they make the leg feel lighter and much easier to walk with. Sometimes, like in my case, the first foot you get is very basic and the next foot is sooooo much better you won't believe the difference. It took me about 8 months to be walking the way I wanted and I still work on it to get it as "normal" as possible. Some of that is professional pride (how can I ask my patients to do something I'm not willing to do) and some of it is just me. My husband doesn't care half as much as I do about walking well.

So what i am trying to say is that it will get better but you get out of it what you put into it. That means consistent exercise and practice walking and searching out what will work for you. Unfortunately no one can give you what you need unless you know what that is and tell them. If you are tired of the walker try to use a cane or crutches or one crutch for short distances in your house. And get to therapy so you at least know what muscles you need to strengthen and how to do it. Don't settle for where you are because you can do as well as everyone else who is on this forum and I know you will. I know you will because I can tell you want to and that is the beginning.

My husband and I each, separately, went to a psychologist to talk out our grief, fear, etc. I only went once and that was enough for me. My husband felt a lot of guilt and had post traumatic stress to deal with (he saw my injuries at the accident scene) so he went for 2-3 months. Please ask for what you need and don't stop asking until you get it. It is no small thing to lose a leg and there is a lot to deal with both physically and emotionally. I am a person of faith and so I hope it won't offend you to say I will be praying for you.

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Thank you for your words of encouragement!. I am trying to stay positive, but this something new for me. By the way I am an above the knee amputee. The out patient therapist has given me some exercises to do, so away we go. took so long to get my prosthesis because I had no insurance so I had to wait for the state insurance to kick in. Unfortunately or fortunately my insurance has changed and i will be going to a whole different company. So I'll be starting at the beginning of this frustrating process, hopefully this time it will go alot smoother.

Again Thank you, for your time and kind words!

I became an amputee 12/24/10, Merry Xmas!. I received my prosthesis probably around Sept of 2011. I never really had any rehab to speak of. I see and read stories of other amputees walking and I wonder to myself, why can't I do this? I have become so frustarted I really want to give up. How long does it take? I know everyone is diferent(blah,blah,blah)but really? I am sick and tired of this walker, putting this leg on for what. Its heavy as hell. When will it get easier?

I became a left below knee amputee on 8/25/10 due to a car hitting my husband and I when we were riding his Harley. By the way my husband is also a left below knee amputee. I hear your frustration and I remember feeling that way too. I don't know how you lost your leg, whether you are a below knee or above knee amputee, or what caused the amputation but I can tell you what I know worked for me.

I am a physical therapist so I had a head start in terms of knowing what to expect and what I needed to do to get better. I did not go to a rehab center but I did demand out patient physical therapy. They can give you exercises to do that will help in walking. Walking as exercise is not enough. You have to strengthen your hip muscles in particular because the demand on them will be different with a prosthesis. They can also give you encouragement and emotional support for what you are going through and everyone needs that. It is a huge life change and it can feel really lonely. I was fortunate because my husband was going through the same thing at the same time but, even so, we experienced it differently and it helped me to have someone else to discuss my feelings with.

I received my first prosthesis in November of 2010 so I wonder why you had to wait 10 months for yours. The first day after I got my new "leg" I was in tears. It was nothing like my other leg, not even close, and I couldn't see how I could live and work with this thing on my leg. For the next 2-3 months my leg started to shrink and I kept adding more and more socks until I was at 30 ply altogether. I was pretty disgusted during this whole time with this process and again couldn't envision this as the rest of my life. However, I had been doing a lot of research and discovering different options for sockets and suspension systems and I talked a lot with my prosthetist to find out what he could and couldn't do and what would work for me specifically. I also did what you are doing - going on forums and reading what other people had experienced. It is good that you are asking why your experience is different from other peoples experience. That is the beginning of advocating for yourself. I now have a prosthesis that is really good for me with a foot that is energy storing and together they make the leg feel lighter and much easier to walk with. Sometimes, like in my case, the first foot you get is very basic and the next foot is sooooo much better you won't believe the difference. It took me about 8 months to be walking the way I wanted and I still work on it to get it as "normal" as possible. Some of that is professional pride (how can I ask my patients to do something I'm not willing to do) and some of it is just me. My husband doesn't care half as much as I do about walking well.

So what i am trying to say is that it will get better but you get out of it what you put into it. That means consistent exercise and practice walking and searching out what will work for you. Unfortunately no one can give you what you need unless you know what that is and tell them. If you are tired of the walker try to use a cane or crutches or one crutch for short distances in your house. And get to therapy so you at least know what muscles you need to strengthen and how to do it. Don't settle for where you are because you can do as well as everyone else who is on this forum and I know you will. I know you will because I can tell you want to and that is the beginning.

My husband and I each, separately, went to a psychologist to talk out our grief, fear, etc. I only went once and that was enough for me. My husband felt a lot of guilt and had post traumatic stress to deal with (he saw my injuries at the accident scene) so he went for 2-3 months. Please ask for what you need and don't stop asking until you get it. It is no small thing to lose a leg and there is a lot to deal with both physically and emotionally. I am a person of faith and so I hope it won't offend you to say I will be praying for you.

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I agree with what Kitkat had to say. You get out what you put in. I worked very hard to achieve balance so my walking would be smooth and unnoticed by most. I don't know why I worried so much when I wear shorts 8 months of the year. I can't speak much about an AK leg as I am BK. If the fit is good, it shouldn't feel so heavy. The more the leg becomes a part of you, the less it will feel so heavy.

Determination is the name of this game. My third legman did more for me physically than the first two and the physical therapist put together. He was an amputee himself and had a lot of empathy for his patients.

It is a process and part of that process is finding a very knowledgable legperson you like who does great work.

Good luck to you and keep us informed.

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Not a lot that I can add to the advice you've gotten...but I will emphasize that if your prosthesis feels heavy to you -- and continues to feel heavy even after you've spent a good deal of time working on your strength -- you could be dealing with a "fit" problem. As in, your leg may not be fitting properly! If that's the case, don't be afraid to go back to your prosthetist and ask for adjustments. The better your leg fits, the more it feels like a part of you, as opposed to being a weight strapped onto your body.

I can tell you that the first time I walked for any distance in my prosthesis, I used a walker, went all of fifty yards to my mailbox, and had to sit and rest because I was exhausted! Today, I live a normal life with normal mobility...it DOES get better as you work at it!

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Am thinking the same as Cheryl regards 'fit', my prostheses always feel 'heavy' when they don't fit properly, usually when they are too big. As Cheryl says you will need to continue to go back to your prosthetist for adjustments, probably quite frequently within the first year or so of using the prosthesis.

And, like others have said the walking is a gradual process, you will need to put on the prosthesis every day and wearing it a bit longer each day, gradually build up the walking up going a bit further each time - try also to do some of your normal indoor routines wearing the prosthesis, when we begin to wear a prosthesis, as you've probably already discovered everything seems hard work and its actually easier to leave the prosthesis off to do things around the house, but you need to gradually build up doing these things with the prosthesis on so it becomes normal (though there might always be times when certain things are easier to do without it on) ..... though all this will be much more difficult if the prosthesis doesn't fit, so get it checked out. Also keep up those post-op exercises especially the core ones, I know it sounds a bit like a full-time job and it is for a while but it does become easier.

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It generally takes a while for an AK amputee to adjust to a prosthetic. I am a hip disartic and became depressed after receiving my prosthetic. I was encouraged by so many stories, that the reality was too hard to handle. At the time, I gave up trying to use a prosthetic, choosing to use crutches only. Recently, I have started thinking of trying my prosthetic again...this time I know that it may take me a long time to really feel comfortable and proficient...but it may also be worth it. So hang in there...know that it will take time...don't be discouraged by others that don't understand that it is not something that comes easy...if things don't feel right complain until it feels right. Rehab might help you a lot more than you think. Building up your muscles as others have mentioned is also key. You might want to see if a crutch or cane would help you stand straighter and aid in improving your gait. Sometimes walkers cause people to lean forward unnaturally. Also know that there are many people who don't use prosthetics...You will find your way in time, no matter what you choose. Wishing you only the best...

Lorri

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Hello!!

I understand your concerns,, been there done that. I am a aka left due to severe bloodclots on may 26,2010. I started physical thearpy the next day inpatient. after discharge continued thearpy at center three days a week for two hrs a day.. saying that i prepared with all i had for prostetic. i knew if i kept my core strong id do better,, but still i recieved my prostetic on august 5,2010. as you said it was heavy,bulky, and just honest a pain in my rear, literaly. i had problems that i never expected. i could not have done it without thearpy sessions,, weight shift, control, trust. you are not gonna do anything with that leg if you do not trust it and what it can or cannot do, yes that might mean sniffing the floor a few times, but hey as long as therapist are there to catch you and soften the fall then thats when you should do it.. This is your first leg, i promise the next one will be alot better, i got my new suction socket a few months ago, and it has made a world of difference ,it is lighter , easier to move, and i contribute that all to a better fitting socket. if the socket does not fitt right on us aka we are in misery,, its heavier, bulky slides shifts digs places its not suppose too. The one thing to do is this someone told me in the beginng to start keeping a daily/weekly diary on paper and in six months time reread it and i would see i was progressing more than i thought.. i laughed at that time and thought no way,, but hey they was right. i could not believe it when i reread it.. Not to say i still do not become frustrated at times,but i promise it does get easier.you just have to take baby steps.

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