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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!

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Hi Marion and Lauren,

I am not sure where the post on returning to school is , but CONGRATULATIONS Lauren for taking on the challenges. It seems like your mom and dad have helped put in some great support. Not even knowing you well at all I am sure you will conquer each challenge month by month--you are a gutsy young woman!l! Know I will be thinking of and pray for you and look forward to updates. One thing all amps need to adjust to is the staring--it really helped me when I realize they were curious not judgmental.

A funny incident happened to me last week. I volunteer two afternoons a week at the Habitat Restore. Over the last two years I have gotten to know a number of the "regulars" well. I have a service dog to help me and when a regular saw her--I guess for the first time (she is very quiet and good) she asked why I had her. I said I had no leg. She said, "What do you mean? I came around the corner of the desk and pointed to my prothesis and she almost had a heart attack, she kept telling me she was sorry, she was sorry, probably 10-15 times. When I got her calmed and told her I was doing very well and it wasn't much of an issuel any more. I knew she wasn't being judgemental, but concerned about me. In the begining I had to remind myself that they were not judging.

One thing I have been dealing with in the last couple of years is people being too helpful. I know I have hurt a few feelings by insisting I can really do it--I almost lost a friendship with this. Your true friends need to realize this and let you do what you can do even if they could do it faster. As time progresses you will be doing more and more things and your friends have to adjust to that too.

Blessings on your new great adventure!!!

Peace and blessings, Beth Marie

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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!

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Fabulous, Marion! As Lauren continues to branch out and develop what will become her "new normal" life, the rest of your family will also develop a new normality. I know that it can sound odd now, but you'll all get to the point where any limitations that Lauren may have will be considered more of an "inconvenience" than anything else.

Please do keep checking in with us, whether you have questions or want to report new developments...even though Lauren is off on her own, we all feel that we know her through you, and we care about what happens to all of you!

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Thank you Cheryl!

I am happy to report that Lauren has survived her first week of classes! She has said that it is definitely a radical adjustment, and she's still processing it all and taking it in. It's going to take time. Her classes went well, and the note-taker is proving to be invaluable. While Lauren can write somewhat legibly holding the pen with her toes, it just wouldn't work in the context of a fast-paced class, so it seems like we have a good solution. She's getting used to her aid, and they're developing a good rapport from what I can tell and from Lauren says. It's a definite adjustment to having someone new shower you, help in the bathroom, etc, but she's taking it in stride. The hardest part does seem to be the social aspect, with all of the staring and such, as you would expect. Her friends are being super helpful and supportive, and Lauren is very happy to be back with them - And to see some of her friends from school who she didn't get to see over the summer after her amputations. I do think she's going to have to learn to become even more comfortable in her own skin and with her new body, but she's doing great so far!

Best,

Marion

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Hi Marion and Lauren,\,

I don't see it here, but I am delighted that Lauren survived her first week at University--she has the gumption she will need to flourish. The stares are hard at first, but do become easier. One of my favourite things to do is when young ones are staring at my leg I say, "it is a pretty neat robot leg isn't it?" They relax, parent are happy their child's question did not cause a national explosion and I can actually teach the children about amputees and what a service dog is. But it took a fair bit of time to feel ok doing this, so patience is the word. As I think about Lauren and pray for her (and you), which I do frequently I hope I will get to meet this amazing team at the Amputee Coalition meeting next July. The first conference I went to was life changing for me and I always have a great time and learn so much each time I have gone.

I am sure, Marion, that life has changed for you. You have been devoted to Lauren it sounds like 24 hours a day. I hope you are able to fill some of that time with something you really enjoy--of course after a long rest.

Peace and blessings, Beth Marie

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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.

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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

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Thanks for the update, Marion! I think Lauren's making wonderful progress...and the fact that she's maintaining her grades in spite of all the other challenges she's having to adjust to is amazing!

I know it can be disconcerting for many people to deal with someone who appears "different"...please help Lauren keep in mind that her "difference" does not affect who she is. Her friends sound like they already grasp that, and as the other students around her become more familiar with her "new look" and see her interacting with her friends "the same as usual," they will start coming around again.

I hope all of you are doing well and are enjoying the summer/fall transition...that's one of my favorite times of the year!

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Hi Marion and Lauren,

It is great news that Lauren (you) are doing so well at school. Really, I am not surprised as you arer a real gutsy person--both of you!!

Peace, Beth Marie

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Thank you, All! Lauren came home to visit last weekend and it was so good to see her! She is definitely making progress. It's hard to imagine that just less than 2 months ago, she was so completely dependent on others, and now she's able to do some things on her own, with just minimal assistance. She has gotten very good at feeding herself, and really only needs help with cutting. She's also gotten much better at dressing herself, and really only needs help with pants, dresses, etc. It's so amazing to see her do things like put a shirt on or brush her teeth! These things seem so mundane to us, but relative to where Lauren was just a few months ago, major progress has been made, and I know that she's continuing to develop her skills and her independence. She also is definitely gaining confidence. I think part of this is driven by her growing independence, but it's also being driven by the fact that she's surrounded by friends and a great support system at school who are rooting for her. While she still does definitely have her down moments, she's come to really rely on her friends to be there for her, and they have been!

I hope everyone is enjoying fall, and I will definitely continue to post updates!

Best,

Marion

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Hooray for Lauren!!! I think you've all turned a corner here, Marion...there comes a time when a horrible, all-consuming event that sits right in the middle of your life demanding that you focus on it becomes...well...just a horrible event that happened. And then you start rebuilding a normal life. Sounds like Lauren is headed that way! Good for her, good for her wonderful friends, and good for you! Do keep us posted!

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Hello everyone!

I can't believe it's been so long since my last note here - Time sure does fly. I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Lauren came home for the holiday, and is now back at school where she's prepping for the final exams. It's hard to believe that the semester just flew by. Thanksgiving went very well. We went to my sister's house, along with 20 other cousins and relatives. For many of them, it was their first time seeing Lauren since her amputations. Those types of situations are normally somewhat hard for Lauren, but she handled it really well and everyone was just so supportive and loving - Not to mention surprised to see just how much Lauren can do on her own! While Lauren did need some assistance eating her Thanksgiving meal, she was able to a really good job using her feet - I was definitely proud, and definitely happy to see just how much progress she's made since she was home last. She's also getting much better at dressing herself, which is a great accomplishment. One thing that we didn't think about upon her return to NY was her footwear. When she's down at school, where it's much warmer, she typically will wear flip flops or sandals that she can easily slip her feet in and out of, but here in NY, it's freezing, so she had to wear shoes and uggs that were much harder for her to take on and off by herself to get access to her feet. This is definitely a learning experience, and Lauren was so good at just going with the flow and trying to adapt. Her resilience is amazing.

Lauren is back at school now getting ready for finals, and then she'll be back for winter break and the holidays. I can't wait to have her back home!

All the best,

Marion

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Hi Marion--and Lauren,

It is great to hear from you and learn Lauren ius doing so well--I really am not surprised she is--that woman has spunk! I am sure the shoes were a hassle. I know you have had lots of snow, but I live in Canada where we get a bit of snow--I live in BC thankfully so we get less although we got 8" of heavy wet stuff last week. Due to damage of my "good" leg in the accident I have to wear sandles all year round and only put on boots if I have to go our and shovel. I find that the day after the snow most places are shoveled and I can get by with sandles. Just a thought--at least she spend most of her time in a warm place. I wish you both a wonderful and blessed Christmas and really look forward to meeting you in July in AZ.

Peace, Beth Marie

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Good to get an update on Lauren's continuing progress! I'm up well past bedtime tonight/this morning, and I'm pretty close to being asleep here, so I'll just wish you, Lauren, and all the rest of the family all the best. Think back on where you all were last May and feel very proud of how far you've all come!

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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!

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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.

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Hi Marion and Laureen,

Thanks for the update. I am glad Laureen is doing so well--give her a BIG congratulations from me. Are you both going to be able to attend the Amputee Coalition meeting in July? It would be great to meet you both in person.

Blessings, Beth Marie

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Hi, all...I'm back at last, following another hospital stay for yet another foot wound.......(sigh)..... Marion, it's great to get the updates on Lauren...I hope the phantom pain is getting worked out for her.

I'm so glad to hear that you both are planning on attending the Amputee Coalition conference this summer...I'm sure it'll be a good experience for both of you, and it would really be great if we could get to meet you!

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Cheryl, I hope you're recovering well - Sorry to hear you were in the hospital!

Lauren came home for a long weekend this past weekend. It was great having her back home here in cold, snowy New York! With the temperatures so low, she obviously couldn't wear her flip flops, so it was a bit more of a challenge for her than usual, as we had to help her in and out of her boots. She handled it very well though! Lauren spent a lot of time with her sister and visited a friend who was also home for the weekend. It was too cold to walk around the city, so they just hung out and had a great time - It was really nice for her. Thankfully, the phantom pain has gotten a lot better... Though she still does have bouts of phantom sensation (i.e. feeling her hands). Though this is obviously frustrating, it's naturally much better than pain, so we'll take it. Valentine's Day was a bit rough for Lauren in terms of reflecting on her relationship status and her perceived prospects, but she pulled thru and I have no doubt that she'll find someone who loves her for who she is beyond her limbs.

All in all, it was a good visit home for Lauren... and now she's back in warm weather at school, which she loves.

Hope all is well,

Marion

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Hi everyone. I ran into this thread by chance and it was really neat to see someone post about Tishaunarmed. She's my fiancé and her and I both plan to attend the ACA conference this year. I'm a left bk amputee and prosthetist. SOme of the videos that Tisha made are ones that we thought up together. Marion, I hope your daughter is adjusting well, it seems like she is. It would definitely be great for her to find others like herself. That is one thing that helped TIsha a lot, not being the only one like her. You should have your daughter reach out to Tisha on her facebook page, Tishaunarmed, should be easy to find. If she does, i'll be sure to let her know to look out for her. Her inbox gets flooded with people so it's hard to weed through that sometimes.

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Thank you! Tisha is amazing - I just watched some of her videos. I will definitely tell Lauren to reach out to her. I appreciate it, and agree that finding someone else in a similar situation goes such a long way.

It's hard to believe that the semester is starting to shift already to final prep and such - It's gone by so quickly! Lauren is doing very well and continues to adapt and adjust to her new life.

Best,

Marion

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Hey there..sorry for the late reply. I hope to see you and everyone else at the ACA convention this year. Tisha wants to meet Lauren and there are a few other armless friends we are planning to meet up with while there. I'll be working at the event and attending classes while there but Tisha usually just wanders around while I'm busy. If you and Lauren want to meet us on facebook first and get to know one another you can pm me. We have a lot of friends on there and can introduce you to our small community! it's fun to share stories and meet, so I'd encourage her to reach out to others. it's helped us a lot. Talk soon.

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