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Mikeyc1984

Hey, I'm Mike.

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Hey, I'm Mike. My mom had a right leg amputation a few months ago, she had a severe blood clot in her aorta that sent pieces to her left kidney(but it's doing well), and several small clots to her right leg. After 4 surgeries, and a lung disease that caused her to be on a ventilator for a while, she's home, back to work part time, and just beginning to walk with a prosthetic. I should have utilized this forum earlier, but she was doing very well with her recovery for a while. She seems to have hit a roadblock though. Physically, she's progressing well. Mentally, she's taken a strong turn downward. She's 61, but had been in good health before the past year. I guess I just have questions on how to deal with the mental and emotional things that she is going through. I can push wheelchairs and guide her when she's learning to walk again, and all that. But I'm clueless on how to motivate her mentally. Thanks for your time.

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I think it would be helpful if you can find an amputee peer visitor program so she could meet someone like herself who has adjusted successfully to being an amputee. I'm 60 and have been an above knee amputee since I was 26.  I had my amputation due to cancer and was at a cancer hospital where I had the opportunity to meet other amputees like me.  It was very inspiring and motivated me to do well because I could see what was possible.  It is different though to go through this when you're older.  However meeting another amputee would be good I think as long as she is interested in doing so.

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Good advice from Gibby, again, as long as your mom is feeling up to connecting with other amputees...it can seem a little unnerving at first, but a successful and well-adjusted amputee can say and do things that, as much as you'd like to, you simply can't provide to your mom.  On your end, I'd suggest that you just be supportive and let her feel whatever she's feeling.  You say it's been only a few months...her emotions are going to be all over the place as she sorts out the realization that the amputation has really, truly, permanently altered the way she's going to be doing things.  It's fairly common to think that, once you get your prosthesis, life automatically "goes back to normal."  In reality, "normal" returns in bits and pieces over a fairly longish period of time.  The older you are, the more difficult it can seem.  (I was fifty...it was probably a little over a year before I felt like I was approaching "normal."  Little kids, on the other hand seem to adjust so easily!) 

You CAN reassure her that the fact that she was in good shape prior to her problems will make the adjustments easier...which it will.  And you can encourage her to keep track of her progress: it might help her to keep a diary of her accomplishments.  I know, for me, I tried to be aware of how well I was able to get around various places...if I could remember that, the last time I climbed those stairs I was shaky and breathless--but this time I was not breathless and only a little unsteady--it was something I could SEE as progress and feel good about.

"Normal" will return as she learns more about what her prosthesis will do for her and comes up with ways to work around what the prosthesis won't do.  Is her amputation above or below her knee?  Above knee can take longer to adjust to and will use more energy than a below knee prosthesis, but both can get you back to a normal life. 

All the best to both of you!

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