Month: June 2024

Staying Motivated

Staying Motivated


How to Challenge Yourself Through Life’s Storms

 

What do you when you’ve lost your motivation?

What has you derailed?

This is often a problem for anyone going through a medical issue, including amputees.

As a 5 year amputee myself, I have a different story, one I want to share.

I spent most of my life participating in sports of one kind or another, only taking a break when we started our family.

As the boys grew so did my desire to get active again, for myself, my physical and mental well-being.

I joined karate with my kids when they were just littles, and I really enjoyed the challenge of it and feeling a part of something.

Unfortunately, onely about 2 years into it I tore my MCL which led to multiple surgeries over 5 years. I gained weight, a lot, and lost my drive.

When it got to a point that I wasn’t going to get better, and I had tried everything, a blood clot came along to drive me to the lumeing decision to amputate, and that I did, 5 years after the initial injury.

At this point, I was prepping my body and mind for what was to come and with that I began to set goals and challenges, after all I was ready to attack life once again…too many years of sitting around on my butt.

The very first challenge was learning how to walk again.

The beginning of the journey-My first prosthetic and me at my heaviest since my injury

 

 

This was no easy task and with the pain of amputation/surgery, ill-fitting sockets due to atrophy and weight change, and the actual weight of the prosthesis, I was in for a really challenging few months. But I was determined.

 

For the first 3 years the volume of my residual limb changed a LOT!

 

I had to learn to put my mindset into the positive and in hyper-overdrive. I needed to find something to push me, so I decided on virtual races.

My virtual race medal wall. My motivation to keep going!

 

I could do them on my time, in my area, and with no one else around. I was going to use these races to push myself to wear and master my prosthesis. My very first race was 150 mile spring virtual race! I calculated my daily miles to figure out how to finish on time and then set out to walk the miles.

Can I tell you, in all honesty, that the first day I set out to do my 2 miles (easy, right?) I could only muster up the energy and tolerance to walk to our mailbox!!! 1/4 mile total walk! I was doomed!

But, the next day I got started and walked another block further than the day before. I continued on this path, having good days and bad and taking advantage of the good days, and pressed forward. I was determined to win this mental and physical challenge, each and everyday!

Was it easy? Not a chance! But it was plausible and that was all I needed to rise to the challenge and succeed.

Some days I could get my 2 miles in, and then the very next day I could only go as far as around the block.

I tell you this because the path isn’t always straight forward. You can be doing really good one day and then nerve pains, or the fit, can take you out. You should know this going in so as to give yourself some grace and not get down on yourself.

I talk about Practice makes Permanence, not Practice makes Perfect. 5 years in and I still have days where I see my gait looking lazy or off, I still watch and correct, but I have learned muscle memory and I know right from wrong as I walk.

Practice makes permanence

 

Setting goals early on in your amputee journey, or any journey for that matter, is important to building healthy habits. There are no shortcuts to figuring it out, you just need to put in the work and build experience. A great basketball player doesn’t just shoot during the game, they practice that free throw hundreds of times a week, maybe even a day, to build muscle memory and get the form down. Why would learning how to walk again in a prosthetic be any different?

Spend the time in it, get use the feel, get good at the stride, practice the little things everyday, and take breaks when you need them, but keep pushing. It will come and then you’ll be able to move onto the next challenge you set before you.

 

 

Of course this week’s challenge is to challenge yourself.

Set a new goal, one that you know you can accomplish without it being too easy. Pick something you have been dying to accomplish (like getting stronger walking in your new prosthetic). Now figure out a plan that will get you from point A to point B, and give yourself a specific deadline. Mine happen to come with their own deadlines, being virtual races had “complete by” dates assigned to them. They were a challenge, for sure, but it was good for accountability reasons. I couldn’t wiggle out of those deadlines, not if I was being true to myself, and why wouldn’t I want to be true to myself? Don’t I deserve that?

You can do this.

Drop me a message and let me know what you’re challenging yourself with and then get after it!

You can do this!

You are a warrior, so attack life like a warrior!

 

I hope you found this to be motivating and you take on this Call to Action.

Have a beautiful week, and until next time,

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!

 

Much love,

 

My funny girl
Picking Apart Phantom Pain

Picking Apart Phantom Pain

The Real Mental Side of Phantom Pain

 

Ok, let’s talk about Pain. Not just any pain, but the “real” phantom pain.

It comes on without warning.

It can destroy our mood, our productivity, and our confidence.

When it does happen, and for amputees we will all have the pleasure of experiencing it at some point on our journey, it’s enough to cause us to doubt we will ever be able to function again because we can’t see an end to it in sight. It’s the most disabling thing about being an amputee because we cannot control it.

Just two weekends ago I experienced one of my many episodes of phantom pain. I was fine when I woke on Sunday morning, enjoyed a few hours of “normalcy” then out of the blue, like lightning strikes, I was seized with a multitude of sharp, knife driving pains, in the bottom of my non-existent foot!

At first it was just startling and I was wracking my brain as to why it might be acting up. You see, for me, I know what things might cause me to have a flair up of pains from the activities of the day or night before, but not this day. Nothing I could have done would prepare me for this nor could I comprehend what had made these phantom pains come on.

As the day wore on these flashes of pain came more sudden and more often. They are so real feeling that my “foot” was getting sore from all the stabbing.

The prickles on the cactus and thorns on the tree remind me of the sharpness of my phantom pains

 

If that isn’t a mental attack on the brain I don’t know what is!

If you are an amputee you need to make sure you have a toolbox of info and memories to use as you navigate throu9gh each episode of phantom pains.

Join me today as I discuss what a toolbox is and how you create one.

Remember to be kind to yourself when these pains hit. They will try to crush you and break your spirit but you can and will get stronger with each experience. Just know that it’s ok to shut down for a while as your head tries to understand what’s happening to your body.

You are strong enough and you will make it through.

These episodes don’t last forever, and you will soar once again.

 

Be the warrior you were meant to be and rise up!

 

And as always,

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!!

 

much love,