Category: Podcast

To Move or Not To Move

To Move or Not To Move

Changing Our Environment To Aid in Self-Preservation

We’re moving!!

It’s so real now!!! No turning back!

 

The end of another chapter. 😢

 

Well, this is it! I have been not been able to discuss this until now. As of 2 days ago we are officially new home owners, and of a ranch home. No more stairs for this amputee!! Laundry on the same level as my bedroom! Woo hoo!  I am not writing a lot here this week as I am currently standing in my new home, no furniture and people working around the house to get it ready for our official move next Tuesday, but I will tell you that moving as an amputee has been on our minds for 2 years (plus the years prior to amputation while I was dealing with multiple knee surgeries) but we just never felt it was the right time. Then out of nowhere, BAM! we found this beautiful home, perfect for all of us. The pieces all fell where they needed to and now a dream has become a reality. I am so blessed with a husband always working so hard and watching out for my needs. Our hope is that this will be the home we can retire in, have family visit, and watch grandbabies (a long ways off😉) grow up and play.

Below are some sneak peeks of the new home.

Also, check out my You Tube channel  

I made a video of my podcast in our new home. Please forgive my lack of editing and the echo as all of my office equipment has been packed-I’m in limbo!

 

Enjoy and as always:

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!!

 

Much love,

Angie

The new kitchen!

 

Long hallways in ranch homes! I’ll probably make my steps just by going back and forth in here!

 

 

My new and improved podcasting and crafting space!! Soooo excited!!

 

 

Out backyard is truly a desert oasis!🥰
Rise To The Challenge

Rise To The Challenge

Run The Race Set Before You

 

It’s time to get off that couch and put your leg on. Let’s do this! If not today, then when?

I will tell you that the amputation wasn’t the end of a journey but the very beginning of another. Life is a journey so I don’t know why I thought any different with amputation. Now the real work comes in. You need to heal, and then get your socket fitted and THEN learn to walk all over again!  No one can truly prepare you for what’s to come with amputation but I will tell you that no matter what you are facing with yours, you CAN do anything! You just need to press on and learn to adapt.

For me it was about perseverance, distraction and goal setting. You will have good days and bad days, and knowing this will allow you to “bounce back” when the going gets tough. I didn’t realize this, at first, and when I began to struggle I thought it was going to be down, down, down, with no recovery…. that’s how my last 7 years had gone with surgeries, so why would this be any different? But then over the course of these past two years I realized that my residual limb changes size and shape and that will dictate how my socket fits, which, in turn, dictated some of my struggles and pains. But those bad moments, or struggles, were short lived and then good times would return. NOW that I know this I can take those “bad” days in stride, and not lose sleep over them (although, sometimes I do because of  the phantom pain 😉 Haha! Humor is good medicine, by the way.

Humor helps get through hard days. Don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself.

 

I started my journey, back to walking, by deciding to give virtual races a try. I am highly competitive with myself so when I set a goal, I will succeed. My 1st race was 175 miles in 3 months. I started this one just a couple months after getting my prosthetic! I figured, what’s the best way to get use to your new leg- use it, and use it A LOT! I would need to put in 2 miles everyday to catch up since I registered a little late. You know what? It was hard! But I stuck with it, logged all my miles and made the goal of 175 miles! And the pure joy of receiving my finisher’s medal stuck with me…so I registered for the next one, which was 150 miles! and then the next one- 150 miles! I finished all of those and then began smaller more condensed goals of completing 5k walks/runs, virtually.  The idea of doing a race within a day put more pressure on me to compete at my highest level. I had to complete 3.1 miles all at once and some days that was really hard. Some of them I raced for better and faster times, other times I had to be content with just finishing.  You need to know your body well enough not to do harm but also to know when and how hard to push.

My first medal as an amputee! I’m very proud of this one!

 

 

These are all that I have completed since July 2019!! Each one of them I picked with purpose.

 

I have enjoyed all the races I’ve completed. There’s a sense of pride and accomplishment seeing all of my medals I’ve earned over the past 2 years as an amputee. These races have given me a purpose, goals, and independence as an amputee. I look and feel better then I have in a long time, and my mental health is at its peak. Listen  in to my podcast to hear more about how to get moving and what hurdles I overcame to finish all those medals these past 2 years.

Now it’s YOUR turn!

 

Check out these virtual races and register for one of them. Take baby steps to get there but get there! Challenge yourself to do and be something more. You’ll be surprised what you can accomplish when you set a goal and get moving. I guarantee you will feel better about yourself, and you’ll start making strides in your physical, mental and emotional state, plus you and your prosthetic will become friends! 😉

Check these out:

Virtual Strides

Virtual Pace Series

Gone For A Run

Will Run For Bling and Charity

This last one is where I met some amazing people and did my first 3 BIG long distance races (175, 150, and 150 mile races over a few months) If you want a challenge, check this site out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Each one of these holds meaning to me and I love every single one of my medals! They show me, when times get hard, that I can do it, I can succeed, and that my amputation doesn’t define or inhibit me!

 

Your Call to Action is to register to do a virtual race and do it by the end of June or if you need to, register now and build up to finishing by the end of July. Just don’t open that package until you’ve earned it. That’s how I did it because then I had something pushing me to finish. You’ve got this!!

You know I’m here for you! Send me a message, let me know how it’s going.

And as always:

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!

 

Cheers,

Angie

 

Enjoy the Journey

Enjoy the Journey

Traveling Home Once Again

Me and Dad traveling back to Chicago after his stay with us.

 

Coming in for a landing, Chitown.
City lights, oh how I’ve missed you!

 

 

O’Hare Airport doing it up right! Love this airport.
God Bless America and the Veterans who fought for our freedom.

 

I am HOME!  Chicago will always be my home, no matter how long we may be apart. Every year my family travels back to Chicago, where most of our family lives, for visits; one in the summertime, and one near Christmas. The pandemic made other plans for us this past year. We were very overdue for this trip.

Since I haven’t traveled much for almost 2 years- no flights, at least, I was a little rusty on packing. I hate packing for trips as it is, but when you are an amputee or have other medical issues, then packing becomes a bit more time consuming and anxiety building. There are so many things to remember to bring, then having to make sure it all fits. Whew! What a task.

This podcast is very unique as it is the first one I have done away from my home setup. This one may sound a bit different because I used different equipment and actually recorded outside on the deck at my parent’s house-you may hear cars and wind in the background. But keeping with my “keeping it real” vibe, this shouldn’t surprise you, and actually I am pretty impressed with the quality of this episode, all things considered.

I hope you can feel the love I put into this one, as I was recording in a place my Mom and I use to sit and chat when I’d come visit. I recorded on the deck that holds many memories of BBQ’s with my whole family over, moments where my mom was standing and smiling down at me while I played with my boys in the grass below (grass was always fun to play in since we have none in Arizona!), watching her watch her hummingbirds flit in and out of the deck’s feeders, and so many more. I have laughed, listened, cried, and hugged the people I love on this very deck, it only seems fitting to have an episode done here, too, to add to the memories.

Being here in Chicago has been such a blessing, even through the pains I have been feeling in my residual limb. As I discuss in this episode, though, we need to see past these painful moments and live for the positive things going on around us, or we will miss the good in life. What I feel today, may be gone tomorrow and I don’t want to miss any more moments with my family, so I resolve to buck up and push through, knowing less painful moments are on the horizon. I pray you do the same. We are all on a journey, and this journey will be filled with endless ups and downs. We need to take the good with the bad and know that with every hard episode we go through, a better, more joyful one will be right behind it.

Don’t fret. Don’t think negative thoughts. Chin up, Warrior, life will get better.

Find the positive when it seems like it’s not there. Surround yourself with positive people and keep your chin up in the hard moments, realizing that this will pass and it’s just one moment in your life.  Your attitude will dictate your outcomes, so stay positive, happy, upbeat. Even when you’re hurting, find the strength to smile. You’ve got this, Warrior, you’ve got this!!!

 

As always:

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!

Chitown 2021- We Are BACK!!

 

Cubs win! Cubs win! Cubs win!!

 

Water Tower- Michigan Avenue

 

Much love,

Angie

Traveling Once Again-Tips and Tricks for Traveling

Traveling Once Again-Tips and Tricks for Traveling

…and ROMP: Helping Others Gain Freedom of Mobility One Prosthetic at a Time

This is me, July 2020 climbing Mt. Humphreys in Flagstaff, AZ. My highest and most challenging terrain thus far.
I did this for ROMP’s #We Still Climb campaign.

 

OK all, I am here to tell you that if you haven’t heard of ROMP: Range of Motion Project Global yet you need to check them out!! Do you feel the need to give back, or help others? Do you want to get in shape for yourself but need motivation? Then this is the group for you to get involved with. ROMP is a non-profit group that helps get prosthetics to underserved communities here in the U.S. and abroad. Since their creation in 2005 they have been able to deliver 3,345 devices and visited 9, 249 patients! I became involved last year through Living With Amplitude magazine’s team for the We Still Climb initiative. We raised money as a team and went out and climbed our own mountains (usually they have teams go to Cotopaxi, in Ecuador, to climb the highest glacier covered volcano there to bring awareness and raise funds-but even though a pandemic stopped that travel it didn’t stop them from recreating the challenge to fit the times).

Today, I am now a team leader for the 2021 Challenge AND Mobility May.  I have an amazing team working with me to raise funds but also to log miles, anyway they can and want to, to bring awareness to the lack of mobility that some people have in the world. Everyone deserves to have the freedom that comes from mobility, and shouldn’t be stopped from having that opportunity just because of where they live.

If you’d like to join my team (No, it’s not too late!) or donate to my team: Romping Warriors, please click HERE

We will be charging forward to raise $2021 and log 2021 miles, as a team, by December 31, 2021.  Join us!!

 

This Friday I am traveling back home to Chicago!!! I can’t wait. I miss my family and my husband’s family, and it’s been too long! However, if you’re an amputee, you know that traveling can produce stress and anxiety. Trying to remember all the things you’ll need, and what you MIGHT need, if case of an emergency, can make traveling hard.

Listen in as I discuss the things I bring with me, how I get through security at the airport and make everything run smoothly so I can enjoy the trip. I sometimes need to remind myself that I need to enjoy the journey not just the destination, but that can be hard when there is so much to remember to bring. Don’t fret the small stuff, and know that you’ll be fine no matter what.

Enjoying my hike up one of our Arizona mountains. My happy place!

 

 

Today’s Call to Action is a simple one:

Check out ROMP’s website, Instagram and/or Facebook Page!

Range of Motion Project Global

IG: @ROMPGLOBAL

Facebook: Range of Motion Project

 

Get involved if you feel led. Join my team, donate. I promise you, that helping others gain their freedom of mobility and their independence will fill your bucket, making you feel great and wanting to do more. You can also take on the challenges, like joining my team, and getting out and active for yourself (which will produce endorphins-that will make you happy), and you’ll be a better person for it. It’s a Win-Win, in my book.

 

Join me! Take on a challenge! Change someone’s life for the better.

Mobility is not to be taken for granted.

Mobility means freedom

Mobility means independence.

 

As always:

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!

 

Much love,

Angie

Kauai beaches and my first time snorkeling as an amputee…
..actually the first time to get in the ocean since my injury 8 years ago!!!
FREEDOM!!!
I Am Who You Say I Am

I Am Who You Say I Am

How My Faith Saved Me and Made Me Who I Am Today…..

HIS!

Faith: the assurance of what is hoped for, with the conviction of what is unseen.

 

This podcast goes deep as I share the other half of my story, the side of my story that I have only just recently shared with people outside my circle.  This story that gives you a glimpse into my Faith and belief system that has been in place all my life but really grounded me the most the past several years…. especially the months right before my amputation.

 

I don’t want to go into much detail here as I hope you listen because the raw emotion that spilled out during my recording I don’t share lightly, and am sort of embarrassed by as I don’t lose it like that when I record my episodes.

This side of my journey is special and a sacred part of my journey that I have decided was time to tell, in hopes it may help someone else.  Please listen, please share, please subscribe to my emails so you don’t miss an episode.

 

This past week I was blessed to go speak to a women’s Bible study group and share my faith journey. This stirred in me that people want and need to hear these type of stories, if only to build hope in this world we are living in.

Thank you to my good friend, Laurie Porter, for inviting me to speak, and to the ladies of the Fountain Hills Presbyterian Church, here in Arizona, for allowing me the time to speak and share my story with you. I am truly blessed to have met each of you and call you friends.


Grateful to these ladies for opening up their study group to me so I could share my story
and to my Dad who is in visiting from Illinois. What a trooper being surrounded by all these women!

 

 

My first socket-I chose a saying that helped me get through those hard firsts of prosthetic wearing.

 

Today’s is simple;

If you believe then really BELIEVE. God has got you no matter the circumstance, no matter the fight or battle you are in. Let go and stop trying to control the situation. Listen, be quiet, see what He is trying to say to you.

If you aren’t a believer then ask questions. If you are intrigued by my story and the words I spoke then please reach out to me. I’d love to share more with you and answer your questions. You are never too late to find this unique relationship I spoke of.

 

And as Always:

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!

 

Much love,

Angie

Support is a 2-Way Street

Support is a 2-Way Street

My support team through it all

 

My Support group
This family!! I have been so blessed by each one of them!

 

The people you surround yourself with is a very important component to your success, I’d say it’s number 2 just behind your ATTITTUDE and MINDSET.

Surround yourself with people who know you, can support you physically and emotionally,  and know when to give and when to step back. Communicate with them, let them know exactly what you need so help is relevant and helpful.

Likewise, if you are someone’s support person, make sure you listen and hear what they need. Sometimes you’ll see struggles, but they need to have that to become stronger. It’s ok to have to fight to make change happen, just know when the fight becomes too hard or the battle is being lost, that you step in before defeat is felt.

This podcast I am dedicating to those 3 amazing people you see in the photo above, my husband and best friend for 32 years-Erik, and my two sons-Colby and Peyton. Without them by my side I don’t think I would’ve gotten this far. Between making meals, going to PT sessions with me, picking up the house and doing laundry, to motivating me (without even knowing it) to be better, to heal, and to get back on my feet at all costs was a priceless gift these past 8 years.  But I’m a lucky one, my support came from within my home, I had access to it everyday, all day. Some people aren’t so lucky.  Do you know someone in your neighborhood, or in your friend circle who is living life alone and in need of support? A lot of times they won’t ask for help, you just have to take the first step and go talk to them. Bring them a coffee, bake cookies or bread, maybe run to the store and bring them something cheerful like a bouquet of flowers. These steps will open doors to allowing them to ask for help.  I promise you, that filling someone’s bucket will also fill yours, two-fold!

 

Today, there are 2 separate call to actions:

If you have been GETTING SUPPORT from someone as you heal or get through whatever it is that you’ve been dealing with, here’s what I have for you today:

**Say thank you! Let them know you see them and appreciate those who have been helping you. Send them a quick note, email, or phone call. Maybe send them flowers or better yet, take them flowers, if you’re able to do so. These small gestures will make them feel amazing and loved and seen for all they’ve done for you and “fill their bucket”.

A simple Thank You goes a long ways.

If you have been SUPPORTING someone:

**Take time for yourself! Yep, you heard me right, stop helping for a little while and escape! If you like to read go spend quality “you” time reading a magazine or a book you’ve been wanting to read, dedicate a little time everyday to rest and recharge yourself. You’ll be a better caretaker if you do. If you like to get out and grab a coffee with a friend, go do it! If you can, go get a massage, a facial, or get your nails done. If you feel recharged and beautiful you’ll be a better person and ready for anything thrown your way. But you need “YOU” time, without a doubt.

Don’t feel guilty. Don’t ignore your own wants and needs. If you are in a really needy situation with the person who you are helping, then you need to be at your best, and you can’t be at your best if you get burnt out.

Please check in with me, tell me how your Call to Action is going this week and what you did for the person helping you, or for yourself if you are a helper.

And as always, until next time:

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!

 

Much Love,

Angie

Me and my guy doing what we love. Grateful to be here after the journey I’ve been on.
Couldn’t have done it without him.

 

 

A little R & R for the one who has helped me through all this “stuff”.
Starting Point

Starting Point

Again, and Again, and Again…..

Starting Line to my 1st race as an amputee, and as a St Jude Hero.

 

If someone asked you where your life began, or where you started out, you might answer, when you were born. Others may answer where they started their career or life as an adult, when they had to be responsible for themselves and maybe a spouse or significant other.

For me, my starting point is always changing, and comes around…OFTEN!

Of course we all start life at birth, then we grow, move out and start our own life.

If we get married and have kids, those are all new points, starting once again.

At 40 something years old, I thought most of my starting points were behind me but in December 2018 my life shifted greatly. I elected to amputate my left leg above the knee, and start over. This was a huge discussion and was quite tough to make. Many questions came to me, like- Would I die during surgery? Would I get an infection? Will I really learn to walk again, or hike or ski, for that matter? Did I have the energy and strength to begin again and learn to do everything I knew how to do (with 2 legs) now with just one?

When I woke after surgery I started over. A clean slate. A new beginning. As scary as that was, it was also a moment of new hope. I could dictate the outcome of my decision, to some degree, with my attitude, mindset, and fight. And that’s just what I did!

In this podcast I discuss what it’s like starting over. And how as an amputee we “start over” A LOT! Every new socket, the change in weather, a new pair of shoes, a change in prosthetics, from walking leg to running blade, etc.

Another new socket fitting by Randy West 5/3/2021

 

Stop and rest now and then. Life is a marathon NOT a sprint!

 

All of that feels new, and changes our perspective and outcomes of that moment, day or week.

This was my 3rd ski trip as an amputee-the first one without instructors!

 

Starting over isn’t for the weak or faint of heart.❤

And sometimes we succumb to the constant newness of our circumstance. I discuss options you have on how, as an amputee, you deal with these obstacles, and how your support system can help you navigate day to day living.

Remember, it’s all about your mindset, but even the most optimistic people hit roadblocks they struggle to get around. Give yourself a break. Have grace with yourself and don’t hold on to those struggles. They are inevitable, and we all deal with them. Take a step back, breathe, then move forward-head held high!

Roadblocks are a part of life. Embrace the challenge and ATTACK!
Smiling’s my favorite! 😁

 

You are a warrior! Press on, good and faithful soldier, press on.⚔

 

This week, I want you to look in the mirror, and look deep within yourself.  Praise yourself for how far you’ve come. Recognize your successes, let go of fears. Press onward. If you haven’t made a vision board yet, give that a go this week. Check out my own vision board HERE  for an example.

If you have a vision board already made, then maybe now is a good time to refresh and renew your dreams, goals, thoughts and mantras.  Good big!! Aim for the stars and realize that you can achieve what you put your mind and heart in to.

As always, I would love to hear how you are doing. Reach out to me. Follow me on Instagram at @angie_heuser and/or @bawarrior360. DM me our email me. Leave a comment here and let me know how your goals are coming along, if you need help, or if your are struggling.

I’m here for you!

And as always:

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!!

 

Much love,

Angie

The Nerve of Some People

The Nerve of Some People

Plastic Surgeons and TMR Surgery:
Tackling Phantom Limb Pain

 

Everyone deals with pain at some point in their life, but when you have an amputation you know that there is a possibility of living with a pain you can’t even touch! When the missing limb is burning, itching, throbbing, or sending sharp pains with every movement it can be unnerving -pun intended- and hard to get past.

I, like so many other amputees, have dealt with phantom limb pain since day one. Most of the time I can handle it, sometimes in the quiet of night it can be hard to fall asleep, but I have been able to deal with it.  The point when I could no longer take the pain was when I couldn’t even walk into my kitchen without the pain being so sharp and unpredictable that I stopped moving!  It takes A LOT to stop me! I have a high tolerance for pain, and this was just too much for me. I have to say, this freaked me out and made me worry that maybe this was going to be like this for the rest of my life…. and then I stepped back and gave myself a pep talk. I cannot allow myself to participate in defeatist talk. Negativity cannot reside in me, I won’t allow it. So, what did I do? I had an appointment with my prosthetist and my surgeon who performed my amputation.

I was scheduled for an MRI to see if there was a neuroma, sure enough, there was one, exactly where I felt the pain. Symptomatic, great!

Next step? My orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Judd Cummings, told me that I needed to see a plastic surgeon, and the one he suggested, who knows how to perform a surgery called TMR (Targeted Muscle Reinnervation), Dr. Roni Prucz.  He put his confidence, and my future, into this doctor’s hands… and I believed in him, so I went.

Dr. Roni Prucz
Phoenix Plastic Surgery

 

Now, I didn’t have ANY desire for yet another surgery, but I promised I’d go talk to him.  What harm could that do?

….And before I knew it, I was scheduled for surgery! Dang it!

Dr. Prucz seemed confident that he could successfully help me with the pain on the back of my residual limb, where the neuroma was, but the sharp pain that I felt ripping down my non-existent shin, he couldn’t promise that. I couldn’t pinpoint where the pain was originating from and so he would just have to do exploratory surgery in that area, and hope for the best.

Without the neuroma, my gait has become so much better, there was no more pain there. However, the sharp pain, in the other area of my limb, returned about 6 weeks after surgery, not as often and not as intense, but it reared its ugly head and my fears of life-long pain returned.

No matter what, I will rise!

 

This is where I needed to advocate for myself and not just say, “Oh well, we tried.” That wasn’t good enough for me. I needed answers and I needed this to be fixed, or at least feel better. I saw my prosthetist, then Dr. Prucz, and then over to Dr. Cummings, just trying to figure this out, gain perspective, and to see if anyone had any ideas. I would NOT rest until I had direction.

Yesterday I took my next step in helping myself, I tried a sympathetic nerve block in my L3 and….. so far, so good!!!

I needed something that didn’t require another surgery and this was a good next step, and quick. If it works then I may be looking at having that nerve bundle ablated. I’ve been moving around for 24 hours now and not feeling that pain. This is a good sign, but I hesitate to get too excited, too soon. I will do my thing, I will beat on my leg through my high level of activities, like hiking, and really push the limits of my leg and socket. For me that’s the best way to really test out what I’ve had done.

I really test my leg and socket whenever something new has been done to either of them

 

I hope this podcast gives you some insight to TMR surgery, if you’re a candidate, and how to go about finding the right person to perform this on you. As always, I’m here for you! Send me an email or leave a comment. I’d love to chat and answer any questions you might have about what I went through. Talking to people who’ve been through something will help give you perspective and  maybe even curb fears you might have.

 

 

This week I want you to let go of the past, start looking to future. We cannot move forward if all we are doing is wishing we had back what we use to have. If you’ve lost a limb, it’s gone, there’s nothing you can do about it. The choice is up to you how you’ll view this difference. The choice is yours on how you will pursue your future. You can have a pity party, or you can decide to set new goals, change direction from the course you use to be on BEFORE losing your limb, and rise up!

The time is now! Dream big! Set new goals.  Adapt and move on with your life. I know there will be setbacks, I know there will be moments of pain, but they do not define you. Your attitude and what you do with your circumstance DOES!  What are you going to do? I want to see you thrive! I want to see you challenge yourself! I want you to rise up and conquer, because YOU are a warrior!  Now go out and crush it!

 

Until next time:

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!!

 

Much love,

Angie

 

Head, Shoulders,…..Knees? and….Toes?

Head, Shoulders,…..Knees? and….Toes?

Physical Therapy After Amputation is Vitally Important to Your Success as an Amputee

My Tribe

 

Everyone needs a tribe. A group of people who are there for you, care about you, make you laugh when you want to cry and support all of your crazy ideas.  These are my people and I am so fortunate to have each and everyone of them in my life.  Some of them have been in my life since I was a teenager (my husband), others for the last few years, and others have been my medical team that have helped me through my journey into amputation. They have become friends, confidents, and the people I care about in my life. They’ve seen me at my worst, and they have watched me rise and been there watching and helping me achieve my goals. These people are priceless!

How many people can say that about their physical therapists? Some people curse those who put us through pain so we can heal, not me, they have only wanted to see me succeed…whatever it took. They never said it would be easy, but they never left my side. They worked with me, helping me get to where I wanted to go and, only then, began to let go, so I could soar.

I am excited for you to hear my interview with Dan and Kelly, the two PTs that got me up and walking in a prosthetic and running in my blade. They continued to work with me even when I got that crazed look in my eye and said, “Could we try….?” You name it, they did it. They stopped being surprised when I’d walk in saying I have something I’d like to do and just started asking what the new goal was. They continued to build my confidence and never backed down to my challenges I’d present to them.  They were my support system, and if they thought I could do it, then I could do it.

 

Relationships. It’s truly all about relationships. You see, I’m a relationship kinda girl. I love being around people, talking with people, and getting to know someone new.  My medical team is no different. The way they listen to me, hear my goals, dreams, and fears brings us closer, and we begin to work together and create a bond like no other. They have all seen me through some seriously hard times, but also the best of times. They have watched me shed tears of frustration and doubt, and laughter after accomplishing something big.

In this interview I talk with Dan and Kelly, from Touchstone Rehabilitation, about the importance of physical therapy, pre and post, amputation and how to find the right therapist for you. Not all therapist are the same, just like I said about prosthetists. Your therapist should have a ton of experience with amputees and listen to you and what’s important to you, never making you feel like what you want to accomplish is impossible- You want the therapist who wants to help you reach your goals, no matter the size.

Take a listen and take notes. Know that you have control over who you see and that you should feel confident and comfortable in their presence. Go with your gut and don’t settle. You deserve to find your tribe, too!

My “Surf Crew”- Mark, Mariah and Jovanni

 

Stopping by to say hi to the people who got you on track-it’s all about relationships!

 

This week I want you to get out and get active everyday! It doesn’t matter how long, just that you set a goal, and do it!

If you struggle walking in your prosthetic for more than a block then set a goal of walking a block. Once you do that then add another block, and continue to get out and move EVERYDAY! Don’t quit! Give yourself one week, to push yourself just a little bit more each day. At the end of the week you’ll be surprised how far you’ve come.  It takes time to build a positive habit, give yourself time to do just that.  Even after the week is up, continue, just use this week as your starting point. The sky’s the limit and you can do anything you put your mind to.

Reach out to me. Tell me how it’s going. Share your accomplishments, tell me your setback. We can do this together!!

I’m here for you!

 

Until next time:

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!

 

One foot in front of the other- that’s your starting point.
One Size Doesn’t Fit All

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Not All Sockets (or Prosthetists) Are Made the Same

Randy West, myself, and David Banks

 

I consider myself so fortunate to have been directed to The Limb Center by my doctor, Dr. Judd Cummings, as I was planning for my amputation. And I think I am a good judge of character, so when I went in to meet Randy West and David Banks for the first time, pre-amputation, I knew I was getting the best care out there!

Fitting my running blade and trying it out for the first time

 

When I told Randy I wanted to surf and I brought him some surf leg plans he graciously went to work and built it for me,
just because he knew it was my dream!

 

Cheesy, but priceless, photo op with Randy, the Blue guy and my new surf leg!😎

 

They listened to me. They actually HEARD what I was telling them about my dreams, goals and aspirations….as well as my fears and doubts about going through with this surgery.

Not often, but in my situation, I was able to take my test socket out for a “test drive”

 

…and test drive it I did!! A 5K hike! It ended up being a great fit.

 

I had visited another prosthetist’s office before I knew of The Limb Center, and I had a pretty good experience there, too. I also met an amazing young lady who was an above knee amputee and a fighter, while I was there. However, three major factors first swayed me to Randy and David, before I really knew them. 1) They took my insurance- this is VERY important and the other office did not! 2) My doctor was very familiar with them and worked with them directly and, quite frankly, I trusted my surgeon and his opinion in this matter, and 3) David was an above knee amputee with 20+ years of experience being one. He could see things and understand an amputee better just by living it.

Amazing attention to detail, and always teaching me how to be independent,
by showing me how my prosthetic works and fits.

 

Then once I got to meet them and talk through my decision to amputate, I knew that we had a connection far greater than me being an office visit here and there. I had their cell phone numbers, could call or text whenever there was a problem, and time and again, they showed me that I mattered to them.

This is the type of relationship you should have and that you deserve with your prosthetist.

Randy and David join me in this podcast as we discuss the right “fit” in your relationship with your prosthetist, insurance and getting the right coverage, steps to getting your first socket, and when to turn around and walk out of that office and find the right relationship you need to be a healthy, happy amputee.  It can happen, but you need to push that for yourself and know when to do it.

Knowledge is power, and I want to arm you with as much knowledge as I can so you can feel confident and ready to advocate for yourself in the medical field, in your doctor appointments and when finding and working with your prosthetist. When we have knowledge, confidence, and opportunity we can access limitless possibilities in our lives.

 

 

People don’t realize that who you see for your prosthetics is so very important-it can make or break your desire and ability to really live your life after amputation, and it’s a relationship, like family.  You’ll be working with them for years to come so you’ll want to make sure you trust and enjoy working with them.

As always, if you have comments or questions, for me or our guests, please feel free to reach out to me. I’d be happy to help.

Time to do the research and leg work- no pun intended. Talk to people, find social media groups that work with amputees, reach out to the Amputee Coalition and your doctor to see who they recommend as a prosthetist for you.

Once you have found a couple, make an appointment to go talk with them. Read their body language and how they talk with you. Do they want to hear your history, problems, dreams and aspirations? If not, move on to the next appointment. You deserve better, and it’s out there!

Make sure you address insurance issues and coverage with the prosthetist’s office. This is expensive equipment and will need to be upgraded over time- remember, it isn’t growing back so we need to make sure we have some help in coverage of costs.

If you have a prosthetist that you are unhappy with, and they don’t seem to listen or invest any more than your short office visit then you really need to find the courage and tell them it’s not working. If you are seeing someone who,  when you tell them you’re hurting or something doesn’t feel right, and they tell you that it doesn’t get any better and you need to deal with it…that’s a red flag! Time to research other places and prosthetists and find someone who can help.

This is YOUR life and YOUR body. You need to push for the best care so you can live it to the fullest. Don’t be afraid to stand up for your rights. I’m telling you, there are really good practitioners out there, you just need to look and ask the right questions to find them.

I wish you all well, and please don’t hesitate to reach out to me for help.

 

Until next time:

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU

“We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the game.”

-Randy Pausch