Life is a Journey

Life is a Journey

Stay the Course and Press On

 

This is the year. Embrace the journey and get your mindset right!

We started our year with a new puppy. I had forgotten how hard potty training was as an amputee. What does that mean, you might ask?  Night time wake up calls are very difficult when you don’t have a leg on, grabbing an energetic puppy, and crutching outside and down a step…all before that puppy has an accident! This week, I am navigating this alone for the first time, tonight I may just leave my leg on.

I tell you all this to show you the reality of being an amputee.

As I sit here and write this up I am working later than usual, because of said puppy, and her boundless amount of energy she’s had all day. She is finally asleep and I have a moment to finish up my post.

THIS is life.

This is part of the journey. The good times, the hard times, the moments that make me smile and the times that exhaust me and make me see my shortcomings as an amputee.

Would I change a thing? Would I do it differently?

NO!

I am a stronger person for what I’ve gone through.

I know myself even better than I ever have.

My faith is stronger than ever before, and the people and experiences I have met and had along this journey I wouldn’t trade for anything.

Mindset matters. I keep saying that. How we see ourselves, and our lives, DOES matter.

When we let go of our past, embrace our situation, learn to ride the ups and downs of life, that is when we can truly live a full and meaningful life. That is when you can find purpose and joy.

Don’t give up when it gets rough. Keep fighting the good fight. You can do it, you are strong enough.

 

 

 

This week, focus on the positive. Find your purpose by setting goals you can achieve, and that challenge you just enough. Create a list of the things you’ve been dreaming of doing, trying, or accomplishing.

Write them down then create timelines of when you want to try or accomplish them. Be specific so they don’t fade away.

Next, figure out what steps you’ll need to take to get to your goal.

Use the next week to get your list together and your mindset right, and go out and kick butt!

You’ve got this, Warrior!

 

And as always,

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!

 

Much love,

 

 

 

 

 

Spreading Joy This Season

Spreading Joy This Season

Cheers to the End of Another Year!

 

As 2023 comes to a close and the holidays are now upon I want to wish you all a blessed and happy new year!

As I celebrate my 5th year anniversary of my amputation today I am realizing how blessed I have been with how much I have experienced, accomplished, and the people I have met through this journey.

I also know that the vibes you put out into the world come back to you 10 fold.

Our attitude is contagious. How we approach the world can either add joy to it or be a thorn. Which are you bringing to the world?

Today as you are experiencing the emotions of this season remember that many people are struggling. Some struggle with an invisible problem (missing a loved one, a rocky relationship, struggles with money or job) and other’s with something very real and visible (amputation, being alone, medical conditions).

Be kind.

Remember that we all struggle.

Spreading joy takes very little on our part and a smile goes a long way.

 

Finish this year strong and positive and reap the rewards of being kind and positive with the people you meet throughout your week.

I know this seems like a pretty basic and obvious statement, but when we get caught up in our own schedule and agenda we often miss helping someone in need, or miss an opportunity to brighten someone else’s day.

 

We all fight battles, we all need kindness shown to us.

As you struggle through your own situation (for me it can be phantom pains like I’m dealing with as I type this) there are others going through something even more difficult and debilitating, making it hard for them to function or find joy during this time of year, making them feel alone and isolated.

We are in charge of our own attitude and only we can choose to see our glass half full.

So where are you with your situation,  half empty or half full?

The next couple of weeks, as I take time off to be present and with my family, I challenge you to watch the world around you. Look for ways you can make it better. Smile more, see the silver lining in your situation, find ways to bring happiness and positive vibes into the world… then watch to see how those vibes come back to you and change your life.

I hope and pray you are able to find happiness and joy during this time of year and that good health befalls you this new year.

Change your perspective, change your life.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!!

And as always,

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!!

 

Much love,

 

 

The Most Wonderful Time of Year

The Most Wonderful Time of Year

Winter Wonders and Woes for Amputees

 

Wintertime brings colder weather, holidays and family time, ice and snow, along with new outdoor activities. It also brings with it challenges for getting around if you are an amputee (or anyone who struggles with balance).

Crutching on snow and ice should be an Olympic Sport

 

I am fortunate enough to live in Arizona but as a family, we love to get out and ski in the mountains of Colorado and Utah.

My very first goal as I was getting ready for my amputation was to ski again with my family. I had just 3 months from amputation to test myself.

Even though there are different ways to accomplish “skiing” I wanted to be standing and looking like I always did as a skier (minus one leg that is). My stubbornness definitely helped me. That plus my perfectionist attitude and drive.

 

 

My first day I was so nervous and didn’t know what to expect. I tell you this because even though I had been skiing since I was 17 years old there was so much relearning to be done and a lot of newness to skiing with only one ski. For instance, turning one way versus another was so much harder not having the downslope ski to aid in control.

As time went by, I began to understand what was needed to succeed. Every chance we got I went on the slopes. And every time I was on the slopes I got butterflies and had to suppress fears of getting hit from behind, falling and trying to get back up (not as easy with one ski and on a slope of snow), or heading downhill and catching icy patches.

There are other ways to ski, like on a mono ski (sitting in a bucket sled, leg(s) strapped down), or using a ski bike.

This past trip we decided to take a day off from skiing, but I wanted to be outdoors and breathing in the cold mountain air and enjoying the snow all around us, so we went for a hike into the mountains.

It was beautiful!

Backwoods hiking

 

Beautiful views, challenging terrain for an amputee

 

Winter life for an amputee is quite challenging. Just as changing our shoes, or going over different types of flooring or terrain, challenges us for a few minutes before we feel comfortable moving about with the change, winter challenges us and our feeling of confidence and trust in each of our steps. We must be more cautious, and meticulous with each step. I am always looking down at where my feet are landing and what type of surface I will be hitting with the net few steps. For me to enjoy the beautiful mountains w were hiking in I had to stop and set myself then look all around. Once I got my fill I would begin to march on once again.

All in all, I am excited for my next winter trip and plan to try snow shoeing and see how it feels to have larger foot on my prosthetic.

Even though there are a lot of new things to adjust to as winter weather approaches, know that you are capable, you just need to learn your perimeters. It takes time, but with focus and determination you can conquer winter without any falls or injury. Always know to protect your good/sound leg and take your time. Don’t allow anyone to push you faster than you are ready to go.

Stay positive and create positive verbal cues for your brain to latch onto and you’ll find yourself maneuvering snowy conditions like a pro!

 

 

FIERCE AND ON FIRE Challenge!

Don’t forget that we are still charging forward on 100 miles before Jan 1!

Are you in?

Check the past couple of podcasts for the link to join and to register for the challenge at Run Motivators if you want to order a medal for your trophy case!!

 

Let’s keep moving and end 2023 active and healthy!

 

May your hot;liday season be filled with family, fun, joy, and blessings of all kinds.

 

And as always,

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!!

 

Much love,

 

The Age of Prosthetics

The Age of Prosthetics

Change Is in the Air

 

 

I had the distinct honor of being a part of a gait study at MIT in their Media Lab in Boston. It was the final project of a PhD student’s program and it was amazing!

To see what the future of prosthetics is heading toward and being able to test something that is still a ways out from being on the commercial market was such a blast and a lot of work. Testing the product through different scenarios and also using my own leg to show my baseline capabilities for comparison was so interesting and enlightening.

I would never have picture myself, in a million years, being able to be a part of this, nor did I ever picture myself without a leg.. oh the places I have been, the people I have met and the experiences I have enjoyed, all because of my decision to amputate almost 5 years ago.

 

MIT Media Lab lobby

 

Getting geared up for my baseline study with my own leg

 

Gathering data

 

Making adjustments

 

Such an honor to meet the man who created his own prosthetics after losing his own legs, Dr Hugh Herr.

 

Would I do it all again? Yes!

 

First off, I am not a person that looks back and says, “if only I had…” or ” I would have done this differently”. Instead I focus at what’s happening now and what’s in front of me. This makes me a happier person.

Second, I wouldn’t trade all the problems I have had (phantom pains/sensations, fitting issues, rashes and burns from sockets) because everything I have been blessed to experience has also been met with amazing people, experiences and seeing and doing new things.

I am a better person, a more well-rounded person, for having this life altering surgery.  I am happy that my life changed direction.

I have been able to test my will power, my integrity, my character much more by going through something so big. I have been tested and been able to rise up and become a stronger individual, both physically and emotionally.

I wished I could share with you so much more about my time at MIT, but until this student’s study is published it needs to be hush hush. Someday next year I will talk about it in more detail, but until then, I suggest that if you ever get a chance to take part in a study, one that helps make progress in our prosthetics, take it. Not only are you helping the future, you will also get to learn more about yourself.

 

 

As the past couple of weeks I have pushed you all to get active during this busy time of year. Taking care of yourself is so important for your mental and physical well-being but we tend to put it off for other things. Don’t wait! Join me on my Fierce and On Fire challenge.

It’s a virtual challenge by RunMotivators and if you’d like to join you can register and receive a medal for accomplishing this virtual challenge.

The goal? 100 miles, your way.

What does that mean?

You decide how you accomplish 100 miles. I set the goal timeline for December 31st but you can always set your own timeline since this started 3 weeks ago for me.

How can you reach 100 miles?

Whatever is comfortable and easiest for you and your circumstances. If you are wheelchair bound them maybe do some upper body workouts.

15 minutes=1 mile

You can swim, walk, hike, ski, surf, run, bike…the sky is the limit and you decide what challenges you, where you are at.

The idea is to get moving for YOU!

Making yourself a priority during this time of year, when we tend to ditch the things we do for ourselves to doing things for others.

Are you in??

Join me TODAY and get a jumpstart on your own health and fitness goals.

 

I hope you have a blessed week ahead and as always,

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!!

 

Much love,

 

 

 

 

You Can Do It!

You Can Do It!

 

There are many facets to being an amputee, a lot revolves around the fit of prosthetics, dealing with phantom pains, and relearning to walk. However there are other obstacles to overcome, goals to achieve, finding your independence is usually on the top of the list!

This was a huge goal for me (and also for others I have talked to over the past few years). Independence looks different for each of us but when we decide what it is we are looking to achieve there’s no better feeling when we reach that goal.

For me, today was that day. I felt the complete independence of traveling alone-for the first time as an amputee! Packing up, getting to the airport, carrying my own luggage, finding my way through security and to my gate, all while being balanced, strong, and confident. I was able to grab my luggage, find my way to the Uber line, and check into a hotel.  These may seem like simple tasks, people do them everyday, but being with my husband since we were 17 and never traveling without him, he always took charge, he always looked out for me, and guarded me from uncertainty. With him I was always safe and taken care of, so you can imagine how exciting, and challenging, doing this was for me.

 

 

 

What a day of firsts!

 

If you ever wonder if you’ll be able to travel again, let alone, travel solo as an amputee, I’m here to tell you that you can and you will! You can find that independence if that’s what you want. It takes time and practice. You have to plan ahead, and be prepared.

Listen in to today’s podcast as I discuss the things I have learned over the past 4 1/2 years of traveling as an amputee, the items I make sure I pack, and how I navigate the airport hoopla.

Oh, and if you are curious as to why in the world I have traveled alone to the other side of the country, on my own, in the middle of the holiday season, leaving the beautiful Arizona weather behind for the biting cold east coast then make sure you tune in next week!!

 

This is no different from the last two weeks:

Join my Fierce and On Fire challenge today!! Don’t wait! Join me as I make a solid effort to pay attention to my own health needs this holiday season by making sure to exercise in some way, everyday for at least 30 minutes.

The challenge is 100 miles and is virtual. If you want a medal the click HERE to join me!

If you want to join me but don’t care about the medal, that’s cool, too!  I have a private Facebook group you can join for the motivation and community. You can also join my IG channel Fierce and On Fire for the community as well.

How can you compete against yourself?

Great question. You do whatever it is you love to do and are capable of doing, where you are right now in your health journey.

If you want and can run, walk, hike, bike, swim, then do it!

If you are bedridden or in a wheelchair try upper body exercises with bands. 15 minutes of exercise = 1 mile.

NO EXCUSES! If you want to help yourself then be kind to your mind and body. Don’t wait for January 1 to make the dreaded “New Year’s Resolution”. Start today. Challenge yourself today. Make yourself more of a priority and end 2023 on a high note.’

Let’s do this together, as a virtual team of sorts.

 

And as always,

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YO(U!!!

 

Much love,

Sick and Tired

Sick and Tired

Staying Healthy in the Hustle and Bustle of the Holidays

 

I had the distinct pleasure of getting sick recently. I haven’t been sick in so long, and not once since becoming an amputee.

I was on a vacation and burning the candle at both ends. I’m sure, between being around a lot of people and lack of sleep my immune system became compromised, leading me to having tingly skin, sore muscles, nausea and sleepiness.  What I wasn’t expecting was how my amputee body would react, or even THAT it would react.

Yep, you guessed it, phantom pains!!!

 

Laying with my girl when I struggle brings peace and healing.

 

As if all that other stuff wasn’t enough to take me down, I had the distinct pleasure of experiencing phantom pains and the total discomfort that added to all the other symptoms. It was crazy, and it totally sucked!!!

Listening to my body and knowing how much I run myself into the ground during the holidays I decided I needed to make some changes and adjust my thinking and patterns.

How about you?

Are you taking care of yourself?

What are you doing to take care of yourself when you’re up against a demanding schedule?

Let me help you create a positive and healthy change during this holiday season so you can be at the top of your celebration game!

 

 

Here’s my challenge (AKA Call to Action):

Take time each day, from now until the end of the year, for yourself. accept my challenge from last week’s podcast and take on the Fierce and On Fire Virtual Challenge- 100 miles by Dec 31.

You can walk, run, hike, bike, swim, ski, exercise, you name it, you can do it, as long as you are taking time for yourself and moving in some way or another, however you can.

Check my link in my IG bio @BAWarrior360 for how to register.

You can also check last week’s podcast HERE for the link to join.

 

 

I pray you have a beautiful and blessed Thanksgiving week!

Until next week,

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!!

 

Much love,

The Secret To My Success

The Secret To My Success

Creating Positive Momentum Through Challenges

 

This week let’s challenge ourselves!

Let’s face the mountain head on and not veer out of fear.

It’s time to unleash the warrior within you, are you ready??

Well it doesn’t matter, now is the time! If you wait until you are “ready” then the time will never come.

 

SO how did I start my amputee journey, you ask? I was ready! I was nervous, of course, but when I came to grips with it I was ready to soar. I began to dream and wonder what I could accomplish, what hurdles I would overcome, what new things I would learn. To say that I was excited about the possibilities, would be an understatement.

 

I began by wearing my leg out of the prosthetist office and using it all day every day for a week…WITHOUT PT! Needless to say, I was so bruised on my femur bone!

I mean, I was walking, and so proud of myself, but I needed help tweaking my form and gait.

After I took some PT I began a new journey with new dreams. I was going to reinvent myself, whatever it took!

 

I had about 12 goals set for myself, even before my amputation, about what I would accomplish as an amputee.

Obviously I wanted to walk as naturally as possible, and as soon as possible, but there is no shortcut or magic potion to make that happen. It takes grit, determination and consistency.  But how do you maintain consistency, especially with something that is scary, uncertain, and hard to do?

What I did was register for virtual races! Not only did I have set miles but I also had the metaphorical carrot dangling in front of me…the cool looking medals!!

My very 1st race as an amputee! This started it all and how I got use to my prosthetic leg.

For me, that’s all it took! I registered for my first 150 mile race in May, a month after getting my prosthetic leg. I made a promise to myself that all of my steps in my leg would count toward my miles, then I introduced myself to the large Facebook group and told them of my goals. Not only did writing it down for all to see make me accountable for my goal, it also gave me a HUGE cheering squad with this new group of friends!

And this is where it all began! I attribute my success of learning to walk again to my virtual races.

 

These were the ones I did the first 1 1/2 after becoming an amputee! They all have special meaning,
depending on what I was trying to accomplish, how I felt or what I was going through.

 

 

It’s your turn now, and I’m going to help you and be there by your side as we do this together!

Let’s crush a goal before this year ends.

No better time than the present to start, and the best time of year to make time for yourself.

The link below is to register for a 100 mile virtual race.

I have already registered and I want you on my team!

I will create a private Facebook group too, just for those who join this race with me.

Can’t run? No problem-WALK!

Can’t walk? Bike, recumbent, stationary or  traditional.

Can’t do those things? SWIM, use a hand bike, exercise with stretch bands, dumbbells or body weight!

 

The sky’s the limit on how you go about logging your miles.

3 miles of biking= 1 mile of running/walking

exercising moderately 30 min=1 mile of running/walking

etc, etc, etc

 

You see where I’m coming from? We can all do something to help us feel better and get on track. So no matter where you are, don’t think for one second that you can’t do something in some way, shape, or form!

It is time to unleash your inner warrior! Fight for the life you want! Start today and let me walk alongside you and your journey! After all, we all need someone who gets us where we are at.

 

I’m here for you so won’t you join me on this virtual race?

Join me and let’s “sleigh” this holiday season! No excuses, no surrender!!!

 

Click HERE to register for the Fierce and On Fire Challenge

 

Oh, and did I mention that not only are you helping yourself by joining this challenge, you will also be supporting the Erin Regan Animal Sanctuary non profit 40 acre farm. A portion of your registration in this challenge goes to support this cause. This non profit is dedicated to saving the lives of farm and companion animals from abuse, euthanasia, and homelessness.

It’s a win-win in my book! Join me today! Click the link above!!

As always,

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!!

 

Much love,

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are You Listening?

Are You Listening?

Learning To Listen To Your Gut

When you are going through something have you noticed how many people have advice?

The questions of: Have you tried this? Did you see Dr. So and So? This is the only prosthetic that works…. etc, etc.

I have had the opportunity to see many doctors throughout my injury, been to an amazing plastic surgeon, and have great prosthetists. I tell new amputees all about them but I try to stay conscious of pushy. My personal experience is MY personal experience, and I am always hopeful that it can be somebody else’s experience too, but it may not be. This just recently happened and it was heartbreaking to see. Without going into detail, because that’s what this podcast talks about, I had a couple of friends, amputees, use one of my doctors to help with revisions and their experiences were not like my positive experience.

I also watch social media posts and peruse the comments and am taken aback by the many people who believe their way is the only way, their doctor is the best doctor, their prosthetic brand is the best out there. Do you see where I’m going with this?

“Always”, “Never”, “The Best”, and “The Worst”, are red flags in my book, and should be avoided at all costs.

So why do we fall victim to adhering to these types of comments and following this type of advice? When we are in pain, scared, anxious, and in doubt we want ANYTHING that will get us out of that situation, and the faster the better. When we ask a large group of people (social media groups) how they handle this situation, or ask for help when we are experiencing phantom pain so extreme we are beside ourselves, we will take any advice if the person comes across unwavering and confident in their advice.

The problem? We are all DIFFERENT!

The love I have for my prosthetic. I am empowered to live my best life, with my new lease on life.

 

We have different reasons for our injury, different backgrounds, different personalities, different pain threshold levels, and completely different reasons for what we are feeling.

Just last week I experienced phantom pain, like my foot had been set on fire. It was non-stop, day and night. I haven’t had that in a long time. This time it was caused by my situation, not my fit. I was very upset and stressed about something (listen to last week’s podcast), and this was how my body dealt with it. However, if I had told any Facebook groups that I was dealing with this major burning, without giving the situational background, like so many people do, I would’ve been told that pain meds work, or gummies were the way to go, or try sleeping it off, etc. But what I needed to do was get outdoors for fresh air and allow myself to grieve. The fresh air and exercise helped me cope with my issue, which allowed my phantom pains to subside.

Fresh air and exercise! Just what I needed.

 

I knew what I needed. I trusted my gut on why I was experiencing what was happening to me.

We sometimes forget, in the midst of hard times, that if we just listen to our bodies, that we know what’s best and what is right for us.

When we schedule an appointment with a doctor but feel unsettled when in the office, we need to listen.

When we struggle with pain, we must quiet ourselves enough to listen to what our body is telling us.

Yes, it’s good to get some opinions, but take all advice with a grain of salt. We know ourselves better than a doctor with a PhD. We understand what we’ve been going through more than a random keyboard warrior who loves to put their two cents into everyone’s problems.

Aren’t we worth that?

Don’t we deserve the best care possible?

 

It’s time to advocate for yourself.

When you have an appointment, make sure you take questions you want answered so you don’t forget them if your train of thought gets derailed (mine did as soon as one doctor brought up amputation for the first time-I was stunned and my mind went blank. Luckily my husband was with me).

Bring someone you trust with you to the appointment (see comment above).

Listen to what your body is telling you. You know YOU best! DOn’t doubt yourself.

Remember, advice is great for optionality, but there is no “One size fits all” answer to your situation.

You are a warrior! Don’t you forget that! Fight for yourself! Fight for the life you’ve envisioned for yourself. You deserve the BEST!!!

I’m praying for you. Rise up and be heard, Warrior!

 

Until next week, as always,

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!!

 

Much love,

 

 

 

 

 

Dealing With Grief

Dealing With Grief

How Grief Plays a Role In Your Health

 

Today’s podcast I will let speak for itself.

I am dealing with grief and last several weeks the stressors in my life were so high that my phantom pains were intense.

 

Taking care of yourself in the midst of pain, sorrow, grief, and anxiety ridden situations is very important for your overall health.

Listen in as I tell you about my past week and a half, how I’ve been feeling, and what I have done, successfully and unsuccessfully, to deal with my emotions and the pain that I was feeling in my heart.

I pray you all are doing well, and I apologize for the delay in posting this week.

Stay positive.

Be the warriors you were meant to be and know that I am here and will get through this and heal on my time.

Until next week,

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!

 

Much love,

In loving memory of Bella Rose October 27, 2023