Tag: adaptive

Inventors & Innovators: Surfing Brings Healing

Inventors & Innovators: Surfing Brings Healing

Adaptive Surfing with Swell Surf Foot

 

 

The Ocean is healing.

The Mana (power) of the ocean has a way of grounding you and setting you free so you can soar. It’s an unbelievable feeling!

Just before my 1 year anniversary of my amputation I traveled to Kauai and tried my hand at surfing. I hadn’t been able to get in the ocean, or really any water, for over 5 years due to surgeries and my inability to maneuver because of my injury. I was excited, and nervous.

Once I learned the basics I found a rhythm to surfing, a rhythm to the ocean. I felt the energy it had, and I felt that energy surge through me.

I no longer felt nervous, I felt carefree and alive, and I felt that ANYTHING was possible!

Today I talk with Zach Samalonis, the co-creator/inventor of Swell Surf Foot. He and Yuhan Zhang started this endeavor for a college course. They talked with surfers in the amputee community to get the data they needed to create a prototype, then designed, created and then got a few of their original designs into the hands of amputees ready and willing to try it and give feedback. I was fortunate enough to be one of them.

 

This is my original surf leg and foot alongside the Swell Surf Foot prototype.

 

Today we discuss how this adaptive equipment came to life from thoughts and research to designing and creating.

What amazes me is that neither Zach or Yuhan are amputees, but they were charged with finding a problem that needed to be solved and a community that needed their help for their capstone project their senior year at Thomas Jefferson University. The Swell Surf Foot can help bring surfing to more amputees and also brings those people to the ocean for healing. This low cost, water-proof prosthetic was developed with an increased ankle mobility to allow for correct surfing mechanics. In a world where most adaptive surfers have repurposed and fashioned make-shift surf feet because there was nothing on the market, this was filling a need, and want, in our amputee community.

What a beautiful gift their innovation is for adaptive surfers around the world.

Their dedication solving a problem and filling a need is genuine.

In a world where big companies rule the market, it is awesome to see individuals creating and making their mark.

Listen in to hear Zach talk about their inspiration, production, and dreams for the future of their product.

Find them online, give them a follow, and reach out to them if you’d like to try their product in it’s next gen status when it comes out.

 

Thank you Zach for your time today and sharing your story.

I look forward to putting on your surf foot again soon and feeling the freedom and energy of the ocean. Thanks to you and Yuhan, I have found a foot that brings comfortability, grip, and steadiness to my surfing sessions.

 

The ocean is a place for healing and finding freedom.

The Swell Surf Foot is a step in the right direction to getting more amputees out, active, and giving them the peace they need to move forward.

 

Have a blessed week and make sure you subscribe and share so that you and the people you care about don’t miss the amazing people coming up next on this podcast; each making a difference in the lives of amputees everywhere with their creativity, ingenuity, and dedication!

Check them out on Instagram @surfwithswell

or at Zachsamdesigns.com

 

As always,

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!!

 

Much love,

 

 

 

Inventors & Innovators: TheraV for Phantom Pains

Inventors & Innovators: TheraV for Phantom Pains

TheraV Founder and CEO Amira Radovic

We are kicking off Limb Loss/Limb Difference Awareness Month (LLLD) with the founder and CEO of TheraV.

Amira found her passion to help people by creating a non-invasive, non-pharmaceutical device that helps soften phantom pains through the use of vibration therapy.

Phantom pains are a very real, very painful, and often times disabling reaction after losing a limb. Most amputees will experience some level of phantom pain throughout the course of their lives. I would also say that all amputees feel some sort of phantom sensation (a feeling that the missing limb is still there and feels like pins and needles or a numbing sensation), I know I feel that everyday, all day, but I have become accustom to them.

Phantom pains, on the other hand, are intense. They come without warning, last days, sometimes weeks, and can feel like you are being shocked, set on fire, or like a knife stabbing your limb and cutting you open. I have had the distinct privilege (sarcastic voice) of experiencing those crazy, uncontrollable, and sleep depriving pains four times in my five years of being an amputee! I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy!

Amira’s father was a civil engineer and she had dreams of becoming an engineer, herself. She said she was always fascinated with the idea of using technology to enhance the human ability so she studied biomedical engineering at the University of Delaware. As a junior she had an opportunity to work at a prosthetic office. There she was introduced to the mental and physical pain that came with limb loss and the reality of phantom pain. She worked for years and talked to many amputees to come up with her TheraV for phantom pains, despite the lack of data and the stigma that surrounded phantom pains.

This week I had the honor of having her on my podcast to share where her idea came from, how it works, and where she’s taking it next. Like all great inventors, she is continuing to dive deeper into the mysterious world of phantom pains, what produces them, what helps, and how she can improve her already amazing product.

I am grateful for the time I got to speak with her and to hear her story, her passion, and what got her into the world of amputees and phantom pain.

An amazing thing about TheraV is that it can also be used by able-bodied individuals for things like restless leg syndrome or CRPS! Amazing, right?

If you are struggling with any of these issues, and would like to be rid of medications you might consider giving TheraV a shot.

Check out her website HERE.

 

With a world of big Pharma and large corporations it’s hard for the individual to break into the market. Please visit TheraV website, check them out on social media and give them a follow. By purchasing your own therapy for your home you not only have a safe way to manage pain you are helping Amira reach more people and giving them a chance to live without pain.

Thank you, Amira, for joining my podcast this week and for all you are doing for our amputee community.

Phantom pains are real pains.

Your research and devotion to reducing and eliminating them is so commendable! Thank you!

 

 

 

Remember to subscribe to my podcast so you don’t miss out on a month packed with inventors and innovators who are making a huge impact in our amputee community! also. p


lease share this link and podcast with someone who could benefit. My goal is always to help empower and educate those in need. Help me make an impact this month!

 

Thank you and have a blessed week.

As always,

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!!!

 

 

Much love,

 

 

 

 

Fear of Being Uncomfortable

Fear of Being Uncomfortable

Skiing as an Amputee

 

The Canyons, Park City, Utah 2024

 

I don’t know about you but, sitting in a lodge, sipping a drink in front of a fire sounds wonderful. Doesn’t it?

However, I did that for 5 years, while my family all skied and I sat there with tears in my eyes, missing those special moments I knew I’d never get back.

My husband taught me to ski when we were teenagers. We had dreams of teaching our own kids someday and the retiring and skiing through life. 2013 struck me with a knee injury that sidelined me for 5 years! Then, by 2018 I elected to amputate my left leg above the knee.

 

My first goal, 3 1/2 months after amputation?  SKI!

Nice and easy

 

This is why I face my fears

 

Looks like I have 2 legs!!

 

Fast forward to last week and I can honestly tell you that despite my love of skiing and being with my family up on the mountains again, the fears I face before each day really try to take me down. Facing fears is no easy task, and yes, while sitting by the fireplace and sipping a drink in the warmth of a lodge is amazing, NOTHING compares to facing your fears and coming out on top! Not to mention, I will never regret getting out and living my life versus watching it pass before my eyes. I want to live life, and maybe that’s a product of being sidelined for so many years, but I won’t allow my irrational fears take me out of living my best life with my family.

 

Of course I’m going to challenge you to face a fear of yours. You don’t need to be an amputee, either. We all have fears that we can choose to face or turn away from. If you have been turning away, now is the time to stand up straight, adjust your hat, and take it head on! You won’t regret trying, succeed or fail. Because no matter the outcome, you did it! You faced a fear, overcame that emotion and gave it your best. No matter the outcome, you will know you tried and can feel great about yourself for going the distance.

Don’t let fears derail you and your goals. Stay the course, buckle down for the ride, and know that there is no sweeter victory than facing your fears like the true warrior you are and were built to be!

 

So today, decide what you are afraid of and take it on! Despite the butterflies, emotions that well up and want to hold you back, and no matter the outcome. Just go for it!

Rise up, warriors, rise up and face your fears head on! You will NOT regret it!!

 

Have a beautiful and blessed week!

And as always,

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!

 

Much love,

 

Maybe I’ll see you on the mountains some day♥

“Normal”

“Normal”

Don’t Be Normal, Just Be YOU!

 

A word I try very hard to stay away from using in dialogue is “Normal”, as in, “Is it normal that I haven’t healed yet?” or “Is it normal to feel this way?”, or even “Does my limb look normal to you?”

 

The reason I stay away from it is because we are all so very different that there cannot be a NORMAL, or Norm.

We all heal differently, we feel pain differently, we became amputees because of different reasons.

We are different sexes, ages, fitness levels, etc, etc, etc.

I say just be YOU!

Learn what your new “normal” is, and how that changes day to day or even hour to hour as an amputee. Only you can decide what doesn’t look or feel right for you and your circumstance. And when in doubt, don’t ask Social media, call your doctor or medical professional.

 

 

 

 

This week practice keeping “normal” out of your conversations and just listen and tune into your own body.

Accept that you are uniquely and wonderfully made and there is only one you and YOU are normal, for you!

Have a blessed couple of weeks as I will be off next week doing family time.

And as always,

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!

Much love,

 

 

 

Connect

Connect

How Connecting Helps Everyone

 

It can be so easy to get lost in our own world. We can be so focused on our problems and issues that we can feel isolated and alone in a crowded room.

The problem is, even when we aren’t really alone, we get lost in the darkness and can’t find our way out.

We forget that as humans we need connections to survive in the world. We need to be heard, seen, and touched throughout the day, even if we are introverted.

It is part of our DNA and makes us feel whole, loved, appreciated, and a part of something bigger.

 

 

We often get into a victim mentality or sink so low that we can’t find our way out of the problems and issues that we are facing that we can bring those around us down as well, and often see people leave us and don’t know why.

So what can be done to remedy this mindset?

CONNECT!!!

 

I find that when I take the microscope off of me; my life, my setbacks, and my issues and turn them into reaching out and helping others, I forget my problems and find peace, joy and happiness.

I find that making connections with others through texting, calling, video chatting or hanging out places my focus and attention on them which, in turn, gets reciprocated back to me and it becomes a win-win situation. We weren’t meant to go through life alone.

 

 

We all need to feel loved and heard, but sometimes we need to be the one who reaches out first.

When we value someone else’s life, we find our value.

As humans we are meant to live in community, not alone and isolated.

So if you are struggling now and feel alone, make a connection with someone. When you do, you will be able to step out of your darkness, become the light for someone else, and find you’re not alone after all.

Mind over matter, because mindset DOES matter.

 

This week I want you to connect with someone.

Find someone you know is having a rough time, like you. Or someone you haven’t talked with in a while.

Check in on them, and let them know you were thinking of them.

Maybe a neighbor could use a visit.

Or a relative needs to hear your voice over the phone.

Maybe a friend, who appears to have it all together, is struggling but won’t reach out (because they, too, feel alone).

Who ever you choose to connect with, be as close as you can, meaning if you can physically visit them and give them a hug, DO IT!

But if not be engaged in a conversation with them. Be an active listener, drop everything you are doing and be present. Give them all of you for that time you have together.

Everyone wants to feel valued, heard, and loved. That starts with YOU!

When you connect with someone, you will notice a shift in your own mindset and heart. You’ll get out of your own way and begin to see your life through a positive lense.

Life isn’t easy, that’s for sure, but remember, you are not the only one who is struggling right now.

Rise up and be that connection for someone and feel it reverberate back to you.

 

Get out and connect and have a blessed week!

And as always,

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!!

 

Much love,

 

 

 

 

 

 

Insurance Games

Insurance Games

Playing To Win; Playing For Your Future

 

Dealing with insurance can be tricky and often frustrating. I speak from experience.

It’s unfortunate that insurance companies make it so hard to understand the ins and outs of their policies as well as getting approvals especially since those who are trying to get covered are often going through really tough emotional times.

As I got myself prepared for my amputation I was doing everything to prepare myself, mentally, emotionally, physically, and financially seeing as this would be a forever life changing surgery.

My experience was not smooth, nor was it kind, but I figured out how to handle my situation, found my voice, and fought for what was right and what I needed.

Join me this week as I take you on my journey with the games that insurance companies play, and how you can play and beat them at their own game.

 

This is what I fought to get……

 

So I can do this….

 

…And this

 

….And this

 

…And this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are you fighting for? And if you’re not fighting for what you want, then who will???

 

Randy and David at The Limb Center and also Limbs For Humanity

 

 

This week, if you are in the middle of a big decision that takes medical insurance, make sure you do your homework and get confirmation about what is covered.

If you have been told “No” by your insurance company then it’s time to fight for what you want and need.

We must fight for ourselves, because only we know exactly what we need and want to make our lives worth living.

Help yourself by fighting for your future. Don’t give up, and don’t take “No” for an answer!

You are a warrior and you are WORTH IT!!

 

Have a blessed week and as always,

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!!

 

Much love,

 

 

The First 3 Years

The First 3 Years

Finding Hope after Amputation

 

No one really tells you what to expect after amputation, and quite frankly, even if they did, each journey is different.

The reality is that the first couple of years are filled with bumps, bruises, ups and downs. You will have highs and some of your lowest lows. There will be enormous changes, in your life, and in your body. And even when you finally get through the healing process, post-amputation, the challenges are just beginning. But with all that said, you can and will survive.

You spend A LOT of time in your prosthetist’s office the first 2 years

 

My very 1st prosthetic, one of many. Had no idea what was to come. All I knew was that I would be walking again!

 

Yet another socket!

 

Randy at The Limb Center in Phoenix, making my mold, for ( you guessed it) ANOTHER socket!

 

You will learn how your body adjusts, how it heals, what kind of strength (both physically and emotionally) you have, and you will build character…. oh boy, will you build character.

 

These are all the sockets (minus 3) that I have gone through, because of changes to my limb, in just 3 years!!!

 

The process is long and can be stressful if you don’t have patience. You will find yourself doing well one moment, only to feel like you’ve taken a step back in the blink of the eye. But don’t you give up! And don’t you worry. This is all part of the learning process and the changes you are going through, physically. Becoming an amputee and traversing the first 1-3 years is all about adaptability and change. If you can go into it knowing it is a process that could take that long, and that you will have positive moments of moving forward, riddled with backward steps, then you will be ready and able to handle what gets thrown at you.

You are a warrior, built for adversity.

Be strong.

Stay positive and active.

This is the to fight for what you want out of life.

We are in this journey together!

 

 

This week I want you to decide what it is that you really want out of your new life.

You will want to start building your own toolbox for those moments that become hard and emotionally draining.

I have so many hobbies, and things I do to pass the time, and to distract myself on the harder days, the days where phantom pains want to destroy me and my resolve.

What do you do when you get upset? Tired and frustrated? Or when you are hurting?

Most of us have a coping mechanism to help through those moments in life. This time is no different.

Be prepared to redirect your thoughts so you can get through and come out stronger on the other side.

Prepare yourself for battle; the internal battles that seek to bring chaos into y9ur life, making you doubt yourself and trying to destroy every dream you have. You are a WARRIOR! Believe it! You will succeed and be stronger for it.

Be prepared.

 

And as always,

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!

 

Much love,

 

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,