Tag: choices

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,

 

Purpose in the Waiting

Purpose in the Waiting

 

 

Like a little kid excited and waiting for Christmas morning with great anticipation only to be sad when the presents are all opened, stockings are emptied and bedtime arrives once again.

We too, can find ourselves wrapped up in waiting for life.

We wait for the next appointment, the next fitting, the next promotion, the next relationship, the next thing to be excited about. But what about now? What about the moments that are hard and challenging? Are you letting life waste away and pass you by while you wait or are you living with intention and purpose?

One place I find my purpose

It’s hard, I understand that. As an amputee we spend the first 2-3 years just waiting on healing, the next socket, the insurance company, the follow-up appointment, refitting, adjustments, etc, etc, etc.

Just when we think we have everything going well with our leg something changes, and we start all over again.

I spent the first 3 1/2 years changing and fluctuating before I got my latest socket which I have been in for over a year. And yet, I still have my moments that are hard and challenging. Isn’t that life?

How about you? What’s got you stuck? Do you know what you’re living for?

 

 

This week, if you are in a funk and can’t focus on the present find someone that you can reach out to and help.

Maybe a neighbor could use a visit, or a friend needs an errand run. Whatever it is, whomever you choose to help, realize that you can do so much good and real live your life even in a season of waiting.

Sometimes the first step in helping ourselves is to think about others and find our purpose in being a help to them. Finding purpose in your waiting is key to happiness and feeling content. Remember that when you wake, and have breathe in your lungs then you are meant to be here and to make a difference in the world.

Go out and seize each day, live your life don’t wait to live it.

Tomorrow isn’t promised.

Let your warrior out and rise up! You deserve to live and be happy, even in the waiting.

 

Have a blessed week.

As always,

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!

 

Much love,

 

Dress For Success

Dress For Success

An Equine Analogy For Your Motivation

 

 

You must look the part.

You need to rise up, clean up, and organize yourself if you want to achieve and succeed.

Trust me I know!

Today I found myself entranced on how much time I spend with my horses grooming them.

Why do we do that? Why do we spend so much time brushing them, wiping their faces down, conditioning their mane and tidying them up? It’s not like my horses are heading out on the town nor are they saddled and transported where others will see them… then why?

 

Getting in the Christmas Spirit last year

 

I’ll tell you why, because that keeps them looking kept and neat. It keeps them healthy and clean. I brush them, I wash them, I wipe out their nostrils and eye ducts, I clean out their hooves, all in the name of health. We need to do the same, especially when we aren’t feeling great. When we are down and out, our health depends on it, our outlook on life depends on it, and ultimately our success depends on it. It’s so easy to take the road less traveled when we are hurting and not at our best. When life throws us curveballs and tries to take us down that’s when we need to fight harder, rise quicker, and move forward. When we get wrapped up in negativity and cave to the easy path, or path of least resistance, we tend to let oursleves go, let our homes go and stop really living. That’s when we allow life to pass us by, while we wait for something better to happen to us or for us, for our situation to resolve itself. However, that’s not living life, that’s giving up and hoping things work out.

We need to rise up each day and prepare for life. We need to clean ourselves up, we need to make our bad, we need to get out and MAKE life happen! We all have issues. We will all have problems that arise, but the ones who succeed adjust and fight for what they want. The ones who succeed are the ones who dress for success, each and every day, despite what’s happening, despite the pain and frustrations they are going through. How about you? Are you “dressing” for success each day? Are you preparing for good to happen? That is the key.

I clean my horses up every single day so they are clean, healthy, and happy. When they get the grooming they need they can then attack the day with confidence and pride. Shouldn’t you be the same, if not more motivated to do so?

You are a warrior. Warriors plan for success and it starts with your physical appearance, at the very least. Start there and see where it takes you in life. You might be surprised.

So warriors, rise up and take on the day! You deserve that!

 

 

This week, take care of yourself, starting with your appearance-your physical self. Get up, get ready for the day, make your bed, and go do something.

Be active in your life.

Make life happen FOR you, not TO you.

Stop waiting for right time, the next day, or when you’ll feel better.  Sometimes we need to just start something positive and good with the simple act of looking “put together”, ready to tackle the day. That is your challenge this week.

Go get after life! You’ll be so glad you did!

 

Be an active

As always,

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!

 

Much love,

 

 

Compete

Compete

Find Your Purpose, Set Goals, and Get to Work

This is me BEFORE my knee injury that led to amputation

Competition gives you focus and direction in life. It helps to define your day, provides a sense of purpose, and helps build character and resilience.

All my life I have been competitive. I had big brothers around always “toughening me up”, and sports were an every moment event, whether competing on our home basketball court or joining teams that played every weekend.

I think these moments served me well, and prepared me for a life after limb loss.

For some of you, the journey has been a long and hard one. It hasn’t been easy and you may feel like giving up.

Maybe you even think that “this is as good as it gets”, but I’m here to tell you, DON’T GIVE UP!!!

You can do this! Last week I talked about mindset, well, this is the time to put your mindset to the test and work on positive self-talk.

 

 

On the hard days, when things hurt or you feel out of sorts, or maybe you are not at a point of wearing your prosthetic yet, you may get discouraged…heck! Maybe you ARE discouraged. Now is the time to buckle in and dig deep. This is the time to set those goals and reach for them.

When I find myself in the struggle where pain is winning and I feel like doing nothing and getting depressed about this moment in life that things aren’t going as planned, that’s when I find something to take my mind off of it. I usually find something that brings out the competitor in me. This gives me a goal, a purpose, and consumes my time which takes the attention off of what I’m struggling with.

 

How about you? What do you do to fill your time? Give yourself purpose? Or distract your thoughts changing them into a positive flow?

 

 

Now it’s your turn.

Let’s turn your situation into something positive and meaningful, even if you feel like everything is going wrong and you aren’t where you want to be.

 

Set goals.

Be realistic but challenging.

If you aren’t able to wear your prosthetic just yet then don’t get down on yourself, remember life is a journey, the good and bad of it, so make some lemonade while you wait.

Once you’ve reached those goals, then go ahead and set more. Keep creating challenges for yourself. Setting yourself up for success in the waiting will eventually make you see that you are not waiting for life to happen to you anymore, but that you are living it.

 

Enjoy the process.

You deserve it and you are strong enough.

You are a warrior!

Hope your goal setting is epic just like you!

And until next time, and as always,

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!

 

Much love,

Believing in Yourself

Believing in Yourself

Your Mindset is Your Greatest Asset

 

When it comes to getting it done, or being challenged to push through something tough in life, how do you fair?

Do you struggle to feel accomplished?

Do you feel like you are drowning and there is no way out?

Or how about giving up because the going got tough?

 

 

If this sounds like something you have been through before, or are going through currently, then it may be time to check your mindset and your self-talk.

There is no denying that life will through you curveballs.

Back in 2013 as I was literally kicking butt in karate for my 2nd degree black belt, I would never have thought I would have hurt myself, gone through 10 surgeries, gained almost 60 extra pounds and then elect to amputate my leg above the knee.

Just writing that sounds absolutely crazy and a horrible fiction story. But that was my reality.

Those were tough days, months and years- five years to be exact, and making the decision to amputate wasn’t the end of that journey but a beginning to a whole new shift in my life. I still had to struggle with pain, swelling, adjusting to my new body image and learning to love it. I had problems with fitting prosthetics, I had a huge neuroma that a year after my amputation I went under the knife again and had it removed. Through all of these trials, however, I was being conditioned and building my resilience to my new lifestyle.

Each of these steps I had to figure my way through physically and mentally.

Each of these moments was leading me to a better understanding of myself, my tolerance, showing my strengths and my weaknesses, so I could become better at handling the curveballs of life.

What did I find that helped me?

 

 

 

MINDSET MATTERS!

What I tell myself, how I speak to myself with my inner voice (and sometimes my outer voice). I realized that my words and thinking  could lift me up and allow me to soar,  or it was going to be my demise with negativity. Through trial and error I learned and grew.

I take challenges head on now. I am competitive with myself, and I know that my mind, my energy, and my will to succeed has brought me through tough times. I believe how I think is what has made becoming an amputee a life giving second chance for me versus my undoing.

 

 

I am no one special, but my ability to see the positive in my situation has helped me become more successful as an amputee.

It hasn’t been easy, even though it may appear that way. What you perceive as me “easily” going through something really hard has had it’s challenges, it’s pains and problems, I have cried and I have been angry, but at the end of the day I choose positive!

 

How about you?

 

 

I didn’t add a Call to Action in my podcast, forgive me. Got out of practice with April being all interviews but here’s one for those reading my site.

 

Check your attitude today.

What’s your mood?

How do you feel about yourself and your situation?

Now ask yourself if you can control what’s happening?

If you cannot control what is happening to you then this is a great time to practice patience, positive self-talk, getting active to change your thinking, and setting some goals to keep yourself motivated during the hard days.

You will get through this.

You were designed to be stronger than your circumstances, you only need too believe in yourself.

You are special!

You are unique!

You are loved!

 

Have an amazing week, be blessed.

And as always,

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!

 

Much love,

 

 

Inventors & Innovators: Monster Mike Schultz

Inventors & Innovators: Monster Mike Schultz

From Athlete to Inventor: Making the World Better one Prosthetic At a Time

 

An incredible story today of a young man’s hard fought journey from super competitive athlete to amputee, to inventor who regained his competitive edge and is helping others do this as well.

Mike’s story is one for the books, and write one he did- “Driven to Ride”. His story began with huge hopes for a future in motocross racing, something he was great at, but one fateful day he lost his leg and what he was sure to be his career as a professional athlete.

 

However, like I’ve stated time and again, mindset matters and great people rise because they focus on the dreams and possibilities, not the negative and pitfalls. Mike didn’t let his accident and losing his leg, above the knee, stop him from greatness.

His story is one of success, struggles, creativity, and rising again to a level most people couldn’t begin to dream.

He used his curiosity and ingenuity to create a new prosthetic out of his own garage, built to take him to higher levels of competition that no other leg on the market could. He has refined it, created the company- BioDapt, and makes these prosthetics for other athletes wishing to take their craft to another level.

Mike’s story is one of sheer determination and love for the outdoors and competing. It’s incredible to see someone lose a limb and have the mind and knowledge to build, from scratch, an artificial leg for the purposes that he was seeking.

Listen in today to hear his story, how he came to a place that he had to get back up and start over, and how he went from amputee to gold and two-time silver medalist snowboarding Paralympian all while using his very own invention!

This is an inspirational story of never giving up on your dreams, pushing past the struggles, and achieving despite what appeared to be insurmountable circumstances. He could’ve given up at his young age after his accident, but he had bigger dreams and plans.

Husband, father, inventor, entrepreneur, olympian, and author, you don’t want to miss this amazing interview.

Ready to be inspired?

 

Thank you, Mike, for spending time with me and talking about the ups and downs that life has thrown your way and how you kept on rising and following your dreams.

 

Have a blessed week,

As always,

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!!

 

Much love,

 

 

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,

 

 

 

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♥