Tag: happiness

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,

 

 

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,

 

 

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♥

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,

 

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,