Tag: injury

Rise To The Challenge

Rise To The Challenge

Run The Race Set Before You

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

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

 

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

Now it’s YOUR turn!

 

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

Check these out:

Virtual Strides

Virtual Pace Series

Gone For A Run

Will Run For Bling and Charity

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

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

And as always:

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!

 

Cheers,

Angie

 

Is Amputation Right For You?

Is Amputation Right For You?

Advocating For Yourself When You Reach That Moment

-My First steps as an amputee
-This was pure joy: a new life had been opened up to me
-The possibilities were endless

-My amazing nurses that saw me through
several days of recovery
-This was just before being discharged
-Excitement mixed with nerves

-Dr Judd Cummings, my amazing orthopedic surgeon

 

That moment had come, in my mind. I had done everything to make my knee work the way it was suppose to. I spent years in PT. I tried medication, pain management, dry needling, cryotherapy, holistic/Eastern medicine, blocks, non-invasive surgeries, and allergy testing. NOTHING helped. When I came home from Europe only to find out I had a blood clot and could’ve died in flight was it then that  I realized  that was it, the end of my pursuits to regaining mobility with the knee I was born with.

Enter Dr. Judd Cummings.

He listened to my concerns, had a real grasp of my years of trying to make things better and let me know that I was in the right place, checked off all the boxes, and that amputation was definitely a route he could help me take.

Was this an easy thing to talk about? No way! For a while I couldn’t even say the “A” word. If I did, it became real and I wasn’t emotionally there yet. I got several other opinions before heading back to Dr. Cummings office. One opinion even told me that I’d never walk again if I amputated!! Can you believe that!?!?

The reality is, you need to be in the right state of mind to accept it and go forward with this surgery. How did I know it was right for me? I knew I had exhausted all my options. I had started talking to people in that world who had success with their amputation, and I knew that I was NOT living my life. I was defeated. I was tired of working so hard for something that wasn’t working. I missed doing things with my family, my boys, who were growing up so quickly before my eyes while I watched from the sidelines.

I once had a doctor tell me that I would be a good candidate for amputation however I wasn’t there, yet. I had no idea what he meant by that….until my blood clot. It was like a final slap in the face. The final straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back. At that moment, in the ER, when the doctor told me I had a blood clot, I knew right then and there that I was physically ready for amputation.

I spent over a month getting second opinions, even though I knew I wanted Dr. Cummings to do the surgery, but I was doing my due diligence. Making sure I heard everything loud and clear from several medical professionals, asking a lot of questions, and sometimes hearing things I didn’t want to hear. Each one of those appointments lead me to the final decision, with conviction.

After I set the date for December 18, 2018 I had 3 months to mull it over, ask more questions, worry, get confused, doubt my decision and have nightmares. It was not an easy road leading up to that fateful date. But in those months I gained mental strength that was needed to rise above and succeed in my endeavor. By the time I woke, the morning of my surgery, I was in the best spirits, the weight of my decision was in God’s hands and I was ready! My Faith drove me forward, gave me confidence and conviction.

-I did it for them❤

When I woke after surgery, the moment I actually feared the most, I never felt better. Even my family was shocked by my recovery (I usually am very groggy and sick to my stomach when I come to), and my chirper behavior surprised them.

As I speak with Dr. Cummings in my interview you’ll hear some things that can help you succeed, if this is the path laid out for you. We discuss advocating for yourself in the doctor appoints, gaining perspective through talking to others who have been there, and knowing when to seek another opinion. Dr. Cummings also tells us what things he, as a professional, looks for when deciding if amputation is the best avenue for his patients.

This is not an easy road but it is possible to live your life once again. Yes, I look different. Yes, I have more hurdles to jump over when doing everyday chores. Yes, there are good days and bad days, but everyone has those. It’s ultimately your mindset and the attitude you take about your circumstance that can determine the success you have or don’t have.

Take a listen. Hear what we are saying and know that you, too, can live a full, healthy, and active life as an amputee.

Find joy in where you are, and hope that new adventures can still be had after amputation!

This week, if you believe you may be a candidate for amputation, or you’re leaning towards it, OR your doctor has told you that this is the way you should go then I want you to do a few things to help you in the decision making process.

  1. Check with your insurance on their coverage. This is a lifelong journey, not done once surgery is done. You’ll need to really advocate for yourself with your insurance company for the surgery AND the prosthetic care afterwards! Call them, multiple times, and make sure you always get the same answer to the questions you are asking: for example, is amputation covered? Is my prosthetic covered? Find out what type you may get-some insurance companies won’t cover an electronic leg and you need to know what that means to you.
  2. Talk to a prosthetist or two. Get to know them. Ask questions that you have thought about, like what type of leg you could get based on your physical activity level. There’s a K test they do to see where you are and insurance companies use that to determine what they will cover.
  3. Ask those prosthetist for people that would be willing to do a peer-to-peer. Talking with amputees, especially successful ones, will bolster confidence that you can do it too, and also give you an idea of their day to day routine and struggles they’ve overcome. I also learned through my peer-to-peer visits that they all had a common thread: they all had a great, positive attitude and all of them set goals for themselves for AFTER the amputation. Goals setting is so key, but attitude can make or break the situation you’ll be in.
  4. Get second, third and even fourth opinions about the surgery from different doctors. It’ll be insightful to hear the different takes they each have.

You have your work cut out for you until next week. Reach out to me if you have questions. I’d love to talk!

Until next time,

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!

-My first “real” photo after I got home- I hadn’t “shown off” my new look until this moment

 

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Embrace your new life. Except it and then you can find true happiness in the choice you made OR the choice that had to be made for you. You’ve got this! I know you can do it.

-Much love,

Angie

 

Facing Fears, Overcoming Obstacles

Facing Fears, Overcoming Obstacles

What’s Holding You Back?What if I told you that you can overcome your fears. What if I told you that you could rise above your circumstances and that they do NOT define you?

You need to hear Mike’s story, but not just what happened to him, listen to how he speaks about it. Listen to his message of the hope, and how he looked toward his future and NOT his past. Hear his heart and about the faith he had that this was all part of a bigger plan. We could all learn a thing or two from his approach to living a full and rewarding life and how his positivity and mindset might be just what you need to be inspired to make the most of your circumstances.

I met Mike while we were in Kauai on vacation a couple of years ago. I didn’t know his story before meeting him but was intrigued to hear that he lost his leg in a shark attack and went right back to surfing.  Talk about facing fears! Wow! I find his story inspiring, not just because he went back to surfing but because he took a life changing event and made the most of it. To become a shark advocate and to be face to face with them so he could photograph them and show the world what beauty lies within these ancient creatures is, to me, the ultimate sign of courage and strength.

What I realized after talking with Mike, in depth, is that we ALL have that capability inside of us. We can all make the choice to see the positive in any situation. We can get knocked down a hundred times but rise 101 times. We control the power within ourselves to be great and live a full and meaningful life, no matter what hand we are dealt.

Mike and I meeting for the first time in Kilauea, Kauai

 

I really hope you hear the message Mike presents in our interview, and understand that it’s possible to find happiness in tragedy, hope when you feel hopeless, and success in overcoming fear. You can do this! You are strong enough and you have a story to share with others. Through your fight and your journey, you, too, can and will inspire.

 

Call to Action:

Decide if you are playing the victim and throwing a pity party because life didn’t deal you the hand you think you deserve or are you looking at that circumstances as a way to rise to the challenge and going to make the best of it.

Then decide if you want to make a change and start living your life.

If you are choosing to take back control of your life, what do you need to make this happen?

Do you need to change your thinking? Then start by seeing the positive- I try to remember that I am lucky to be alive and healthy and can now do the things I couldn’t do just 2 years ago. I also realize that there are people in worse situations than I am and that I should have a a heart of gratitude.

Do you need help? Reach out to a family member, a friend, a close co-worker or find a support group. Sometimes it’s just plain tough to go it alone and a healthy, open relationship is just what you need. Be honest with yourself and your family about how you’re feeling. Sometimes just talking through your feelings will release your anxiety and allow you to grow.

Once you figure out what’s holding you back you can begin to move forward and make the necessary changes to improve your outlook on your life, and begin to have a positive, healthy mindset that will translate to a more profitable lifestyle for you and those around you.

This week I want you to work on your thinking and how you perceive your life. Be positive, upbeat, lose the negativity and smile. The simple act of smiling increases the release of endorphins and serotonin- a pain reliever and antidepressant, respectively. Try it!

I want to see you soar! I want to see you live a healthy, full and wonderful life. It’s there for the making.

 

Next week join me as I speak with Dr. Judd Cummings, the Orthopedic surgeon who performed my amputation and helped me get my life back.

Until next time:

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!

 

 

 

Never Quit, Never Surrender!

Never Quit, Never Surrender!

No matter what I went through those 3+ years prior to amputation, Dr. Shaun Palmer never gave up on me or my hope…nor did I! I was going to walk again! I was going to get better, whatever it took! In this episode I chat with my PT that I saw from my knee revision surgery through amputation. You’ll get to hear his side of my journey and how he adapted my therapy to fit where I was physically and mentally. I want to show you what is possible when you advocate for yourself in the medical world, and what kind of relationships you can build with the right mindset. Unleash the warrior inside of you! Fight for your health! Bring your hopes, dreams and positivity to your provider so they can best serve you.

Dr. Palmer is also a co-host on the Doc Doc Goose Podcast (DDG Podcast) that you should check out for great information and entertainment.

Be sure to subscribe to Be-YOU-tiful Adaptive Warrior Podcast so you don’t miss an episode. I have big things in the works and some very special guests lined up. Check my Instagram account for updates as well: @BAWarrior360 and @angie_heuser and some upcoming Live Interviews with some amazing people.

Until next time, Be healthy, Be happy, Be YOU!

Starfish Arms and Lizard Tails

Starfish Arms and Lizard Tails

It won’t grow back so it’s time to change your thinking!

The road I’ve taken to get where I am and to be the person you see here has been long and filled with bumps and bruises along the way. I got knocked down-over and over again but I chose to get back up. Today, I share my journey with you for the first time. From injury to amputation, this is my personal story.

To be transparent is to show the world your weakest side, your weakest moments in hopes of inspiring and motivating others. I hope my story gives you hope, makes you laugh, and maybe even shed a tear because you  know this story all too well, as it mirrors your own.

Mine started in taekwondo. That’s when I felt like my train derailed. Little did I know what the next several years would bring, who I’d meet along the way, and the lessons I would learn.

Know their is hope in your story. That journeys serve a purpose, and that your perception and attitude will help you rise up and conquer whatever is in your way.

It’s time to unleash the warrior within you! Listen to my new podcast episode here! You can also click the link to your favorite podcast platform (Apple, Spotify, iHeart Radio) on this page.

After you listen, add your Call To Action comments here so I can see where you’re at in your journey and respond.

Thanks  for listening and please subscribe and don’t forget to share my link with someone you know that needs encouragement today!!

 

Starfish Arms and Lizard tails

Starfish Arms and Lizard tails

New podcast episode is on it’s way. In this episode I want to delve into my history up to my amputation so you can understand where my experience comes from and what I’ve been through. Amputation happens all the time, and for so many different reasons: accident/trauma, disease, infection, and elected.  To understand my view point and my drive- what makes me tick- you must first know who I am and what I went through. Let’s call this the starting point of our relationship, our first date, in some ways. You wouldn’t spend time or energy on someone you knew nothing about unless they led you to believe there was something worth getting to know. In this episode I will do just that. Time to get personal and share my story.  You will understand what makes me…. Me! And my hope is to reach you, my listener, so that you can relate to parts (or all) of my story and feel comfortable with the topics at hand and why I am sharing. I want to help others, who have struggled in life, reach their potential no matter what their circumstance. To give hope to those who feel they have none and to show you how to stand strong and live your best life through the ups and downs, and ins and outs of my journey.

Fasten your seatbelts as we jump into my pre-amputation life- it was a wild ride for about 6 years!

This Can’t Be MY Life!

This Can’t Be MY Life!

Welcome to my trailer of Be-YOU-tiful Adaptive Warrior. This is a quick introduction to what you will be hearing about throughout my episodes. My journey through healing and living my best life, and how I can help you achieve that same success.

For more information please contact Angie at: BAWarrior360@gmail.com