Tag: lifestyle

Goals

Goals

Set ‘Em, and Slam Dunk ‘Em!

No better time than the present!  It doesn’t need to be a Monday or the first of the month or, even worse, January 1st to set and achieve any goal you set for yourself. Now is the time to get started on the path you want and desire for yourself.  What do you want from your life? Do you want to be healthier? Eat better? Quit smoking/drinking? Get moving and exercise daily?  Are you, like me, trying to walk better and more smoothly in your prosthetic or use your running blade for running?

What are you waiting for? Let’s crush your goals….NOW!

 

You can do anything you set your mind to and setting goals is the most powerful way to get there.  To make sure you’re successful in achieving your goals you need to make sure you follow a few steps.

  1. Set a goal you really want to achieve.
  2. Set a DATE to achieve it by.
  3. Tell people who care about you. They will hold you accountable when you struggle to stay the course.
  4. Forgive yourself when you take a step backward, and pick yourself back up and continue forward.
  5. Write it down!!
  6. Celebrate the small victories and be proud of yourself when you achieve your goal.

These simple steps will help you meet your goals and push you forward. When you start achieving your goals you will find that you will feel better about yourself, be physically healthier, and your mental game will be stronger.

A happier and healthier you will be greeting on the other side of your goals.

It’s all up to you and what you really want in life.

This is how I got motivated to move in my prosthetic from the start.

 

I use a little extrinsic reward to stay motivated to move.  For me, after many years of knee surgeries before amputation, I couldn’t get out and move.  Even a small walk to the mailbox was too painful for me.  I gained weight and felt awful about myself.  Once I got my prosthetic I couldn’t wait to be mobile, but it wasn’t that easy.  Learning how to manipulate the knee joint and getting use to wearing a 12 lb leg was more than I bargained for but I was determined, after all I decided to amputate so I could be mobile once again.  The only way I knew how to get use to something was to use it, and use it daily, no matter what.  Enter virtual races, before they became a pandemic thing.

I loved that I could do it on my own time, the way I could do it, and at my pace.  I was hooked after receiving my first medal, and as you can see I have gained a few…. and some aren’t even in this picture!  All of these I completed in the past 2 years, as an amputee!  If I can do this then so can you. You just need to follow those basic steps above, to help you succeed.

 

 

You guessed it!

This week I want you to set a realistic, yet challenging goal for yourself.

What have you been putting off but really want to achieve?

WRITE IT DOWN! Put it somewhere you can see every morning to remind yourself and remember you ARE worth achieving it!

Tell your friend or family member, or join a social group that’ll support you, cheer you on, and pick you up when you fall.

Remember, it’s a journey. You’ll have good days and bad. There will be days you fail, but you must pick yourself back up and press on. Don’t quit!

You will thank yourself when you meet your goal, and then you’ll be wanting to set a new one.

 

Talk to me! Tell me what you’re planning on doing and how you’ll go about achieving it. I’m here and listening.

As always,

Be Healthy,

Be Happy, Be YOU!!!

 

Much love,

Angie

Me, right after amputation. I actually had my surgery right before Christmas.

 

Me now. Happier, healthier, and moving! Just like I wanted, and everything I’d hoped for!

What are YOUR goals?

Get a Grip

Get a Grip

Dealing with Phantom Pains, Part 2

As a continuation to last week’s podcast on Phantom Pain, and how my faith has helped me through, I thought I would add in other ways you can try to deal with these inevitable pains we go through, as amputees.

If you experience phantom pains you know how unpleasant and downright horrible they can be. They can mess with your head, bring you down, and keep you from sleep.  They don’t discriminate, and if you’ve never had them, be forewarned, you could still have them rear up even years down the road.  My prosthetist, who is also an above knee amputee, has been an amputee for 20+ years, and just last week experienced them for the first time, and the full blown kind.  It amazes me that no one is safe from experiencing them, in one form or another, and at any given time in their amputee life.

Which brings me to the point I tried to make in the last podcast, and will, again, reiterate it here:

You need to learn to deal with these pains, realizing that they come and go, no one is safe from them, and your mindset about them will ultimately determine how you push through (or not), to rise up and continue on with your life.  They may knock you down, but they don’t have to destroy you.

In this podcast I discuss many different ways you can help yourself deal with them, but ultimately, I believe you need to become really strong, mentally and emotionally, to win each battle, when they come.

 

Listen in to this week’s podcast and see what might be able help you the next time phantom pains strike.  And they will….. will you be ready to take on the battle?

 

 

Do some research. Understand your options. Research neurotransmitters.  Understand that what works for one person may not work for you so be open to that possibility and don’t be afraid to keep trying different options.  And remember, the more you understand that phantom pains are a part of your journey, the more capable you will be with overcoming them, and not being defeated by them, when they do arise.

Put on your big girl boots and push through!
I’m a “Mind over Matter” kinda girl.

 

I believe being outside and staying active helps me push through bouts of phantom pain. How about you?

 

Remember, you are not alone. and you CAN and WILL make it through it.

 

As always:

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!!

 

Much love,

Angie

 

Abracadabra

Abracadabra

Phantoms and Serving Others: How do they fit together?

 

Ok, so maybe it’s not THAT easy to rid yourself of phantom pains, but it does help.

 

SERVING.

When we distract our minds then we can free ourselves, even temporarily, from pain.  So why not help others while you help yourself?  I can’t think of anything better than serving where I’m needed, helping someone else out, while I get an opportunity to keep so busy that I don’t think about my own problems.

Six years ago my oldest son started to go part-time to a Christian school here in the valley. I found out that they go up to Williams, AZ to Lost Canyon Young Life camp every Fall and always need parent volunteers and I thought I could help.  I knew no one and I was actually already struggling with knee pain and surgeries, but I thought what better way to meet new people and distract myself from my own misery.

To say that this was life-changing for me would be an understatement!  I meant fantastic new people, made great friends, grew in my Faith (which proved to be invaluable as amputation time came), and I helped the school fill a need.  Did my knee hurt? You betcha!  Did I notice it while I served? Not as much as if I had sat around and felt sorry for myself.

You see, when we sit around with an idle mind we, as humans, tend to dwell on our hardships.  We let that inner voice go from positive to negative in a heartbeat.  Who needs that?  It doesn’t help your situation or circumstance and actually makes you miserable to be around.

As the years passed, and so did my years of being at this retreat, I learned something about myself.  I use activity to take my mind off my own problems, pains, and worries.  Retreat became more of a saving grace for me, while I blessed our students.  Who would’ve know? And then that became the key to me pushing through pain, and eventually phantom pain. You see, phantom pain is not “real, physical” pain but nerves that don’t know what to do with the signals being sent out.  In this case there isn’t a lot we can do  to “physically” curb those feelings, we must dig deeper and address them through our mind.  Training our brain to function differently now that we are missing a limb.

If I find myself being active, in a new place with beautiful surroundings, I am more apt to move past my pains and focus on the good around me.  Take a look at where I was this past week in the pictures below:

Iron Horse Worship Center

 

The grounds are so clean and beautiful, and the weather is so much cooler than Phoenix.

 

The magnificent dining hall I have served in for the past 6 years.
This year was my last as my youngest is a senior. It was hard to say good-bye.😥

In a world were there is so much need for servers, and volunteers, why not get out and do something good while you reap the benefits of distracting yourself from your own pain AND doing good?  Also, whenever I spend time serving others I notice that I am riding on a cloud for weeks following my serving.  There is something so magical about helping others through our own valleys.  Try it!  You may be pleasantly surprised by the outcome.

 

Oh, by the way, did I mention the night skies?  Awe-inspiring is all I can say!

 

 

 

It’s simple, like magic and a slight of the hand:

 

Serve others before yourself.

Give of yourself and watch how God work in and through you.

 

Abracadabra, let your pain go, use distraction, and like magic, you can have some peace from your pain.

Find a way to get involved in your community. Give to someone else that’s hurting or worse of then you, believe me, there is always someone who is struggling with more than what you are. Find what’s good about your life, your circumstance, and then use that fuel to help others. You will be glad you did.

 

And as always:

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!

 

Much love,

Angie

Fit As A Fiddle-Ha!

Fit As A Fiddle-Ha!

Prosthetics 101-Part 2  Fitting

Getting my fitting checked with Randy. (@limbmaster)

 

No matter how many questions I asked and how many people I talked to prior to amputation, no one can help you understand the things you don’t even know to ask in the first place…. for example, I knew it would take time, about 2 years, for my residual limb to shrink, change, and mature. What I didn’t know was that what I ate the day before may make my socket not fit the next morning, or that losing weight and gaining weight can be detrimental to a good fitting socket!  Oh, I’m learning that now, boy am I ever!! But it’s these moments that I hope my journey will help someone else navigate their own. It’s not something I would have even thought about asking someone before my amputation, but it’s definitely a factor in why so many amputees are struggling to fit well into their sockets.

My newest socket that’s almost ready for pick up! No more excuses!💪🏼

 

This socket is one of the many I have had made for me and my ever-changing limb. It truly is a journey, and one that you need to embrace and wrap your head around. Once you go through an amputation you won’t be problem or pain free. You will have ups and downs, good days and bad. It’s how you handle them that counts, and understanding your own body is vitally important for you to get the best fit for your socket.  Being able to accurately communicate what is going on with your fit, to your prosthetist, will help him or her make the best socket, and adjustments, for you. Also, if you know where you want your body weight to be, and hold yourself accountable, that will also help eliminate issues with fitting into your leg as well.

I wish I had known that in the beginning, but I’m glad I understand that now. I am more aware of changes to my body and therefore able to comprehend what’s going on with my fit. Sometimes it’s just what it is, and my limb is changing and maturing the further out from surgery I get. Other times, it’s on me and whether I’m eating well, or exercising too much or not enough. Self-awareness is vital to your fit, and your fit is vital to your overall health. If you aren’t fitting well into your socket then you’ll be more apt to give up and not wear it, thus causing you to become more unhealthy and that in turn can really bring you down, emotionally.  See how your fit can effect the other areas of your life?

Check out this podcast as I delve into some issues I’ve been having and how I am correcting them. Also, you can check out my You Tube channel for my video podcasts and other videos on exercise,

Before you go, subscribe to my site so you won’t miss an episode!

 

This week I want you to start making goals and sticking to them.

*Set a specific day AND time to weigh yourself, weekly.

*Decide where you want to be with your weight and start working towards that.

*Baby steps- start making good habits with exercise. Maybe start with simple pushups and do what you can. The next day do the same if not one more, and so on. Also, don’t forget about your core! A strong core will make walking easier and help you avoid other issues like a bad back or sore hip.

*Track what you eat! work on having a calorie deficit, if you want to lose weight, or set a calorie intake for the day and stick to it. It’s ok to have something you love, once in a while. Total restriction isn’t fun nor beneficial. This is NOT a diet but a change in your thinking. Accountability is key to seeing this through. Use an app for calorie counting, it’s so much easier that way. I use the app Lose It! and have for several years now.

*Remember, it’s a journey. It won’t happen over night and give yourself some grace when you fall down. Get back up and continue to move forward. You can do this!!

Reach out to me if you have any questions. I’m happy to help and here for you.

Follow me on Instagram at @BAWarrior360

 

As always:

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!

 

Much love and happy exercising,

Angie

The Journey Called Life

The Journey Called Life

Have Grace With Yourself Through Life’s Ups and Downs

The valleys in life allow us to see the beauty of the mountain tops

 

Moving has been the focus of my every moment this past 3-4 weeks and it has been exhausting. I have pushed myself to the max to get things unpacked and to make our new house look like a home. I have rubbed my residual limb raw, created some serious pains that have taken my breathe away, and made my “good leg” ache with all the work it has done to compensate for the lack of not having another limb. With all the craziness of life I have ignored the fit of my socket, until now. I am finally getting fit for a new socket and am excited with the idea of a closer fit, but anxious with having to cope with a new fit that will inevitably cause pains as I adapt to it.

With the good comes the bad. With the highs come the lows, and life is a journey. We must always remember that life isn’t a sprint but a marathon. I need to remember that. I can get impatient at times, and frustrated by the problems and set backs I encounter on a day to day/week to week basis.

I need to remember to stop and smell the roses( or in my case, today, sunflowers), and enjoy the journey. Today was one of those days when everything just came to a head for me, emotionally, and I got so angry and frustrated. You know, the kind of emotion that makes you want to give up and take a nap…. or stress eat!

I’m proud of myself, I did neither! Instead I went through with recording my podcast. Take a listen to hear what happened today that put me in a tail spin. As I spoke to you all about it, I realized that I am truly blessed with my life and that “this too, shall pass”.  I must learn to have grace with the world, the people around me, and myself.  I believe we have these moments to remind ourselves of all the good that is in our life. Without the valleys how can we appreciate the mountain tops? I sometimes forget how good my life is and how blessed I am. I need to remind myself to be grateful, even through the problems.

I hope you can see how blessed you are with who and what you have in your life, even when things aren’t so perfect. If we can just see the positives we can eliminate stressors that can harm our health.  Our attitude and outlook on our life can create a healthy life or make us sick.  Being unhappy, grouchy, and angry can really harm our health and  destroy our recovery from sickness or surgery. Try positivity. You might be surprised on how great you’ll start feeling AND you’ll also see the world change, for the better, all around you, all because of how you carry yourself. I don’t see myself as disabled or handicapped. I like to smile at people who look at me, staring at my leg. When I smile and they smile back then I know they see me for ME, then a chain  reaction occurs, of happy vibes…. at least in my life and at my house.  Try it!! The world needs more positive vibes- why not be the person who starts it? Be the change!

 

 

Today’s Call to Action:
Write down 5 things that you are grateful for. Maybe it’s people in your life, or your pet. Maybe its the health you DO enjoy, or a memory. Maybe it’s simply that cup of coffee with a friend or that moment you had to watch the sunset. Just be thankful! Then post your list somewhere that you can see it everyday. Maybe on your mirror in your bathroom, or next to your bed at night.

Better yet, can you write 5 things for which you are grateful for 7 days in a row?

Send me a message and tell me what you are grateful for. Our gratefulness is contagious!

I am grateful for each of you!! Thank you for reading, listening, and following my journey!

 

And as always:

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!!

 

A little bit of sunshine to make me smile

 

Much love and admiration,

Angie

 

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

 

Starting Point

Starting Point

Again, and Again, and Again…..

Starting Line to my 1st race as an amputee, and as a St Jude Hero.

 

If someone asked you where your life began, or where you started out, you might answer, when you were born. Others may answer where they started their career or life as an adult, when they had to be responsible for themselves and maybe a spouse or significant other.

For me, my starting point is always changing, and comes around…OFTEN!

Of course we all start life at birth, then we grow, move out and start our own life.

If we get married and have kids, those are all new points, starting once again.

At 40 something years old, I thought most of my starting points were behind me but in December 2018 my life shifted greatly. I elected to amputate my left leg above the knee, and start over. This was a huge discussion and was quite tough to make. Many questions came to me, like- Would I die during surgery? Would I get an infection? Will I really learn to walk again, or hike or ski, for that matter? Did I have the energy and strength to begin again and learn to do everything I knew how to do (with 2 legs) now with just one?

When I woke after surgery I started over. A clean slate. A new beginning. As scary as that was, it was also a moment of new hope. I could dictate the outcome of my decision, to some degree, with my attitude, mindset, and fight. And that’s just what I did!

In this podcast I discuss what it’s like starting over. And how as an amputee we “start over” A LOT! Every new socket, the change in weather, a new pair of shoes, a change in prosthetics, from walking leg to running blade, etc.

Another new socket fitting by Randy West 5/3/2021

 

Stop and rest now and then. Life is a marathon NOT a sprint!

 

All of that feels new, and changes our perspective and outcomes of that moment, day or week.

This was my 3rd ski trip as an amputee-the first one without instructors!

 

Starting over isn’t for the weak or faint of heart.❤

And sometimes we succumb to the constant newness of our circumstance. I discuss options you have on how, as an amputee, you deal with these obstacles, and how your support system can help you navigate day to day living.

Remember, it’s all about your mindset, but even the most optimistic people hit roadblocks they struggle to get around. Give yourself a break. Have grace with yourself and don’t hold on to those struggles. They are inevitable, and we all deal with them. Take a step back, breathe, then move forward-head held high!

Roadblocks are a part of life. Embrace the challenge and ATTACK!
Smiling’s my favorite! 😁

 

You are a warrior! Press on, good and faithful soldier, press on.⚔

 

This week, I want you to look in the mirror, and look deep within yourself.  Praise yourself for how far you’ve come. Recognize your successes, let go of fears. Press onward. If you haven’t made a vision board yet, give that a go this week. Check out my own vision board HERE  for an example.

If you have a vision board already made, then maybe now is a good time to refresh and renew your dreams, goals, thoughts and mantras.  Good big!! Aim for the stars and realize that you can achieve what you put your mind and heart in to.

As always, I would love to hear how you are doing. Reach out to me. Follow me on Instagram at @angie_heuser and/or @bawarrior360. DM me our email me. Leave a comment here and let me know how your goals are coming along, if you need help, or if your are struggling.

I’m here for you!

And as always:

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!!

 

Much love,

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!

 

 

 

Being Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable

Being Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable

Using Fear to Grow and Overcome Obstacles

What holds you back from accomplishing your goals, your dreams?

What stops you from moving forward, creating anxiety within you?

If you are crippled by fear and can’t seem to move forward in pursuing your goals just know you are not alone.  Everyone has some sort of fear: fear of failure, fear of acceptance, fear of being alone or in pain. The issue is never about whether you have a fear or not, it’s about how much it controls your life.

I use to tell my sons, when they were little, that it was ok to have fears, as long as it doesn’t control you or stop you from being healthy, happy and living your life.  Fear is defined by Merriam-Webster as an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger; anxious concern. Fear is the most general term and implies anxiety and usually a loss of courage.  Sometimes fear is defined as a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger or pain, whether the threat is real or imagined.

For most of us, we experience fear based on past, unpleasant experiences. It makes sense. If I went rock climbing a year ago and my foot slipped and I went sliding down the face of the rock, scrapping up my body, I might instantly feel anxiety well up inside of me when a friend suggests we go rock climbing today. As adults, we tend to hold onto past experiences, good and bad, and file those moments away, only to have them resurface when we perceive that we are walking into a similar situation.

However, this only becomes a problem when it creates a roadblock in our living. If we allow that fear, that anxiety, to stop us from experiencing life, then we’ve allowed it to define us.

Once we realize that fear is just a part of human nature then we can learn from it, and dare I say, use it as a tool to help us grow and actually enjoy new experiences. We don’t grow in our comfort zones, we grow when we get pushed  into uncomfortable situations. It forces us to improvise, it heightens our alertness and makes us aware of our limits, helping us to push our minds and bodies into new, unchartered territories.

This is how I have felt since becoming an amputee. Each day I feel that there is something that makes me become more alert, anxious, or even fearful. When I first learned to walk in my prosthetic I worried about falling and hurting myself, or making myself look foolish in public. Then as I got better at walking I tried to run. I’d put on my running blade, but would only go out at night so no one could see me stumble, look awkward, or stare at me. Fear of not being good enough stopped me from getting out in daylight, when it was safer and easier to see the road. I eventually got past that enough to go out earlier, but I still felt uncomfortable. Each day would bring it’s own set of issues, anxiety and discomfort. I tried a lot of new things like sled hockey and surfing, for the first time as an amputee. And each one of these was a test of my fortitude on pushing past my own insecurities. I am a perfectionist and very competitive with myself and others.

If you can do it, so can I.

If you tell me I can’t because I’m missing a leg, I’ll show you that I can. (That might actually be the stubbornness in me).

Skiing in Colorado March 2021

 

In today’s podcast I share with you my journey at getting back to skiing and how fear of falling takes away from the experience. I want to enjoy skiing again. To be outside, breathing in the fresh air, getting exercise and making a connection with my family.

So what do you do when fear takes hold? How do you push past discomfort and really start living your life?  It’s a mindset. It’s positive self-talk, your own personal pep-talks.  It’s about goal setting.

This goes back to the vision boards I talked about in the last episode. If you didn’t hear that podcast you can take a listen here

My vision board

A vision board is a place to put your dreams, goals, positive messages. Once you’ve created it you will have a place to go to keep yourself motivated. When you start to worry or doubt yourself or your capabilities, look to your vision board. You also need to remember that goals take time, and the bigger the goal the more grace you need to have with yourself and the setbacks that may occur. I remind myself, daily, that baby steps are still steps.

When we went skiing this past week, my first day on the slopes wasn’t my best. I just wasn’t feeling it, my movements were tense and unsure. We didn’t ski again until the end of the week, and quite frankly I couldn’t help but worry that I was going to feel the same way as before. Part of me would have been content with not skiing again….but I decided to push myself into uncomfortableness and try again, and you know what? I had a great day of skiing! I relaxed, worked on breathing, remembered some techniques I had been taught by my adaptive ski instructors from the previous year and enjoyed my day (and yes, I even talked to myself, affirming my skills and capabilities as a skier). When all was said and done, I was grateful I pushed myself out of my comfort zone that day. I wiped away the negative memories of the first day of skiing and replaced them with healthy, positive ones. The funny thing about that, I am the only one who saw my progress, because it was internal. It was the way I felt out there and how I moved from being uncomfortable to comfortable. This was MY victory. I conquered my fears and came out on top.

You need to remember that you CAN do anything. You set your goals, you speak and write affirming words to motivate and push yourself forward, you surround yourself with a tribe of people who can support you-mentally, emotionally, physically.

It may not be easy, but you can accomplish your goals, and when you do, when you learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable, it’ll be then that you will truly be living your best life. And nothing will be able to stop you.

Call to Action:

This week, write down a fear you have. Something you want to conquer. Decide on the goal and the steps you’ll need to take to get to that goal. Add the desired outcome to your vision board or tape it on the mirror in your bathroom, somewhere you can see it everyday, someplace that will be a constant reminder of what you want to accomplish. Now go for it!! Reminder: some days will be better than others (remember my first day of skiing was the pits) but don’t give up. I challenge you to enjoy the journey, with its ups and downs. Get after it, have grace with yourself. If you take a step backward, don’t GIVE up- GET up, and attack it again. You can do this!!

Finally, lean on someone. Ask for accountability and support from someone you trust. If you struggle with that, reach out to me, let me help you.

Make sure you let me know how you’re doing.

Tell me what your goals and dreams are in the comments below, or email me. I’d love to hear about your journey. I’m here.

Best wishes on conquering your fear(s).

Speaking of conquering fears, next week I have a special guest. My friend, Mike Coots, joins me from Kauai, HI. He is an amazing photographer, shark advocate, surfer, and an amputee who lost his leg in a shark attack! Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss it!

Until next time:

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!