Tag: pain

Try!

Try!

“Nana korobi, ya oki”-Japanese proverb

Translation- “Fall down seven times, get up eight.”

Are you struggling with getting up and getting active?  Are you afraid to fail? To fall?

It happens. If you decide to try something new then be prepared to fail, and fail again, until you finally succeed.  It takes trials and errors to make the necessary adjustments, in anything you do, to finally see success.  If you didn’t fail when trying something new then you didn’t learn anything and didn’t set your goal high enough.

 

A goal should be hard to achieve, but not unachievable. It should make you work, and often times fail or be so hard that when you do achieve it you feel amazing about how far you’ve come.

This past weekend I achieved a goal I set for myself over a year ago.  Part of it, no, most of it, was about my mindset.  I wanted to hike a specific trail that I knew would be demanding on my body, my residual limb, and socket.  When I first attempted it I didn’t have the necessary equipment, time, nor was the temperature conducive (100 degrees+).  I really hadn’t a clue why we even tried it but I knew how hard the first 1/4 mile was and the hike would be 5 miles round trip.  I needed to prepare physically but also mentally.  I knew I was going for it this past weekend a whole week beforehand so I had time to make necessary adjustments with materials and prepare my mind for the hardship this trek would have on me, but I WAS determined to achieve my goal!

 

I know this sounds more like a talk on goal setting but it’s really about getting out and trying things you might not normally do…and quite frankly, that takes goal setting and a mind shift.

 

 

But if failure scares you then be prepared to stay right where you are and become stagnant.  You cannot grow without goals. You cannot achieve goals without hardships and failure. And you cannot see change without trying something new pushing you out of your comfort zone.

So what are you waiting for???

 

 

Get out and try something new this week!

If you are struggling with pain, maybe shift your thinking to something different than sitting around and thinking about the pain.  Maybe that means reading a book you’ve always wanted to read, going for a drive just to get out of the house, calling a friend and having a nice conversation about something totally unrelated to your circumstance or focusing on their life or their issues.  Whatever you do, set a goal, small or large, write it down and then set the necessary steps it takes to achieve it….and then go for it!!!

If you try something new you might find that you have found a new passion, whether it’s reading an certain author or helping others with their situations or a specific exercise or activity.  It might put you on the path of a healthier lifestyle and better habits.  Who knows, you might actually, for a moment, forget about your own pain and problems!

Now wouldn’t that be something!?

I hope you found something useful here,

And as always:

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!

Almost  to the top of the Granite Mountain Hot Shots Memorial hike, Yarnell, AZ.
2.5 miles to observation point. 1,990 feet elevation change. Rocky as all get out!💪🏼

 

Much  love,

Angie

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

 

When The Going Gets Tough

When The Going Gets Tough

How do you deal when hard times come a knockin’?

 

Do you throw your hands up in defeat or do you reach deep down and find the strength to carry on?

Do you belittle yourself into an out of control spin or do you use words of affirmation and pull yourself up by the bootstraps?

 

I have been realizing, of late, that I am struggling with motivation. I think the move did me in and I’m still recuperating from the physical battles I had to overcome with packing and unpacking a home.  My body has been aching more and my residual limb, well, let’s just say we are trying to come to terms with what I want to do and what it is capable of doing.

I have pushing myself to get out the door and put my walks and exercise time in, only to find that my physical game is struggling, which then plays into my mental game. This past weekend I went for a long walk with my husband, only to find that my limb really didn’t have it in it to walk as long as I wanted to… but I pushed myself and my mind won.  However, that wasn’t the only win that day.  I walked the longest I had walked in my new socket- 2 miles, but I also pushed myself into an opportunity to see where my mental fortitude lay.  This is how this podcast came about. I realized how much I talk to myself in the “heat of the battle”.  My mind was speaking to my heart and my leg.  I then asked myself why I go through this pain and hurt.  What was I getting out of doing this to myself?

I learned a lot about myself as I walked in the 98 degree Arizona summer sun, pushing myself to go farther, to not turn around, and not to give up.  I find that this is beneficial for me to see what I am made of, to work out the kinks in my prosthesis, and build my character and create positive moments in my life.  Is it easy? Was it easy?  Absolutely NOT!  But as the saying goes, nothing worth earning comes from “easy”.  We benefit more from a situation that is hard to get through because when we rise out on the other side we claim victory, and this is great for self motivation and helps us deal with the next hard moment, which is sure to come.

 

This was a moment of finding out what I was made of.
A 10K race just 1 year after amputation.

 

The question is, how are you handling those tough moments? Do you want to do better? Feel better? Look better? Then it comes down to your mindset and the way you talk to yourself.  Positive self-talk is so important. We tell our kids to not put themselves down, when they screw up, but are we beating ourselves up when we fall short? It’s easy to say this to people when you realize what they are doing to themselves, but to practice what you preach can be tough and a hard pill to swallow.  I realized the day after I did this walk that I had a really hard time with the pain and my usual exercise, and I started to get angry with myself, using negative words and being frustrated…. so easy to fall into that pattern. I saw that I was doing exactly what I said NOT to do and instantly changed my inner voice to a positive tone. Did it make it easier to finish, not necessarily, but I was better for it, and learned a lot about myself that day.  I know that I can be physically strong but mentally weak and will struggle.  These two go hand in hand.  It’s time to change how you treat yourself and how you talk to yourself.

Listen in to this week’s podcast to hear how that day went for me, as I recorded in the midst of that moment. It’s raw emotion and the reality of that struggle and hear what you can do to help yourself the next time doubt and fear creep in to your mind.

 

 

This week I want you to really listen  to your inner voice.

Are you speaking negatively to yourself? Putting yourself down and beating yourself up?  Be honest.  Nothing good will come from lying to yourself or being in denial.

Listen to your mind when you realize you’re battling something. What do you hear?  More than likely you are negative. It’s really common to do that. We hate making mistakes, and sometimes we feel unworthy of where we are. Stop! Give yourself grace to fall, talk kindly to yourself and pick yourself back up.

This week practice positive self-talk. It’s time to ramp up your mental game so you can go out with confidence into this world and kick butt.  There is no room for negativity. Love yourself for where you are now, set goals to where you want to be, and speak kindly and positively. You just might find yourself reach those goals quicker than you imagined you ever could.

You can do this!  Believe in yourself, I do!

 

And as always,

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!!! (You deserve that!)

 

Much love,

Angie

Attitude is Everything
Shop Talk with Randy West

Shop Talk with Randy West

How about that fit, though?

Randy, my prosthetist, with the cast of my residual limb

 

This is the first step, for some prosthetists, when it comes to making their patient’s next socket. There are many steps, and it can be frustrating with how long it can take, only to realize you may need to make a bunch of corrections to the final socket over the course of the following weeks of receiving it.  It is a process, like everything in life, and can test your resolve and patience.  But  stay the course, my friend!  If you have an amazing prosthetist, like I do, then let them work their magic and make the adjustments.  It’ll be a better fit in the long run and you’ll be a better, well-adjusted person conquering the world once again.

Adjustments need to be made, over and over again! Thanks, Randy!

 

But what if you don’t feel like you’re being heard or, better yet, being blamed for the fit not working for you?  That’s when you may need to seek outside help and opinions….and NOT from strangers on social media but from practicing professionals.  It may take some time and effort on your part but it’s ok to shop around and talk with other prosthetists. Having a new set of eyes on the issues you may be having with your fitting is your prerogative and your right.  This is YOUR life after all.

Teamwork makes the dream work!
And even professionals will ask for a new set of eyes to help them make it right for you…or at least they should-It’s called humility.

 

Communication and listening are two qualities you should look for in a prosthetist. they should be willing to take the time that is needed, not allotted, to talk with you and understand your pains, concerns and issues with your fit.  If they can’t do that, listen to your gut and find someplace else to go.

Listen in to today’s podcast where I talk with my prosthetist about the types of sockets, how to handle office visits and reassuring you that it’s ok to move on if the relationship isn’t working out. We also jump into what you can do to help yourself and getting out of your own way when working with your professional.

He makes some really good points that you really should hear especially if you’re struggling right now with your fit and/or your prosthetist.

 

You can also find the interview on my YouTube channel: Angie Heuser-BAWarrior360

 

Time to get real.

I believe there are 3 components to your success with fitting and then succeeding as an amputee:

Physical, Emotional, Mental

First, get past the amputation-or with whatever you are struggling. This is the mental component and it might be taking you in the wrong direction. If you are still struggling with being an amputee then you need to figure out how to right this or you won’t be able to move on. Stop looking into the past, at what you had, or how you were wronged. To be successful at anything, not just being an amputee, you need to embrace where you are NOW.  Find someone to talk to, create a journal, add to your vision board, do something to get you to look forward and not in the past.

Make time for you and embrace the journey YOU are on.

 

 

Second, it’s ok to be sad, angry, disappointed at where you are. Express that emotion and then move on. It’s not ok to dwell in that negativity, it will only lead to other issues such as health issues. Your body isn’t designed to stay in a stressed, angry phase for long periods of time and it will eventually start to react to the negativity. You don’t need more issues on top of what you are already dealing with, so deal with your emotions- now!  Use the above ideas to help you get started.

Finally, the physical aspect. As amputees we need to get a great fitting socket or life can get harder than it already is. You need to be in the right office, with the right prosthetist, who listens to you and takes your scenario to heart. But you are responsible for communicating well,  and giving him/her your best. if the above two aspects are a struggle for you then this physical aspect is going to be tough. Your mind has to be in the right place because the physical side of amputation is demanding. We must be strong, courageous, willing to push through some hard stuff, just to get exactly what we need to live a full and healthy life.

It is an uphill battle some days, but the view from the top is amazing! Get after it!

 

You can do this!

Don’t give up. Ask questions, get help, talk it out with people who love you and listen.

You will get through this, and when you do, you’ll be all the more stronger and badass for it!!

 

As always,

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!!

 

Much love,

Angie

Enjoy the Journey

Enjoy the Journey

Traveling Home Once Again

Me and Dad traveling back to Chicago after his stay with us.

 

Coming in for a landing, Chitown.
City lights, oh how I’ve missed you!

 

 

O’Hare Airport doing it up right! Love this airport.
God Bless America and the Veterans who fought for our freedom.

 

I am HOME!  Chicago will always be my home, no matter how long we may be apart. Every year my family travels back to Chicago, where most of our family lives, for visits; one in the summertime, and one near Christmas. The pandemic made other plans for us this past year. We were very overdue for this trip.

Since I haven’t traveled much for almost 2 years- no flights, at least, I was a little rusty on packing. I hate packing for trips as it is, but when you are an amputee or have other medical issues, then packing becomes a bit more time consuming and anxiety building. There are so many things to remember to bring, then having to make sure it all fits. Whew! What a task.

This podcast is very unique as it is the first one I have done away from my home setup. This one may sound a bit different because I used different equipment and actually recorded outside on the deck at my parent’s house-you may hear cars and wind in the background. But keeping with my “keeping it real” vibe, this shouldn’t surprise you, and actually I am pretty impressed with the quality of this episode, all things considered.

I hope you can feel the love I put into this one, as I was recording in a place my Mom and I use to sit and chat when I’d come visit. I recorded on the deck that holds many memories of BBQ’s with my whole family over, moments where my mom was standing and smiling down at me while I played with my boys in the grass below (grass was always fun to play in since we have none in Arizona!), watching her watch her hummingbirds flit in and out of the deck’s feeders, and so many more. I have laughed, listened, cried, and hugged the people I love on this very deck, it only seems fitting to have an episode done here, too, to add to the memories.

Being here in Chicago has been such a blessing, even through the pains I have been feeling in my residual limb. As I discuss in this episode, though, we need to see past these painful moments and live for the positive things going on around us, or we will miss the good in life. What I feel today, may be gone tomorrow and I don’t want to miss any more moments with my family, so I resolve to buck up and push through, knowing less painful moments are on the horizon. I pray you do the same. We are all on a journey, and this journey will be filled with endless ups and downs. We need to take the good with the bad and know that with every hard episode we go through, a better, more joyful one will be right behind it.

Don’t fret. Don’t think negative thoughts. Chin up, Warrior, life will get better.

Find the positive when it seems like it’s not there. Surround yourself with positive people and keep your chin up in the hard moments, realizing that this will pass and it’s just one moment in your life.  Your attitude will dictate your outcomes, so stay positive, happy, upbeat. Even when you’re hurting, find the strength to smile. You’ve got this, Warrior, you’ve got this!!!

 

As always:

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!

Chitown 2021- We Are BACK!!

 

Cubs win! Cubs win! Cubs win!!

 

Water Tower- Michigan Avenue

 

Much love,

Angie

The Nerve of Some People

The Nerve of Some People

Plastic Surgeons and TMR Surgery:
Tackling Phantom Limb Pain

 

Everyone deals with pain at some point in their life, but when you have an amputation you know that there is a possibility of living with a pain you can’t even touch! When the missing limb is burning, itching, throbbing, or sending sharp pains with every movement it can be unnerving -pun intended- and hard to get past.

I, like so many other amputees, have dealt with phantom limb pain since day one. Most of the time I can handle it, sometimes in the quiet of night it can be hard to fall asleep, but I have been able to deal with it.  The point when I could no longer take the pain was when I couldn’t even walk into my kitchen without the pain being so sharp and unpredictable that I stopped moving!  It takes A LOT to stop me! I have a high tolerance for pain, and this was just too much for me. I have to say, this freaked me out and made me worry that maybe this was going to be like this for the rest of my life…. and then I stepped back and gave myself a pep talk. I cannot allow myself to participate in defeatist talk. Negativity cannot reside in me, I won’t allow it. So, what did I do? I had an appointment with my prosthetist and my surgeon who performed my amputation.

I was scheduled for an MRI to see if there was a neuroma, sure enough, there was one, exactly where I felt the pain. Symptomatic, great!

Next step? My orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Judd Cummings, told me that I needed to see a plastic surgeon, and the one he suggested, who knows how to perform a surgery called TMR (Targeted Muscle Reinnervation), Dr. Roni Prucz.  He put his confidence, and my future, into this doctor’s hands… and I believed in him, so I went.

Dr. Roni Prucz
Phoenix Plastic Surgery

 

Now, I didn’t have ANY desire for yet another surgery, but I promised I’d go talk to him.  What harm could that do?

….And before I knew it, I was scheduled for surgery! Dang it!

Dr. Prucz seemed confident that he could successfully help me with the pain on the back of my residual limb, where the neuroma was, but the sharp pain that I felt ripping down my non-existent shin, he couldn’t promise that. I couldn’t pinpoint where the pain was originating from and so he would just have to do exploratory surgery in that area, and hope for the best.

Without the neuroma, my gait has become so much better, there was no more pain there. However, the sharp pain, in the other area of my limb, returned about 6 weeks after surgery, not as often and not as intense, but it reared its ugly head and my fears of life-long pain returned.

No matter what, I will rise!

 

This is where I needed to advocate for myself and not just say, “Oh well, we tried.” That wasn’t good enough for me. I needed answers and I needed this to be fixed, or at least feel better. I saw my prosthetist, then Dr. Prucz, and then over to Dr. Cummings, just trying to figure this out, gain perspective, and to see if anyone had any ideas. I would NOT rest until I had direction.

Yesterday I took my next step in helping myself, I tried a sympathetic nerve block in my L3 and….. so far, so good!!!

I needed something that didn’t require another surgery and this was a good next step, and quick. If it works then I may be looking at having that nerve bundle ablated. I’ve been moving around for 24 hours now and not feeling that pain. This is a good sign, but I hesitate to get too excited, too soon. I will do my thing, I will beat on my leg through my high level of activities, like hiking, and really push the limits of my leg and socket. For me that’s the best way to really test out what I’ve had done.

I really test my leg and socket whenever something new has been done to either of them

 

I hope this podcast gives you some insight to TMR surgery, if you’re a candidate, and how to go about finding the right person to perform this on you. As always, I’m here for you! Send me an email or leave a comment. I’d love to chat and answer any questions you might have about what I went through. Talking to people who’ve been through something will help give you perspective and  maybe even curb fears you might have.

 

 

This week I want you to let go of the past, start looking to future. We cannot move forward if all we are doing is wishing we had back what we use to have. If you’ve lost a limb, it’s gone, there’s nothing you can do about it. The choice is up to you how you’ll view this difference. The choice is yours on how you will pursue your future. You can have a pity party, or you can decide to set new goals, change direction from the course you use to be on BEFORE losing your limb, and rise up!

The time is now! Dream big! Set new goals.  Adapt and move on with your life. I know there will be setbacks, I know there will be moments of pain, but they do not define you. Your attitude and what you do with your circumstance DOES!  What are you going to do? I want to see you thrive! I want to see you challenge yourself! I want you to rise up and conquer, because YOU are a warrior!  Now go out and crush it!

 

Until next time:

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!!

 

Much love,

Angie