Tag: personal journey

Connect

Connect

How Connecting Helps Everyone

 

It can be so easy to get lost in our own world. We can be so focused on our problems and issues that we can feel isolated and alone in a crowded room.

The problem is, even when we aren’t really alone, we get lost in the darkness and can’t find our way out.

We forget that as humans we need connections to survive in the world. We need to be heard, seen, and touched throughout the day, even if we are introverted.

It is part of our DNA and makes us feel whole, loved, appreciated, and a part of something bigger.

 

 

We often get into a victim mentality or sink so low that we can’t find our way out of the problems and issues that we are facing that we can bring those around us down as well, and often see people leave us and don’t know why.

So what can be done to remedy this mindset?

CONNECT!!!

 

I find that when I take the microscope off of me; my life, my setbacks, and my issues and turn them into reaching out and helping others, I forget my problems and find peace, joy and happiness.

I find that making connections with others through texting, calling, video chatting or hanging out places my focus and attention on them which, in turn, gets reciprocated back to me and it becomes a win-win situation. We weren’t meant to go through life alone.

 

 

We all need to feel loved and heard, but sometimes we need to be the one who reaches out first.

When we value someone else’s life, we find our value.

As humans we are meant to live in community, not alone and isolated.

So if you are struggling now and feel alone, make a connection with someone. When you do, you will be able to step out of your darkness, become the light for someone else, and find you’re not alone after all.

Mind over matter, because mindset DOES matter.

 

This week I want you to connect with someone.

Find someone you know is having a rough time, like you. Or someone you haven’t talked with in a while.

Check in on them, and let them know you were thinking of them.

Maybe a neighbor could use a visit.

Or a relative needs to hear your voice over the phone.

Maybe a friend, who appears to have it all together, is struggling but won’t reach out (because they, too, feel alone).

Who ever you choose to connect with, be as close as you can, meaning if you can physically visit them and give them a hug, DO IT!

But if not be engaged in a conversation with them. Be an active listener, drop everything you are doing and be present. Give them all of you for that time you have together.

Everyone wants to feel valued, heard, and loved. That starts with YOU!

When you connect with someone, you will notice a shift in your own mindset and heart. You’ll get out of your own way and begin to see your life through a positive lense.

Life isn’t easy, that’s for sure, but remember, you are not the only one who is struggling right now.

Rise up and be that connection for someone and feel it reverberate back to you.

 

Get out and connect and have a blessed week!

And as always,

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!!

 

Much love,

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love Is In the Air

Love Is In the Air

Self-Love for the Win

“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line.”

                                                                                                          -Lucille Ball

 

 

This Valentine’s Day start with YOU!!

To love oneself isn’t selfish, it’s necessary.

It’s necessary for your mental health.

It’s necessary for your productivity.

It’s necessary for you to be able to love others, fully.

Have you ever truly listened to your inner voice? Pay attention, because what you say to yourself is crucial to your love and success in life.

We can be so critical of ourselves and fall into the trap of negativity that we can’t even realize our true potential. We compare ourselves to others, and we begin to doubt our abilities, our size, our beauty, our intentions, our very existence.

We are constantly bombarded with everyone’s successes and filtered pictures, great vacations and good deeds in the snapshots of social media that we lose sight of our own beauty (inside and out) and our worth in this world.

You are unique!

There is only one ‘you’ and you should be celebrated.

You are worthy, beautiful, a warrior, and special.

You must first find, within yourself, the joy of self-love before you can truly find joy in life. However, this does not come easy and can change and challenge you daily.

Are you listening? What are you saying to yourself? Is your self-talk positive or are you speaking negatively?

As an amputee, and being a part of this unique community, I can see first-hand how I could be negative and self-loathing. The world tells me that my body image is suppose to look a certain way, and I no longer conform to what is “acceptable”. Talk about a hard, internal battle. I stand in a grocery line only to see a size 2 woman on the cover of every magazine, looking gorgeous and happy. I don’t look like them, and I never will again.

I must fight the urge to compare myself, and fight to be positive about who I am, inside and out. This takes practice, perseverance, and fearlessness.

This Valentine’s Day I challenge you to love yourself FIRST! Find joy in who you are, how you were made, and believe that you are enough, JUST the way you are.

Valentine’s Day, this year, start with you….for the win!

 

Wake up and feel the breathe in your lungs.

You have a purpose!

Today, and this week, figure out what your purpose is and start by loving yourself. Love the good you can do and the good you can put out into this world.

When you love yourself you will find that you can be a light, bringing happiness and hope to those who are lost.

Listen to your inner voice and decide if you hear positivity being spoken. If not, it’s time to switch that up.

Begin with telling yourself:

“I am beautiful/handsome”

“I am strong”

“I am worthy”

“I have value”

“I am smart”

“I am compassionate”

“I am funny”

“I am kind”

“I am fearless”

“I am a Warrior”

“I am ENOUGH!”

Write these words down. Speak these words out loud when you need to hear them.

Find your strength and self-worth from within and not from the world around you.

You ARE enough! Believe it, and begin this Valentine’s Day by loving yourself first and watch how your life changes for the better.

Rise up, Warrior, and know you are loved!

 

Until next week, and as always,

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!

 

Much love,

 

 

 

 

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,

 

Life is a Journey

Life is a Journey

Stay the Course and Press On

 

This is the year. Embrace the journey and get your mindset right!

We started our year with a new puppy. I had forgotten how hard potty training was as an amputee. What does that mean, you might ask?  Night time wake up calls are very difficult when you don’t have a leg on, grabbing an energetic puppy, and crutching outside and down a step…all before that puppy has an accident! This week, I am navigating this alone for the first time, tonight I may just leave my leg on.

I tell you all this to show you the reality of being an amputee.

As I sit here and write this up I am working later than usual, because of said puppy, and her boundless amount of energy she’s had all day. She is finally asleep and I have a moment to finish up my post.

THIS is life.

This is part of the journey. The good times, the hard times, the moments that make me smile and the times that exhaust me and make me see my shortcomings as an amputee.

Would I change a thing? Would I do it differently?

NO!

I am a stronger person for what I’ve gone through.

I know myself even better than I ever have.

My faith is stronger than ever before, and the people and experiences I have met and had along this journey I wouldn’t trade for anything.

Mindset matters. I keep saying that. How we see ourselves, and our lives, DOES matter.

When we let go of our past, embrace our situation, learn to ride the ups and downs of life, that is when we can truly live a full and meaningful life. That is when you can find purpose and joy.

Don’t give up when it gets rough. Keep fighting the good fight. You can do it, you are strong enough.

 

 

 

This week, focus on the positive. Find your purpose by setting goals you can achieve, and that challenge you just enough. Create a list of the things you’ve been dreaming of doing, trying, or accomplishing.

Write them down then create timelines of when you want to try or accomplish them. Be specific so they don’t fade away.

Next, figure out what steps you’ll need to take to get to your goal.

Use the next week to get your list together and your mindset right, and go out and kick butt!

You’ve got this, Warrior!

 

And as always,

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!

 

Much love,

 

 

 

 

 

Spreading Joy This Season

Spreading Joy This Season

Cheers to the End of Another Year!

 

As 2023 comes to a close and the holidays are now upon I want to wish you all a blessed and happy new year!

As I celebrate my 5th year anniversary of my amputation today I am realizing how blessed I have been with how much I have experienced, accomplished, and the people I have met through this journey.

I also know that the vibes you put out into the world come back to you 10 fold.

Our attitude is contagious. How we approach the world can either add joy to it or be a thorn. Which are you bringing to the world?

Today as you are experiencing the emotions of this season remember that many people are struggling. Some struggle with an invisible problem (missing a loved one, a rocky relationship, struggles with money or job) and other’s with something very real and visible (amputation, being alone, medical conditions).

Be kind.

Remember that we all struggle.

Spreading joy takes very little on our part and a smile goes a long way.

 

Finish this year strong and positive and reap the rewards of being kind and positive with the people you meet throughout your week.

I know this seems like a pretty basic and obvious statement, but when we get caught up in our own schedule and agenda we often miss helping someone in need, or miss an opportunity to brighten someone else’s day.

 

We all fight battles, we all need kindness shown to us.

As you struggle through your own situation (for me it can be phantom pains like I’m dealing with as I type this) there are others going through something even more difficult and debilitating, making it hard for them to function or find joy during this time of year, making them feel alone and isolated.

We are in charge of our own attitude and only we can choose to see our glass half full.

So where are you with your situation,  half empty or half full?

The next couple of weeks, as I take time off to be present and with my family, I challenge you to watch the world around you. Look for ways you can make it better. Smile more, see the silver lining in your situation, find ways to bring happiness and positive vibes into the world… then watch to see how those vibes come back to you and change your life.

I hope and pray you are able to find happiness and joy during this time of year and that good health befalls you this new year.

Change your perspective, change your life.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!!

And as always,

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!!

 

Much love,

 

 

The Most Wonderful Time of Year

The Most Wonderful Time of Year

Winter Wonders and Woes for Amputees

 

Wintertime brings colder weather, holidays and family time, ice and snow, along with new outdoor activities. It also brings with it challenges for getting around if you are an amputee (or anyone who struggles with balance).

Crutching on snow and ice should be an Olympic Sport

 

I am fortunate enough to live in Arizona but as a family, we love to get out and ski in the mountains of Colorado and Utah.

My very first goal as I was getting ready for my amputation was to ski again with my family. I had just 3 months from amputation to test myself.

Even though there are different ways to accomplish “skiing” I wanted to be standing and looking like I always did as a skier (minus one leg that is). My stubbornness definitely helped me. That plus my perfectionist attitude and drive.

 

 

My first day I was so nervous and didn’t know what to expect. I tell you this because even though I had been skiing since I was 17 years old there was so much relearning to be done and a lot of newness to skiing with only one ski. For instance, turning one way versus another was so much harder not having the downslope ski to aid in control.

As time went by, I began to understand what was needed to succeed. Every chance we got I went on the slopes. And every time I was on the slopes I got butterflies and had to suppress fears of getting hit from behind, falling and trying to get back up (not as easy with one ski and on a slope of snow), or heading downhill and catching icy patches.

There are other ways to ski, like on a mono ski (sitting in a bucket sled, leg(s) strapped down), or using a ski bike.

This past trip we decided to take a day off from skiing, but I wanted to be outdoors and breathing in the cold mountain air and enjoying the snow all around us, so we went for a hike into the mountains.

It was beautiful!

Backwoods hiking

 

Beautiful views, challenging terrain for an amputee

 

Winter life for an amputee is quite challenging. Just as changing our shoes, or going over different types of flooring or terrain, challenges us for a few minutes before we feel comfortable moving about with the change, winter challenges us and our feeling of confidence and trust in each of our steps. We must be more cautious, and meticulous with each step. I am always looking down at where my feet are landing and what type of surface I will be hitting with the net few steps. For me to enjoy the beautiful mountains w were hiking in I had to stop and set myself then look all around. Once I got my fill I would begin to march on once again.

All in all, I am excited for my next winter trip and plan to try snow shoeing and see how it feels to have larger foot on my prosthetic.

Even though there are a lot of new things to adjust to as winter weather approaches, know that you are capable, you just need to learn your perimeters. It takes time, but with focus and determination you can conquer winter without any falls or injury. Always know to protect your good/sound leg and take your time. Don’t allow anyone to push you faster than you are ready to go.

Stay positive and create positive verbal cues for your brain to latch onto and you’ll find yourself maneuvering snowy conditions like a pro!

 

 

FIERCE AND ON FIRE Challenge!

Don’t forget that we are still charging forward on 100 miles before Jan 1!

Are you in?

Check the past couple of podcasts for the link to join and to register for the challenge at Run Motivators if you want to order a medal for your trophy case!!

 

Let’s keep moving and end 2023 active and healthy!

 

May your hot;liday season be filled with family, fun, joy, and blessings of all kinds.

 

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,

 

 

 

 

You Can Do It!

You Can Do It!

 

There are many facets to being an amputee, a lot revolves around the fit of prosthetics, dealing with phantom pains, and relearning to walk. However there are other obstacles to overcome, goals to achieve, finding your independence is usually on the top of the list!

This was a huge goal for me (and also for others I have talked to over the past few years). Independence looks different for each of us but when we decide what it is we are looking to achieve there’s no better feeling when we reach that goal.

For me, today was that day. I felt the complete independence of traveling alone-for the first time as an amputee! Packing up, getting to the airport, carrying my own luggage, finding my way through security and to my gate, all while being balanced, strong, and confident. I was able to grab my luggage, find my way to the Uber line, and check into a hotel.  These may seem like simple tasks, people do them everyday, but being with my husband since we were 17 and never traveling without him, he always took charge, he always looked out for me, and guarded me from uncertainty. With him I was always safe and taken care of, so you can imagine how exciting, and challenging, doing this was for me.

 

 

 

What a day of firsts!

 

If you ever wonder if you’ll be able to travel again, let alone, travel solo as an amputee, I’m here to tell you that you can and you will! You can find that independence if that’s what you want. It takes time and practice. You have to plan ahead, and be prepared.

Listen in to today’s podcast as I discuss the things I have learned over the past 4 1/2 years of traveling as an amputee, the items I make sure I pack, and how I navigate the airport hoopla.

Oh, and if you are curious as to why in the world I have traveled alone to the other side of the country, on my own, in the middle of the holiday season, leaving the beautiful Arizona weather behind for the biting cold east coast then make sure you tune in next week!!

 

This is no different from the last two weeks:

Join my Fierce and On Fire challenge today!! Don’t wait! Join me as I make a solid effort to pay attention to my own health needs this holiday season by making sure to exercise in some way, everyday for at least 30 minutes.

The challenge is 100 miles and is virtual. If you want a medal the click HERE to join me!

If you want to join me but don’t care about the medal, that’s cool, too!  I have a private Facebook group you can join for the motivation and community. You can also join my IG channel Fierce and On Fire for the community as well.

How can you compete against yourself?

Great question. You do whatever it is you love to do and are capable of doing, where you are right now in your health journey.

If you want and can run, walk, hike, bike, swim, then do it!

If you are bedridden or in a wheelchair try upper body exercises with bands. 15 minutes of exercise = 1 mile.

NO EXCUSES! If you want to help yourself then be kind to your mind and body. Don’t wait for January 1 to make the dreaded “New Year’s Resolution”. Start today. Challenge yourself today. Make yourself more of a priority and end 2023 on a high note.’

Let’s do this together, as a virtual team of sorts.

 

And as always,

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YO(U!!!

 

Much love,