Tag: physical therapy

If the Shoe Fits

If the Shoe Fits

What You Wear Makes a Difference

Did you know that as an amputee the type of shoe we wear can make all the difference in our performance and outcome of wearing a prosthetic? When I was learning to walk for the first time I needed a shoe that was stable and would help me be more balanced. Now, 2 1/2 years later, I need a shoe that is rugged and can take me to mountain tops.
Depending on your newness of being an amputee and your level, or desired level, of activity,  the shoe you wear can help you or hurt you.
I realized that last week when I just didn’t feel good in my newest socket…then I looked down and realized I wasn’t wearing a normal athlete shoe. Once I changed what I was wearing I literally felt so much better and my socket wasn’t hurting me like it had been!
I don’t like changing my shoes out very often, it’s hard to reach my foot, and some shoes are stiffer than others which makes putting them on a two person job.
Below are my typical shoes I wear weekly.
My Adidas! ❤  These are incredible for stability and balance!

 

Saucony Trail.  Great for road walking and being active.

 

Oboz.  Awesome hiking boots… and waterproof!

 

I live in these three shoes throughout the week.  They are great for a variety of activities.

 

 

Are you having issues with your knee(s), hip, back?  Check your shoes.  What are you wearing?  Are they old and worn out? Are you using the wrong type of shoe for the wrong activity?

Are you an amputee and feel unstable? Your shoe might have something to do with that.  Look into Adidas or Van Shoes, you might be surprised the difference they will make.

Make changes to the type of shoes you are wearing this week and see if that simple change helps your situation.

You may be pleasantly surprised, I know I was!

 

And as always:
Be Healthy,
Be Happy,
Be YOU!!!
Much love,
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

 

Head, Shoulders,…..Knees? and….Toes?

Head, Shoulders,…..Knees? and….Toes?

Physical Therapy After Amputation is Vitally Important to Your Success as an Amputee

My Tribe

 

Everyone needs a tribe. A group of people who are there for you, care about you, make you laugh when you want to cry and support all of your crazy ideas.  These are my people and I am so fortunate to have each and everyone of them in my life.  Some of them have been in my life since I was a teenager (my husband), others for the last few years, and others have been my medical team that have helped me through my journey into amputation. They have become friends, confidents, and the people I care about in my life. They’ve seen me at my worst, and they have watched me rise and been there watching and helping me achieve my goals. These people are priceless!

How many people can say that about their physical therapists? Some people curse those who put us through pain so we can heal, not me, they have only wanted to see me succeed…whatever it took. They never said it would be easy, but they never left my side. They worked with me, helping me get to where I wanted to go and, only then, began to let go, so I could soar.

I am excited for you to hear my interview with Dan and Kelly, the two PTs that got me up and walking in a prosthetic and running in my blade. They continued to work with me even when I got that crazed look in my eye and said, “Could we try….?” You name it, they did it. They stopped being surprised when I’d walk in saying I have something I’d like to do and just started asking what the new goal was. They continued to build my confidence and never backed down to my challenges I’d present to them.  They were my support system, and if they thought I could do it, then I could do it.

 

Relationships. It’s truly all about relationships. You see, I’m a relationship kinda girl. I love being around people, talking with people, and getting to know someone new.  My medical team is no different. The way they listen to me, hear my goals, dreams, and fears brings us closer, and we begin to work together and create a bond like no other. They have all seen me through some seriously hard times, but also the best of times. They have watched me shed tears of frustration and doubt, and laughter after accomplishing something big.

In this interview I talk with Dan and Kelly, from Touchstone Rehabilitation, about the importance of physical therapy, pre and post, amputation and how to find the right therapist for you. Not all therapist are the same, just like I said about prosthetists. Your therapist should have a ton of experience with amputees and listen to you and what’s important to you, never making you feel like what you want to accomplish is impossible- You want the therapist who wants to help you reach your goals, no matter the size.

Take a listen and take notes. Know that you have control over who you see and that you should feel confident and comfortable in their presence. Go with your gut and don’t settle. You deserve to find your tribe, too!

My “Surf Crew”- Mark, Mariah and Jovanni

 

Stopping by to say hi to the people who got you on track-it’s all about relationships!

 

This week I want you to get out and get active everyday! It doesn’t matter how long, just that you set a goal, and do it!

If you struggle walking in your prosthetic for more than a block then set a goal of walking a block. Once you do that then add another block, and continue to get out and move EVERYDAY! Don’t quit! Give yourself one week, to push yourself just a little bit more each day. At the end of the week you’ll be surprised how far you’ve come.  It takes time to build a positive habit, give yourself time to do just that.  Even after the week is up, continue, just use this week as your starting point. The sky’s the limit and you can do anything you put your mind to.

Reach out to me. Tell me how it’s going. Share your accomplishments, tell me your setback. We can do this together!!

I’m here for you!

 

Until next time:

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!

 

One foot in front of the other- that’s your starting point.
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!

 

 

 

A Vision of Hope

A Vision of Hope

Creating a vision board when times get toughLife is a journey. Embrace it.

It has ups and downs. Be prepared for it.

“Fall Down Seven Times, Stand Up Eight”-Chinese Proverb

You are not alone in these two certain facts but we need to be able to cope and heal and thrive when times get hard. That’s when your mental and emotional game need to prove their worth. Like strength training, or the runner training for a marathon, learning to cope with adversity is something you need to prepare for and train for. Training comes when you are in the midst of it and what mindset and attitude you take into your storm. If you prepare for it and acknowledge what could come your way then you are helping yourself by preparing your mindset to thrive through the hard times and even come out on top. I’m not saying you won’t get beat up, battered and bruised through some of these valleys, even trained runners can get cramps and blisters, right? The difference is when you understand that life works with highs and lows then you won’t feel like you’ve been punched in the gut when it happens and you’ll also have a healthier train of thought that assists you when you get knocked down.

And when you get knocked down you will be able to fight to stand again, and again, and again!

Will there be harder days? Days where you struggle to get back up? Of course, everyone has those moments, so we rely on the people in our circle to help, and we learn about ourselves, and make adjustments for the next moment.

I don’t live on those harder days, I don’t dwell on them, but I don’t ignore them and pretend they won’t happen or, even worse, pretend that I’ve never had any hard days. That would be fake, ingenuine and that is unhealthy for me.

I own every circumstance I’ve been through. I tell people about them so they don’t feel alone. My goal isn’t to be perfect, just to be transparent, in the hopes it will help someone overcome their own struggles.

Listen to today’s episode to see where my journey has gone the past week to see a struggle I’m in the midst of right now and what I’m doing to cope and come out on top again.

Call to Action

Make your own Vision Board. I have pictures of mine above and below. I discuss how to create one in this episode as well. Please feel free to reach out to me with questions or to share the vision board you created. I’d love to see them and hear how they have helped you.

Enjoy the journey-the highs and lows, because without the lows we cannot appreciate the highs.

Until next time;

Be Healthy

Be Happy

Be YOU!

Never Quit, Never Surrender!

Never Quit, Never Surrender!

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

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

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

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

Starfish Arms and Lizard Tails

Starfish Arms and Lizard Tails

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Starfish Arms and Lizard tails

Starfish Arms and Lizard tails

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

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