Tag: prosthetist

Roll With the Punches

Roll With the Punches

 

Life is never truly easy, for anyone. Sometimes it feels like everything is going our way when out of the blue a bomb drops.

Maybe your job or family life is struggling, or maybe your health.  Then you can feel overwhelmed and defeated.

But don’t fret. We all go through these moments. We all have valleys we must trudge through. What I have learned through life is that the valleys don’t last forever and soon you’ll be on top once again.

The problem being on top is that you never know when a valley will strike again, when you get gut punched and feel the wind knocked out of you.

If you realize that this is just how life goes, the sooner you can prepare yourself to handle those moments.

Not like you will ever be totally prepared but at least not naive to the fact that it happens. If you practice positivity, and strengthening your character, you will be better prepared for those moments. They won’t control you and every aspect of your life.

Our job is to learn from them, to build up our resilience and character to better handle those situations.

As an amputee I have these moments a lot. As soon as my socket feels great, I’m out being active, life is good….. BOOM!

My socket doesn’t fit anymore, it’s too loose, or there’s a crack that’s hurting my leg, leaving painful raw spots every step throughout the day. That’s when I need to dig down deep, realize that this too shall pass, and I must carry on. My family depends on me to function. I have goals I want to achieve and a life I want to live… to the fullest.

If you are struggling right now, life has served up some lemons and a swift punch to your gut, don’t fret. You can get through this.

We all deal with these moments, wishing they would just pass us by, but if you can see these as learning moments, to better serve you in the future then you are on the right track. Each trial we go through breaks us down to build us back up, preparing us for the next, making us stronger.  But it’s up to you to rise to that challenge, it’s not just given to you. You won’t just rise up because you sit around pouting about your circumstance. You rise up and build character if you FIGHT! You have to use those muscles to get back up, you need to speak positivity into your soul, you will struggle otherwise.

Take a look at today’s Call to Action for steps to take to work on your resilience today.

 

 

 

 

 

This week I want you to prepare for the storm.

How you do it might be a little different from me, but a basic strategy is:

  1. Use positive affirmations about myself. Post them somewhere or at least write them down. Look back at them when the going gets tough!
  2. This week, write down a “silver lining” about each day for the next 7 days. Even in the toughest times there is good. Sometimes we have to look long and hard, but it’s there. Realizing that your world isn’t ending because of something bad is half the battle. If you start looking for the positive and the good in your life then you are armoring yourself for the battles that are sure to come.

I hope this helps you get through your week, and your future. Fight the good fight, Warrior! You and your family are worth it!

 

As always,

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!!!

 

Much love,

Angie

 

 

 

Fluid, Flexible, but Ferocious

Fluid, Flexible, but Ferocious

Managing Expectations

 

Sometimes we just feel like nothing is going right, we can get down on ourselves, or worse,  OTHERS, because of what we are going through.  When we expect certain things to go a certain way we can be setting ourselves up for a let down of epic proportions.  I’m not saying you shouldn’t strive for your best, or to set those types of expectations/goals for yourselves. You should always work at achieving something greater than where you are at now, for example, if you want to walk to your mailbox, with your prosthetic, but have only gotten to the end of your driveway, then go for it. It’s achievable but will take hard work, time, and positive attitude.  What I am referring to is how you feel in your prosthetic or what you are expecting from your prosthetist.

My prosthetists: Randy and David
The Limb Center

Teamwork!

The work room where Randy does all his magic!

Be forewarned, you need to know the difference between a prosthetist who is giving his or her all to you and those who aren’t. You also need to know if you are just expecting too much. Remember, you lost your limb, nothing can replace the real thing. What you ARE looking for is something that will be doable to get around on and is comfortable enough NOT to cause any other issues, such as: blisters, infection, bruising, etc.  YOU have to know the difference between when you are expecting too much or when your prosthetist isn’t giving enough. And that, my friends, takes time and listening to your gut.

 

You can best determine if you are getting the best care possible if your questions are being addressed, your concerns are being heard, and actions are being taken to assure your best interests are being met.  If in your gut you feel you aren’t being heard, or given proper time to address issues you are having, then you probably aren’t in the right office.  However, you also need to understand that no practitioner is going to be able to give you ‘perfect’.  There is no such thing, and you need to manage THOSE expectations and find a common ground, one where you feel good enough about your fit, and aren’t in major pain.  My leg I have right now, after almost three years, feels the best….but it’s not perfect.  I can deal with what I have to deal with because it’s better than it’s ever been.  I have to know that this is a good thing, I lowered my expectations to an 80-90% pain free, versus looking for 100% pain free.  And I’m ok with that. I am also a better, happier, thus healthier ME, because I have come to terms with not feeling perfect.

Catch my drift?

You don’t need to settle, that’s not what I am saying, but know the difference of getting good, quality health care versus high expectations that NO ONE could possibly supply you.

I’m the lucky one. I had an amazing doctor who directed me to two of the most kind, caring and talented prosthetists around.  They care about me, my lifestyle, and making my life the best they can give.  I ask questions, tell them my symptoms and they work with me to achieve that. I don’t complain or blame them for ill-fitting sockets, I just ask for their help to make it better. I communicate clearly about what’s going on and they do the rest.  We work together and make it a “give and take” relationship that works. After all, it’s going to be a long ride with these guys.

 

 

Work on journaling your feeling and where you are struggling.  Try to keep track of and acknowledge the time of day, weather, and other factors that could be causing you issues. Is there a common thread? Can you work around that or fix it yourself? Is it your mindset holding you back or is it a true issue with your fit?

Practice being flexible and patient.

Understand and communicate with your practitioner about what you are going through, dealing with, and what you need. Pay attention to your body so you CAN communicate clearly.  These small things will help you give them the best shot of actually helping you, after all, you are the only one who can feel what you feel and describe what’s going right and wrong. It’s our job to communicate clearly and accurately so they can help us to the best of their ability.

Let go off perfection. It won’t ever get there but those thoughts will make you grumpy and frustrated with everything going WRONG that you’ll forget to focus on what is going right. Be positive!

 

You can do this, I believe in you!

Change your mindset,

Stay positive,

Find a level of comfort you CAN live with and

Get out and live your life!!!

 

As always,

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!!

 

Much love,

Angie

 

You Don’t Know What You Have Until It’s Gone

You Don’t Know What You Have Until It’s Gone

I love my leg, what can I say. But it’s a love/hate relationship the first week of having a new socket put on. Like a new pair of shoes that need to broken in before you run a marathon, a new socket- even made perfectly for your limb- has it’s own personality that you need to get use to. It will hit your thigh differently, rub your groin raw, bump the end of your limb til it bruises, and then…. after some perseverance, patience and a glass of wine (or two), you hit your stride with your new friend and all is right with the world!😉

 

But at first you may be reluctant to change, frustrated to tears, because yet again, you must endure what you thought you were done with. It’s hard to face the music when you know what’s going to happen…AGAIN. There’s just no escaping that reality, but you must push through, because the gains to be made and the reward to getting through that first week, or so, is amazing!

You CAN do it.

Pick your chin up, put your leg on, and dance!!!

 

Dance like no one is looking,

Sing like no one is listening,

Live like each day is your last!

 

Will it be easy, no! But nothing ever great came easy.

Strive for greatness each day. Each day, make your mark, set a goal, live your life.

If you must, do things that will distract you from the moments of pain, I do. I stay really busy! Sitting down and reading a book does not distract me, activity does. Shopping, cleaning, working out, playing with my dog, asking a friend out for coffee. Somedays we just need a distraction while we break in the new fit. That’s ok. Your goal is to get comfortable in it and the only way to find comfort is by wearing it and pushing through some pain of newness.

Please, though, know your body. What works for me may not work for you. Listen to your doctor, prosthetist, or PT-whom you trust. Let them guide you when you don’t feel confident or strong enough.

Today’s Call to Action was brought on by the tragedy of the loss of a friend.

*Embrace someone you love today, and tell them you love them!

*Be gracious and kind to those around you, even the ones who are mean or angry, we are all fighting a battle.

*Reach out to a long lost friend or relative, or someone who you sense has withdrawn and become distant. It isn’t about you, they may be fighting a battle you have no idea about and they could probably use a friend. Someone willing to see them for who they are in their heart and not how they have been acting.

Above all else, love one another. We each have our moments, our battles, our valleys. Love always wins!

Please don’t forget to subscribe to my website and podcast so you don’t miss an episode! Next week I will have my prosthetist, Randy West, on the show talking about how to know what’s working and when to move on!

Until next time,

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!

 

Much love and admiration,

Angie

 

 

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Not All Sockets (or Prosthetists) Are Made the Same

Randy West, myself, and David Banks

 

I consider myself so fortunate to have been directed to The Limb Center by my doctor, Dr. Judd Cummings, as I was planning for my amputation. And I think I am a good judge of character, so when I went in to meet Randy West and David Banks for the first time, pre-amputation, I knew I was getting the best care out there!

Fitting my running blade and trying it out for the first time

 

When I told Randy I wanted to surf and I brought him some surf leg plans he graciously went to work and built it for me,
just because he knew it was my dream!

 

Cheesy, but priceless, photo op with Randy, the Blue guy and my new surf leg!😎

 

They listened to me. They actually HEARD what I was telling them about my dreams, goals and aspirations….as well as my fears and doubts about going through with this surgery.

Not often, but in my situation, I was able to take my test socket out for a “test drive”

 

…and test drive it I did!! A 5K hike! It ended up being a great fit.

 

I had visited another prosthetist’s office before I knew of The Limb Center, and I had a pretty good experience there, too. I also met an amazing young lady who was an above knee amputee and a fighter, while I was there. However, three major factors first swayed me to Randy and David, before I really knew them. 1) They took my insurance- this is VERY important and the other office did not! 2) My doctor was very familiar with them and worked with them directly and, quite frankly, I trusted my surgeon and his opinion in this matter, and 3) David was an above knee amputee with 20+ years of experience being one. He could see things and understand an amputee better just by living it.

Amazing attention to detail, and always teaching me how to be independent,
by showing me how my prosthetic works and fits.

 

Then once I got to meet them and talk through my decision to amputate, I knew that we had a connection far greater than me being an office visit here and there. I had their cell phone numbers, could call or text whenever there was a problem, and time and again, they showed me that I mattered to them.

This is the type of relationship you should have and that you deserve with your prosthetist.

Randy and David join me in this podcast as we discuss the right “fit” in your relationship with your prosthetist, insurance and getting the right coverage, steps to getting your first socket, and when to turn around and walk out of that office and find the right relationship you need to be a healthy, happy amputee.  It can happen, but you need to push that for yourself and know when to do it.

Knowledge is power, and I want to arm you with as much knowledge as I can so you can feel confident and ready to advocate for yourself in the medical field, in your doctor appointments and when finding and working with your prosthetist. When we have knowledge, confidence, and opportunity we can access limitless possibilities in our lives.

 

 

People don’t realize that who you see for your prosthetics is so very important-it can make or break your desire and ability to really live your life after amputation, and it’s a relationship, like family.  You’ll be working with them for years to come so you’ll want to make sure you trust and enjoy working with them.

As always, if you have comments or questions, for me or our guests, please feel free to reach out to me. I’d be happy to help.

Time to do the research and leg work- no pun intended. Talk to people, find social media groups that work with amputees, reach out to the Amputee Coalition and your doctor to see who they recommend as a prosthetist for you.

Once you have found a couple, make an appointment to go talk with them. Read their body language and how they talk with you. Do they want to hear your history, problems, dreams and aspirations? If not, move on to the next appointment. You deserve better, and it’s out there!

Make sure you address insurance issues and coverage with the prosthetist’s office. This is expensive equipment and will need to be upgraded over time- remember, it isn’t growing back so we need to make sure we have some help in coverage of costs.

If you have a prosthetist that you are unhappy with, and they don’t seem to listen or invest any more than your short office visit then you really need to find the courage and tell them it’s not working. If you are seeing someone who,  when you tell them you’re hurting or something doesn’t feel right, and they tell you that it doesn’t get any better and you need to deal with it…that’s a red flag! Time to research other places and prosthetists and find someone who can help.

This is YOUR life and YOUR body. You need to push for the best care so you can live it to the fullest. Don’t be afraid to stand up for your rights. I’m telling you, there are really good practitioners out there, you just need to look and ask the right questions to find them.

I wish you all well, and please don’t hesitate to reach out to me for help.

 

Until next time:

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU

“We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the game.”

-Randy Pausch

 

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!