Tag: running

Rise To The Challenge

Rise To The Challenge

Run The Race Set Before You

 

It’s time to get off that couch and put your leg on. Let’s do this! If not today, then when?

I will tell you that the amputation wasn’t the end of a journey but the very beginning of another. Life is a journey so I don’t know why I thought any different with amputation. Now the real work comes in. You need to heal, and then get your socket fitted and THEN learn to walk all over again!  No one can truly prepare you for what’s to come with amputation but I will tell you that no matter what you are facing with yours, you CAN do anything! You just need to press on and learn to adapt.

For me it was about perseverance, distraction and goal setting. You will have good days and bad days, and knowing this will allow you to “bounce back” when the going gets tough. I didn’t realize this, at first, and when I began to struggle I thought it was going to be down, down, down, with no recovery…. that’s how my last 7 years had gone with surgeries, so why would this be any different? But then over the course of these past two years I realized that my residual limb changes size and shape and that will dictate how my socket fits, which, in turn, dictated some of my struggles and pains. But those bad moments, or struggles, were short lived and then good times would return. NOW that I know this I can take those “bad” days in stride, and not lose sleep over them (although, sometimes I do because of  the phantom pain 😉 Haha! Humor is good medicine, by the way.

Humor helps get through hard days. Don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself.

 

I started my journey, back to walking, by deciding to give virtual races a try. I am highly competitive with myself so when I set a goal, I will succeed. My 1st race was 175 miles in 3 months. I started this one just a couple months after getting my prosthetic! I figured, what’s the best way to get use to your new leg- use it, and use it A LOT! I would need to put in 2 miles everyday to catch up since I registered a little late. You know what? It was hard! But I stuck with it, logged all my miles and made the goal of 175 miles! And the pure joy of receiving my finisher’s medal stuck with me…so I registered for the next one, which was 150 miles! and then the next one- 150 miles! I finished all of those and then began smaller more condensed goals of completing 5k walks/runs, virtually.  The idea of doing a race within a day put more pressure on me to compete at my highest level. I had to complete 3.1 miles all at once and some days that was really hard. Some of them I raced for better and faster times, other times I had to be content with just finishing.  You need to know your body well enough not to do harm but also to know when and how hard to push.

My first medal as an amputee! I’m very proud of this one!

 

 

These are all that I have completed since July 2019!! Each one of them I picked with purpose.

 

I have enjoyed all the races I’ve completed. There’s a sense of pride and accomplishment seeing all of my medals I’ve earned over the past 2 years as an amputee. These races have given me a purpose, goals, and independence as an amputee. I look and feel better then I have in a long time, and my mental health is at its peak. Listen  in to my podcast to hear more about how to get moving and what hurdles I overcame to finish all those medals these past 2 years.

Now it’s YOUR turn!

 

Check out these virtual races and register for one of them. Take baby steps to get there but get there! Challenge yourself to do and be something more. You’ll be surprised what you can accomplish when you set a goal and get moving. I guarantee you will feel better about yourself, and you’ll start making strides in your physical, mental and emotional state, plus you and your prosthetic will become friends! 😉

Check these out:

Virtual Strides

Virtual Pace Series

Gone For A Run

Will Run For Bling and Charity

This last one is where I met some amazing people and did my first 3 BIG long distance races (175, 150, and 150 mile races over a few months) If you want a challenge, check this site out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Each one of these holds meaning to me and I love every single one of my medals! They show me, when times get hard, that I can do it, I can succeed, and that my amputation doesn’t define or inhibit me!

 

Your Call to Action is to register to do a virtual race and do it by the end of June or if you need to, register now and build up to finishing by the end of July. Just don’t open that package until you’ve earned it. That’s how I did it because then I had something pushing me to finish. You’ve got this!!

You know I’m here for you! Send me a message, let me know how it’s going.

And as always:

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!

 

Cheers,

Angie

 

Starting Point

Starting Point

Again, and Again, and Again…..

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

I’m here for you!

And as always:

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!!

 

Much love,

Angie

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.
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

 

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!

Empowered, Active Lifestyle with Levitate

Empowered, Active Lifestyle with Levitate

About 2 weeks ago I reached out to Levitate on Instagram searching for someone who appeared to have mastered using a running blade. I had been out of my blade for over a year between socket adjustments, nerve pain and surgery. I was ready to try again now that the stars had all aligned but I knew that I need some tips and tricks to start moving again.

Enter Levitate.

I reached out to them in a DM on Instagram and they wrote back with 30 minutes! I just asked if they had some wisdom on getting me to trust my blade once again and how I could strengthen my residual limb. They sent me a video of a few exercises to start with and we got into a discussion about their company. Their mission was simple yet profound. They strive to create quality sports blades that the average person could afford, while empowering them to become active and healthy in a community that supports one another!!

WOW!!! I knew, right then and there, that they had to be a guest on my podcast and soon! I have heard from so many amputees about how they would love to get a running blade (or sports blade) but just couldn’t afford one. I felt that this company would be the answer to so many prayers and wanted to help them grow. They are located in Copenhagen, Denmark and wanted to get more following in the United States so getting their name out there was important, but making sure their mission was heard, by as many people as possible, was vital. I think they have something great and I want everyone to have a chance to be a part of this, empowering the amputee community to have the lifestyle they would like to have, to have a choice NOT dictated by price.

I hope you feel as excited and inspired as I am by what they are doing and what they are about.

Now is the time to live your best life.

The choice is yours, thanks to Levitate!!

Check them out on Instagram: @Levitate.sport or at www.letslevitate.com

This Can’t Be MY Life!

This Can’t Be MY Life!

Welcome to my trailer of Be-YOU-tiful Adaptive Warrior. This is a quick introduction to what you will be hearing about throughout my episodes. My journey through healing and living my best life, and how I can help you achieve that same success.

For more information please contact Angie at: BAWarrior360@gmail.com