Tag: surgery

In The Beginning

In The Beginning

What to Expect as a New Amputee


As with anything new there is a learning curve. Becoming an amputee is no different. However, since few people know of anyone that’s an amputee before they, themselves, become one, there are so many questions without answers.

It seems overwhelming, confusing and quite scary.

Have no fear, even though each one of us is very different as we deal with our own amputation, we also have many similar benchmarks or stages we go through.

First thing you need to know is that you will get through this and you are going to do great. If you can embrace that mindset, a mindset of positivity, then you are already on your way to bringing that to fruition.

I believe in manifesting my own destiny and I have deep faith in my purpose and that the journey I am on was set before me by a higher power.

Speak positive and empowering words to yourself, and you will manifest positive and empowering outcomes.

After your surgery you will have time to adjust to your new body image and center of gravity, time to rest and heal, and time to prepare for what’s to come. At this point it’s a great idea to focus on getting some core strength back and balance. These things you can work on as you wait for the fitting process.

Me trying on my very first socket (L) and me a couple sockets later (R). See the weight change?


Adjustments are always being made, even when the socket feels right the leg direction can be off (too far forward leaning, not adducted enough). These things depend on your type of amputation and your hip alignment.


I’ve been fortunate enough to take my “test socket” home and work out in it to make sure it is made to withstand the riggers of my activity levels.


Here’s how my guy, Randy, creates my sockets. He casts my residual limb.


Once you’ve been given the green light by your surgeon that you are ready to be fitted for your prosthesis then you will head to your prosthetist’s office, discuss your goals, dreams, activity levels and where you want to be and where you see yourself in the future. This will help them fit you correctly and get you the best prosthesis for you and your goals.

Your prosthetist will create a “test socket” for you-this could take a couple of weeks- and then you will go in, try it on, walk around in it and they will adjust it for a more comfortable fit, then off you go with your brand new leg.

PT should begin at this point, if you haven’t already been working with one to gain core strength and balance.

I know this can be scary and you might feel apprehensive at first but remember, they want to help you succeed at walking and using your prosthesis correctly so you don’t hurt yourself.

Communicate with them, let them know what feels good and doesn’t feel good, what scares you, what you don’t understand, and what you want to be able to do. Discuss your dreams and goals with them.

Now as you start using your new leg you will start noticing changes in your volume of your leg. The more you start doing life again the more your volume of your residual limb will change and then you run into the frustrating aspect of being an amputee, the socket fit.

You can literally get a brand new socket made to fit your leg perfectly and the very next day it won’t feel as snug. You’ll start to add socks on top of your liner, one after the next, just to accommodate your leg shrinking in size. The more socks you use the less connected you will feel and then you won’t trust your prosthesis to stay in place and behave the way it should.

But don’t worry, your prosthetist will be taking measurements and once those measurements align with your insurance company’s guidelines you can be fitted for a new socket.

The problem?

It is the whole process all over again!

You get a new casting of your limb (some cast, some use digital renderings, just depends on what they like to use), they create a new “test socket” and adjust it to fit nice and snug. Next they create a new final socket and you go back in, try it on, walk around, make adjustments and then you’re on your way…..until this one begins to fit poorly.

The reality: the first 2-3 years are a series of nicely fitting socket, loosening, refitting, recreating, and then all over again.

I, myself, went through 16 sockets in the first 3 years!

The sooner you know and understand this sequence of events, the better it is for you to mentally grasp the journey so these moments don’t gut punch you and make you feel like a failure, or that you’re doing something wrong, or that this is heading down an irreversible path.

Embrace this journey.  It is unique and challenging, but you will learn so much about yourself and build so much character, and experience, so quickly.

No one has the same experiences as they become an amputee but this is a basic outline of some pretty typical moments you will see to some degree.

Just remember you are stronger than you think and you will make it through this.



Plain and simple, this week I want you to face those fears.

I know you and see you. You are getting ready to head into your first physical therapy and have no idea how you will manage. You are worried you won’t be able to tolerate the leg, that you aren’t strong enough or even brave enough for this life….but you are!

As I tell myself when I encounter something that puts fear into my heart and doubt into my brain, “One step at a time, Ang”.

I can do anything, one step at a time.

One Step At A Time. Yes, that can be a metaphor, but I mean it literally.

You will NOT be asked to do stairs on your first day of PT, nor will they ask you to try running.

Baby steps is how you start. Just as a small child learns to crawl before they stand, stand before they walk, and walk before they run, you too, will go through these sort of “baby steps”. You are doing something for the first time. It takes, strength, balance, mobility, and practice to get it right, and even then you still won’t have it down. I still catch myself not walking with a good gait and making corrections. That’s ok, it takes time.

Enjoy the journey.

Embrace what scares you and make the most of these moments.

You can do this, look how far you’ve already come!


Have a blessed week and get after it!

Rise up, Warrior, rise up!


And as always,

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!


Much love,


What’s Your Story with Noah Elliott

What’s Your Story with Noah Elliott

2x Paralympic Medalist, Father, and Cancer Survivor-Noah Elliott


Wow! Do you need some inspiration? Make sure you listen in today! Noah Elliott shares the journey he has been on since the age of 15, and how he went from becoming a teen father to cancer diagnoses to 2x Olympic medalist!  I mean, WOW!!!

2022 Winter Olympics


 Noah doing what he does!


Doing what he loves and his personality shines through the heaviest of winter clothing!😎


I am honored to call him a friend and am inspired beyond words at the grit and determination he has shown throughout his young life.

If you are struggling in your own journey and find it hard to be positive then consider this interview a huge dose of positivity made just for you.

Noah’s story will inspire, empower and lift you up.

Remember, we all go through hard times and Noah is just a person, like you and me. Listen and see if you can hear what makes him stand out from the crowd. Listen and hear what took him from what could have been a life of impossibilities to him doing the impossible.

See what you can learn from this interview, and the others from the past month, that set these individuals with limb loss/limb difference apart from the crowd. What do they have that you can adopt and use to achieve your goals. Remember, anything is possible with the right mindset, attitude, and faith in yourself.

Remember to like, subscribe and share so you don’t miss an episode!


I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did.

And as always:


Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!!


Much love,



Shop Talk with Randy West

Shop Talk with Randy West

How about that fit, though?

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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


Time to get real.

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

Physical, Emotional, Mental

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

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



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

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

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


You can do this!

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

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


As always,

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!!


Much love,


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,


The Nerve of Some People

The Nerve of Some People

Plastic Surgeons and TMR Surgery:
Tackling Phantom Limb Pain


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

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

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

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

Dr. Roni Prucz
Phoenix Plastic Surgery


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

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

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

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

No matter what, I will rise!


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

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

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

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


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



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

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


Until next time:

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!!


Much love,



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!

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