Tag: wellness

It’s Not Just You

It’s Not Just You

Normalizing Phantom Pain

 

No matter what you think, every amputee has issues at some point or another.

No one is exempt from phantom pain or phantom sensations even though it appears as they do.

Most successful people, meaning those who appear to be living their best life after amputation, do not sit around thinking about phantom pain or wallowing in it, they keep moving, they keep pushing through it, until they make it through…for at least that episode.

I was once told that talking about it and harping about the phantom pain only gave it power over me, so I try very hard not to talk about it.

Moving through an episode, that is what I call them because they come on quick, last for a brief moment in time and then disappear as quickly as they came on…only to be repeated again in the future. But moving through an episode can be a lonely place and often times hard. Making a decision to keep doing life despite it and not letting it get the best of you takes mental fortitude. Some days I feel like I have it…other days, not so much.

This week is one of those weeks. Monday I struggled all day. Tuesday I forced myself to the gym and grocery shopping, only to feel exhausted by the end of it all and only to find it tough to get sleep Tuesday night… BUT, I made life happen for me, not to me!

I chose to get active and I felt better that I had, mentally, even though physically I was still struggling.

You have to choose your battles. Know when to push through  and know when your body and mind need a break.

Just don’t give up and never, for a second, think you are the only one that is struggling. You are NOT.

Be strong, dear Warrior! You will get through it!

 

I hope you have a blessed week and one filled with positive momentum forward!

U

ntil next week and as always,

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!

much love,


Launch

Launch

Prepare Yourself!

Your steps backward are prepping you to be rocketed forward.

Ever feel like you are being held down, pushed backwards, not making forward progress?

I’ve been there and it can be so frustrating! Sometimes it feels like you are never going to get back to where you were or progress any further

What I have learned over these past 12 years of setbacks and surgeries, backward movement and disappointment, is that whenever I have gone through those moments, sooner or later, I am back to where I once was AND usually further along than I could’ve ever imagined…and sometimes down a path I would never have seen.

Sometimes these “valleys” take days , weeks or even months. Mine lasted 5 years of hoping and praying that life would cut me a break…little did I know that a simple pop of my MCL in a karate graduation would amount to an amputation 5 years later, and some of the most profound and wonderful moments of my life!!!

We need to remember that when we have setbacks- they won’t last forever, and that these setbacks are stressing us to launch us into something greater than we could ever have fathomed.

Prepare yourself; your heart, mind and body, for something great to happen. Don’t get down and give up, instead be prepared for your launch!

Be prepared for something amazing and spectacular to happen on your life.
Setbacks are a way to a new path and usually one that sets us up for greatness.

Be prepared to be launched!!

This week starts mentally preparing yourself for your launch, especially if you feel that you’ve been knocked down or held back by some illness, frustration, situation in your life.

Start seeing what could be and what might happen and see the positive side, get excited for change to come and push you further than you could ever believe you’d go. Sometimes just preparing our minds to accept change that might come can manifest itself into reality. “If you can think it you can do it” sort of scenario.

Don’t get down, just know that you are being stressed and stretched to be sling shot forward into a whole new situation with all new possibilities.

Just know that you won’t be where you are forever. You are being prepared to experience a forward movement and back to climbing to that mountain top.

I hope you have a beautiful week ahead.

And as always.

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!

much love,

Angie

 

#bawarrior360 #believinginyourself #limbloss #podcast #personaljourney #launch #setbacksaresetups #prepareyourself #amputeelife #ampstrong #valleystomountaintops #slingshot

Finding Your Center

Finding Your Center

Breathe In, Breathe Out

 

Sometimes we forget one of the most basic of human needs, breathing. Yes, of course we continue to breathe everyday, I’m not saying we stop breathing, what I AM saying is that we forget HOW to breathe.

I know I can get caught up in emotions and stress and only do shallow breathes or even hold my breathe, at times. This is not good for us, we must practice taking good, deep, and cleansing breathes everyday.

When we take part in active breathing, we can clear our bodies of toxins and bad energy and bring in the goodness around us, the energy of the earth and nature.

Breathe in through the nose, breathe in good energy, life-giving energy.

Breathe out through the mouth and rid yourself of bad, negative energy and toxins.

We should be taking time everyday to work on this and thus reap the benefits of cleansing breath. Even if for only 5-10 minutes a day. I bet after a while you will make time for longer sessions, only to gain the rewards of spending time with yourself. You’ll be surprised on how practicing breathing will elevate things, such as; stress and pain.

Why WOULDN’T you want to do this?

I know, I know. It’s hard to find the time, but like all things that we want to do throughout a day, we learn to make the time, until you can’t do without it. Building good habits only takes a couple of weeks of dedication for it to stick and become routine.

 

Try it!

That is your Call to Action for this week.

Find time to give yourself a break. Get comfortable, sit upright and breathe.

Clear your mind of your busy schedule, your to do list, and things that have been weighing on your mind.

Let it all go for this time period and give yourself the time to just “Be”.

If you struggle to quiet your mind and you find yourself wandering, it’s ok, just redirect you mind to quiet down and refocus on the moment.

Sometimes I find myself counting in my mind to redirect the thoughts and get back to a quiet mind.

Stay consistent and don’t give up.

If you are struggling with phantom limb pain you might find this to be releasing.

When stress seems to take over your physical well being try it and find your peace and focus again.

I hope you all have a wonderful and safe 4th of July!

and as always,

Be Healthy,

be Happy,

Be YOU!!

Much love,

 

 

 

Climbing Your Mountain

Climbing Your Mountain

How to overcome adversity to reach the top

 

The view from the top is always amazing and one we all strive for but that isn’t how life works, is it?

What happened when we fail, and fall into a valley? Maybe you have a medical issue, or are struggling in a relationship or job, or maybe you became an amputee, like me.

What then?

This is the time to focus on what’s in front of you. You need to figure out your goals and where you want to be and take the right steps to achieve them.

Sounds easy enough, doesn’t it?

Of course, in theory it sounds great but putting that into practice, day in and day out is another story all together.

I met an older gentleman at the Y the other day that made me realize that I need to appreciate the season I am in and the condition my body is in. I talked with this man for a bit and saw a yearning in his eyes to be the young buck he once was, one that had strength and stamina. He told me he use to be a body builder and now he was barely lifting any weight. I told him that I was impressed he was there and working out and that he should see that as a victory, he is climbing his mountain.

Is it where he use to be? No.

Is it where he wants to be? No, but he hasn’t quit!

He had been through knee surgeries and several heart attacks and he was at the gym, with his walker putting in the work that he COULD do.
That is amazing!

If we forget to appreciate where we’ve been and how far we’ve come, and living in the moment we are in, we can get lost. We start obsessing on how we aren’t doing what we use to be able to do, and not seeing what we are still capable of doing.

I know that as I get older, being an amputee is going to become hard on me and my body. For now, I work on what I can and embrace what I am able to do. I refuse to look back at a time when I had 2 legs and what I was capable of. Now I see me for who I am and how proud I am of my accomplishments because I have had to work hard, and my mindset has had to become strong.

Some days aren’t easy to handle but I must press on. I try to focus on the mountain top, each day, and strive to live in THIS moment.

Today is a gift and I am alive and capable. Don’t forget how special you are, and how this moment, right here and now, is what matters most.

Embrace it and live! You are a warrior, you are worthy of so much more. Strive for that mountain top and do t look back!!

 

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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,

 

Staying Motivated

Staying Motivated


How to Challenge Yourself Through Life’s Storms

 

What do you when you’ve lost your motivation?

What has you derailed?

This is often a problem for anyone going through a medical issue, including amputees.

As a 5 year amputee myself, I have a different story, one I want to share.

I spent most of my life participating in sports of one kind or another, only taking a break when we started our family.

As the boys grew so did my desire to get active again, for myself, my physical and mental well-being.

I joined karate with my kids when they were just littles, and I really enjoyed the challenge of it and feeling a part of something.

Unfortunately, onely about 2 years into it I tore my MCL which led to multiple surgeries over 5 years. I gained weight, a lot, and lost my drive.

When it got to a point that I wasn’t going to get better, and I had tried everything, a blood clot came along to drive me to the lumeing decision to amputate, and that I did, 5 years after the initial injury.

At this point, I was prepping my body and mind for what was to come and with that I began to set goals and challenges, after all I was ready to attack life once again…too many years of sitting around on my butt.

The very first challenge was learning how to walk again.

The beginning of the journey-My first prosthetic and me at my heaviest since my injury

 

 

This was no easy task and with the pain of amputation/surgery, ill-fitting sockets due to atrophy and weight change, and the actual weight of the prosthesis, I was in for a really challenging few months. But I was determined.

 

For the first 3 years the volume of my residual limb changed a LOT!

 

I had to learn to put my mindset into the positive and in hyper-overdrive. I needed to find something to push me, so I decided on virtual races.

My virtual race medal wall. My motivation to keep going!

 

I could do them on my time, in my area, and with no one else around. I was going to use these races to push myself to wear and master my prosthesis. My very first race was 150 mile spring virtual race! I calculated my daily miles to figure out how to finish on time and then set out to walk the miles.

Can I tell you, in all honesty, that the first day I set out to do my 2 miles (easy, right?) I could only muster up the energy and tolerance to walk to our mailbox!!! 1/4 mile total walk! I was doomed!

But, the next day I got started and walked another block further than the day before. I continued on this path, having good days and bad and taking advantage of the good days, and pressed forward. I was determined to win this mental and physical challenge, each and everyday!

Was it easy? Not a chance! But it was plausible and that was all I needed to rise to the challenge and succeed.

Some days I could get my 2 miles in, and then the very next day I could only go as far as around the block.

I tell you this because the path isn’t always straight forward. You can be doing really good one day and then nerve pains, or the fit, can take you out. You should know this going in so as to give yourself some grace and not get down on yourself.

I talk about Practice makes Permanence, not Practice makes Perfect. 5 years in and I still have days where I see my gait looking lazy or off, I still watch and correct, but I have learned muscle memory and I know right from wrong as I walk.

Practice makes permanence

 

Setting goals early on in your amputee journey, or any journey for that matter, is important to building healthy habits. There are no shortcuts to figuring it out, you just need to put in the work and build experience. A great basketball player doesn’t just shoot during the game, they practice that free throw hundreds of times a week, maybe even a day, to build muscle memory and get the form down. Why would learning how to walk again in a prosthetic be any different?

Spend the time in it, get use the feel, get good at the stride, practice the little things everyday, and take breaks when you need them, but keep pushing. It will come and then you’ll be able to move onto the next challenge you set before you.

 

 

Of course this week’s challenge is to challenge yourself.

Set a new goal, one that you know you can accomplish without it being too easy. Pick something you have been dying to accomplish (like getting stronger walking in your new prosthetic). Now figure out a plan that will get you from point A to point B, and give yourself a specific deadline. Mine happen to come with their own deadlines, being virtual races had “complete by” dates assigned to them. They were a challenge, for sure, but it was good for accountability reasons. I couldn’t wiggle out of those deadlines, not if I was being true to myself, and why wouldn’t I want to be true to myself? Don’t I deserve that?

You can do this.

Drop me a message and let me know what you’re challenging yourself with and then get after it!

You can do this!

You are a warrior, so attack life like a warrior!

 

I hope you found this to be motivating and you take on this Call to Action.

Have a beautiful week, and until next time,

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!

 

Much love,

 

My funny girl
Picking Apart Phantom Pain

Picking Apart Phantom Pain

The Real Mental Side of Phantom Pain

 

Ok, let’s talk about Pain. Not just any pain, but the “real” phantom pain.

It comes on without warning.

It can destroy our mood, our productivity, and our confidence.

When it does happen, and for amputees we will all have the pleasure of experiencing it at some point on our journey, it’s enough to cause us to doubt we will ever be able to function again because we can’t see an end to it in sight. It’s the most disabling thing about being an amputee because we cannot control it.

Just two weekends ago I experienced one of my many episodes of phantom pain. I was fine when I woke on Sunday morning, enjoyed a few hours of “normalcy” then out of the blue, like lightning strikes, I was seized with a multitude of sharp, knife driving pains, in the bottom of my non-existent foot!

At first it was just startling and I was wracking my brain as to why it might be acting up. You see, for me, I know what things might cause me to have a flair up of pains from the activities of the day or night before, but not this day. Nothing I could have done would prepare me for this nor could I comprehend what had made these phantom pains come on.

As the day wore on these flashes of pain came more sudden and more often. They are so real feeling that my “foot” was getting sore from all the stabbing.

The prickles on the cactus and thorns on the tree remind me of the sharpness of my phantom pains

 

If that isn’t a mental attack on the brain I don’t know what is!

If you are an amputee you need to make sure you have a toolbox of info and memories to use as you navigate throu9gh each episode of phantom pains.

Join me today as I discuss what a toolbox is and how you create one.

Remember to be kind to yourself when these pains hit. They will try to crush you and break your spirit but you can and will get stronger with each experience. Just know that it’s ok to shut down for a while as your head tries to understand what’s happening to your body.

You are strong enough and you will make it through.

These episodes don’t last forever, and you will soar once again.

 

Be the warrior you were meant to be and rise up!

 

And as always,

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!!

 

much love,

 

Purpose in the Waiting

Purpose in the Waiting

 

 

Like a little kid excited and waiting for Christmas morning with great anticipation only to be sad when the presents are all opened, stockings are emptied and bedtime arrives once again.

We too, can find ourselves wrapped up in waiting for life.

We wait for the next appointment, the next fitting, the next promotion, the next relationship, the next thing to be excited about. But what about now? What about the moments that are hard and challenging? Are you letting life waste away and pass you by while you wait or are you living with intention and purpose?

One place I find my purpose

It’s hard, I understand that. As an amputee we spend the first 2-3 years just waiting on healing, the next socket, the insurance company, the follow-up appointment, refitting, adjustments, etc, etc, etc.

Just when we think we have everything going well with our leg something changes, and we start all over again.

I spent the first 3 1/2 years changing and fluctuating before I got my latest socket which I have been in for over a year. And yet, I still have my moments that are hard and challenging. Isn’t that life?

How about you? What’s got you stuck? Do you know what you’re living for?

 

 

This week, if you are in a funk and can’t focus on the present find someone that you can reach out to and help.

Maybe a neighbor could use a visit, or a friend needs an errand run. Whatever it is, whomever you choose to help, realize that you can do so much good and real live your life even in a season of waiting.

Sometimes the first step in helping ourselves is to think about others and find our purpose in being a help to them. Finding purpose in your waiting is key to happiness and feeling content. Remember that when you wake, and have breathe in your lungs then you are meant to be here and to make a difference in the world.

Go out and seize each day, live your life don’t wait to live it.

Tomorrow isn’t promised.

Let your warrior out and rise up! You deserve to live and be happy, even in the waiting.

 

Have a blessed week.

As always,

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!

 

Much love,

 

Dress For Success

Dress For Success

An Equine Analogy For Your Motivation

 

 

You must look the part.

You need to rise up, clean up, and organize yourself if you want to achieve and succeed.

Trust me I know!

Today I found myself entranced on how much time I spend with my horses grooming them.

Why do we do that? Why do we spend so much time brushing them, wiping their faces down, conditioning their mane and tidying them up? It’s not like my horses are heading out on the town nor are they saddled and transported where others will see them… then why?

 

Getting in the Christmas Spirit last year

 

I’ll tell you why, because that keeps them looking kept and neat. It keeps them healthy and clean. I brush them, I wash them, I wipe out their nostrils and eye ducts, I clean out their hooves, all in the name of health. We need to do the same, especially when we aren’t feeling great. When we are down and out, our health depends on it, our outlook on life depends on it, and ultimately our success depends on it. It’s so easy to take the road less traveled when we are hurting and not at our best. When life throws us curveballs and tries to take us down that’s when we need to fight harder, rise quicker, and move forward. When we get wrapped up in negativity and cave to the easy path, or path of least resistance, we tend to let oursleves go, let our homes go and stop really living. That’s when we allow life to pass us by, while we wait for something better to happen to us or for us, for our situation to resolve itself. However, that’s not living life, that’s giving up and hoping things work out.

We need to rise up each day and prepare for life. We need to clean ourselves up, we need to make our bad, we need to get out and MAKE life happen! We all have issues. We will all have problems that arise, but the ones who succeed adjust and fight for what they want. The ones who succeed are the ones who dress for success, each and every day, despite what’s happening, despite the pain and frustrations they are going through. How about you? Are you “dressing” for success each day? Are you preparing for good to happen? That is the key.

I clean my horses up every single day so they are clean, healthy, and happy. When they get the grooming they need they can then attack the day with confidence and pride. Shouldn’t you be the same, if not more motivated to do so?

You are a warrior. Warriors plan for success and it starts with your physical appearance, at the very least. Start there and see where it takes you in life. You might be surprised.

So warriors, rise up and take on the day! You deserve that!

 

 

This week, take care of yourself, starting with your appearance-your physical self. Get up, get ready for the day, make your bed, and go do something.

Be active in your life.

Make life happen FOR you, not TO you.

Stop waiting for right time, the next day, or when you’ll feel better.  Sometimes we need to just start something positive and good with the simple act of looking “put together”, ready to tackle the day. That is your challenge this week.

Go get after life! You’ll be so glad you did!

 

Be an active

As always,

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!

 

Much love,

 

 

Compete

Compete

Find Your Purpose, Set Goals, and Get to Work

This is me BEFORE my knee injury that led to amputation

Competition gives you focus and direction in life. It helps to define your day, provides a sense of purpose, and helps build character and resilience.

All my life I have been competitive. I had big brothers around always “toughening me up”, and sports were an every moment event, whether competing on our home basketball court or joining teams that played every weekend.

I think these moments served me well, and prepared me for a life after limb loss.

For some of you, the journey has been a long and hard one. It hasn’t been easy and you may feel like giving up.

Maybe you even think that “this is as good as it gets”, but I’m here to tell you, DON’T GIVE UP!!!

You can do this! Last week I talked about mindset, well, this is the time to put your mindset to the test and work on positive self-talk.

 

 

On the hard days, when things hurt or you feel out of sorts, or maybe you are not at a point of wearing your prosthetic yet, you may get discouraged…heck! Maybe you ARE discouraged. Now is the time to buckle in and dig deep. This is the time to set those goals and reach for them.

When I find myself in the struggle where pain is winning and I feel like doing nothing and getting depressed about this moment in life that things aren’t going as planned, that’s when I find something to take my mind off of it. I usually find something that brings out the competitor in me. This gives me a goal, a purpose, and consumes my time which takes the attention off of what I’m struggling with.

 

How about you? What do you do to fill your time? Give yourself purpose? Or distract your thoughts changing them into a positive flow?

 

 

Now it’s your turn.

Let’s turn your situation into something positive and meaningful, even if you feel like everything is going wrong and you aren’t where you want to be.

 

Set goals.

Be realistic but challenging.

If you aren’t able to wear your prosthetic just yet then don’t get down on yourself, remember life is a journey, the good and bad of it, so make some lemonade while you wait.

Once you’ve reached those goals, then go ahead and set more. Keep creating challenges for yourself. Setting yourself up for success in the waiting will eventually make you see that you are not waiting for life to happen to you anymore, but that you are living it.

 

Enjoy the process.

You deserve it and you are strong enough.

You are a warrior!

Hope your goal setting is epic just like you!

And until next time, and as always,

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!!

 

Much love,