Author Topic: New  (Read 6456 times)

Offline DetroitDevil

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 5
  • Left BK 3/3/4
    • View Profile
New
« on: March 04, 2008, 02:51:31 PM »
Hello my name is Jenise, 38 yrs old and I have only been a BK amputee for 4 years as of yesterday. Yesterday was very hard for me because I kept thinking about how I was before this day.

Long story short of how I became an amputee. I was in a really bad accident which I ended up staying in the hospital for about 10 months. After several surgeries, at the end of the 10 months I was getting septic from the infection in my bone which I had gotten from the surgery. I was then told my leg had to be taken, after a few days I agreed but I have had a very hard time with it ever since.

Before the accident I was a part time model and was also working in a Tattoo studio as a piercer. I ran 2 miles a day and had my children living with me. The day of the accident my life was abruptly stopped. I had to let my ex-husband take my kids, I lost my jobs and was almost evicted from my apartment. My 2 year relationship was also ended because when the news came of the amputation his response was, "He couldn't handle it". I gained a lot of weight during the hospital stay as well, (I was a size 3 and now am a 10).

Well now I am still struggling to handle this, I am embarrassed of my leg and many days I wish I wouldn't have had the surgery. I feel alone and lost.

I have tried going to a therapist, but talking to someone who hasn't lost a limb and is getting paid to listen just didn't do it for me I felt like I was being condescended.

Well there is my story and I hope to interact with others and make new friends, ones who can understand what I deal with every day, and know that I am not alone.

Thank you.
Jenise
San Diego CA

Offline pyourke

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 79
  • BAK - Ontario, Canada
    • View Profile
Re: New
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2008, 03:41:09 PM »
Hi Jenese...
Welcome to the forum. I'm a newbie on this forum, but have been a BAK for 34 years and was hit by a truck and lost both of my legs traumaticly while I'd stopped to assist at an accident. I remember thinking about the things that I couldn't do, but was determined to do the things that I could. I was fortunate in finding a prosthetist that didn't set any limits for me and gave me good fitting protheses. It was a hard learning curve, but I decided early on that I could beat it or let it beat me and it seemed easier to me to try and beat it. I found joy in overcoming small obstacles and trying not to worry about what I could and couldn't do. I faced each challenge as they came up and didn't worry about the challenges to come. I can only advise you to enjoy the things that you can still do and you'll still be able to do a lot of what you could before... only differently.
You don't say whether you have a good fitting leg, or if you have any cosmetic covering on it. Are you able to walk without pain or aids? I have to say that I don't wear shorts anymore, but I do see lots of amputees who do and I admire them for it. I even see many below knee amputees wearing legs without cosmesis. I don't think that I could do that and was embarrassed as well, during the period of my last fittings and trial before the legs were finished. I didn't like the way that my pants hung over the post and knee, but didn't let it stop me from going over to the mall to join the mall walkers each morning (I am a mall 'wheeler') :).
You just need to take one step at a time. The more that you go out and realise that people don't care what your prosthesis looks like, the more that you will become accustomed to being looked at. I know that kids often comment on why I'm in a chair or use canes to walk and I tell them that I've got 'transformer' legs! I also had some canes made by a lady who wrapped them with Mickey Mouse fabric (decoupage) so that they didn't look so institutional. I get lots of comments on them and when a child asks me questions about my legs or wheelchair I always show them the canes.
When I first went back to work, I was terrified of the comments that I'd get from people. They were sympathetic initially but when I didn't ask for special favours and did my job to the best of my ability, they accepted me as I was. There's no reason that you couldn't still work in a tattoo parlor as a piercer. Hell, get a painted on tattoo on your prosthesis. That would be cool. I've always wanted a Mickey Mouse on my legs, but the foam cosmesis and covering stockings (yes, that shook me up to be a guy wearing stockings!) prevented me putting a decal or painting on it. There are many coverings now that can be put over your leg, sold on the web with decorative images and patterns. One of my philosophies in my old job was, if something can't be hidden then exaggerate it. Tattoos on you leg would be real cool and could be a talking point to meet other people.
Another option you can try is to contact the ACA American Coalition of Amputees. They have a peer visiting people who will visit. Check out their website. http://www.amputee-coalition.org/ There is lot's of information on it as well as links to other support groups. Today's new amputees have it much better than when I became an amputee. There are lots of websites and support groups.
We are no different than AB's (able bodies). We need support and friendship and a shoulder to lean on at times. We need to also remember the old adage that helped me... "when life serves you lemons, make lemonade". To me that just means that you just have to do things differently and don't be afraid to try new things. Join a support group. Join a club. Take up a hobby. Keeping busy will help you forget about what you can't do. There a lot's of amputee runners out there, so that's not even out of the question. It's just up to you... make lemonade!
Peter
BAK since '74

Offline Mitchee

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 180
  • Oshkosh, WI
    • View Profile
Re: New
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2008, 05:39:50 PM »
Hi Jenise and welcome to the forum. 

I am a 40 year old BK.  I don't let my amputation define who I am.  I decided to embrace my situation and move forward.  I wear shorts all year long and I do not wear a cosmetic covering.  I am not embarrassed by my amputation or my prosthesis.  I don't like the fake look of the cosmetic covering and I don't mind if people look at it.  The prosthesis is a part of me but it does not define who I am so I don't care if people see it and ask questions.  I have always tried to remain positive and be thankful for what I can do.  I have found that with a little creativity I can do anything that I used to.  I enjoy educating the public when they ask questions.  I like to hear the positive comments about what I can do when people see me rollerblading or riding my bike.  For me, talking to people about it when they ask is my therapy. 

As for your 2 year relationship that ended... not everyone can handle and accept life changing events.  You did because you had to.  You are a stronger person than you think and you will get through this. 

There is no reason why you can't be a model again or return to piercing.  Don't sell yourself short, you can do anything you want to with a little creativity.  Start small, set realistic goals and good things will happen.   :)

Try to reflect on the past in a positive light.  Try to look forward to tomorrow and the things that you can do rather than what you can't do.  I know that at times it can be very hard, but I think the secret is to not let it overwhelm you. 

I'm not sure if my post was of any benefit but good luck and let me know if I can help in any way. 

Michelle


Initial injury:  July 1985
Amputation:  December 2006 - Ertl LBKA

"The journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step."
 -Lao Tzu

Offline Dick Stevens

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 409
    • View Profile
Re: New
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2008, 05:54:46 PM »
Hi, Jenese:

Welcome aboard.  Peter has lots of good advice.  Each of us has to make our own style of Lemonade.  Getting to know other amputees is a great idea.  ACA has peer visitors around the country, I am one in the Philadelphia - Lehigh Valley area.  I trust there are some in the San Diego area.  Check out local support groups.  Ask your prosthetist or rehab center.

My Support Group List shows: Amputees-In-Motion in San Diego, 858-454-9300.  Give 'em a call and maybe it'll open a new door for you.

Other groups in the 92xxx Zip Codes include: Big Bear City, Cathedral City, Hesperia, Loma Linda, Orange, Riverside, and Tobacco Canyon, all in CA.  Wow, lots to choose from.  Let me know if you want more info on any of these.

Some amputees proudly wear their prosthesis uncovered - and that is fine - more power to 'em.  I choose to wear cosmesis on my 2 prostheses, and long pants, too, looking more "natural"   As a woman, you could use slacks or a long skirt, whichever you choose.  As a pastor, I want people to focus on the "Message" and on the business at hand - not on my legs.  Since I walk with crutches, people know I have some kind of issues with my gait - not necessarily aware of my amputations.  It;s what works best for me.

Dick Stevens, DBKA in PA

Offline Sparky

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 18
  • Derbyshire, England
    • View Profile
Re: New
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2008, 06:21:46 PM »
Hi Jenese
The one thing that kept me going, before my accident I knew I was me, after my accident when most of skin had gone and I was just raw flesh and bone, I knew I was still me and after everything had healed and I was covered in scars I knew I was still the same old me underneath it all. I was covered in fresh burn scars, my legs were twisted and bent and I dragged my right leg. On good days I used to be called Quasimodo on bad days....Well I'll leave that to your imagination, girls were the worst I've cried myself to sleep on more than one occasion during my teens and early 20's. Years later (2yrs ago) I had to have both legs amputated and if I'm truthful I'm now even better looking ;D

The only thing about me that had changed was the packaging. All I had to do was go out and show everyone else I was still me. You do have to go out there and show everyone that you don't have a problem and get on with your life.

Offline Dick Stevens

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 409
    • View Profile
Re: New
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2008, 06:27:03 PM »
Jenese:

While I was writing, I see Michele joined in.  As you can see, we amputees come in all flavors, and that's great.

Point well taken:  It would seem you could return to your work in tattooing and piercing, if you'd like.  I was fortunate that I could continue my work as a pastor through both amputations.  Everyone was most accepting and accommodating.

Modelling?  Why not?  With a little imagination, almost anything is possible.  I read of a professional ballet dancer in Phila who lost both feet in a train accident.  Well, she adapted and returned to the field as a ballet instructor.  She was able to pursue her love for the dance in a whole new way.

Looks like she knew how to make lemonade, eh?

Dick Stevens, DBKA in PA

jmoore

  • Guest
Re: New
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2008, 06:48:53 PM »
hi Jenese welcome to the forum i am new to this one to i had my knee amputate Feb15,07 due to bone infection in my knee replacement i know thats not the same as you i could prepare for it but it still was hard for a few months i was mad as hell at the world my life as i knew it changed and at the time it sucked could not walk with out cructhes until my stump healed and that took 3 months and i had to count on other people to help which i did not like i know typical man lol will i know what you mean how some people react to a amputee the stares and the looks of you poor thing and the rude comments i wear shorts alot with no skin cover do not like it the kids are the best they ask the silly question that make you laugh the gaakers as i call them i just tune them out i found by turning on my ipod i am in my world doing my thing and go about doing my stuff, it took some time before i got back to the gym now i go all the time i found if i keep busy i do not think about it, i went and got another tattoo on my leg you should see what i did to my socket it makes people talk lol i Will post some pic of it your not along i rembererd a good friend came over when i was in a bad spot told me i got two options get to living my life to the fullest or just sit around and feel crappy i chose the first one no there is no stooping me i do anything i want ride my quad,go hunting ,fishing etc,etc you will get there to just do not worry about what other people think just go do it well i hope that helps have a good one and take care 8)

Offline DetroitDevil

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 5
  • Left BK 3/3/4
    • View Profile
Re: New
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2008, 08:42:08 PM »
Thank you very much for the replies. Honestly they made me cry and for the first time I haven't felt alone in this. I wanna get on with my life and do what I used to but my insurance is not that great and I have the bottom of the line prosthetic. I can't run with this it just isn't in the cards for me.

In this past year I was given back custody of my oldest son and we moved here to California from Detroit MI. He has been the best child one could ask for, he will be 19 next month and I do not know where I would be if he wasn't with me. He was the only person to get me to leave the house after the amputation without a leg in public.

People I have found are quite rude for the most part. I do have a handicap placard and use it sometimes when my knee doesn't wanna agree with my mind, and I can't get over the looks and the whispers of why am I parked there I am so young. I am about to pop this off one day and show theses rude people why, but I stay silent.

I for the most part walk unaided, but sometimes I use crutches. I have my leg covered and can relate to the not liking the way the pants fit when there is no cosmesis.

Thanks for talking to me and accepting me in your group. I am sure I will learn a lot from you all, and look forward to the interaction.  :)
Jenise
San Diego CA

jmoore

  • Guest
Re: New
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2008, 09:30:26 PM »
i know what you mean about parking one time i did wear pants some jack--- comes up to me and tells me you do not look very handicap told him  a few choice words then i picked up my pant leg the guy turned around and walked away or i park in handicap when my stump hurts and people give us dirty looks because i am in a big truck i do not get it it is none of there business, now i just turn on my ipod go into your place and go about my stuff try it and about your insurance talk to you cpo there are groups that help with prosthetics i know a guy here in medford got a great leg all from a church doing car washes and stuff it is worth a shot good luck

Offline Mitchee

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 180
  • Oshkosh, WI
    • View Profile
Re: New
« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2008, 10:23:50 PM »
Hi Jenise,

As you can see, there are a lot of great people here.  I know this sounds cliche, but we are all different.  Hopefully, you can take something from each of us and find something that works for you.   :)

As for disabled parking...  I too have experienced the stares and comments.  Try not to let it get to you, we have all been there.  I would like to share something that happend to me and my cousin last fall.  I had my 11 year old cousin with me last November and we pulled into a Texas Roadhouse in Northern Wisconsin.  My residual limb was very sore so I decided to utilize the disabled parking space which surprised my cousin because I rarely utilize it.  (I have always been very nice about explaining my amputation or totally ignoring the stares but for whatever reason I didn't let it go this time.)  At the same time, an older couple was exiting the restaurant and got into a car parked in the disabled parking space next to us.  They sat there waiting for us to get out of the car because we didn't look disabled.  My cousin said 'why don't you take off your leg and wave it at them.'  I laughed at her and said 'do you dare me?'  We got out of the car and I walked toward the restaurant and I looked back and they were still giving me the 'you don't look disabled look' even though I was wearing shorts and you could clearly see my non-cosmetic covered prosthesis.  What else could I do (lol) so I stood on one leg and took off my prosthesis and held it up.  They couldn't back out of the parking stall fast enough.  LOL  We laughed about it all though dinner.  My cousin is 100% okay with my amputation and doesn't think anything of it.  Kids are the best!  She sees me as "normal" because I can rollerblade, downhill ski, ice skate and bike with her.  That probably wasn't the politically correct way to handle the situation but it made us laugh and that is one more thing that my cousin and I can joke about. 

I totally understand the posts that have been made about wearing a cosmetic covering.  Wearing an uncovered prosthesis isn't for everyone.  I just wanted to make the suggestion that your prosthesis doesn't define who you are.  ...You are still you.   ;)

As for having insurance coverage that doesn't want to give you the prosthetic coverage that you deserve...  go to...

www.challengedathletes.org

You might be eligible to apply for assistance.  You might qualify to receive a cheetah type running prosthesis or some monetary assistance towards one.  It might be worth looking into??

Michelle








Initial injury:  July 1985
Amputation:  December 2006 - Ertl LBKA

"The journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step."
 -Lao Tzu

Offline Dick Stevens

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 409
    • View Profile
Re: New
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2008, 10:33:33 PM »
Jenise:

Leaving the house without your leg. eh?  Allow me to tell you a funny little story. (Old-timers here, pardon the repeat.)

When I had my first BK amp, and before receiving my prosthesis, I arrived in church in my wheelchair.  A little boy of about 5 struck up a conversation, very curious about my missing leg.  Very polite - just an innocent curiosity.

Well, time passed and I got my prosthesis.  Six months later, the other leg was amputated BK.  Again I arrive in church, minus the opposite leg.  This same little boy came over and started talking.  He gave a quizzical look and whispered, "I thought it was the OTHER leg."  Observant little guy, and polite as ever.  A chil's innocent curiosity I can thoroughly enjoy.

(BTW, sorry I mis-spelled your name in earlier posts.)

Glad to hear you have your son with you.

Dick Stevens, DBKA in PA

Offline Oneblueleg

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 224
  • Hampshire, England
    • View Profile
Re: New
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2008, 04:34:40 AM »
Just wanted to add my welcome Jenice,

The most important thing to remember is that you are the one that's most important... so what if others have issues with the way you are or where you park, none of that really matters... it's only you that matters, and what you think. As long as you are positive, you'd be amazed at how that makes others positive about you.

By the way, size 10... that's my favourite  ;)

Offline pyourke

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 79
  • BAK - Ontario, Canada
    • View Profile
Re: New
« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2008, 01:12:46 PM »
Disabled parking can be an issue to many of us.

I recall being on vacation in Manitoba many years ago when I walked very well and didn't use a chair even though using canes. I was younger and like you people stared at me and wondered asked I was parking in a disabled spot (before they saw my canes). They were embarrassed when I got out and stood up with my canes.

Rather than being upset I realized that really, they were doing me a favour, I wish more people would question those using disabled parking spots. I turned to them and thanked them for their concern in keeping disabled spots for disabled drivers!

They felt better and so did I!
Peter
BAK since '74

Offline dotson

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 14
    • View Profile
Re: New
« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2008, 01:38:40 PM »
Remember, the shriners will help those in need to get a prosthesis.

Offline Marilyn

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 36
    • View Profile
Re: New
« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2008, 02:25:24 PM »
Jenise, I'm very glad you found us!!

*sigh* We've all gone through a little bit (or a lot) of emotional baggage with the loss of our limb(s).  It's not easy to be an amputee.  I remember when I was first an amputee, my husband parked the car at our local convenience store.  I sat in the car and watched two legged people jump in and out of their cars and run into the store.  I remember feeling like I would never have that "easy" feeling again.  I admit to having a bit of self pity in that moment.

Granted, I find it still difficult, but I'm sure glad to be alive.  I refuse to allow self pity to dwell within my heart.  It would kill me.

I think of all the people who have life much worse than I.  There are millions.  My modest little home is a mansion compared to the homes in much of the world.

I thought that being an amputee would be the worst experience I could ever have. 

Exactly one year and two days after my amputation, I lost my 26 year old son.  He'd moved to Ft. Lauderdale.  By all accounts he was doing very well.  I was devastated when I got the call on the morning of August 8, 2006 that he'd taken his own life on a lonely beach.  There ARE much worse things than losing a limb.  I'm glad you have your son and as you stated, you are very fortunate to have your son with you.  Our children are our treasure.

Life is hard.  I'll never deny this.  But I'm glad I'm here and I'm glad I have the opportunity to learn lessons to take with me into the next realm.  It's good, you know?
Marilyn
Cincinnati, Ohio, USA