I live a very good active life. Not by accident though; I made it this way. Challenging myself physically has not only given me confidence, but has made my necessary daily activities easier. Whether I am leaping onto a 24” pylo one-legged or climbing a rock wall using my prosthesis, the results are the same. I gain confidence, strength, balance and endurance, making doing my necessary daily tasks, as a single-leg amputee, dramatically easier.
A year ago, while in the planning and waiting stage pre-amputation, I had no idea what the results would be. I had no idea what I would accomplish physical and really no idea of how I would live as an amputee. When asked a day or two post-surgery what my goals were I had no way of answering the question. The only thing I knew was that I wanted to be relieved of pain, and without pain I would find my way as a single-leg amputee.
Post-surgery it didn’t take me long to realize that if I wanted to relieve my phantom pain, being upright, moving and exercising was the magic elixir.
The Physical One-Legged Monster was born.
A pulled lat muscle led to getting a trainer to work with.
With the trainer came the realization that meeting the physical challenges in the gym made me feel capable and confident of physically doing anything I wanted. I didn’t need two legs. With determination, some creativity and a talented, supportive trainer pushing and believing in me, there were no limits on what I could accomplish.
Some think I am crazy, and I think they are crazy. I have been asked over and over “why would you do that without your prosthetic?” I have observed that I can post a picture of an amazing feat I have accomplished one-legged on Facebook and it gets some likes. Yet a few days later I could post a picture of me just standing in the prosthetic leg and it gets triple the likes. The power people give the prosthetic leg astounds me. For me, being an amputee is about finding ways to live my life without limits. So why would I limit myself to only being able to do things with a prosthesis? I wouldn’t change one thing that I have done since the amputation, and have absolutely no plans of changing what has given me a fully active independent life.
Eight months post-op I don’t give my lack of leg a thought when planning my daily activities because I know I will find a way to do whatever it is I need or want to accomplish. Yes, I have all the inconveniences and annoyances that come with amputation and wearing a prosthetic. However, because I have made my life so active and positive I am able to accept and tolerate the adversities. When I put the prosthetic leg on, I am grateful to have the break from the crutches; when the leg becomes painful, I am grateful to have the break from the leg. Either way I continue living without missing a beat. This is why I am in the gym on one leg flipping tires, leaping onto 24’ boxes, swinging kettlebells and doing squats. Conquering these physical tasks, one-legged, gives me an incredible high and makes me feel powerful. My gains in strength, balance and confidence have made my life full, whole, active and healthy. I would even go as far as saying it’s made it “normal”.
When I jumped up onto a new pylo at the gym and my foot landed between the two non-slip pads, I said “it needs to be turned so your feet can land on the pads.” It truly never occurred to me that it was facing the right way, however it was made for two-legged people. To me I am no different hopping around that gym on one leg than anyone else. Why? Because I have made myself just as capable.
Eight short months later I pop on my prosthetic leg and take a 30-mile bike ride. I pop on my prosthetic and climb to the top of the rock wall. I pop on my prosthetic and do heavy yard work. I accomplished these things and have mastered a natural gait. Yes, the prosthesis makes these things possible and I am extremely grateful to have it, but it isn’t the prosthesis doing the work. The prosthetic is only a tool; it is all the work at the gym that has made my accomplishments with the prosthetic possible. My body is so balanced and strong that once my stump toughened up and became desensitized, using the prosthetic leg fell right into place.
I live an enjoyable, full, active life as an amputee. The physical challenges I put myself though daily with and without the prosthetic has made my life incredible. The prosthetic leg is an amazing thing that allows me to do many things. However, my ability to truly live my life fully independently and active as a single-leg amputee requires much more than the prosthesis. It requires a positive attitude, a strong body and the determination to live my life without limitations.
With this a new website name is born. Two years ago when I began building the website and blog I chose the name Living Life On Crutches. At the time it was exactly what I was doing – using a pair of crutches to live my life to its fullest. Today the name no longer reflects how I live and therefore calls for a new name. I am living my life full and complete with three natural limbs instead of four. This will be the last post I make under the name Living Life on Crutches. My website/blog, Facebook page and Twitter handle will be changed to reflect my new life, Life Beyond 4 Limbs.
This website and blog is the first step to forming a non-profit organization under the same name, with the goal of helping amputees regain and live full active lives. The organization will include peer mentoring, support groups and giving amputees what they need to return to full active lives though exercise and physical sports challenges. I used my ability to take on physical challenges to support the American Diabetes Association by participating in the Tour de Cure biking event and will support St. Jude by participating in the Warrior Dash. My goal is to continue to use physical challenges to help amputees through my organization. It would be awesome to have an amputee partner or two riding along with me in next year’s Tour de Cure.
Just the name and URL address will change = www.lifebeyond4limbs.com
The content of the site will remain the same. All current subscribers, FB page likes and Twitter followers will be carried over. You will not need to do anything different to continue receiving blog and Facebook posts or Twitter tweets.
Thank you for reading! Please subscribe to never miss a post or come back in two weeks for my next post.
Also follow my story on Facebook.