Amputee tips for summer heat!

It’s almost summer time which means it is time for heat and humidity. If you are like me and love to run and stay outside, chances are you will be sweating a lot – and if you wear prosthesis, it will be extra uncomfortable. Here are some useful tips to keep you moving this summer.

  • Check that your gel liner is fitting properly. If it’s loose fitting, it’s more likely to have sweat pool around your skin.
  • Stop moving about if you feel your skin chafing. Remove your prosthesis and wipe it down with a wash cloth. Excessive sweating in a prosthesis can cause your skin to break down and produce uncomfortable rashes.
  • If you have a below-the-knee amputation, wear a sweat band just above the gel liner or suspension sleeve. This will help catch some of the sweat. Athletic socks, which are meant to wick off sweat, also work well for this.
  • If you are a new amputee, try walking it out. Your residual limb will sweat more than the rest of your body during the first few months of use, but as you get used to it, you may begin to sweat less.
  • Wear a Liner-Liner Prosthetic sock with X-static designed by Knit-Rite under a suspension liner next to the skin. It will relieve skin shear irritations and improve comfort with liners. Liner-Liner has X-Static silver fibers that inhibit odor in the sock and transport heat and moisture away from the limb. Washable interface keeps liner cleaner and helps control skin irritations.
  • Check with your prosthetist. Your prosthetist and physician can help you determine the best solution for beating the summer heat.

Don’t let sweat hold you back from enjoying a fun, active summer.

How to talk to kids about special needs!

It is easy for us to be uncomfortable around people or situations that are “different.” Often we think it best to pretend the disparities don’t exist, but this doesn’t serve anyone well.

So how do we talk to kids about people with special needs?!

1. Kids with disabilities are also the same as other kids.

In fact, the same can be said for adults. Talk to your child about things he/she and the child with special needs have in common: Do they both have eyes, hair, and hands? What about things you can’t necessarily see? Do you think that little boy/girl has feelings? What do you think he/she likes to play? Some children and adults may have a disability, but they don’t want to be completely defined by it.

SmartKnit AFO socks

2. People with special needs or disabilities are not necessarily sick.

Sometimes it’s hard to come up with the right vocabulary to tell your kids about special needs. Let me gently suggest avoiding the words “sick”—as in “That boy has a sickness that makes it harder for him to talk to people.” Some people are born with special needs, and other disabilities happen as the result of an accident or previous illness. The disability itself, though, is not a sickness or something bad. Nor is it something other kids can “catch” — an important distinction to make when explaining disabilities to children.

3. Words matter.

Name calling and jokes at another person’s expense (whether or not that person has a disability) is not acceptable. In fact, words like “retarded” are extremely hurtful, whether you are using them as a direct slur at a child with special needs or using it as slang. It’s Okay to teach children the right words to talk about our differences: disability, special needs, even the names of specific disabilities, like Down syndrome and Autism. In addition to words like “sick” and” wrong,” try to replace the word “normal” with “typical”—as in, ”A typical child might walk at 12 months old, but Joey didn’t walk until he was almost 3 years old.” We know our kids are different, but comparing them to “normal” kids just makes us feel like you’re calling them “weird” or “bad.”

SmartKnitKIDS Sensitivity Socks

4. It’s OK to ask questions.

Kids are naturally curious, and that is wonderful! Don’t feel like you have to shush a child who asks questions about disabilities. If you don’t know the answer, that’s Okay too! Don’t put all of the pressure on yourself, but feel free to pass the questions on to the child’s parent. After all, it’s no secret that moms love to talk about their children. Please ask us. We would love to help bridge the gap between our kids and yours.

Everyone has something that makes them different! Some are just not as obvious as others! Celebrate our differences with kindness and acceptance!

 

Fun DIY Sock Bouquets!

As both a Mom and a Daughter, I completely believe in homemade Mother’s Day gifts.  I love getting these sweet gifts from my kiddos and I totally love giving them to my mom and my mother-in-law.  Sometimes the creativity is just not flowing, though, and I look all around for new ideas.  This year the Knit-Rite/Therafirm team got some inspiration from our own products.  The best part is, we were able to use products from several of our brands to create these adorable sock bouquets.  They’re cute and easy enough for the kiddos to do, too.  Watch our demonstration video below!

List of Supplies Needed:

• Socks of multiple colors, shapes and sizes
• A pair of tights, pantyhose or a piece of fabric of similar size and length
• Rubber bands
• Safety pins
• Your favorite vase

We used some discontinued colors of our Preggers and Therafirm brands, as well as current colors of TheraSport, SmartKnitKIDS, SmartKnit and Therafirm.  Happy bouquet making!

National Limb Loss Awareness Month!

April is a National Limb Loss Awareness Month!

There are people living with limb loss around us every day, many more than we realize. They live full and active lives.

What is Limb Loss?

Limb Loss is the loss of all or part of an arm or leg due to trauma, infection, diabetes, heart disease, cancer or other diseases and accidents.

According to the Amputee Coalition of America, there are nearly 2 million people living with limb loss in the United States, and more than 500 Americans will lose a limb each day. Among those living with limb loss, the main causes are vascular disease – including diabetes and peripheral arterial disease – trauma and cancer. Sadly, nearly half of the individuals who have an amputation due to vascular disease will die within 5 years. This is higher than the five-year mortality rates for breast cancer, colon cancer, and prostate cancer.

Why recognize Limb Loss Awareness Month?

National Limb Loss Awareness Month is an excellent opportunity to raise awareness about the limb loss community, and the various causes – both accidental and medical – of limb loss.

But, it is also a great opportunity to empower people affected by limb loss to live full and active lives and to achieve their full potential.

Have a wonderful month and check back with us for more information.

Tanya

 

 

…3 Days Post The Liberty Hospital Half Marathon

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Here I am before the race all smiles!

 

Last weekend I was honored to run the Liberty Half-Marathon. It was my first time running this race, but I now have my 5th half-marathon overall in the books! It was a heck of a race – from lots of hills to even stronger winds! Gotta love Missouri and its weather! Hills are never my favorite and I knew this was going to be a hilly run. However, I did not expect to have all the wind and attempting to run up the hill against the wind. It was definitely a challenge and an excellent mental workout!

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Mid-Point of the race starting to struggle a little.

 

At mile 6, I started doubting myself; I am hurting, struggling with this wind and I am barely halfway there! Part of me wanted to say “I hate running!” or maybe I was just getting hangry! I asked myself, “Why am I doing this to myself, forcing my body to do something that not many blade runners are capable of doing! There is a reason why there are only a few long distance runners who wear 2 prosthetic legs.” As I was walking-running, I got a thumbs up from a stranger, and a “you got this” from another stranger. I started getting my positive energy back and boom, I was at mile 8! It is amazing how I am usually the one who encourages others, but this time it was others encouraging me and giving me that boost of energy that I was lacking in this run. As I came to the last mile, I had a friend of mine pushing me along until the end! My back was in so much pain, my hips and legs didn’t want to run anymore – but my mind just wanted to be done with this race! What I am trying to say is, having positive runners around you is important! 
I didn’t PR in this race – but it was not my worst time! I would consider this to be one of my hardest races I’ve ever done, but I would gladly do it again because it challenged my mind more than my body! We forget that we are capable of so much more!

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Finally finishing the race.

 

In a month I am doing my first ever marathon – the St. Louis Marathon! Doing the Liberty Half Marathon was my way to prepare for a full marathon! From what I’ve heard, the St. Louis Marathon is nowhere near as hilly as the Liberty Half-Marathon. However, it is a full marathon, so there will be more mental training! In the next month, I’ll be increasing my running mileage, improving my nutrition and continue lifting. I am so nervous but super excited! I’ve dreamed of doing a full marathon for more than 4 years now and I’ll be doing it in just one month!

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Knit-Rite/TheraSport was a Silver Sponsor at the race.

 

Huge shot out to Liberty Hospital Half Marathon for a wonderful organized race. Thank you to Knit-Rite for your support, Doyle, my prosthetist at Decker IO&P for always making sure my legs are ready to run, Dr. Jim from Fit Muscle and Joint Clinic for making sure my body is in place, and finally, my family, friends and everyone else for all of your patience with me and my crazy running journey!

St. Louis Marathon, I’m coming for you!

 

Top 10 Things I Wish People Knew About Amputees!

Hey guys, its Tanya again! Being an amputee is part of my everyday life, but there are a few things I wish people knew about me and other amputees! So… here it is, my top 10 Things I Wish People Knew About Amputees!

  1. No two legs are the same! Our prosthetic sockets are carefully and meticulously molded to each of our stumps. Test sockets are made, things are shaped and cut down and built up and re-molded so no, we can’t switch for fun. 16831170_1373635402704030_4721812029784467144_n
  2. Not all amputees are the same! There are Above-Knee, Below-Knee, Bilateral, Double, Congenital, and many other types of amputations!
  3. We don’t all know each other! Just because your grandson is an amputee, doesn’t mean I know him. I mean, we don’t event live in the same state.
  4. Helping is okay! Yes, I need help sometimes, but just talk to me like a normal adult who spills chocolate milk on herself just like you.
  5. I am Lucky! Even though I am missing both legs and some fingers, I still consider myself incredibly lucky. I have a great career, I have wonderful friends, and I do this blog for fun.
  6. We really, really, REALLY appreciate our ability to walk. Most of us try extremely hard to avoid resorting to wheelchair use, unless we absolutely have to.
  7. We are not all heroes! Yes, some amputees are veterans and lost their limbs during their service and we are so thankful for them! However, not all of us are veterans! Some of us are congenital amputees, some are cancer survivors, some are victims of unfortunate accidents, and some are just paying for careless mistakes. You ask why? Well, thanking us for our service that we did not do makes us feel guilty and different.
  8. We can and do lead normal lives! No, really, like we still have normal jobs, pay bills, have hobbies and argue with families. J Most normal activities people take for granted, we can do too! Watch us and you will see what we can and can’t do. …because like I stated before, there are a few things we ALL can use help with, whether we are amputees or not.
  9. If you have a question, PLEASE just ask. Being stared at hurts. And that hurt starts to build up inside, when the gawking is all we get. It gets exhausting. But we’re understanding- and I cannot stress this enough- all you have to do is talk to us. We’re all human.
  10. I am not inspiration just because of prosthesis! I wear prosthetic legs, but that doesn’t mean I am inherently inspiring. I am inspiring because I am living my life to the fullest.14907232_1248073238593581_9222515081476148964_n

Introducing: ‘Rite on Point With Tanya

Just a little bit about me… My name is Tanya and I am a congenital double amputee, which means I was born that way. Five years ago, I began my running journey at the age of 21 and it has changed my life in a tremendous and exciting way. It opened my eyes and made me realize that I am strong and capable of so much more. The first time I tried on my running blades, I felt like I was flying.  And, that feeling of flying, I wanted to feel over and over again. If you ask me why I run today, it’s simple – I run because I can.

2017

My goal for 2017 is to run my first marathon! Last year was a good year for me from an athletic stand point! I reached my personal record in my half marathon, 10K and a 5K! But my hard work lead to a minor injury that I am still paying for today! Injury is just a little setback telling us slow down and calm down! 🙂

I am excited for this 2017 year because I want to take that challenge of running a marathon and truly challenge my mind. Let’s be honest – running a marathon is not a joke, even for a fully-abled athlete!

We all have goals, dreams and we all have responsibilities! I have three challenges for you for 2017.  The first is that I challenge you all to have a goal that is possible to do but you have to work for it, like really work hard on it. It can be a simple one or one that is more of a challenge, but choose something you will be proud of in the end, such as a non-stop mile run or getting all A’s in school!

The next challenge is to accept help when you need it! Accepting help is a huge problem for many because it feels like you are worthless, which we all know is not true! Accepting help means you are ready for something different and you just need somebody else to help you with it.

But accepting help leads to giving back, which is my final challenge to you. Giving back is an excellent way to say thank you to all who have helped and supported you! I challenge you all to give/do one kind act each day! It can be as simple as paying for stranger’s coffee to giving your time and volunteering with kiddos.

There are so many ways we can challenge our body, mind and spirit! There are so many ways we can give and receive!

I can’t wait to run my first marathon. It will be pursuing my big goal of doing something so difficult for me, but also encouraging others who are in need of little push to get moving and get excited about life. This is true no matter how many limbs you have or don’t have!

Join me on this journey by following my story and let’s encourage each other as we work toward our 2017 goals.