Things Amputees and People With Limb Differences Want You to Know

Around 2 million people in the United States are considered amputees. Each year 185,000 people undergo amputation surgery, according to the Amputee Coalition. No two situations are the same. A limb may be amputated because of an accident, injury, illness, or disease. Other limb differences are due to the way a person’s body formed in the womb, which is sometimes described as “congenital amputation.”

Here’s what I want everyone to understand about what our lives are really like.

Don’t lump the experiences of all people with a limb difference together.

Like any group of individuals who happen to share a specific characteristic, no two people with limb differences are the same. For example, the experiences of arm amputees are different from leg amputees. And, the experiences of congenital amputees are different than people who became amputees later in life.

Amputation can actually improve a person’s quality of life.

I know it’s hard to believe but it is true! There are some people that have very painful and debilitating conditions even though they have all of their limbs. For those people, having a limb amputated can actually restore their mobility and quality of life.

Don’t make assumptions about what amputees’ lives are like.

I often hear people say they wouldn’t be able to do the things I do if they were missing limbs themselves. So, you’re saying if you lost your legs right now, you’d have to lie in a bed for the rest of your life? Of course not! You would be able to figure it out and live with it. Don’t assume you know where I’ve come from or what I’ve gone through. Yes, physical differences do make life harder because the world wasn’t built for me, but everyone has challenges to deal with. Some of mine just happen to be visible. You could have had a way harder childhood than me. How would I know?

But most importantly of all, be comfortable around us! It’s okay to laugh with someone if they’re making a joke about their amputation or limb difference. If I’m laughing about it, you should laugh with me too because it’s probably hilarious! 😉

And in closing… how about an amputee joke! What do you call a cow with no legs? Ground beef! See, I am funny!

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