Category Archives: ‘Rite on Point with Tanya

Is Amputation Stopping You From Having Kids?

Growing up, I always knew that I wanted a baby of my own, but was never sure if it was possible. Who would want children with me if I am missing limbs? This thought had ALWAYS crossed my mind. Being called disabled didn’t help. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to take care of a baby, because I am “disabled” and disabled people are the ones who usually “need” help. On top of all of this, I was anxious on how my prosthesis would fit when I gained weight during pregnancy and how, with my physical limitations, would I care for my newborn.

Honestly, I feel like a lot of amputees don’t want children for many of these reasons. A baby is a scary thing for everyone – amputee or non-amputee – because babies are fragile and require your care 24/7.

I gave birth 2 months ago to Gabriel, and it was one of the toughest, yet the most rewarding things I’ve done – I became a mom!

Coming home from the hospital and my first time holding Gabriel since he was in NICU

 

I am a bilateral A/k and B/k amputee! I will say this – being a mom with two prostheses is hard, but it is absolutely possible!

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I absolutely adore his chubby cheeks

 

I will admit, I didn’t like pregnancy – it was just not my thing. Maybe because I didn’t have anyone to talk to about what to expect with pregnancy and my amputation. I didn’t like that I was getting bigger and all the body changes that began to happen. I was always uncomfortable. I felt guilty because there are so many ladies who want to get pregnant, yet here I am complaining on how much I hate being pregnant. I was always asked if my baby will have complications or missing limbs, which was very annoying. I’d still love him even if he did have some complications. After the delivery, I felt like a new person. My body, despite having normal post-partum aches and pains, felt “normal” again. I was happier! Plus, I had the sweetest, chunkiest, and snuggliest baby boy!

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Those thighs though 😉

 

Here’s the truth – despite wearing two prosthetic legs and missing fingers, I am still able to manage my little one. It all seems to work out. Remember, when a baby first comes, he or she doesn’t move much. You’ll grow along with the baby. Just take one day at the time. Each day gives you the energy for the next.

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His smile is precious <obsessed mom here>

 

Anxieties surrounding pregnancy and the arrival of a new baby are common to every new mother (and father). If you are an amputee and considering becoming a parent, don’t let these anxieties scare you. Nearly all parents will agree that the rewards of having children are worth it. Having a better understanding of what to expect as an amputee parent will help relieve these anxieties.

Obviously, this is coming from me, a new mom. However, this applies to all new amputee dads, as well!

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Gabriel hanging out with daddy

 

Your body might not experience pregnancy, but your whole life will change with this new addition, and even though you are an amputee, you can still be a wonderful father to your baby.

In conclusion, don’t let your challenges impede your life goals. If you want to become a parent, don’t let the amputation stop you. 🙂

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Give Thanks To Those Who Have Helped You!

Becoming an amputee is an overwhelming and overall a scary process. You feel hopeless, in pain and uncomfortable with your “new” body. At the beginning, you must depend either on a nurse or a family member to help you adapt to this new life. You will feel sorry for yourself and sometimes don’t realize how you act.

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Gifs courtesy of feedspot.com

 

You might not even notice that others around you are just trying to help you, comfort you and love you. Look back and think of how many people have given you a hand, advice, help, or even a hug and how you acted toward it. Amputation is a huge life change for you. This is not a small challenge. In fact, it may be the biggest one you ever face. Because of how personal this challenge is, it is hard to visualize that it does affect everyone around you as well. It is happening to you and it might feel like it is only happening to you. However, as you adapt and recover, everyone else must adapt as well. That might mean changing their environment around them, the way they interact with you, or the kind of help and attention they provide for you. Sometimes these challenges are just as stressful for others, as they are for you. It is important to recognize their struggles and how they overcome them for love of you.

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Gifs courtesy of giphy.com

 

I challenge you to take a minute to thank someone who has helped you along your journey, whether it’s family, a friend, a caregiver, a clinician, a priest, or a stranger. Remind them what they have done for you. As amputees, more often we just want to be comforted, but we cannot forget that those around us who need as much love as we do. We are humans who require love no matter what the situation we are in. Here’s a thank you and shout out to everyone who supported us through our amputee journeys, or any other of life’s challenges. We are grateful for you!

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How to Overcome Confidence Issues with Prostheses

Let’s be realistic here, losing a limb is not an easy process. It is physically painful and leaves a patient with many questions and doubts. It is scary and makes you wonder who you are now. While most prostheses can help amputees physically, there are still many psychological, emotional, and even spiritual hurdles one must overcome.

So… Here are some tips for overcoming the confidence issues that can often accompany amputation and receiving new prosthetic legs.

  1. Remember, you’re still who you are.

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Gifs courtesy of gfycat.com

 

After losing a limb, it can feel like you’ve lost an important part of yourself – in a way, you have! While prosthetic legs are very helpful, they don’t always fill the void. Physically, you look different and life will never be the same. But remember, having a prosthesis does not need to define you. It’s far more than just looks. The things that make you a unique person – your history, your family, your beliefs, the things you’ve done, the people you’ve loved – these things cannot be lost unless you allow them to be.

2. Surround yourself with people that always love and encourage you!

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Gifs courtesy of giphy.com

 

It’s important to surround yourself with family and friends who will both encourage you and challenge you. It’s those types of people who respond with empathy, but also maintain high levels of expectation from you. In other words, you don’t want people who do everything for you and treat you as if you’re not capable, as this will only prolong recovery time. However, each individual is different, and it’s important for your family and friends to recognize where you are and what you really need to recover and regain self-confidence.

Now, if you do not have a positive support in your life, I’d encourage you to join a local support group for amputees. You’ll find a group of people who have experienced many of the same emotions and challenges as you – in an encouraging and empowering atmosphere.

3. Get back to doing what you are passionate about.

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Gifs courtesy of giphy.com

 

One of the best ways to develop confidence is to get back to doing what you used to do or are passionate about. People need to be productive to feel satisfied, and a good prosthesis can enable you to do just about anything you desire to do. You can and should still go to work, clean the house, go skiing, ride your motorcycle, run marathons, and more. Your amputation doesn’t need to hold you back, and actually experiencing this will help you gain confidence more quickly.

4. There is no formula for coping with an amputation.

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Gifs courtesy of giphy.com

 

It is merely you dealing with yourself and your emotions. It’s not easy but it is not impossible.

I hope these tips have been helpful. But remember, each person overcomes amputation differently. Things like your personality, social environment, and previous life experiences will affect the way you cope with a prosthesis. Just be true to yourself, surround yourself with great people and get back to what you are passionate about! You’ve got this! 🙂

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April – National Amputee Awareness Month!

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Photo Courtesy of amputee-coalition.org

 

Happy April 1st –AKA April Fool’s Day! But this is not a joke, because April is also a National Amputee Awareness Month! The purpose of Amputee Awareness Month is to educate and celebrate by sharing the realities of living with limb loss and limb differences.

Speaking of realities, there are roughly 1.7 million people in the United States living with limb loss.  No one ever expects to lose a limb, but still there are an average of 500 people every day who lose limbs due to military service, vascular diseases, traumas or cancer. Despite these statistics being so staggering, due to significant advancements in the quality of prosthetic limbs, it may be difficult to even determine that someone you meet has even lost a limb.

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Photo Courtesy of amputee-coalition.org

 

Many amputees are able to have careers and participate in activities that were once thought difficult or impossible. Of course, this is all with the help of well-made and well-fitting prosthetics.  A good, comfortable fit is key to an amputee’s mobility, which is why our team at Knit-Rite makes the prosthetic socks that we do.  It is our mission to improve the quality of life for amputees and others through our products.  Every day our team works, not only to make these products, but to make improvements upon them.

Today and all days, we’d like to send a big high-five to all the 1.7 million Americans who are living with limb loss.

Join with me and the Amputee Coalition by wearing something orange every Wednesday this month to help spread awareness.

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I’m Back From Maternity Leave (and Really Sleep Deprived!) – Expectation vs. Reality

Hi everyone! I’m baaaaaak!

I’ve missed you all so much! Funny how your world can change so dramatically over the course of six weeks. Now I have a human that depends on me ALL THE TIME! This human can’t talk, but will scream to remind you that he’s the boss now! 🙂

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I worked up until my induction date (41 weeks), so I was more than ready to start my maternity leave. I was looking forward to having more time to spend on me, baby and just house projects I had been putting off. Since I had no close mom friends yet to give me knowledge of the “real” experiences, I heard phrases like ‘Bet you can’t wait to be on holiday for 6 weeks,” which just fueled my excitement. Oh the naiveté!

Here are a few examples of what I thought versus what really happened, y’all!

Expectation: Freedom to do whatever I want, whenever I want. I could watch shows, read books, and start the projects I had been putting off for a while.
Reality: Errrr, no! I had a new boss with very different working hours – 24/7. I got short breaks when he slept, but that was not always guaranteed. These breaks were initially spent sleeping, tidying, washing, eating – anything but sitting down really.

Expectation: Regular meet up with friends and other errands
Reality: Leaving the house with a baby is a task. On the rare occasion that I made it on time, I felt like I deserved a medal. So yeah, meeting with friends, or grocery shopping wasn’t going to happen much with my newborn.

Expectation: I’ll become a domestic goddess
Reality: After spending the last few months of pregnancy trying to keep on top of the chores and cooking, I gave in and accepted my situation. No matter how much tidying I did, the mess always reappeared. That’s why anyone inviting themselves over would be greeted with ‘Excuse the mess’.

Expectation: I would look forward to having some away time from the baby
Reality: After the whirlwind fun with the baby, I thought I would be ready for some “adulting” about 6 weeks in. But even with the lack of sleep and all that babies come with, dropping off my newborn at the daycare was difficult.

The point of this blog is to learn from me and be flexible – this applies to everyone and everything, whether you are a new parent, new amputee or just about anything! Basically, just go with the flow!

And also…just in case you missed it – I AM BACK!

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Keeping Love and Respect in the Partner/Caregiver Relationship

When a couple gets married, they commit to love their partner “in sickness and in health.” However, major illness or injury, such as amputation, can have a big toll even in the strongest relationships. No matter what the cause, limb loss can affect mobility, opportunities, activities, comfort level, and mood. But keeping good practices in a relationship can help keep it healthy.

Listen. Good communication starts with good listening. Practice listening actively to your partner, focusing on his or her words, body language, and voice tone. Practice listening, where you repeat back to your partner what you just heard from him or her. This, along with asking clarifying questions, will help ensure that you understand each other.

Know yourself. You are the best judge of your own internal experiences. Before you ask for what you need, pause and think. Ty to identify your true feelings and needs accurately. For example, try to differentiate between whether you are physically uncomfortable or emotionally distressed. This will help you ask for what you need more precisely.

Make requests, not demands. If you value the person who is helping you, you can do this very powerfully by using the most basic manners. Statements like “Please, would you help me with …” and “Thank you very much” are amazing in a relationship.

Be specific. When making a request of your partner, try to be as specific as possible. A common problem in almost every relationship is expecting our partner to be able to read our mind. Many problems can be avoided by simply saying exactly what you need. For example, “Would you be able to give me a ride to my doctor’s appointment tomorrow, please? We would need to leave the house by 9:30.”

Recognize the person as a partner first and then a caregiver. It happens, but we sometimes slip into taking our partners for granted. When experiencing a major health problem, it can be easy to regard our partner as a personal attendant, responsible for meeting our every single need. And it is often difficult for both individuals to recall that their relationship is foremost a partnership. My suggestion is to set aside “couples” time every week when you and your partner can interact as a couple, not as a patient and caregiver.

Give back. When ill or injured, you may need a little extra help and care from your partner. One of the ways to ease this situation for both partners, though, is to remain mindful that it is both possible and necessary to give back to your partner, even if you are injured. Think about ways you can take care of them. This might include providing companionship like playing games or doing social activities together. Emotional support such as listening to your partner or expressing gratitude for their care and empathy for all their experiences. Honestly, the best way to find out what your partner-caregiver needs is to ask and listen! 🙂

Love your partner as your caregiver, and love your caregiver as your partner!

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6 Ways to Make Your First Date With an Amputee Your Last

I don’t know about you, but I think first dates often make for great party stories. And if you throw a disability into the mix, the awkward things people say increase tenfold. Since Valentine’s Day is less than a month away, and maybe you’re going on your first date with someone who has an amputation, here are some things that would probably be better for you not to say… well, unless you want to be the laughing stock at their next social gathering.

  1. ‘No offence, but this is probably your first date ever, right?’

Ummm, have you looked at how awesome I am? Do you really think you’re doing your social service for the week by taking me out? Quit assuming I haven’t dated before just because I’m wearing prosthetic legs.

2. ‘No offence, but I’m going to ask a slightly awkward question… Do you keep your prosthetic legs on while having an intimate relationship?’

Oh boy, looks like you missed the class on Discretion 101. Don’t people normally talk about hobbies or their favorite movies on first dates? To your credit, you did realize that this was an awkward question. However, you’d probably have found out the answer if only you’d kept your mouth shut for just a little longer.

3. ‘No offence, but can you just tell me if you can feel this?’ *Touches prosthetic leg*

Ummm. Seeing as how you understand that it would be inappropriate for you to touch any part of my body without my permission, it’s slightly weird that you think it is okay to touch this one. No thank you!

4. ‘No offence, but could you show it to me? I want to see the mechanics of the thing.’

Hello. My face is up here. My idea of the perfect first date does not involve me rolling up one pant leg, my date kneeling beside me, and then flicking the socket of my prosthetic leg. Thanks for remarking on its quality, but the other guests at the restaurant are staring and wondering what is going on. Wow!!

5. ‘No offence, but can you run and play sports and stuff?’

I don’t know if you’ve heard about it, but there’s this whole sporting event called the Paralympics. The athletes with prosthetic limbs ‘run and play sports and stuff.’ Personally, I run marathons. Can you, though?

6. . ‘No offence, but you’re really inspirational. I wish I could do half as much as you. After all, what’s my excuse?’

Excuse me? Here I am, trying to live my life as normally as I can, and you force me onto a pedestal and make me your inspiration? Please – I’m not here to inspire you. All I wanted tonight was some delicious steak and maybe a goodnight kiss.

Sorry. This is where I make my exit, boy. Bye, and please don’t call me again. And for goodness sake, stop starting all your sentences with ‘no offence’! 😉

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