Tuesday, November 9, 2010 arrived with a clear early morning that promised to become a chilly, sunny, and typically autumn day. I zipped my coat, buckled my helmet strap, unlocked my bike, and headed off to work. A few minutes later, a garbage truck crossed a bike lane to make a right turn. I was in that bike lane. The tires of the truck crushed my left leg and caused other internal injuries. An amazing team of trauma surgeons saved my life, but they had to amputate my leg to do so.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Confucius.

In July 2011, I set off to walk a thousand miles as an above-knee amputee in my new prosthesis. The journey has held more twists, turns, and detours than I ever imagined.

I reached Mile 1000 on March 30, 2013.

But of course, that wasn't the end.

I'll keep walking!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Limb Loss Lowdown - Week 1

It's April!


...which means lots of action on the Facebook page!

Each day in April, I'll share a LIMB LOSS LOWDOWN -- a tip, fact, or surprising tidbit about being an amputee.  This year, I decided to compile them here too, with a few extras thrown in for good measure!

I'll add to the list as we go, so check back again soon!
Happy LLAM!

4/3/17:   Did you know amputees get CARDED?

Yep, it happened to me just last week in a public restroom in Monaco!  "Non, seulement pour handicappĂ©,"  the attendant told me.  No, only for handicapped!

I yanked up my pant leg to show ID!

"Oooh!  Pardon!  Pardon!"  she answered, hurrying to unlock the door!

It happens to the best of us.  Click to check out this hilarious video from amputee, paralympian, and motivational speaker Josh Sundquist!

After 16 hours of travel
(and 20 hours in my leg!),
a little fun at Nice airport's
baggage claim!
4/4/17:  SIT when you can!

Airport distances can measure miles between gates and terminals.  Shortly after I learned to walk on a prosthetic leg, my new friend (and bilateral amputee) Pisey, gave me the best traveling tip ever:  "Take the wheelchair!"  Pisey is a military veteran, athlete, and world traveler.  So if he thought it was ok to take a wheelchair, I was game to try it!

The best part about using a wheelchair at the airport is you don't need you own.  You can reserve one online when you buy an airline ticket, and it'll be waiting -- along with an escort -- at each leg of your journey.  It saves energy and makes security a breeze!  Services do vary by airport, so allow extra time.  On my recent trip to Europe, I found that Philly, Nice, and Madrid were much more efficient than London Heathrow.  Bon voyage!

4/5/17:  ONE STEP AT A TIME!

It's tempting to say to a new amputee, "Just wait till you get your new leg. You'll be off and running!"

It sounds encouraging, but it just doesn't work that way.  Learning to walk on a prosthetic leg (or use a prosthetic arm) is a problem-solving process.  It takes patience, therapy, and lots of practice.  When I first started measuring miles, I could only walk as far as our next-door neighbor's driveway.  I couldn't yet reach the end of the block.  And some days, I couldn't even make it out of the house!

My mantra became one step at a time.

I've been walking more than 6 years now, and I expect to hit 5,000 miles TODAY!

Each day still brings new challenges.

So how do you build a mile?  Success, set-backs, and many small steps!


It's hard to believe now, but when I became an amputee 6 years ago, I'd never met another amputee!

Luckily my rehab hospital hooked me up with a peer mentor.  Rob was a left-leg above-knee (LAK) amputee like me.  Even from my hospital bed, Rob gave me a vision of how I might someday be independent again -- living, working, being active -- as an amputee. (Click here for the story of how I met my FIRST amputee!)

Now, especially with social media, there are many ways for amputees to meet and support each other.  The Amputee Coalition is a fantastic resource.  It holds an amazing conference each year with nearly 1000 amputees in attendance!  It also has a "peer visitor" program, which trains and connects local experienced amputees with new amputees.

There are lots of in-person and online support groups out there.  If you'd like more information, use the e-mail contact form to send me a message!

4/7/17:  Is it possible to wear HEELS with a prosthetic leg??

I know you've been wondering!

The simple answer is yes.  Well, kind of.  Well, for some people anyway.  It depends on your knee, and your foot, and your skill with an Allen wrench, along with about a thousand other factors.  Like all things prosthetic, there's no "one size fits all."  Some prosthetic feet have adjustable heel height, and I've seen people walk -- and dance! -- great in them.

The Freedom Innovations Runway Foot
is one example.

As for me, it's just not possible -- yet.  My foot size is too small, and I can't carry around a lot of extra weight, so for now, I choose "function" over "form."  All my shoes have the same heel-to-toe slope.

The upside: Shoe shopping is a fun and unique challenge!

Genie waits safely in the
locker while I climb!
My climbing gear!
4/8/17:  You know you're an amputee if... the locker room looks like this!

Losing a limb doesn't have to stop you from being active, but it might make your gym bag a little heavier!

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