My road came to an unexpected halt on November 9, 2010.

That morning, I was bicycling to work when a garbage truck turned across a city bike lane. I was in that bike lane.

A team of trauma surgeons saved my life, but they had to amputate my left leg. My body and life were forever changed.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

As I learned to walk again, I measured my recovery in steps and then miles. Over time that journey grew into something more -- a way of being in the world, wherever I go.

I am a person of ability and disability. I travel in the space between. These are my postcards.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

What's in a New Socket?

Greetings from Mile Marker 9,559!

What's in a new socket? 


After a record 3 years (and 3,000 miles) in my old one, it's time.

Wait, you say, you got a new leg?

Nope, not quite...

A prosthetic leg is built from dozens of individual components. 

"Like Tinker Toys," I say.

(And just like that, you know how old I am!)

The socket is the part of the prosthesis that fits over my residual limb -- a.k.a. my "little leg."

For many amputees (like me), socket fit is an ongoing struggle.

Take Mile 34 or 369 or 2,015 or 2,155 or 3,140...

Get the idea?

Our bodies are mostly fluid.  We change constantly.

You can have the fanciest equipment -- the most high-tech knee, ankle, or foot -- but if the socket doesn't fit, you can't walk comfortably.  It's that simple.

Or not!

This time around -- like always -- we started from scratch. 

Prosthetist Tim casted my leg to capture the shape.

We're good at it by now!

Next came the test-socket.

And another.

And another.

And as many as we needed -- until it was fine-tuned to fit my leg.

Now, at Mile 9,559, here's final product:

It has moveable panels, a boa cord, a carbon-fiber outer layer, and a flexible inner layer made of SiOCX.  It's a work of art and engineering!

I chose the color!

Along with it, I'm trying a new type of liner with an adjustable seal.

First-aid, not included :)

Although this socket is "final," it's not quite finished.

Tim checks my length and alignment.

Meet the "hip leveler."

Then I take some practice steps to seal the deal.  

A new socket seems like a small change, but there's a lot riding on this one.

These are the first steps of many.

There's a "break-in" period ahead.  Some tough mornings.  A few bumpy miles, I know.

But after that, fingers crossed for active days...

Long walks and hikes.  
Travel and adventure.
Good health and good times. 

So... what's in a new socket?

Potential.  Hope.  Comfort.

A clean slate and new goals.

Or renewed goals.  LOL :)

And because it's 2021 --

A new mask to match!

Walk on!


  1. I like the bright cheerful color.

    1. Thanks Susan! I love it too -- but of course, since this post, I've been struggling with fit! Hoping it's just another bump in the road, so we can do some walks (and other stuff) this summer!

    2. Sorry the fit is taking a while. I hope you have it configured soon and that you're happily back to climbing, hiking and other activities!

    3. Thanks so much, Lisa! I've learned it's an ongoing process (like so many other things)!! Thanks for always cheering me on. Hope all is well with you and your family!