Saturday, February 26, 2011


Life is full of irony. This morning I was remembering that many years ago I was a transporter in a hospital. My job was to pick up patients and take them to various places in the hospital. Now it is I who needs to be transported.....ironic.

As I reflect back on all of the various jobs I have had over the years, all of them required a lot of walking and some physical strength. I was a pool boy in my late teens and very early twenties, that job required a lot of strength especially opening and closing pools at the beginning and end of swimming season. I look at that time in my life and smile. I was young, in good physical shape and happy. Things have certainly changed since then except for the happy part. I would still call  myself happy and an optimistic person.

For many years I was a waiter. You talk about a lot of walking, I don't know the exact calulations but food servers walk several miles during the course of their work. I never thought about it then, but because my ability to walk has been severely curtailed, I remember what it was like.

Most recently was a decorative painter. I can't begin to tell you what a physically demanding job that was. Carrying and setting up paint supplies, up and down ladders all day, and sometimes climbing as much as three levels of scaffolding.

I have never had a"desk job." Every job I think I have ever had required walking, standing, climbing, sometimes even running. Isn't it ironic that I would now find myself very challenged to do any of those things?

Today and everyday I appreciate what I was able to do with such ease.I am also thankful to live in a country that takes care of their disabled. A couple of the prosthetists (people who build prosthetic limbs) I have met make semiannual trips to disenfranchised countries like Haiti and Honduras and the stories they tell of the poverty, hunger, and lack of medical attention send shivers down my spine. Living  in those types of environments are difficult enough but imagine being an amputee in such places.

Perhaps one of the lessons to be learned having lost both of my legs, is to be thankful and appreciative that if this had to happen to me, than at least I live in a country that takes care of it's own--at least in this instance.

Monday, February 21, 2011


Yesterday and today I have felt a little depressed--I don't know why. As always it is a conscious effort on my part to look for the good in my life but some days that is more difficult than others. Coupled with that, is the fact that I have not been  sleeping well. Perhaps the two are related.

Already today I keep looking for the blessings in my life and can feel the low feelings starting to lift. I am blessed with a beautiful condo. I am blessed with good friends. I am blessed to have a sister who cares so much for me. I am blessed to have all the caregivers that I have: my doctors, nurses, physical therapists, and prosthetists.

I began a new painting last week and all of my life painting or any type of artwork has always been a release for me. While I am creating a painting, it distracts me from thinking negatively because my focus is on what I am doing. Naturally my artwork is yet another blessing.

Excercising is another outlet for me. You can't worry about external problems or worries while you are concentrating on lifting weights. Your focus has to be on what you are doing. Excercise for me has been at least a two fold blessing. First the obvious is that it is good for your physical well being and in my case excercise has provided me with the physical stamia I need to do the demanding actions necessary to walk without legs.

My doctors and therapists have told me how much my strength has made this leg loss an easier situation to deal with. It has enabled me to do more than people who lack my upper body strength. Another reason to be thankful and appreciative.

Everyone who experiences feelings of depression need to find outlets that will distract their minds from seemingly hopeless situations.

  After I had written this my visiting nurse was here this morning. I explained my unusual feelings of slight depression and I told her I had greatly decreased my pain medication. She said that explains the depression. You stopped the pain meds too abruptly. I took her advice and started taking the medication a little more often than the past two days and bingo I feel a lot better.

I guess I was anxious to stop the meds but like everthing in life takes time.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Unknown

As we know there can be fear of the unknown. Not knowing what lies ahead in the future can be scary, especially if you have suffered the loss of a limb. What will I be able to do? Will I be able to take care of myself? What quality of life will I have? Endless questions.

I have found that once again gaining control of incessant and sometimes pessimistic thoughts and learning to slow down, calm or if you are diligent enough, even stop your harmful thoughts will curtail feelings of fear. You can begin this control process by focusing on the good things in your life. It is impossible to think negative thoughts while concentrating on the good in your life. This may come easily to you or it may take time, focus and conscious concentration.

Everyday presents it's own set of unique situations--learn to start your day being as positive as possible. I try to tell myself before I even get out of bed that I am going to have a good day. Now sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn't. I realize as you are reading this that you may be thinking he doesn't understand what I am going through-- how hard it is. True we can never fully understand what another individual is going through. We can however, relate to what another is going through based on our own experience. Let me just say that having suffered the loss of both of my legs, both above the knee, I feel I do know something about personal loss. I am not trying to have a contest about who has suffered the most because you and I will fortunately always lose that contest. There is always someone who has lost more and suffered more than either you or me.

What I am trying to do (as I lost my second leg 7 weeks ago at the time this is being written) is to figure out what I can do for myself and how I can accomplish what I feel I need to do in order to live a happy and fulfilling life.This is an ongoing process. Everyday I learn new and hopefully easier ways to accomplish things I need to do.

I try to be open and receptive to new ideas and new approaches to solving the problems that having no legs presents to me in my life. You know it is still hard for me to say, much less write down the words , "I have no legs." This is my truth. This is what life has dealt me. How can I take this truth and use it to help me and more importantly help others?  I hope these words I am writing now is the answer.

I hope you, my reader, can be helped if even just slightly by reading my words. My friends and my family tell me how strong I am. They tell me how proud they are of how I live my life, but what really matters is how I feel about myself. If I go through all of this physical loss and suffering and I cannot find purpose in it then the loss has been of no avail to me or to anyone--pointless.

I refuse to believe that, there must be a reason why my life has evolved the way it has. I believe this blog could be the beginning of why this has happened. Perhaps, my words and my experience will help someone else. I pray that this is my truth. I pray my words will give at least one person hope. Further, I want to share my thoughts and experiences with others in similar circumstances and hopefully help them along their paths.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Tribute to a Friend

A friend of mine passed away almost two weeks ago. His "Irish Style Wake" was today. Unfortunately I was unable to attend because of the recent loss of my left leg. Anyone who knows me has already heard me speak of the loss of my friend from the gym. I nicknamed him Marky Mark. Mark was one of the kindest, most understanding and in spite of his hugh muscles one of the most gentle souls I have ever met.

He and I used to have some pretty "deep" conversations at Cheetah. Marky was a very old soul, I could tell from our conversations he had lived many lifetimes before this one. He was more spiritually advanced than most people I have met. He had compassion for everyone I ever heard him speak about. He was also very self assured not only about his passion for bodybuilding but also the way he carried himself. He had a way of being self assured without coming across as conceited.

I had great admiration for Mark. I was constantly asking him questions about weight lifting techniques and diet. When you got Mark started on those subjects, look out, he could talk for hours about living a healthy style. Mark was very passionate about his profession and it showed, not only in his appearance but in his knowledge of how to achieve the type of body you desired.

I watched in horror as Mark had to go through that whole transplant nightmare. Naturally Mark came through it with flying colors. I remember talking to Mark a year or so after that whole ordeal of the transplant was over (at least we thought so at the time) I said, "Mark you are amazing I think you almost look better now than you did before all of those medical problems started. I didn't think that was even possible." He thanked me and told me how amazing he thought I had handled the loss of my right leg. We definitely had a mutual admiration thing going on between us.

I have just finished exercising here at home, as I am not able to get back to the gym quite yet. While I was exercising I was thinking how difficult exercising is with out any legs. Then I thought of my Marky Mark, and what would he say to me ? What would he do if he were in my position? He would do exactly what I am doing, the best that I can.

Mark I will never forget you, your kind words, your encouragement, your admiration. Thank you Mark Gordon for being a part of my life. I will carry your kindness in my heart forever. I love you Mark.
Sincerely, Glenn

Thursday, February 10, 2011


This was originally written while I was in the hospital on 1/15/11.

I'm sitting here in room 621 of the Bowman Rehab Center after losing my second leg just before Christmas. I can't believe this has happened. I really don't think the whole impact has sunk into my psyche. I was watching a commercial about people who are morbidly obese and it occurred to how senseless life can be. Sometimes it is a lesson in futility to try and make sense of how and why things happen the way they do. I mean here are people who have spent years overeating to the point of barely being able to sit up in bed and here I am someone who has at least for the last several years tried to take care of their self, by watching my diet and exercising and yet it is I who loses not one but both of my legs, not that any of us should suffer such a fate. Does that make any sense?

Where is the justice or fairness in that? The answer is there is no fairness or justice--life is full of senseless occurrences. I hope as my life continues I can make some kind of sense of it all. Perhaps this has happened so that I can give back to society in some way, that I can express my feelings and help another in a similar situation, to cope and to perservere. Possibly to explain that maybe these hardships we endure give us a chance to look at our lives, to analyze and become stronger individuals and through our strength help others.

I hope someday to organize my seemingly random thoughts about the hardships I have endured into a book. This book will help others learn to deal with their situations and be able to live happy and productive lives. If I can contribute in some small way to make another person's life easier, happier, and more positive through my experiences and thoughts then I will know all have been through was not futile.

I pray that God will help me to help first myself so that I can in turn help others, then and only then will the life I have lived make sense. Making sense out of seemingly senselessness will be my greatest contribution to others. Amen

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Sometimes as I search for reasons why things have evolved the way they have, I want to blame someone or something. Most often I tend to blame myself, perhaps I didn't take good enough care of myself when I was younger. I shouldn't have drank so much, I shouldn't have smoked, I should have started exercising earlier my life. Whenever I start to do that to myself, play the blame game, I know it is not a healthy or productive way to move my life along in a direction that will be of benefit to me in the long run. I know people who have been much more harmful to their bodies than I ever was, and yet they have not suffered the physical problems I have.

Perhaps it is a person's destiny to have or not have a healthy life. We all know of someone who has taken excellent care of themselves and yet have passed away at a young age or been wrought with an unusual amount of physical pain or difficulty. Conversely we all know of some one who has abused their body terribly and yet have seemingly not suffered anything as a consequence of the abuse. I guess there are no real reasons why things turn out the way they do, at least the answers are not discernable in this lifetime.

I believe that rather than spending frivolous time wanting to blame someone or something for the way things have turned out we should spend our time on acceptance of what is, and turn our focus to learning to be happy, productive, and functioning members of our society. Perhaps the misfortunes that have befallen us are a way of challenging our spiritual being into rising to a higher calling. My misfortunes have caused me to write these thoughts and who knows what could or will become of them? Only time will tell.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

"You Can Be Your Own Worst Enemy"

One of the biggest obstacles I have run into is myself. When you go from being an autonomous person to having to ask for help for even the seemingly smallest of tasks, it can leave you feeling like you have lost so much. I try to be careful with such feelings. I don't want to start to feel as if I can't do anything like I used to. Yes, things have changed and I do need more help with chores like grocery shopping, laundry etc.,however, there is help out there if you seek it out, however, that doesn't address the feeling of helplessness or loss you can allow yourself to feel. Whenever I get to the point where I feel I have lost so much - I remind myself of how much I still have and sometimes I have to force myself to realize that my life isn't so horrible.

By focusing on more positive thoughts, I can usually stop myself from falling further down into an abyss of loss and hopelessness. This has to be a conscious effort on your part and if necessary, needs to be reinforced several times, perhaps even on the same day. I realize I make this sound as if it is easy to do, however it is not always easy. Sometimes you have to engage other people as a part of your support system for further positive feedback.

There is much truth to the statement, "you can be your own worst enemy, Be aware of that," stay focused on positive aspects of your life and you will be able overcome feelings of loss and helplessness. The more you practice positiveness the easier it becomes. Eventually feelings of loss and hopelessness become fleeting thoughts instead of insurmountable problems.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Just checking and thanking

Hey Thanks for your positive responses to this whole blog thing. The only point of this particular entry is to see if I can remember how to continue this blog. Those of you who know me know how computer illiterate I am, but obviously I am working  on it. Thanks again for your continued support. Glenn

My First Blog

Hey everybody this is my first attempt at writing a blog. Anyone who knows me knows that computers are not really my thing. In an attempt to share my experiences as a bilateral amputee and perhaps help another similar person or to receive helpful advice from someone in a similar position, I am writing this blog. I was speaking to my nephew this morning and was explaining to him that someday I would like to write a book about my experiences as an amputee. He suggested I start a blog about what has happened to me and how I have subsequently handled it. So here we are.

Everyday is a challenge for me now. I lost my right leg in July 2008 and amazingly I seemed to adjust to rather well, at least according to most other people's opinions. People say to me "you're amazing" or "you have such a great attitude" well, do I really? I feel that I just do what I feel I should and what I feel I am capable of doing, that's all, nothing more nothing less. Is that so amazing?

I remember when I first lost my right leg and I decided to go back to the gym. I had not received my prosthetic leg yet, but I was sick of sitting around the house, meanwhile losing my muscle tone. So off to the gym I went, of course the managers and fellow members were very happy to see me after having been gone for three monthes. I was astounded at the reception I received. Thus began my reintroduction to working out, only this time I didn't have a right leg, at least then.

I think I will close this blog for now as I hope I have peeked your interest enough for now. I am curious to see what, if any feedback, I will receive. Until next time, keep your feet planted on solid ground, if you have any that is. Glenn