Today it has been six monthes since I arrived home after losing my second leg. I thought this would be a good time to review and evaluate my progess during the last six monthes.
Anyone who knows me already knows how self critical I can be. I always try to push myself and set high but I feel attainable goals. Sometimes, however, I have been told by others that I don't give myself enough credit for my accomplishments and for my fortitude in general. It is difficlut for me to be satisfied with my accomlishments, ultimately because I am not where I feel I could or should be.
During the course of my recovery it has been easy to forget the place I was at even just six monthes ago and where I find myself now. By looking back at what I was able to do six monthes ago and what I can do today will put things in their proper perspective.
When I arrived home January 23, in the dead of winter, I wasn't even able to take a shower. One reason I wasn't able to shower was because I still had over sixty stitches in my left residual limb, in addition to those stitches, I had not yet developed a workable and safe method by which to shower.
Today of course those stitches have long since been removed and I have figured out a fairly easy method to transfer from my wheelchair to the shower bench and back again. I have also increased the speed in which I am able to shower.
Six monthes ago I was still heavily medicated, particularily with pain meds. Now I take only the basic medicine I need and will have to take for the rest of my life. I realized some time ago the psychological impact pain medication has on my mind. Being an emotional person by nature, and then taking mind altering types of medication, put me on an emotional rollercoaster. Sometimes I had difficulty controlling my emotions. I would cry easily and would put too much emotional weight on situations that did not warrant such reactions. I am so pleased to have stepped off of that rollercoaster, not only do I have much less emotional reaction to situations but also the reactions are more appropriate.
Needless to say I was not able to drive six monthes ago. Those of you who continue to read my blog already know that I have taken driving lessons, have had controls installed in my car and am now able to drive. Not only am I able to drive, I drive with a lot more ease and confidence. I am so thankful for the freedom driving has given me. I am equally thankful for my sister, Rhonda, who encouraged me and helped financially to accomplish this very important goal.
Naturally I did not have my second prosthetic leg six monthes ago. Although everything has not been perfected to the point I know it will be eventually, I have at least begun the process of learning to walk again, on now, two prosthetic legs. I would like to elaborate a little on this process of walking on two above knee prosthetic legs. The magnitude of losing both of my legs, both above the knee, has begun to be realized by me. Many of the medical professionals I work with, my vascular surgeon, my rehab doctor, all of the prosthetists, and my beloved physical therapists, have told me time and again the depth of my accomplishments, given my loss, my age, and vascular issues. I was rather dismissive about their comments and encouragement, making statements like, "I don't think I am doing that well" or "What is the big deal so I can stand on two prosthtetic legs?"
It has taken me a while and even now sometimes I don't realize the actuality of what has happened to me. I have no legs. By putting things in their proper perspective, appreciating the ecouragement I have received and being gentle with myself has made me a happier person. I now realize that I am a person who has lost both of their legs, both above the knee and yet I have been able to retain a great amount of automony. I am able to drive, to take care of myself with respect to personal grooming, I can cook for myself and eventually I WILL walk again.
I understand and appreciate what I have accomplished in my life so far. I also understand and appreciate all of the assistance and encouragement I have received along the way in every avenue of my life; medically, from friends and from my family.
Another interesting and wonderful aspect of my life has emerged; this blog. Writing and sharing my thoughts with all of you through this blog has forced me to look at my life in many areas I may never have visited otherwise. I enjoy sharing my thoughts and feelings through these writings and I also understand how cathartic it has been for me.
Am I where I want to be ultimately in my life as a bilateral above knee amputee? Certainly not. I am however, pleased with my accomplishments thus far and know things will only get better from here.
The other day I took my walker and stood and walked to one of my barstools, sat at my kitchen breakfast bar and I thought I like this view much better than the view I have from my wheelchair. Sitting at the bar, a seemingly small accomplishment, should not be minimized in my mind, these are the small steps that lead to overall feelings of self-satisfaction and pride in attaining goals.
Those of you who have shared my journey with me either through direct participation or by taking the time to read my blog have contributed to my well being and my sense of accomplishment. I thank you all and look forward to sharing more of my story and accomplishments as we WALK down the path of my life together.