November 4, 2013

Chapter Eleven: Life after my Amputation

I shared why my leg was amputated on J&J Chronicles a couple years ago HERE.  And I've wrote about a few learning experiences about being an amputee HERE and HERE; even my husband shared his thoughts about life with an amputee wife HERE.
Many people know me, or have read my story and commented on how strong and brave I was; I truly am grateful for those compliments.  But what some may not know is that the bravery and strength come after the amputation.  There is so much that I miss about my life before my amputation, at times I feel guilty for taking those days of somewhat easy mobility for granted.  There are days when the little changes that individually seem like nothing, but summed as a whole, overwhelm me.  I miss wearing jeans or pants in general, I miss all the wonderful shoes I owned before my amputation, I miss having two feet the same size, I miss mountain biking, and the ability to walk up to a river and decide to stroll through it if I wanted.  

The day after my amputation, May 4,2008.

Life after my amputation is the challenge and will be the challenge for the rest of my life; some days I'm okay with that, and some days I'm just tired.  Some days it takes all I've got to get out of bed and put on my leg, and some days, I don't get out of bed and prefer to not even acknowledge my prosthetic.

I've learned that real bravery and strength are tested and applied after the amputation.  This philosophy is true with any challenge we face isn't it?  People talk about the event that caused the chain reaction that changes their lives forever, but the they rarely talk about what happens after that event.  Most put on a happy face in public and go home and flounder in sorrow alone.  After losing a loved one, losing a limb, losing a dear friend, being diagnosed with an incurable decease, or even having our hearts broken from time to time; how does one find strength after these kinds of life changing events? 

Some mock blogging as an online journal, as if sharing ones life is wrong or stupid, and imply that personal events should be kept private in a journal stuffed under a mattress.  The word blog is short for Web Log, so it is safe to say blogs are in fact online journals.  Before computers and the internet people kept journals for their posterity, to document genealogies, to write about life as it was happening to them; and thank goodness!  Today people still keep these kinds of records; which is important.  But in the world of blogging we have an opportunity to share our lives and special experiences with the world, or those who read our blogs.  I blog to share my experiences, not to show off and not for attention; but for the purpose of offering support to others who may need that extra bit of strength to get out of bed in the morning.
My beautiful legs.

In my opinion it's not enough to just go on living after a life altering event, it's more important to go on happy and positive, with an attitude of progression and moving forward.  It's important to acknowledge the hard days, but focus on the good days - in fact magnify those good days.  Pretending you're not hurting is an uncertain and lonely road.  We can progress much faster and healthier with support from others; letting people in to help you is brave.  I know it's scary and you may feel vulnerable when you admit you need help, and don't have a clue about what you're doing, but as soon as you open up, people always step in to help, and there is your strength! 

What "amputation" are you dealing with?
How do you find strength and bravery?


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  1. Hi Jill, Your Words and thoughts do touch me - it is so true that we often focus on the life changing event itself - forgetting that life does go on every day, with new challenges, coping with the loss ... and consequences of it, yet at the same time taking a stand how honest to be in different situations ... I have a neck damage that blossoms up every now and then - even if it is a minor one, I have every now and then hard time accepting the things I no longer can do, and remembering to "spare the strenghts" and not use them all at once, paying back with rents later on.
    Thank you for being an encouragement, and sharing from your heart, Nina

  2. Thanks Nina! And thank you for sharing about your neck damage, you bring up a great point about "remembering to spare the strengths and not use them all at once. . . " it's something that is always on your mind even during good days isn't it? Thanks again for sharing such great insight. Jill

  3. Jill, I found your blog via a comment on another and I'm so glad I did.

    I love that you addressed the root definition of blog and that it's not a silly thing. For a while I struggled with that, that perception that blogging is just nonsense. I think that's like saying sharing your thoughts are nonsense and by gosh if we kept everything private then there'd be nothing left to give and boy do we need more giving in this world. I blog for the same reasons, to share my experiences though lately I also blog to help others. It's a balance. Sometimes I'm in it for only me, some days I want to offer a tutorial so as to show others that they are capable of great things (not as though they need me) while still doing it for me too and making sure I enjoy the process of sharing.

    I appreciate your honesty and sharing your story. I'm a firm believer in storytelling. It's what connects us, only if we are willing to share. Thank you for sharing Jill.

    1. You're welcome! And thank you for your comment. You're so right about sometimes blogging can be just for me. I think writing out my experiences helps me process and understand what I'm dealing with. Again thank you for your comment!

  4. Very well written Jill. So easy to take things for granted -- I appreciate you for sharing about your experiences. We all have something with which we struggle -- not letting it define who we are is so important.

  5. wow-- this is so amazing. finding inspiration through you today! XO

    the well-traveled wife
    ^^enter our giveaway!