Living Without A Limb

Falling asleep, waking up and everything is just like it was before – the wish of many  amputated people. But unfortunately, an amputation is an irrevocable change. Any  amputation of a limb means a loss off the body and, consequently the loss of his/her physical integrity. “The loss of a limb is equivalent to the loss of a close relative,” says Dagmar Gail, chairman and founder of the Amputierten-Initiative e.V (Amputees Initiative) in Germany. Even the most sophisticated technology is not able to fully replace the loss that one experiences through amputation. A toe, or a finger. A hand. A foot. Or an arm or leg. Each one is as extreme as the next. Cleanly removed through a planned surgery or ripped from the body by some extreme, unexpected catastrophe.  No matter how hard you work on accepting your new body and learning a new set of skills, and no matter how long you have lived without your limb ….

There will always be days when you will wake up and wish like everything was like it was before.

I Can’t Keep Up, But I Won’t Stop

My days often go by very slow. It takes me a long time to do things. And this makes me feel less valuable in this world. I can’t “keep up.”

I grieve. There is very real loss in this. This world’s value system discards those who can’t keep up, can’t produce, can’t be productive, can’t offer anything useful. There is such a great loss.

But I have decided I am good with letting this go. I am okay with this.
And that there is even great relief in this. Because it is my life and I want to be here for it. Just as it is. In reality. Not as I am told it should be, but as it truly is lived.

With all its wounds and rough patches. With the vacuum cleaner that is falling apart and the notebooks that are scattered around most every surface full of hopes and broken dreams and pages of lists full of things I need to do that often get pushed aside when the mood strikes to throw a kitchen party and the volume is set to maximum and me and my dogs dance and sing as if no one is watching.

My days, with these very slow stretches of time through more hours of darkness than light, and the increasing coldness which brings with it a deep, crushing bone pain.

In these times and days when everything can hurt and when the world is freezing and they demand we give everything, it is useful to just breathe. And go slow. One thing at a time. And another. Then another. Slow enough to feel your own heart beating.

Yes, I am slow. I can’t always keep up and I sometimes don’t get things finished in time. I often feel useless and of no value. This is my reality. And I will continue to be here for it, one breath at a time.

******************

Brrrrrr.

I got a feeling that this is gonna be a hard winter. The pain is already setting in my bones and we haven’t even had any snow yet. But the chill is in the air. The frost is covering everything in the early mornings. And my spinal cord has become tight as a result. The back of my head and neck are stiff and pull against the skin when I move. Both of my knee joints feel like they each need a can of WD40 connected to a steady IV drip as they are unable bend properly. Making walking really difficult.

And it’s not even winter yet.

Sigh.

Pins. Pins. And More Pins

So, it was really hot today and my hair was driving me nuts. The humidity makes it impossible to deal with. A ponytail would have helped but I’ve yet to figure that out with one hand and David was at work so I couldn’t get him to put it up for me. Solution? Bobby-pins. And clips. Lots of bobby-pins and clips. It was a mess but it did the trick.

The problem? I now have to take them out. Every. Single. One. So while you are all tucked away in your beds, sleeping, I will be sitting here digging pins out of my hair.

😒

Having To Break Through Rocks

Just feel like venting. My chest is heavy. I’m emotionally drained and physically exhausted.

Why am I so lazy?

Well, it’s not lazy. Lazy is when you shrug things off because you just don’t give a damn. When you’re curled up on your couch, on your bed, alone and desperately wishing that you had your life in order, that you did all the things you had to do, that it didn’t feel like breaking through rocks just to feed and clothe yourself and get some sleep, that’s not lazy. People don’t understand. You tell them it’s hard and they tell you, no it isn’t. You start to wonder if maybe they are right. Is breaking through these rocks easy for everyone else? Are they that much stronger than me?

They don’t look like they’re struggling.

Just try harder they say.

But I am trying!!!!

It’s just not working.

Breaking boulders in my path until I’m worn out isn’t lazy. And I do it day after day after day after day after day. I’m not lazy. Most people don’t have those rocks to break. They don’t even know what it’s like to have to break through rocks to get things done. They don’t understand how hard I have to work and how hopeless I feel when I try and try and try and only fail to do what other people seem to do so freaking easily. Things are harder for me. They really are. And if those people had to deal with my problems, they wouldn’t be able to do any better than I am doing.

I’m not lazy.

I’m not weak.

I’m fighting hard. Damn it!!

I’m fighting harder than ever before.

And I guess I just wanted you to know that today.

Just Keep Swimming

My life has been so crazy this past week. I’m too busy and worn out to function now. I’m trying to take care of myself. I’ve actually forgotten to eat a couple of times because I’ve been so focused on getting my dog to eat. I did make a pot of homemade soup though and it turned out great. I could eat soup every day of the week if necessary. It’s my go-to food for everything.

My dog is healing well from her surgery but we’ve got a long road ahead of us yet. In saying that, week one has been a success. I haven’t killed anyone and I’ve only had a few fairly minor meltdowns.

To be quite honest I think I’ve done pretty good.

Dogs, Debt, and Dread

My beautiful brown eyed girl loves snow. Her outdoor playtime has been limited this year though because of her injury. But this time next year our hope is that she will outside, frolicking in snow, as happy as can be. But that’s a long way away yet though.

So right now I’m slowly gathering together what we need to bring to St. John’s with us next week.

At 7am on Monday we will be leaving to make one of the most nerve racking road trips ever. Zoey will be seeing her surgeon, Dr. Bailey, at 1:30pm at the Veterinary Speciality Hospital.

Monday night we will then stay in a hotel. Zoey will be with us that first night. She will have to fast in preparation for Tuesday morning, where she will be admitted to the hospital and will undergo major surgery.

My heart is breaking 💔

No one wants their baby to suffer, especially not me. It’s going to be so hard to leave her in the hospital on Tuesday and walk away from her. It’s going to crush me. I’ve been trying not to think about it because I cry every time.

But this is necessary. Many people have expressed their opinions about the expense of this. That they would never in a million years take out a second mortgage on their house just to get surgery on their dog.

But we aren’t your average family. Zoey is not JUST a dog. She’s my therapy dog. She works well with me to keep me functioning as I struggle to manage life with Bipolar, PTSD, CRPD, and an amputation.

If you found yourself in my situation, what do you think you would do? Be honest now. Would you be willing to go through with a $7,000.00 surgery for your dog/cat?<<<
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I Didn’t Get That Memo

There are plenty of things a person should not be able to do after they lose one of their arms.

But I guess I didn’t get that memo ….

I know I can achieve anything I set my mind to.

Yes. My physical situation makes me stand out from other ppl. A lot. But Being told I can’t do something just makes me work harder and more creatively.

My life is very complicated. But you know what? Thats ok. I’m lucky to even be alive right now!

I’m different then you. But that’s what makes me who I am!

Getting A Grip

OK so, I struggle every day with OCD. I also have a love hate relationship with housework and every day chores. My house is always clean and I am always striving to keep on top of the chores. But yet it consumes me. It takes me longer to do each task because I have to do it all with one hand. 
But I always manage to get it done one way or another, and it’s always done well. But when you throw in the obsessive-compulsive tendencies, I really struggle. Nothing I ever do is ever good enough, for me. And it’s never enough. 
Things have been escalating lately and it has made life inside of my head quite unbearable. So yesterday I sat down with my notebook and I broke down my house room by room. I did A page for each room and then for each room I’ve listed every individual thing that I need to clean in that room. I made it very detailed and each task was very simple. And I have committed to sticking to one room per day. Rather than going around all the time, freaking out, because there is so much cleaning that has to be done and then crumbling under the pressure that I keep putting on myself, I’m going to attempt a new routine. I will focus on one room each day. When my checklist is complete, then I’m off the hook for any other cleaning, except laundry and dishes. My goal? To ease some of my anxiety and to stop the feelings of panic I have every day. I don’t want to be at the circus or at anniversary parties thinking about going home so I can change the sheets in our bed. 

I’m saying it here so I can be accountable. I need to do this. Because I’m starting to go crazy. 

This Is Just The Beginning 

here goes:

My name is Danielle and there are many things I could start off telling you about myself. 

Like how I have always been overweight my entire life, even as a child. I was always the biggest kid in my grade. I was bullied throughout my entire childhood for being fat. There has never been a point in my life where I haven’t fallen into the obesity category. 

Or I could tell you about how an eating disorder, Bulimia Nervosa, consumed me for 14 years and almost killed me in 2009, which led to a 9 month hospitalization at a treatment facility in Guelph, Ontario where, once physically stabilized and my heart was no longer in danger of stopping, I went through an intense recovery program that included a variety of different therapeutic approaches such as group therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, one on one counselling and several other targeted therapies. I am proud to say that except for a few minor relapses, I have been able to maintain my recovery from bulimia nervosa to this day. Every day I fight to stay on track. 

Or I could tell you about how I am an amputee. In 2010 I was in a very serious car accident that almost took my life. After weeks in a coma I woke to find that my entire body had been mangled beyond recognition. My face was beyond recognizable. My back had been broken and I was told I may never walk again. My knees had been crushed as well as my chest cavity. But the biggest damage was on my left side. I had lost my arm and half of my breast. Never again would I ever be the same. I had a choice to make at this point. Do I lay there on my back for the rest of my life and have other people tend to my every need? Or do I clench my teeth, cry my way through the pain, and get my life back in order? I chose the latter. Now today I am back on my feet and going strong. I spent almost 2 years in physiotherapy and I can walk just as I could before the accident. I have adjusted well with only one arm and everything is second nature to me now. 

I should be happy right? I’m alive! I can walk! But there’s one BIG problem. I am morbidly obese. Through the years I continuously gained weight and in April 2016 I tipped the scales at 369 pounds. Desperation set in. My body was constantly swollen. Every joint ached all day, every day. I never wanted to leave my house out of sheer embarrassment, for fear of being seen, judged, just like what I went through ever day as a child. I feel their stares, I hear local kids giggle behind my back and I turn my eyes away from any mirrors I may see because I can’t handle to see my reflection.

This is a horrible way to live. Enough is enough. I’m only young and I’m not ready to die, especially not this way. While browsing some different websites for some hope and inspiration, one thing led to another and I came into contact with a wonderful woman who is a personal health and fitness coach and she took me on as her client. I then joined a challenge group and signed up for a program called the 21 Day Fix thus beginning my journey to a new and better, healthier me. 

May of this year has marked to be one of the most transformational months of my life, both inside and out. I have learned what proper portion sizes look like. I now know what clean eating really means. I have also learned that I can do anything for just one minute! That burning, intense, crazy exercise move? 60 seconds! And those last 10 seconds? That’s when I found out how strong I truly am.

I am starting to understand now that I am a warrior, and that I work very hard. I am fighting for my life every day. I may not change the world, but I can walk at a steady pace for 30 minutes straight now and that is a start. I am losing weight, and I am sleeping better and feeling stronger than I have in years. My goals for each day are different now and even though these goals are not always met, the fact that I even keep going is a huge improvement. I have hope now. Hope for increasing wellness. I hope for continued weight loss. I hope for a continued improvement in my physical functioning and I hope for a long, healthier and happier life.

Also, I have proven to myself (and everyone else) that small changes can make a huge difference because … *insert drumroll* … My weight has went from a mind blowing 369lbs to 354lbs in round one of the 21 Day Fix. If I could do something so hard (yet so simple), then believe me when I say that you can too. Your life and your happiness depends on it.