As an amputee, I’ve come across more fears than I had prior to becoming one. Fears based on physical limitations and those that run a little deeper. Understanding that I wasn’t alone through all of these fears was an important factor in finding my happiness again. So, I’ve spoken with a few fellow amputees and have written down a list of things that cause a little fear in their lives, and in mine. Maybe those reading will find peace, just as I did, while I speak on the subject of these fears.
The most common fear that I have heard is the fear of falling. While yes, there is an assortment of worries that come with the chances of falling, but that should never influence you to get out in the world and live your life to its fullest. Think of when you were a child, climbing a tree and then being struck with fear and the feeling that you were unable to get back down. My older brother once told me, that if I can climb up there on my own then I can climb down on my own. To trace the steps that I made on the trunk of the tree in my mind and do the same thing to get back down again. And I fell. I cried because it hurt, but I got right back up and day after day I climbed that tree again and learned how to weasel my way back down, all on my own. Just like I’ll do with my prosthetic limbs. I’ll learn how to get back up, even if that means accepting the generosity of a helping hand.
Breathe, take one step at a time, and remember you’ve got this.
The second greatest fear that I have heard is the fear of growing old and not being able to wear prosthetics or becoming less independent because of age. We will all grow old one day, and just as young amputees do, “old” amputees will have to work really hard to do certain things as well. Life can get difficult, trust me, some days my arms are so sore that it hurts to pick my child up, but I keep doing it. I keep pushing myself. I truly and personally believe that:
“A body that is at rest will stay at rest, and a body in motion will stay in motion.”
(Newton’s First Law of Motion).
I have seen firsthand what giving up does to a person. I saw it through my grandfather, who became physically incapable of doing a number of tasks because he chose, at an early age, to just sit around and let his hard times define who he was and what he was capable of doing. On the other hand, I have met people who are in there late 80’s and could do a cartwheel if they wanted. Your mindset is the thing that matters. Work for the things you really want in life and take care of yourself.
The third fear is one that I connect with, on a very personal level, it is the fear that my child will be bullied because of the way that I am. I know that the kind of children who bully others will pick and grab at anything, I’m talking anything that they can get their grubby, little hands on in order to hurt others. This is a sad reality. What I also know is that my daughter, if anything, will have an advantage that she will come to see one day whether or not she is bullied. The advantage of having me as her amputee mother. I know that I have the upper hand, just in being an amputee, by raising a child that is kind and loving towards others that are different as well as those that are the same. My daughter will grow up seeing firsthand the struggles, the accomplishments, and the hard work that an amputee and mother puts into life. She will be a better person, not only because of my disability but because of who I am as well.