There's something about waking up before the world and witnessing a beautiful sunrise. It's almost as if it's painted just for you. Here's the majesty I witnessed this morning.
I am what some would refer to as, a girlie girl. I like to dress up, wear make-up, and I'm not a fan of any type of bug or spider. Yet, I love to go camping. There's just something about being in the great outdoors. The sounds of the animals at night, the millions of stars, the dampness of the grass, the peace that comes from being in the woods, the smell of the campfire...so much to enjoy. I was raised tent camping and taught to appreciate the simple life. As an adult I have experienced many forms of camping and I have learned that it doesn't matter if I'm in a tent, camper, or cabin it is the peace that lures me in. If you have never camped I highly recommend you do.
I tend to put things off. I don't know why I do this, I don't want to, but it is a very bad habit I am in. Four years ago when I needed to have my handicapped placard renewed, I brought it with me when I took my son to have his sports physical. His doctor wouldn't/couldn't do it for me so, I asked if I could see my doctor just to have him sign the form. I was told that he wouldn't sign it without me making an appointment. I clarified for them that I just needed him to sign the document stating that I am still disabled. Nope, they wouldn't do it unless I made an appointment. This perplexed me but, then I realized that the doc's kids probably needed some new shoes. So, I made the appointment and went back the next day. I was a woman with HUGE attitude in that doctor's appointment let me tell you. I wouldn't let them do anything. The nurse wanted to take my blood pressure, NOPE; listen to my heart and lungs, NOPE; weigh me, NOPE, get my heart rate, NOPE! I was there so that the doctor could see that my leg did not grow back so that he could sign my form. I realize that it was not the nurses fault, but I had a point to make. So here I am four years later and seven days after my handicap placard expired. Knowing the past error of my ways, I made a doctor appointment (by the way I switched doctors after that!) I went to the doctor yesterday, I let the nurse do all of her duties, she asked me if the doctor was going to need to do any type of special exam to renew my placard. I looked at her and stated, I don't think so, it's pretty obvious that my leg has not grown back. She chuckled in embarrassment and left me waiting for the doctor to come in. When he came in we took care of some of my other concerns and then I started talking to him about my application for a handicap placard. He told me he would sign whatever I needed and that there was no need for any discussion on the matter. That whether I felt I needed it or not I should have it. He was in disbelief of what happened last time and told me to stop procrastinating. So, today I will put my application in the mail and hope that I get my placard within the week to ten days that I have been told it takes. In the meantime, I will be parking in regular parking spaces. Moral of the story, don't put off today what should have been done three months ago!
Before I even left the hospital I started to look at my new situation with a little bit of humor. I remember thinking, and then stating out loud, I just doubled my sock inventory. Everyone around me was so shocked that I would say something like that, it really helped to lift the mood. There have been many more fun and sarcastic sayings since then. I am listing them below in no particular order.
1) When I am carrying something and someone asks, "Do you need a hand?" I respond, "No I need a leg!" (Caution this one never gets old for me!)
2) When walking into a restaurant in Disney World the hostess asked me, "Oh my what happened to you?" I respond with a straight face, "when they tell you to keep your arms and legs inside the ride at all times, they mean it."
3) Checking out at Walgreens, the clerk says to me, "oh wow you're broken." (In her defense she can only see my crutches.) I respond by picking up my pant leg, waving it, and saying, "I'm really broken."
4) Watching the girls at my daughter's dance studio stretch out. They were grabbing their foot and stretching their leg above their heads. I say, very serious of course, "be careful ladies, I did that once and tore my leg right off."
5) Then there are the many one line answers to the question how did I lose my leg: a skydiving accident, wrestling an alligator, sharks, I didn't eat my vegetables when I was little, and one of my favorites, whoa I don't know, can you help me find it?
Usually I answer the questions honestly, because I feel a certain responsibility to let the world know how great God is and to tell my story but, sometimes I just need a little comedic relief!
We live in a society of social media and we can learn so much about someone from their "tweets," Facebook, Instagram pictures, Vines, blogs, and the list goes on. However, when we are learning about people via these avenues it is because they put it out there.
There is barely a moment when I am out in public that I am not stared at, pointed at, whispered about, or flat out asked why I am on crutches or what happened to me. I try to ignore it, I mean I totally understand that it is not everyday you see a person with one leg but, sometimes it is too much. It gets to be too much for the people I am with too.
I wish that the general public could understand that I am just trying to lead a "regular" life, I am just trying to get bread and milk like they are. I am human and I have feelings too. I truly don't think it is acceptable practice to go up to a complete stranger in a store and ask they why they are the way they are. That being said, I feel a strong need to be honest with people and to tell them my story. I feel I am here still for a reason and that I never know which of these random strangers is going through something that my story can help. So, even though I stand by my statement, it is not always ok to ask someone why they are the way they are, I will always answer their question.
Total strangers have invited me to play wheelchair basketball more times than I can actually remember. There are several issues with this. First, I am not in a wheelchair, which apparently is not really an issue they will provide me with one. Next, I am horrible at sports. The people I have encountered recruiting for such a sport do not like to take no for an answer and typically I would cave to the pressure. This is something I have no problem saying no too. One recruiting attempt stands out in my mind. My friend had brought me to the Hawks game. We were walking along talking and minding our own business when we got stopped. I gave all my arguments as to why wheelchair basketball is not for me and they just kept pressing me. In the end they gave me their phone number and insisted I call them. My friend could not get over that experience and we laughed about it all night. Every once in a while we talk about it and laugh. If you see me on the street, save yourself the time, I have no interest in playing wheelchair basketball. Thank you for thinking of me though.
The second question people ask me is, can you get one of those fake legs? The answer is yes. I do have a fake leg, but due to the nature of my amputation it is very difficult to use. I know that we see many people on t.v. who have fake legs, take Amy Purdy for instance. Amy is a Para-Olympian and has two fake legs. She was on the last season of "Dancing with the Stars" and was AMAZING! The way she danced and used a variety of feet for her legs was nothing short of breathtaking. However, her amputations left her with a much larger residual limb on both legs and that allows her to have more control over her prosthetic legs. My prosthetic leg is very heavy and difficult for me to maneuver. Additionally, I would still need to use my crutches with it. Perhaps one day in the future I will attempt to get a prosthetic leg that works for me but, for now I am perfectly content with getting around the way I have gotten used to.
When I was going through cancer, I did not want to be a part of a support group, nor did I want to hear about other people's cancer. My cancer was very rare and I felt certain that no one could possibly be experiencing what I was experiencing nor could they understand what I was going through. I know now that - that mindset was very narrow and I think I could have really benefited from reaching out to other cancer patients. What I was going through was unique but the fear of cancer was something shared by many.
I have decided to start this blog as a way to share my story with people. I have met many people who have had a deep interest in my story and they tell me it is an inspiration to them. So, if by sharing my story I can help someone or inspire someone to not give up then I will be fulfilling a small portion of my purpose.
I may stumble a bit as I get used to blogging but,I want to keep this positive and upbeat. I would love to hear your feedback and your story.
Thank you for reading this, may you be blessed by my story.
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A bit about me:
I am who I am thanks to God, my parents, my family, and my friends. My life is driven by faith. Oh, and I am a cancer survivor.