What’s your name, how old are you? My name is Wendy and I am 57 years young.
Who lives with you and how old are they? I’m happily divorced and I live with my gorgeous 2 and a half year old ‘double doodle’ called Eddie.
Tell us a little bit about them what are their favourite colours or hobbies? He’s very special as he is in training to be my assistance dog. He can do many tasks including taking washing out of the machine, pick either my mobile or house phone up and pass it to me and he (95% of times) comes back when I call him. He never leaves my side and is completely in tune with me, he’s been amazing company during the lockdown.
When did you become an amputee? I became an amputee on June 22nd 2018 so I’m gearing up for my second ampuversary.
Have you got a name for your “stump”? I call my stump ‘Hillary’ only because I can walk up hills really well in my prosthetic but I struggle coming down, it’s a confidence thing, I need to trust my prosthetic more.
What was the biggest concern of being an amputee? My biggest concern about becoming an amputee was if I could cope on my own. I need not have worried. I manage most tasks on my own in my own way and have even decorated my hall, going up and down a ladder!
Were you able to work as an amputee? I’m not in paid work at the moment, but I thoroughly enjoy being a volunteer with Steel Bones, it really is such a rewarding role.
How do you spend your days? I spend most of my time in my garden. I’m pretty much self sufficient in fruit and vegetables being able to freeze a glut to keep me going through winter. And I like to grow unusual flowers, most from seed, with a variety of results.
What’s been the biggest challenge you have had to overcome and how did you overcome it? I think my biggest challenge in life was making the decision to have my leg amputated. To be honest, it was one of the best choices I have ever made. Yes life is different now, I do things in a strange way, but I CAN do it. Yes people stare, but that’s their problem, not mine. I’m not going to be embarrassed about my prosthetic leg. I’m proud of who I am and how far I’ve got. I wear shorts all year and have a very pretty brightly coloured socket.
Have you got any funny memories that have happened since your amputation? One funny thing happened when I went to pick my grandsons up from school one afternoon. A parent walked past me and turned round and asked if I knew I had odd socks on. Laughing with her I replied that I did, but as my legs don’t match I don’t see the point of matching socks!
When did you come across Steel Bones? & What does Steel Bones do for your family? I first heard about Steel Bones when I went for the first fitting of my prosthetic. There was a poster up on the wall at the renablement centre at Bowthorpe in Norwich. So I wrote the number down and called later that day. I went to the celebration day, a bit nervous but wow, what a wonderful day. I knew then that Steel Bones was something really special. How I wish I had known about Steel Bones years ago. I often felt very alone without much support before my operation, even though I had spoken to every amputee I had seen whenever I had been out. I have to say that not a single amputee I went up to and asked if I could ask some questions said no. I have people come up to me now, just as anxious and scared as I was, asking if they could ask questions, I always say yes. It was one of those gestures I will never forget and how much I learned and gained from those special people.
Small or big is there one thing you hope to accomplish? I have set a goal that I will walk from Snettisham up to the estuary. It used to be a regular walk many years ago, it’s one of my favourite places to be. The walk is a good few miles along the beach, along the outskirts of Snettisham RSPB until you can’t walk any further, then turn around for the long walk back. You rarely see more than a couple of people. I found sea urchins and all sorts of things I hadn’t seen since I was a child. I am determined I WILL walk it again, with Eddie by my side, a large flask of coffee and some nibbles, I just can’t wait.