Lesson 1 : Love ya stump as nothing else is going to grow back.
Stay strong but accept help from family and friends. It’s not a sign of weakness
Don’t be afraid to cry and let others know why. Bottling things up just makes it worse and family/friends are there to help
Early days are difficult because you have to come to terms that your life is going to change. Talk to other amputees take on board their opinions and listen to experts. When you are ready build a plan for you based on what you know you can do and accept some days will be harder than others. Each step you take is a step of learning but never give up with trying and stick with your plans. Try different sports some you haven’t tried before and see if they work for you. Don’t be put off going to a gym either they are great social gathering places, somewhere to meet new friends. Suggest a group meeting of similar minded people of same interests and build your network of friends.
You have joined a new club make the most of it and embrace it. #warriors.
At the start It’s a long recovery journey, yet it can be speeded up by putting the effort in & it will pay dividends I used the target of running again to motivate me to do the hours and hours of physio I used to do at home on my own after my above knee amputation, and every second was worth it. I promise.
It helps massively to meet others in similar situations. Going to a Something like a Limb Power event or similar, as everyone there has or is going through what you are, and chatting to similar people, it can really ease your feelings towards your future, as you will back to your new normal in no time.
For myself, the best way to maximise my abilitys & limits, was to push myself further and further each time, and I found pushing past the pain, allows your body to adapt and tolerant the discomfort alot more next time. You do learn as time goes by, what pain is good pain to push thro , and what is bad pain that you need to rest or change something.
The first year of amputee your stump size will change alot, and it will also change alot if your activity level changes, and biggest thing of all, is keeping your body weight the same, as any loss or gain of weight will show straight away at your stump size. So try and get your body weight to your prefered weight ASAP and then try and keep it there. This is what I found from my experience of my own rehab in the 4 years since my amputation.
Get the best medical team around you if you don’t gel with them and you feel they are impatient or not giving you enough time ask for a second opinion it’s taking me 6 years to find an amazing plastic surgeon – one of the top ones in the UK and he knows me so well and he is clever he can tell immediately what’s wrong plus he knows just what is at stake he takes my entire family into consideration his name is Mr Grant at Addenbrookes Hospital. I have also sought long and hard for an excellent orthopaedics surgeon last year my last one wanted to amputate my other leg however a second opinion from an amazing man who again I immediately gelled with and who gave me time and patience is now my orthopaedics surgeon – Mr Ben Davis. I am still on the hunt for an excellent prosthetics doctor but the message is don’t settle for anything less than AMAZING it takes time and energy but keep going because the excellent doctors will ensure long term health for your legs !!
Also Focus on building your strength up and don’t overdo it !! I spent many years just pushing and pushing myself attending every event/party I could just to prove nothing had changed I was still the Leigh everyone knew unfortunately this had detrimental impact I didn’t allow myself proper time to recover nor did I want to accept life had changed not in a bad way but I just needed to realise it was different so don’t ever think you cannot do things but just take time to adjust and when your body is telling you I’ve had enough listen to it – it’s your ally in this !!
Set a goal and go for it don’t let anything stop you. 3 weeks after losing my leg I was walking on a practice leg with crutches in the gym at addenbrookes. I was also doing a lot of rowing of which I am going into as a sport. I had never rowed before. 10 weeks after surgery I was on a push bike. It’s hard having to give up things I used to do but also exciting with the new.