Thanks to all that have helped!!!

Friday, January 27, 2012

New Beginnings

The surgery is complete. I am now 6 feet tall and one foot off. This first day has been much harder than I expected. The physical pain has been unrelenting and the emotional pain has been more than I expected. I knew when I laid down on the table yesterday morning that my life was changing forever. So, here I am. I look down and my leg is gone. With it though, so is the handicap that was holding me back. Yes, currently I am trapped in this hospital bed, unable to get up and take care of myself, grimacing in immense pain with the simplest of movements, but I know that pain is temporary. This was the first step, and as Bugs Bunny always said in my Saturday morning cartoons, "Watch that first step...It's a doozy!" Now, I can focus on rehabilitation and turning this impossible situation into an improbable success story.

Through out this battle I have finally understood what Gandhi meant when he said "You must be the change you want to see in the world." I have decided to embody the thought that even in losing a limb I am not handicapped. I just have to work harder and therefore I will appreciate simple things more than most. Already, I have learned how much I took for vantage getting up and moving around. This morning my occupational therapist came in and helped me sit on the side of the bed. That was her goal for the day. Just to sit and put my remaining leg on the ground. I decided once I achieved that goal I wanted to know what it felt like to stand without my leg. This is where I was humbled quickly. Not only dealing with the pain involved of having blood circulate at the bottom of that stump, but finding that I have an entirely new center of gravity. I could not gain balance on my own. It was not happening. That was terrifying. I know that I will learn how to do this, but gaining that experience today was necessary for me. I had to know what this feels like. My physician wants me to get into the recliner today, and when PT gets here I suppose that's what I'll do. I hope they bring me a walker and I can see what that feels like.

So, I have to be honest with you, I've been completely open throughout this process, so I can't stop that now. When I woke up, after the pain was controlled somewhat and I was capable of rational thought I was terrified. I decided that I had made a horrible mistake. What had I done!!! I just willingly let them take away my leg, my leg that worked somewhat, not to a point that I could work, but I could walk. Now I have nothing there. I still feel it there, and that is the cruelest part of this entire process. Waking up in the middle of the night, sweating, hurting scared to death, and feeling my foot itch, or my calf cramp, only to look down and realize that this isn't a nightmare. My leg is gone. I have made this permanent decision. Today I feel much  better about this decision. My initial panic has subsided. Sadly, the phantom pains have not, and I am relying on a dilaudid pain pump to be able to sit up and write this to you. As promised. I will be continuing my blog throughout this process. I know that I am going to endure immense pain in these coming days, but I will translate that into words to share with you. Until later...The journey to becoming the prosthetic medic has officially begun...I think I heard a starters gun when I got up this morning.


  1. I'm praying for you, I'm sure all the pain will be over one day, keep your head up high and remember you are bettering yourself, for anyone to make a decision like this, is a very brave and awesome person :) I'm sure this decision will be for the good and you'll be walking and back to work before you know it :) I've seen people out there who run marathons with no legs! Hope you feel better soon and good luck with you recovery!!

  2. Hi. Just to let you know that although you are physically smaller than you were yesterday, your fame and your reputation is growing. I followed a link to your site from my nephew's blog ( He is a paramedic here in the UK. Your story is compelling and touching, and hopes for your happy ending are spreading further than you may think, so keep smiling.

  3. Joe, I just wanted to say thank you for sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly in this process. Praying for your recovery and for you to keep this determination!

  4. I am still amazed every day by your courage. You truly inspire me and my heart fills with more and more love for you every day. I'm so happy to still have you by my side and I am still here no matter what happens. I love you honey.

  5. I've been thinking about you.
    With any permanent decision, it's normal to have moments of doubt, even of panic, over not being able to "take it back." The truth is, people make such decisions every day, and most of the time, aren't even aware they are making them.
    You went into this with your eyes open. While it may feel like that gives you more responsibility for the results, remember it ALSO means that you have a plan, a goal. That this was intentional, in order to reach that goal. You are one step closer to that goal.
    It's kind of ironic that temporarily putting yourself in the position of not being able to walk would, in fact, be that important "first step."
    You may not be able to walk today, but you are flying, soaring, towards being where you want to be, doing what you love.
    Hang in there. It's going to be better.
    I'm glad you have Kate, that the two of you have each other.

  6. Joe, I am so proud to say that I've had the privilege to wear the same badge as you. Let alone work alongside you. I know I don't work there anymore, but I've heard from Jeff your status and how you were doing. Then I found your blog Joni posted on Facebook. I don't think I've ever believed in the saying that "what doesn't kill us only makes us stronger" until now. You know this is going to be a hard road to recovery, but even so I think you made the right decision. People overcome hardships every day and live even more fulfilled lives then they were before. I'm glad to read your so optimistic. I'm also glad to read you also have a rational sense of reality. I think that will help you in your road to recovery. You know you will overcome this, but you know it will be hard and I don't think you will let the little setbacks discourage you. I'm glad you have such a strong and loving support system. I have faith you will walk again. Your blog is inspiring to read! Stay strong!

    Michelle Jones (Canty)