Bjoern Eser - The creator of The Active Amputee
Bjoern Eser - The creator of The Active Amputee

Welcome to

The Active Amputee

I am Bjoern Eser, the creator of The Active Amputee. I am a father of three amazing children, a husband to an equally amazing wife, a thankful cancer survivor, an outdoor enthusiast, a passionate development practitioner and a very active above-the-knee amputee.

 

I have set up The Active Amputee as a resource page from amputees for amputees. It aims to inform, it aims to inspire and it aims to engage. Nothing more and nothing less. It‘s as simple as that.

 

At the moment The Active Amputee publishes a new post once a week. 

 

Sign up for our newsletter to make sure you don‘t miss any new articles, get additional information beyond what is published on this side and learn about upcoming events and opportunities to get engaged.



What's New?

Post by Bjoern Eser ⎮ June 12, 2019 ⎮ Inform

Kayaking as a lower limb amputee 

Summer is here. And with it come endless opportunities for being active in, on and around the water. While water sports are generally great fun, they are especially well suited for lower limb amputees: They offer the added advantage of the water carrying most of our weight. An advantage not to be underestimated for many amputees. read more

Post by Bjoern Eser ⎮ June 5, 2019 ⎮ Inform

Life hack: Dealing with volume fluctuations in your residual limb 

Here is a problem many active above knee amputees know all too well. A problem that is often overlooked as more and more attention is given to the newest developments around high-tech knees and other exciting advancements in the prosthetic sector. It’s the problem of a proper fit of the socket. It’s the key to using your prosthetic leg to its full potential. And how to deal with fluctuations in the volume of your residual limb - and thus with the fit of your socket. Here is a simple way to deal with this issue. read more

Guest post by Jason Mercado ⎮ May 29, 2019 ⎮ Inspire

Every warrior matters 

Diego Mercado was born as a congenital Amputee with the absence of his right Tibia and a deformation of his right hand. However, this has never stopped him from being an average kid with above average dreams. Diego always wanted to be a soldier, just like his Father Jason who has served in the US Army all of Diego's life. "The challenges were probably more difficult for us as parents because we were always compelled to run to our baby whenever he stumbled and fell. It was heartbreaking watching all of the other kids stare or point at him.“ said Jason. But every time he fell, he learned how to get up and eventually he learned how to be proud of his limb difference. read more

Guest post by Erin Ball ⎮ May 26, 2019 ⎮ Inspire

Five piuctures and me: Erin Ball 

Losing both legs is a major challenge for any person. Even more so when you are a circus artist. Erin Ball struggled hard until embracing her new reality led to a fireworks of creativity. Her amputations are now an integral part of her show. And through her teaching and coaching Erin has opened up the circus world for many others with disabilities. Get to know more about Erin through this month's edition of 'Five Pictures and Me'. read more

 

Picture by Kaylens Photography

Guest post by Steven Medeiros ⎮ May 22, 2019 ⎮ Inspire

Living mindfully and with a purpose - one step at a time 

The twenty-five mile flight to San Francisco with the uncertainty of death was all consuming. This uncertainty while confined to my hospital bed forced me to analyze my life up until that point. Had I been living up to my potential? If given a second chance what would I do differently? Often times with tragedy as such one may come to a cross road, either by taking the route of self-pity and giving up or realizing all the opportunities a second chance on life can afford, and using that as the fuel to move forward and do something great. For me self-pity was never an option. read more

Post by Bjoern Eser ⎮ May 19, 2019 ⎮ Inform

Riding a kick scooter: Three lessons learnt so far 

As mentioned in an earlier post, I recently started riding a kick scooter. Nothing fancy, just an ordinary kids scooter I found when de-cluttering out garden shed. Fortunately my - often clumsy - attempts to master the art of riding a scooter coincided with the period in which I am testing the OttoBock Genius X3. This gives me the opportunity to use various pre-programmed modes for the knee and see which one works best for me in a variety of different terrains. And while I haven’t spent a lot of time on the scooter yet, it’s time for sharing some of my initial lessons. read more

Post by Bjoern Eser ⎮ May 15, 2019 ⎮ Inform & inspire

Let our differences be the new normal 

Identify your next goal, think about possible ways to get there, break them down into doable chunks and just give it a go. Strongly believe that you can do it. Forget about norms and expectations, about the so-called normal. Be proud of your difference as it’s these differences that make this world such a colourful and awesome place. And you will see: A door opens to a completely new world way beyond your wildest imaginations. Here are three videos of people who defy expectations and celebrate their differences. read more

Post by Bjoern Eser ⎮ May 12, 2019 ⎮ Inform

Kick scooters: Pleasures from the time of my childhood 

A new month. And with this new month there is another opportunity to start something new. Something that has been on my mind for quite a long time. And something that I enjoyed as a kid. Riding a kick bike. Yes, this simple two-wheeler that promises fun and action in abundance. read more

Guest post by Kristina DeJesus ⎮ May 8, 2019 ⎮ Inform

The beginning of my amputee journey 

On October 7, 2017, Kristina was on vacation in Austin, Texas. She was involved in a boat accident when she went through the propeller and had my entire right arm severed in the water. According to the surgeon who later attended to her, she should have been dead in four minutes. But with the help of friends, strangers, and her nursing experience she managed to survive. And she even works as a nurse again. Today she reflects on her first year as an amputee. read more

Post by Bjoern Eser ⎮ May 1, 2019 ⎮ Inform

Preparing for the next big amputee outdoor adventure 

The days are getting longer, the nights less chilly and nature is in transformation. Fresh green grass covers the hills, the shrubs and trees have started to blossom and with a few days off over Easter this sounds like the perfect opportunity to head back into the hills. This time with my little son, who has been asking for weeks when we would finally take our tent out into the wild. „Well, Jonah, Easter it is and we are off for a few nights out in the tent!“ Some quality time with my son while preparing for my next big adventure. Sounds like a definite win/win situation to me. read more

Post by Bjoern Eser ⎮ April 28, 2019 ⎮ Inform

The challenge of copying natural movements

Our arms and hands and how they work together are amazing. They perform mindbogglingly complex tasks day in day out. And the best thing about them, they seem to do this automatically. We hardly need to think about which muscles to flex, which joints to move, which body parts to rotate in order to perform a certain movement or get a job done. Each person who lost an upper limb can tell you just how immensely challenging it is to replicate nature with a prosthetic device. Even simple tasks take weeks of practice and full concentration. But there are some promising new developments. read more

(picture courtesy of OttoBock)

Guest post by Patrice Meaume ⎮ April 24, 2019 ⎮ Inform & inspire

Five pictures and me: Patrice Meaume

Patrice was born different, without his right hand. With a family and friends who accepted him the way he was, normal but with only one hand, he felt lucky. Throughout his life he quickly realized that having only one hand raises questions and provokes dialogue. So he chose a career in communication and became an art director. The creative field enabled him to see that often people with disabilities were represented in extremes. So Patrice decided to develop illustrations representing people with disabilities living normally, defending his pro-active and optimistic vision of disability: People with disabilities are different, but it's normal to be different! read more

Guest post by CoRSU Hospital ⎮ April 19, 2019 ⎮ Inform & inspire

The Easter Special: CoRSU Hospital in Uganda - part V

Angela is a trained nurse from London. She first visited Uganda in 2010, volunteering with a charity supporting vulnerable children in Western Uganda: "I was deeply touched during the outreaches. The need for proper and accessible health care that we highly take for granted in the UK, struck home so deeply. We kept finding lots of clubfoot, neurofibromatosis and knocked knees in the community. One of my colleagues invited me to CoRSU. I was amazed when I first visited; the comprehensiveness of the services offered, the quality of the hospital and the humane touch from the staff towards the children. I wondered what it would take to have an experience in such an environment. Fortunately, after talking to Davide Naggi, CoRSU’s CEO I was offered an opportunity to volunteer with them." read more

Guest post by CoRSU Hospital ⎮ April 18, 2019 ⎮ Inform & inspire

The Easter Special: CoRSU Hospital in Uganda - part IV

Welcome to part IV of our Easter Special. The physical limitations that often go hand in hand with an amputation are only one aspect of living with a disability. Stigmatization and social exclusion are other aspects that need to be overcome. CoRSU is working with a wholistic approach to assist people with disabilities to fully participate in all the activities of their communities and live a life in dignity. Providing amputees with a prosthetic device is often only the first step in a long rehabilitation process. Read Jimmy's story, who suffered an amputation after osteomyelitis, but now leads the life of a happy teenager. read more

Guest post by CoRSU Hospital ⎮ April 17, 2019 ⎮ Inform & inspire

The Easter Special: CoRSU Hospital in Uganda - part III

Welcome to part III of our Easter Special on the Comprehensive Rehabilitation Services in Uganda (CoRSU) Hospital in Entebbe. Today I want you to meet Kaweesa Moses, a prosthetist and orthotist. He chose this professional as a result of wanting to help his brother to walk again. read more

Guest post by CoRSU Hospital ⎮ April 16, 2019 ⎮ Inform & inspire

The Easter Special: CoRSU Hospital in Uganda - part II

Welcome to part II of our Easter Special on the Comprehensive Rehabilitation Services in Uganda (CoRSU) Hospital in Entebbe. Today you meet a little boy named Miracle. One of the many patients who benefited from the great services that the CoRSU team offers. Having access to a police like CoRSU is often the deciding factor between a life in dignity, fully integrated into society and a life on the margins of the community, excluded and dependent on others. read more

Guest post by CoRSU Hospital ⎮ April 15, 2019 ⎮ Inform & inspire

The Easter Special: CoRSU Hospital in Uganda - part I

During a recent trip to Uganda, I had the chance to link up with Davide, an old friend of mine. We know each other since the early 2000s when we were both living and working in Gulu in northern Uganda.  Davide is the CEO of Comprehensive Rehabilitation Services in Uganda (CoRSU). Together with an amazing team, they have created an impressive centre that aims at expanding and improving the medical rehabilitation services for children and people with disability in Uganda. So this Easter Special of The Active Amputee is dedicated to this amazing organisation and the impressive services they are providing, day in day out. read more

Post by Bjoern Eser ⎮ April 7, 2019 ⎮ Inform

Inclusion in action

I have been working on social change for the last 20odd years, mainly as a trainer, consultant and advisor for conflict transformation and peacebuilding projects in Asia and Africa. Since I have started focussing on disability issues, I have applied many of the skills I honed during my years abroad to this new passion of mine. And I am always thankful for opportunities to engage with young people and talk about my life as an amputee. I love the interaction with the kids, their genuine interest and open-mindedness, their creative ideas and willingness to work towards inclusion. I recently had the pleasure of talking with the students from a small school in Wales. And what a fantastic opportunity that was. read more

Post by Bjoern Eser ⎮ April 3, 2019 ⎮ Inform

Happy birthday to The Active Amputee

This week The Active Amputee is turning two. It was back in April 2017 that the blog went live. A few posts about myself to kick things off before I started reaching out to others with a limb difference. People with a story to tell. People who inspire. Who inform. Who encourage us to try out new things, be active and push the limits. People who were willing to share openly and let us in on their journeys. That was back then. And now, two years later: A few days ago I caught myself browsing through the long list of posts that have been published on my blog. Way over 150 by now. What a privilege, I thought, to be able to get to know so many of you. I never knew how many incredible amputees are out there. People who really beat the odds and push the limits. People who joined my journey. read more

Post by Bjoern Eser ⎮ March 31, 2019 ⎮ Inform

A new climbing foot for a new climbing season

Just a quick one today. Look at this little beauty which came in the mail recently. The Evolv Adaptive Foot and the corresponding Eldo-Z climbing show. Can’t wait to test this combo at my local climbing wall and out in the crags. read more

Post by Bjoern Eser ⎮ March 24, 2019 ⎮ Inform

Amazing covers from an Austrian Start-Up

The days of the ugly covers for artificial limbs are finally over. While many prosthetists offered some sort of cover, more often than not they tried to imitate the look of the remaining limb. Designed for function, not for style, they were off the shelf models with a standard look. Dull, boring, lacking any creativity. But recent years have seen a new trend. With the increase in 3D printing a number of start-ups have specialized in providing prosthetic covers, enabling amputees to express their own style and allowing them to wear their prostheses with pride. One of the newest providers of prosthetic covers is ce:koon from Upper Austria. And today I am speaking with Marcos Wakolbinger, its founder and CEO. read more

Post by Bjoern Eser ⎮ March 24, 2019 ⎮ Inform

The Active Amputee needed a break

Many of you have noticed that I have been quiet for some time. Since the sponsored climb in mid-January and the spring special on amputee parenthood the blog seemed dormant. There were hardly any new articles on The Active Amputee and for many my social media channels felt like empty shells. I felt tired and so The Active Amputee was put on hold. Not an easy decision for me as I am fully committed to this project. But a necessary one to recharge my batteries, re-kindle my passions and create the necessary headspace to be creative again. After almost a month I am now back. Full of energy, full of new ideas, and with exciting new collaborations. read more

Guest post by Chaos Cat ⎮ February 28, 2019 ⎮ Inspire & engage

Five pictures and me: Chaos Cat (English version)

In our new series "Five Pictures and Me" people with amputation introduce themselves by sharing their favorite pictures with us. The opening act is by Lisa, who you already know from her article "Choosing an amputation to finally blossom". Lisa loves the new quality of life she won through a voluntary amputation. Due to bone cancer, Lisa was left with a metal implant in her leg, that left her with a stiff knee for 14 years. Through the amputation she said good bye to her old life and enjoys her new mobility and reclaimed her self-confidence - as these powerful pictures clearly illustrate. read more

Guest post by Chaos Cat ⎮ February 28, 2019 ⎮ Inspire & engage

Fünf Bilder und Ich: Chaos Cat (deutsche Version)

In unserer neuen Serie "Fünf Bilder und Ich" stellen Menschen mit Amputation sich vor, indem sie ihre Lieblingsbilder mit uns teilen. Den Auftakt macht Lisa, die ihr schon aus ihrem Artikel "Eine Amputation wählen, um endlich aufzublühen" kennt. Lisa liebt ihre neu gewonnene Lebensqualität durch eine freiwillige Amputation. Durch Knochenkrebs im Kindesalter hatte sie ein Knochenimplantat im Bein von Oberschenkel bis zum Knie. Nach der großen Operation und nachdem mein Krebs geheilt war, blieb ihr Knie 14 Jahre steif. Nun habt sie mit ihrem alten Leben abgeschlossen und hat ihre Mobilität und ihr Selbstbewusstsein wiedergewonnen - wie diese Bilder eindrucksvoll zeigen. read more

Guest post by Andrea Swallow ⎮ February 13, 2019 ⎮ Inspire

Poetry in motion: A letter to the people I encounter when I run

Andrea has been an amputee for 30 years (motorcycle accident) and it is only the last five years that she has taken a very hard look at how she sees herself and how the choices she makes contribute to loving her body as it is. Andrea has always pursued physical activities that bring her joy, that challenge her mentally and physically and she has been lucky to have had some amazing experiences doing it. "When you’ve experienced rock bottom, you tend to seek lightness by conscious choice:)!" Here is a beautiful poem about her journey of acceptance. read more

Guest post by Josephine Bridges ⎮ February 6, 2019 ⎮ Inform & engage

For people with disabilities staring is part of the package

I recently was asked how many people look at me, now I've had the amputation, and it got me laughing. I laughed mostly because I hadn't actually noticed. I'd spent eleven years with a tremendous set of scars on my left leg and a deformed knee which I quite happily displayed in skirts, shorts etc. I also spent a lot of time with sticks or in wheelchairs, all of which garnered a large amount of attention. Staring never really bothered me in the first place, I was always of the mindset that no amount of staring would ever stop me from dressing or being the way I wanted. Whilst they saw me very clearly, I began to see them less and less, until eventually starers became invisible to my eye. read more


Inform

In the inform section, you will find information about a range of issues amputees regularly have to deal with. Expect issues ranging from handling phantom pain to new developments in the prosthetic sector, from being an amputee parent to finding the right prosthetic cover etc. Anything that helps to make informed choices and make life as an amputee easier.

Inspire

In the inspire section, you will find exciting stories from other amputees. Expect travel reports and biographies from amputee adventurers, interviews with people who took on special challenges and stories about creative approaches to live a rewarding life as an amputee.

Engage

In the engage section, you will find information about special events for amputees, opportunities to try out something new, links to other organisations, information about support options and funding - and invitations to take part in one of the regular The Active Amputee challenges.