"After 20 Years I Accepted My Amputation And Became The Person I Was Meant To Be"
For today‘s guest blogger, 27 years of being an amputee has been a never ending journey of pushing her mind, her body and soul to be the best it can be. And she sure has done a lot of things to be proud of. So no wonder she can't wait to see what the next 27 years have in store for her.
One Of The First To Undergo a Rotationsplasty
It was the summer of 1989. I had just finished grade 5 and I was thrilled I'd have the summer to spend on my new roller skates. That plan quickly ended when I learned that I had an Osteosarcoma in my right knee. I began 14 months of chemotherapy and prepared for my leg to be amputated. I was under strict orders from the doctor that there was to be no more roller skating.
That November, with the help of my very skilled surgeon, I became the third Osteosarcoma survivor in my Province to undergo a Rotationplasty. I couldn't stop the loss of my knee but allowing the doctors to rotate my foot and transplant it in place of my knee was the best decision my parents and I could have ever made.
My Five Proudest Moments Of Being An Amputee
I'll be the first to say I'm not an athletic amputee - but I'm definitely an active amputee. I have made the most of my faux knee. And here are my five proudest moments of being an amputee:
In my first week of junior high school I gave a presentation to my 400 peers. I told them about being a cancer survivor and amputee. Never have I been more scared but that experience turned me into a public speaker.
In high school my friends and I made it our mission to get me rollerblading. We spent the next few years rollerblading on the trails of our city's river valley. I'm certain we covered thousands of kilometres and I felt like I finally got the chance to make up for the time I lost my ability to roller skate.
The year after I graduated university I got on a plane and moved to Rwanda for two years. I trusted my prosthesis would be there for me and serve me well. It did. The one time there was a problem a prosthetist in Kigali was able to resolve the issue for me.
In my late 20s I got on a plane once more. After a plane, train and bus ride, I found myself in St. Jean Pied de Port. For those who know the Camino de Santiago, St. Jean Pied de Port is the main entrance to the Camino Frances route. It took me two months to complete the 774 km walk from St. Jean Pied de Port/France to Santiago/Spain. Never have I been more proud of myself as I was the two months I spent walking the Camino.
My 30s brought me a career change. I went back to university and I took a disability theory class as one of my electives. It was in that class that I truly began to transform. After 20 years of being an amputee, I finally decided to accept myself for who I am. I embraced the labels of amputee and disability. I stopped trying to fit into an able-bodied world and I stopped trying to hide my prosthesis from others. I became the person I was meant to be.
27 years of being an amputee has been a never ending journey of pushing my mind, body and soul to be the best it can be. I can't wait to see what the next 27 years have in store for me.
Thank you for reading.