My Life As An Amputee In Five Pictures
In our series "Five Pictures and Me" people with amputation introduce themselves by sharing their favorite pictures with us. Today: Andrew Gregory - below knee amputee, pole dancer, artist, model and the gold medal winner at the recent International Pole Sports Federation world championships.
An Amputee With A Mission
This photo was taken six weeks post-amputation. It was an elective surgery and the operation site settled really fast, and I received my first prosthetic really quickly. It was uncomfortable and I didn’t believe I was ever gonna be able to walk on it without crutches. At every stage of this process, I convinced myself something was wrong. The mind is a powerful enemy at times. Needless to say, there was nothing wrong, I just needed time. Seems so obvious now!
This photo was taken around the same time I was contacted by Manon Ouimet @manonography, who was doing a project on altered bodies. I jumped at the chance. I had no idea about my physical appearance to others anymore. I love the final image, it’s powerful. I don’t look at it and think of disability in any way. The photos of me and other amputees have won prizes and great recognition for Manon’s work.
Pole is a massive part of my life. I started two years before the amputation, but my increased activity levels were causing my injured leg (motorcycle accident 17 years earlier) to deteriorate and it was becoming unbearable. As I decided to investigate options, I soon found out that really there was only one. The amputation was 18 months ago (March 2018). After the operation I felt amazing. I’m great on crutches after many years of use after my accident. I returned to training in just 11 days, carefully of course!!! Photo @knockingbirdcreative
This experience was incredible: I won gold at the IPSF world championships, achieved a new world record score, and I was awarded Male Athlete Of The Year. This competition is massive. 300 competitors representing their countries in four days of competitions, this year in Canada. I prefer to pole without my prosthetic, I can then use the back of my knee to grip with, the liner gets in the way.
This final image is the opening of a short film about my amputation story. I was approached by Storyhouse media about the project and got on really well the guys, so decided to go ahead. I’m so happy with the results, of you have eight minutes, check it out on youtube. My routine from the world championships is also on youtube.
Desire to have a child as an amputee
(amputee parenthood special I)
Today we start with another special. A series of articles dedicated to a one special topic, one specific challenge or one impressive person. And this week it’s all about being an amputee parent. Even without a limb difference, the idea of suddenly being responsible for a child can be daunting. Immense joy is regularly mixed with feelings of fear and being completely overwhelmed. Often even more so if you are an amputee. So throughout the course of this week we hear from four amputees, learning about their thoughts on parenthood. Jasmin, a young women from Germany with an above knee amputation - and a regular contributor to The Active Amputee - kicks-off our Spring Special. read more
Pregnancy after surviving an avalanche
(amputee parenthood special II)
Joanna lost her leg in a mountaineering accident. She has what is called a Chopart amputation. That means that she has retained a load- bearing heel bone and heel pad. However, due to a needed shortening her amputation presents as a Symes (which is an amputation through the heel bone). Joanna can walk short distances without a prosthesis. Only a few years after her accident, Joanna is expecting her first child. In this personal article she shares her experience of being pregnant while still getting used to her new life as an amputee. read more
Oh baby, we are going to have kids
(amputee parenthood special III)
Oh no! This can’t be right! I looked at the positive home pregnancy test again. Come on, make that color change some more. I sat still for a while and waited. Pregnancy was not on my list of things to do right now. Nine months earlier I’d lost both legs above the knee and my right arm just below the shoulder in a train vs car accident. I learned to walk with prostheses using a quad cane and was planning to move back to Los Angeles where I would live by myself and finish the last nine months of my Radiology residency. My thump-thud, toy-soldier walk was loud and looked funny but got me where I needed to go. Doing things with one hand was becoming easier. But am I ready for a pregnancy? read more