When I was asked to do this article I felt I was at a flat point. That I had nothing to say? I feel I've pushed my story so far that perhaps people weren't interested anymore? Than I made a promise to myself and nobody else, that 2019 was going to not just be a good year but a GREAT year! My focus was going to be new and my perspective a little changed! I may not be your typical Active Amputee but I don't let that hold me down! As you can see when you read my story.
I was recently interviewed by Scott Davidson from The Living Adaptive Podcast. We chatted about
a wide range of topics, anything from the importance of accepting difficult times in your life to getting rid of the victim label, from the need to accept the consequences of your decisions to
taking responsibility for your own healing journey, from being an amputee dad to my new plans for 2019. But listen for yourself.
Welcome back! This is the first post of 2019. This year will be another exciting year for The Active Amputee. Loads of new things in the making. But more about them in another post soon. Let's first take a look at my first big live event of the year.
Christmas is less than two weeks away and 2018 is slowly coming to an end. I will take a little break over the coming weeks. But before I go offline I want to share some exciting news with you. Something about an event I have been working on for some time.
Since I heard about Erin, the double amputee circus artist, in early 2017 I have been a great fan of her and her work. She recently shared some of her plans for the coming year with me. And I would like
to share them with you. Exciting developments, if you ask me.
Paradox Sports is trying to break down barriers and make climbing, and the climbing community, accessible to all. Since 2007, Paradox has run transformative adaptive climbing weekend trips in the most iconic climbing destinations in the United States – Yosemite Valley, Joshua Tree National Park, Red River Gorge, The Tetons, Ouray Ice Park, and more. These trips have been a place to connect, push limits, and change beliefs about what is possible for people living with a disability.
Fancy trying water-skiing, wakeboarding, kayaking, biking, kiting or skiing? All suitable for amputees. Access Adventures is a non-profit organisation, aiming to improve the quality of life for people with physical disabilities through organising outdoor adaptive camps.
Less than a month and there it is: Christmas. In my eyes Christmas is all about quality time with loved ones. It’s all about long days out in mother nature followed by even longer evenings in front of an open fire place, a good book in one hand, a huge mug of hot chocolate, coffee or mulled wine in the other. Yes, followed by a good whiskey.
For me it’s a time to wind down and focus on the important things in life: As a cancer survivor that is first and foremost being thankful that I am still around, that I can be active and live a rewarding life, often out in the great outdoors. Being thankful that I have a loving family and are part of a supportive community of people who want to make a difference; people who want to make this world a better place. All the rest is background music.
For me Christmas is also the time to dream of new wild and daring adventures. The small ones just outside my doorstep and the big ones half way around the globe. The ones which are physically demanding and the ones which are an emotional rollercoaster ride. All of them have their place. Dreaming up new adventures is good for the soul. And doing something for your the soul is a bit part what this time of the year is all about - at least for me.
But as things go, Christmas is also closely associated with…, yes, presents. With getting things for the people around us. And it seems, this idea of getting something nice for a family member, a friend, a colleague, a neighbor or the guy helping out with the football training in school stresses some people out.
To take some of this stress away from you, here is my list of great presents for active amputees. I hope there is something for all off you. (Full disclosure: Some of these links are affiliate links. That means that I earn a small commission if you purchase any of these products. This is of no extra costs to you.)
So, let’s see what we have!
I am a passionate traveller. And I have travelled far and wide, often off the beaten track and by local means. As I try to encourage other people with limb differences to go out and explore the world, I regularly share travel tips and travel experiences on my blog. Most of them are inspirational and just provide tested advice. Some of them cover less pleasant experiences to highlight some of the extra challenges people with disabilities face. And today I would like to share a story I recently saw on Linda Olson’s blog. Linda is a very active triple amputee who lost both of her legs and an arm in a train versus car crash in Germany in the early seventies. Linda is not one to give up easily and always tries to make the best of the situation. Even if the situation is degrading and completely unnecessary. Here is her story (which was originally published on Linda's blog in June 2018).
Sometimes even the most active of amputees needs a bit of couch potato time. A day off at home. A big mug of steaming coffee. A fire burning in the fire place. And some videos to watch. Here are my top picks for the week.
Christmas is approaching quickly. And for many people, Christmas is the time for long holidays in exotic locations all over the globe. Amputees and other people with limb differences are often as keen to travel and explore off-the-beaten track places, meet new people and experience exciting cultures as people without a disability. At the same time, many of us are much worried about the potential challenges we might face. This often means that people with disabilities shy away from visiting the places they dream of.
Fortunately there has been a lot of awareness work focussing on accessible tourism in recent years. On the one hand more and more locations improve their infrastructure and expand their services to make it easier and more enjoyable for people with disabilities. On the other hand there is an increasing number of very experienced tour-operators providing all the hands-on assistance and the local knowledge that is needed to enable people with disabilities to have the time of their life. For today’s article I teamed up with Access2Africa Safaris from South Africa to present one such company and their incredible work.
People who have been following me - either here on my blog or on Instagram - know that I love being active. I feel even better if I can be active in the great outdoors. This passion for being
physically active out in mother nature did not change when I decided that it was time for my leg and me to go separate ways. On the contrary, it actually increased as after almost 20 years of
being limited by my endoprosthesis I finally had the feeling that everything was possible again. Being active in the outdoors might need a different approach than before, but suddenly the limit
was the sky.
In 2004, Dr. Dani Burt was involved in a motorcycle crash that put her in a coma for 45 days. After she woke up, Dani knew her life would never be the same again. She felt lost, confused, hurt
and in many ways hopeless. But her life was not over. It took many unexpected turns, opened many new doors and offered her countless amazing opportunities. Today, Dani works as a Doctor of
Physical Therapy at Sharp Memorial Hospital, the same hospital where she was a patient of more than a decade ago. A career she chose because she wants to be there for patients after they go
through the darkest moments in their life to show them what is possible. Here is an interview with Dani, talking about her road to recovery and the many ways in which she now gives back and
supports people who faced life-changing events.
Im ersten Teil dieses Interviews haben wir Jasmin und Andreas etwas näher kennengelernt. Die beiden haben ihre jeweils ganz persönliche Geschichte mit uns geteilt. Sie haben uns erzählt, was sie in Zukunft noch so vorhaben und welche Ansprüche sie an eine Prothetikversorgung stellen.
Andreas und Jasmin testen zur Zeit das überarbeitete Genium X3. Das Gelenk als auch einige andere Passteile wurden den beiden für einige Wochen von Ottobock zur Verfügung gestellt. Heute werden wir mehr von ihnen hören, welche Erfahrungen sie bis jetzt mit dem Knie so gemacht haben.
In the first part of this interview we got to know Jasmin and Andreas a bit better. The two of them shared their personal stories with us. They told about their plans for the future and what they expected from a prosthetic device to help them live their dreams.
Andreas and Jasmin are currently testing the revised Genium X3. The knee as well as some other parts are provided to them by Ottobock so they can test them for a month. Today we will hear about their experiences so far.
Diese Woche habe ich das Vergnügen, mit Jasmin und Andreas aus Deutschland zu reden. Beide sind oberschenkelamputiert. Beide sind dies noch garnicht so lange. Beide haben vor ihrer Amputation eine lange Kranken-Odyssee hinter sich. Und beide testen zur Zeit das überarbeitete Genium X3 von Ottobock.
Heute möchte ich euch die beiden kurz vorstellen. Und morgen hören wir dann mehr über ihre Erfahrungen mit dem Kniegelenk.
This week I have the pleasure to talk to Jasmin and Andreas from Germany. Both are above knee amputees. Both haven't been amputated for very long. Both have had a long odyssey before their amputation. And both are currently testing the revised Genium X3 by Ottobock.
Today I would like to introduce them to you. And tomorrow we will hear more about their experiences with the micro-processor prosthesis.
It is a fact, in many countries around the world, that some people face disadvantage when it comes to getting involved in sport activities. There are particular subgroups that have nuances and requirements that we need to cater for in order to ensure they can participate fully. So the question is, if we know these challenges exist what do we actually do about it? How do we take action on inclusion in our sport clubs and organisations? How do we talk about it?
In this post you will learn:
At the end of the post I will provide some additional resources to help you put things into action.
The START foundation empowers amputees in life through sport, by providing grants to purchase sports prosthesis or adaptive equipment to help them achieve their sporting dreams.
Pulling a 45,000lb fire truck isn’t the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about the hobbies of the people around you. And this thought is even more impressive when the person you are thinking about is an amputee. But that is exactly what Dan Nunnelly from Dallas/Texas did. He is one of the growing number of strongman (men and women) and power lifters who are amputees. Here is his story, which was originally published by yoocan.
At the moment, the eyes of many sports interested amputees are focused on Sydney. Between October 20-27, Sydney hosts this year’s Invictus Games, an international adaptive sports event in which wounded, injured or ill armed services personnel and veterans take part in sports.
I have been working on social change for the last 20odd years. Since the late 1990s I have been earning a living as a trainer, consultant and advisor for conflict transformation and peacebuilding projects, mainly 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. I recently had the chance to talk with students about what’s it like to be an amputee. I loved the interaction with the kids, their genuine interest and open-mindedness, their creative ideas and willingness to work towards inclusion. If you are interested to engage with schools, youth clubs and the like, here are some practical ideas to make things easier.
As a last post of this mini series, Enock shares what it takes to take on demanding projects and see them through. He talks about community, about gear, about training and preparation – and last but not least about which big adventure is next on his list. Enjoy this last post of the first ever The Active Amputee Special – The Enock Glidden Week.
Wow, what an unbelievable feat: Climbing Astroman in the Yosemite valley, using fixed ropes and several thousand pull-ups. Today Enock lets us in on his thoughts when coming back from his first trip to California.
Yesterday - in part one of our Enock Glidden special - Enock mentioned that some years ago he found a new passion in rock climbing. And in October 2016 – two years ago this week – he attempted to climb the most iconic big wall in the world of climbing: Yosemite’s El Capitan. The 3,000 ft wall is a dream for many and attracts climbers from all around the globe. Climbing El Cap is demanding for experienced climbers who are in full control of all their limbs. Tackling the wall as a climber with a limb difference seemed almost impossible. But that didn’t prevent Enock from giving it a go. But see for yourself.
Starting this fall, there will be several new features on The Active Amputee. One of these new features is a quarterly special. Once every three months there will be one week dedicated to a special person, a special topic, a special challenge. During this week I will publish more than the usual number of posts. I will provide you with additional resources and background information. And hopefully I will motivate you to try out something new and head off to more mindboggling adventures.
Yes! I admit it. I am a huge fan of podcasts. Anything from ‘The History of India’ to ‘Trumpcast’, from ‘The Smart Cities Week’ to ‘Smart Passive Income’, from ‘The Intercept’ to ‘Serial’. But despite my love for podcasts, it’s been only recently that I started listening to podcasts about amputees and others with limb differences. Why did it take me so long? To be honest, I have no idea. Guess it’s been just a matter of never actually searching for one until I stumbled across my first amputee podcasts more or less by coincidence. And that got the ball rolling.
To spare all of you a good degree of missing out on something great (without the FOMO effect, I guess), let me share some of the shows which I think you should give a try. My top five, so to speak.
So (drum roll please) here we go!
Last week saw the 8th edition of the annual PACE Rehab conference. This year’s topic was „Beyond the Clinic Room – Outcomes in The Real World“. The conference was all about transforming patients’ lives and enabling them to live an active life. Something that has been close to my heart for years, and a theme that has been the leading light for this blog from the very beginning. As it happened the event fell onto the very day that marks the 13th anniversary of my amputation. So it was a nice surprise to learn that a picture of me and my little one was chosen to head the invitations, the poster and program for the day.
As most of you know, I am a strong advocate of bringing a fresh wind with a more personal touch and a wider personal choice to the prosthetic world. Artificial limbs and other prosthetic devices do not need to be skin-coloured boring tools that are designed according to purely practical considerations. So since the start of The Active Amputee I have regularly featured companies that broke new ground, provided prosthetic covers and enabled people with limb differences to develop their personal style and proudly wear their artificial limbs in public. I would like to introduce U-Exist to you, a creative company from France that adds its vision and voice to the ever growing movement of personalized prosthetic devices.
Here is my interview with Mrs. Cindy Habchi, responsible for social media within the U-Exist team.
Taking the plunge into a new business venture can be daunting in some respects, especially when you have a disability. However, with a couple clever strategies and some handy tools, you can successfully navigate the transition into a new career. Plus, delving into the world of entrepreneurship offers several noteworthy benefits to those who are disabled such as:
If your interest is peaked, here’s how to get started in your pursuit of success!
I am pretty steadfast in my belief that the body is self-organizing and self-healing given the right conditions. Mind you, knowing those conditions is another thing. I had to let go of “why” this was happening and “what else can I do”. Interestingly, when I began to explore the option to amputate, some incredible experiences “appeared” in my life.
On May 20, 2018 a group of determined, inspirational people set off on an amazing challenge to become the first amputees to climb Mount Snowdon, the highest mountain in England and Wales.
Amy, a young woman from Nashville has a soft spot for sarcasm, coffee, and fitness. A few years ago, she discovered her love for boxing, almost by accident. Here is her story.
As you all know I set up The Active Amputee to provide information, to share inspiration and to create a community. And these last weeks have been amazing in terms of creating a community and
creating new collaborations with people far and wide. Here is just a quick run down of all the new relationships I am so excited about.
As part of my cooperation with yoocan, I would like to share the story of Lisa Ludwig. Lisa was diagnosed with cancer at an early age. While the osteosarcoma took her leg, it never took her spirit and positive attitude. Several years later she is an active mentor to other cancer patients and amputees and - for some time - had taken up the role as brand ambassador for a company that produces prosthetic covers.
Who would have thought that lats week’s article - A simple introduction into paraclimbing as an above knee amputee - will be greeted by such a positive response. After the post went live on Wednesday, it took only minutes until the first reactions, additional questions, comments and thank you notes started coming in. Wow, that is great. I really wasn’t expecting that.
Climbing is an amazing sport. Full stop. No matter if you are into bouldering or top-roped routes at a local climbing wall, prefer pre-bolted sport routes outdoors or love the thrill of proper multi-pitch trad climbing or a deep-water solo, the sport has something for everybody. And I mean everybody, no matter if you are able-bodied (what ever that is) or not.
All of you know that I am an above the knee amputee. Most of you know that I am an outdoor enthusiast with a passion for the hills and mountains. And some of you know that I have been a regular visitor to Nepal and had the chance to hike in the foothills of the Himalayas. So you can imagine how thrilled I that Nepal’s Tourism Board has just announced its first accessible trekking path in one of the country’s most breathtaking regions: Pokhara. The 1.2 kilometer trail is fully wheelchair accessible, is equipped with handrails and additional facilities are soon to come. Visitors are greeted by the stunning panorama across the Annapurna and Manaslu range.
I got into motorbikes as a teenager as it was a good, cheap mode of transport to get to college, work and to see my girlfriend who lived in the next town.
I quickly got bigger bikes until December 26, 1988 when I was hit on a straight and clear bit of road by a newly licensed driver turning across in front of me. The accident resulted in a
traumatic through knee amputation of my right leg and near death due to blood loss. After surgery I ended up with a transfemoral amputation and after eleven days I was home wondering what to do
The newest high-tech prosthesis is of little use if it is not well connected to your body. Over and over again the socket proved to be the weakest link that can be the make it or break it point determining the activity level of an amputee. And as our bodies change over time, so do our demands towards this connections between our residual limb and our prosthetic device. Working with a liner system combined with a movable seal-ring is one of the options we have to create a well-fitting socket with a strong vacuum suction.
It has been more than a year since I started The Active Amputee. In the initial months I was guided by three leading themes.
With all of this done, it was finally time to think about a logo. And after a lot of to and from, of designs being drawn up and binned, of font types being tried out, changed, ridiculed, praised and changed again, I have finally settled on my new logo. Et voilà: Here it is.
Dreaming big - and making it happen. Imagine a time and place where many amputees, possibly hundreds of them, come together from different parts of the world. They come together for a common purpose. Simply to enjoy health & fitness activities including Sports, Yoga, Dance, all movement arts etc. There are no awards, no medals, no validation of your participation. The experience is its own reward. That is exactly what Sanjay Arora is working on.
I asked you all „What makes you happy as an amputee?“. And within minutes the answers came flowing in. Here they are.
Having just finished my first kids book about elephants I discovered the story about Mosha, the elephant who lost her leg due to a land mine and was fitted with a prosthetic limb. Being an amputee myself this was something I had to see for myself.
I am a great fan of podcasts. No matter if I am in my car to pick up the kids, in the kitchen preparing dinner or working out in the evening, I normally listen to podcasts. And among my favorite ones are TED talks. TED talks are such a great combination of brilliant info, inspirational journeys and though provoking daring big picture thinking. Here are twelve TED talks every amputee should listen to.
I have never been too interested in team sports. People who have been following this blog for some time know that I love to be active in the outdoors. Hiking, kayaking, climbing - that is my world. Enjoying a day out in mother nature, challenging myself, exploring the world around me, one place at a time, that’s what makes me happy. And more often than not, I do this by myself. Quality me-time, so to speak. Time to let the mind wander (and wonder); time to recharge my batteries; time to get into a different headspace and come up with new and creative ideas for my day job and the various projects I run. Having said all that there is one exception to my „I have never been too interested in team sports“. And that is sitting volleyball.
As you all know, I have teamed up with yoocan to share stories of people with limb differences, increase the reach off these stories and inspire people all around the world to live an active, rewarding and fulfilling life. Today’s story is by Sarah Stump from Imperfectly Sarah, the story of a one armed girl in a two armed world.
Pace Rehabilitation and The Active Amputee have teamed up to increase the reach of high quality information to amputees, enabling them to make well informed decisions in relation to their limb loss. Today’s article on osseointegration kicks of our collaboration. Over the coming months I will regularly share information provided by the experts from Pace Rehabilitation.
Monday May 26, 2014. That was the day I truly knew, I was capable of living the life ahead of me-whatever I wanted that to be. It was the day I was fitted with my first prosthetic leg. It was the day I took my first steps on the leg. It was the day I got back into a pool. It was the day I took time to wear make up again. Needless to say, it was a busy day.
I love being outdoors. Always have. And this love for being physically active in the great outdoors did not change when I became an amputee. I regularly go hiking in the hills (and less regularly in the mountains). I know that being out in the hills far away from any assistance if the need arises can be a scary thought. At the same time and if done right it can be an immensely rewarding experience that helps to develop new skills and increase confidence to be an active and mobile above knee amputee.
This page is made by amputees. And it is made for amputees and their families. The Active Amputee wants to enable you to make informed decisions by providing unbiased information. The Active Amputee wants to inspire action through the sharing of stories. And the Active Amputee wants to build a community of active amputees by encouraging engagement and mutual support. Nothing more, nothing less. It‘s as easy and simple as that.
The people involved in The Active Amputee love to hear from you. Give us feedback about this page, send in your stories so that we can share them with others, let us know about events that are of interest for amputees, suggest topics you would like to read more about, ask questions. Really, anything that relates to amputee issues is of interest for The Active Amputee and could be featured on this side. Here is the contact form.