Sometimes I wonder if I qualify as an amputee. I see photos of people with no legs, or an arm gone. I look at my foot, although most of it is gone, it seems such a small loss, yet when I am in public I am reminded it is larger than I think.
I am still caught off guard at the stares, or stolen glances from strangers as I move through stores or wait to be seated in a restaurant. More than anything I wish they would just say hello or something, rather than just stare. It is the silent stares that hurt the worst. I am open to talk about it. I wouldn’t mind explaining. It has been life-changing, but certainly not life-ending.
In fact, in my case my choices in life have increased with the removal of my already damaged foot. It looked normal but was stifling my life with its diseased blood vessels. My prognosis living with my AVM was depressing. A series of treatments with increasing scar tissue and increasing pain, each limiting my ability to walk freely and cutting off my chances of running again.
Amputating my foot has broadened my horizons and given me a reason to work hard at recovery instead of coping with a diagnosis. I look forward to my road ahead and wouldn’t mind sharing my journey with any curious onlooker if they are daring enough to ask.
I now see the courage in amputees, not in just the recovery but overcoming the looks of pity that follow them through life. Everyone’s lives are journeys and each is different. Mine has taken this new turn, I can’t always see the path in front of me but I have hope in where I am headed and look forward to the freedom that will once again be mine as I recover.