Written by Jody Stein:
So how is it possible to be Positive Following An Amputation? Or…is it possible to be positive following an amputation? Well, it is all about attitude. You see, there is always hope. Hope for everyone. If you have perseverance, resilience, and faith you can accomplish anything you desire. I happen to be blessed with those qualities. You can also be blessed with those qualities as well.
Give yourself all of the time and the space that you may need and desire to come to terms with your new body, your new amputation. Time is and can be a real healer as a new amputee so allow yourself to feel the emotions and ride the wave until you are ready. Do not be afraid to seek support if and when you need it. The most important factor in moving forward is to accept the limb loss with a positive attitude.
Everyone is different and copes or comes to terms at different times. I did not have enough time to do anything but come to terms with my amputation quickly. I only found out about it the day prior to my amputation. As a right below the knee amputee (RBKA), I received some excellent advice from a person whom I had never met before. A Paralympic wheelchair basketball player! He came to visit me the night before my amputation and assured me that it would NOT be the end of the world. It would be the beginning of a whole new world, depending on my attitude. The best advice I can give you for this is to not hold your emotions inside of yourself. When you hold your emotions in, you just do not come to terms with them as quickly as you do when you get them out where you can deal with them on your journey.
We definitely are all unique and different. That is what makes each one of us so special. I have been an RBKA for 3-1/2 years and I instantly learned to love the new me, although, for some, I do understand that it can take time. You will get there in your own way and in your own time. The key to positivity following an amputation is to love yourself just as you are. You will get there by keeping your head up and by knowing that you are loved, especially by yourself.
Everyone comes to terms at their own pace. You have lost a part of you that you cannot get back, but it is who you are now. Prosthetic limbs are wonderful. You can design them, and you can make them your own. They will let you walk again and move again. With a positive attitude, they will give you encouragement, strength, and hope. It has been a few short years since my amputation and I sometimes catch myself in the mirror or through a window and think…that is the coolest prosthetic ever! Ideally, the important thing is, I’M STILL HERE!
I believe that there is a grieving process involved in every aspect of life and each person takes different amounts of time to accept what has happened to them. Others, like myself, who have lost a limb, may not grieve at all. There is no pill or any kind of magic potion that can justify whether you will or will not grieve. When I went through my amputation, I made the choice to accept it instantly afterward. Do not get down on yourself because what life has given you is a challenge. We all face various challenges in life. Embrace them and try to be better than you were yesterday. That is all any of us can do. Do not compare yourself to others or let others compare themselves to you. I have been there. If you focus on your little accomplishments, your bigger accomplishments will come naturally. It depends on you. I was in acceptance pretty quickly because I needed to move forward mentally so that I could move forward physically.
Live life to the fullest because life is simply too short to be unhappy. With hustle, determination, and a great support system, nothing is impossible! Having a positive attitude may make the difference between being able to get up and go each day or stay home alone and live an isolated life, void of social support and activity. The most important factor in moving forward is to accept the limb loss with a positive attitude as soon as possible following an amputation. It IS possible, and it CAN be done!