I often wonder which is the better situation: to be an amputee basically your entire life, as I have, or to have some event which caused an amputation later in life. I’ve let each side of the coin win the argument, but it is interesting to think about.
As a lifer, I don’t know anything else. I really have no idea what it feels like to walk on two healthy legs and feet. From what I can remember, I’ve always worn a prosthesis. I have woken up every morning and put it on in order to get my day started. I have spent a ton of time in hospitals and in recovery throughout the years (I believe I’ve had 17 surgeries). My childhood friends grew up knowing about my leg, and while young kids are curious and sometimes painfully honest, they really don’t care. My friends accepted me and knew my story from a young age, I didn’t have to have those awkward conversations with them. My family had to deal with a ton of stress, heartache, medical bills, etc. but they were able to somewhat prepare themselves for it as opposed to receiving a terrible call from the ER. While I didn’t accept the cards I was dealt as quickly as I would’ve liked (hell, I’m still working on it), my disability wasn’t sprung on me without warning. While I most definitely have thought “why me”, I have never had to think “what if I would’ve left 10 minutes earlier”, “what if I wouldn’t have mowed the lawn that day”, “what if I didn’t have the need for speed”, “what if I wouldn’t have gone into the ocean that day”, “what if I would’ve stopped smoking earlier”, and the list goes on.
I never got that opportunity at ‘normal’ life though. I never got the chance to run for as long as I wanted without pain, to freely jump into the pool without second thought, to wear mini skirts and stillettos with two gorgeous real legs, to go on a date without the thought of when the right time is to tell him haunting me in the back of my mind.
Some days I think I’m better off as a lifer, but it would be nice to know what it feels like to walk on two real feet.