Click here for the original copy of the article – it’s on pages 50-51.
Paul Deines has been an enthusiastic, 50-something member of LIM359 for the past year. He has been living with with limb loss since 2011 when, after stepping on a nail, infection swept through his foot. In just over a month, Paul lost first a toe, then his foot, and finally his leg due to the infection that ensued.
However, very little keeps Paul from creating, pursuing, and accomplishing his personal and professional goals. For example, he has made a career of expressing his creative side through his lifelong passion for photography. See bluedolphinfotography.smugmug.com/ for more thought-provoking samples.
Paul spends considerable time and effort in pursuit of his passion, sometimes traveling alone in the hunt for the perfect shot. Last fall, for example, when he shot scenic photos of aspens in their stunning gold colors. On a personal level, however, when he’s back in the big city, Paul greatly values LIM359 events, where he can put aside all else and just hang out with other members.
Bottom line? Paul enjoys attending LIM359 events for the chance it offers him to interact with other amputees in an unpretentious, straightforward setting. That said, he may well have found a good home for those traits, given the group’s open and unpretentious nature.
Interested in meeting Paul and/or other LIM359 members? The next LIM359 event is afternoon mini golf, April 25, 2015. Hope to see you there!
Are you interested in sharing a little about yourself with other LIM359 members? I can help! I am actively seeking LIM359 members who might wish to make some new acquaintances or even rekindle old ones. Just e-mail me your contact information at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll provide all the details.
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Preliminary Conference Program Updated!
Check out our Web site for a peek at the updated program for the Amputee Coalition 2015 National Conference.
Once again, our Conference will feature the following sessions/clinics:
Additionally, we are proud to offer exciting sessions on the following topics:
We are still working hard to finalize the Conference program. Additional sessions may be added, so check back for additional updates and information about this exciting event.
Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to learn from leading experts in amputee care and rehabilitation. Register today for the Amputee Coalition 2015 National Conference, July 23–25 at the JW Marriott Starr Pass in Tucson, Arizona. Be a part of the only event in the country where being an amputee is the norm, not the exception.
Calling all Lim359 members! My name is Rich Moreno, and I’ve been an official member of Lim359 since last December. I am a writer by trade and am offering my services to our group. My goal is to write brief bios of Lim359 members for posting on the group’s blog.
Because I am so new to the group, I do not know many of my fellow members yet, though I’d like to. Do you feel the same way? If so, I invite you to introduce yourself by sharing your unique story with us here on this blog. What’s more, you can also learn more about other members by reading their stories. Adding your picture would be great, too!
The best thing about it? It’s easy! Just email your contact information to me at email@example.com so that we may set up a block of time to speak by phone. You choose what to tell me, and what picture you’d like to use, and I’ll take it from there. You’ll never need to leave your home/office and nothing we discuss will be posted without your approval first. Even better, there is no right or wrong way to do it!
To give you an idea of what I mean, I have posted my own bio below. So, without further adieu, here’s a little bit more about me:
Colorado has been my home for almost 25 years, nearly half my life. My own experience with limb loss began in August, 2012, when I was involved in an all-too-common bicycle/car accident; A distracted driver pulled his car out in front of me and completely surprised me. In the crash, I sustained nerve damage severe enough to cause complete and indefinite loss of use of my left arm.
After a little over two years with no progress, I’d had enough of dragging around the equivalent of a sack of potatoes from my injured shoulder. Further, it delayed my body’s healing process in general, so I decided to have the arm amputated at the elbow. Thankfully, I’d already had some time to physically adapt and to emotionally prepare for life with one arm; it made my transition considerably easier.
I am grateful for the new lease on life I’ve been given, and for the many people I’ve met and continue to meet along the way. This, of course, includes all the new friends I’ve made at Lim359, plus those I’ve yet to meet. From what I’ve seen, Lim359 members are in good company together. Hoping to hear from you soon!
We are very excited to announce that LIM359 now has a chapter in Tallahassee, Florida! LIM359-Tallahassee is lead by Whitney Harris who was a founding member of our original chapter in Denver, Colorado. The first activity will be held in late February or early March of this year. We are very excited to see LIM359’s expansion into Florida and can’t wait to see what Whitney has in store for the chapter!
My 2014 was filled with many moments of joy, accomplishment, love and happiness. It was a big year for me – I experienced some great successes that I am very proud of. Though marked with the occasional challenge (which I believe often make achievements that much sweeter), this trip around the sun was pretty exceptional.
One of my absolute favorite experiences in 2014 was the trip my husband and I took to Maui with our good friends, Stu and Jeanine. Stu was the best man at our wedding and is just the most kind, gentle person, and Jeanine is just fabulous, eccentric and fun beyond words. We’ve spent countless nights together, enjoying far too much wine, amazing meals and lots of laughter – putting distance in our friendship was one of the biggest drawbacks of moving to Denver from Arizona two years ago.
So! A trip to Hawaii together, six whole days – seemed just like perfection. And while I was very excited, I also felt quite a bit of hesitation surrounding this trip. Water based vacations have always presented issue and anxieties for me regarding my prosthesis. Where do I leave it when I go to the pool/ocean? How do I get to the pool/ocean if I can’t walk? What if someone steals it (I know… I know…)? How do I put my liner on with all this sand on the beach? What if people stare at me?
Since losing my leg in 2000 to bone cancer, I have never felt comfortable being “out” with it. And while I have made a lot of improvement with both accepting and embracing myself as an amputee in the past two years, all that seemed to vanish when I got to Hawaii.
The first night there, Stu, Jeanine, and my husband Shawn slipped in the pool at our resort, “oohing” and “ahhhing” and urging me to come in. I declined, and sat on a pool chair, fighting back tears. I wanted to get in the pool, but I was so scared to be seen without my leg on. I felt really angry also, angry at them for not understanding and for going swimming in front of me, and for clearly enjoying it. I realized that if I stayed angry and stayed sad, I was going to waste this incredible week, this incredible vacation – because let’s face it, Hawaii = water. I also ran the risk of ruining it for the three people who were so clearly enjoying themselves. And I really, really didn’t want to do that.
I made the decision, right then, to stop feeling sorry or angry or scared, and to let myself enjoy my trip. I slipped my leg off, then my liner, covered them with a pool towel, and slid in. It felt so good. I am proud to say that I went in the pool or the ocean, or both, every single day. Multiple times a day!
I answered a lot of the questions and anxieties I had, which were fueled by fear. Here is what I learned:
Where do I leave my prosthesis when I go to the pool/ocean? Simple, right where you take it off! And you take it off as close to either body of water to make access easier. I would head to the pool early and find a good spot close to the edge, so I wouldn’t have to hop much to get to the pool. With the ocean, I brought extra towels so I could place my leg on one, and then cover it with another. I also covered my leg with a towel by the pool – it made me feel most comfortable.
How do I get to the pool/ocean if I can’t walk? This is where having good friends, or a good husband is really helpful. While I could get in the pool on my own, the ocean was pretty much out of the question. It was hard to get up to a point where I was buoyant enough that I could swim out. And balance is hard with waves crashing against you and sucking your footing out from under you. Shawn would carry me in to about my waist, and then I was good from there. We snorkeled for hours a day!
What if someone steals my leg? Thankfully, I didn’t learn the answer to this question through experience – but I do think it’s a bit irrational. That being said, I covered my leg with a towel whenever I took it off as not to draw any attention. I don’t expect someone to come along and grab a leg and run, but kids can do silly things, and I’d rather not be stranded.
How do I put my liner on the beach? This was definitely a challenge. Next time we do a beach trip, I will make sure to bring a beach chair. Putting my liner on (I am an above knee) while sitting on the ground is really hard. Not to mention, as hard as I tried. Things. Got. Sandy. My leg, my liner, my hands, my towel. There was no avoiding it.
What if people stare at me? This for me is my biggest fear. I know when people see Shawn carrying me into the water or up the beach, we get some stares. How romantic! Oh wait – did she hurt herself? Oh wait – she has one leg! Oh my god she has one leg! That is the dialogue I hear, and it makes me feel uncomfortable and unsafe. But you know what, that dialogue is one I am creating myself. I don’t know what other people are thinking. So instead of looking around and wondering, I simply took to looking at my husband – this amazing man who could care less, who thinks nothing of it, and who just wants me to enjoy myself. And you know what – I did, I really, truly did.
So – my favorite memory of 2014? Snorkeling in Maui, with my husband and two of our best friends beside us. I got to witness this incredible world below the surface of the ocean, while overcoming a giant battle within myself, and with it, perhaps unlocking a whole new world for myself. Who knows what 2015 will bring – but I am thrilled to go into it with less fear and more confidence! Happy 2015!