Recently I set up a Google Alerts account with the topic “amputees,” which alerted me, through daily links in my inbox, to the latest noteworthy accounts of amputees in the news. Day after day I received articles either about über-athletes using the newest technology in prosthetics or the wounded warriors from the war, many of whom are soldiers returning to war after recovering from their amputation. And I began to wonder, is it only through exceeding expectations that amputees are valued? Is it only when amputees do the same as two-legged folks that we are seen a worthy? In setting up the Google alerts, I wanted to read stories about the “average” amputee, someone I could identify with, but I can relate to these people as much as I can to an Olympic athlete. While their stories are amazing and inspiring, these are not my stories.
According the Amputee Coalition of America (ACA), on average there are 507 amputations a day in the U.S. That’s over 185,000 people a year recovering from limb loss. Where are the stories about them?
I receive daily posts on my Facebook page from amputees through the ACA, people who are struggling and challenged by their new amputation or their newest and latest prosthetic. The majority of amputees in our country are a hidden population of people truly struggling.
That’s why I have written a book, to talk about the issues of living life as an amputee. I want to give voice to the average amputee who deals with the daily challenges of ill-fitting prosthetics, and the (sometimes) life-long struggle with self-esteem. My story isn’t one of extremes; mine is the day to day story of dealing with a disability.