Thursday, April 29, 2010

College Engineering Majors Create Prosthetic Hand

I found this story online earlier today. It's about a team of BYU undergraduate engineers who create a prosthetic for Jeane Taylor, a finger and leg amputee, for their school project. Awesome story. I could really feel for Jeane when she was explaining the things she missed doing. It’s always the little things, the things you don’t even realize you can do until you can’t do them anymore. Also, what an awesome project these college engineers worked on! They used what they learned from their schooling to make a difference in this amputee’s life. I wish I had more projects like that when I was in college.

Reading the story begs to ask the question: Form or function? Right now, I would have to agree with Jeane, the amputee in the story, function is more important than form. But what do you think? Have you run into anything that combines the two successfully? Let’s hear what you have to say!

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Effect of a Great Prosthetist on an Amputee

I went and visited my prosthetist this last Friday, and it got me thinking about how many I’ve been through in the past. My current prosthetist, Wendy at Specialized Prosthetics and Orthotics (SPOT, now part of the Hanger network), is great. She really takes the time to listen to what is going on and figure out a solution to the problem. There have been multiple times when I was at an appointment for 1-2 hours while she tried everything she could think of to solve my problems. She’s great, along with the whole team at SPOT, and if you are in Utah, I highly recommend you check them out. Their support has made all the difference in the world. As an amputee, I understand the importance of a great prosthetic, and in turn, a great prosthetist.

How do you find a good prosthetist? It took a while for me to find one that I really liked and could recommend. What suggestions do you have for other amputees looking for information?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

How To Be An Approachable Amputee

The other day I was at the mall with my wife and son, spending a small amount of our tax refund on some new clothes for the summer. While there, I had someone approach me about my prosthetic leg (note: I was wearing shorts). She was really nice and complemented me on how cool my prosthetic was, but it got me thinking about amputee rehabilitation.

As part of my rehabilitation program after my leg amputation, I would make jokes and tell others about being an amputee. I found that it helped immensely in keeping me in good spirits through the whole experience. To this day I am very open about my leg and wear shorts as much as possible. It’s what has worked for me. But what are your thoughts? What helps you to cope with being an amputee? I think that it would be a great resource for new amputees to put together a book someday of stories and rehabilitation techniques. Do you know of anything out there like this already?

Friday, April 16, 2010

A Leg Amputee Is Only As Good As...

Sometimes I feel that the phrase "a leg amputee is only as good as his gear" is true. It would be very difficult to do a lot of the things I do with a peg leg! So here is a picture of the goods:

amputee gear

From left to right, here is what I have:

  1. A custom liner - I would suggest that any amputee get one custom made if possible. Plus, the material gives and takes with your limb making it more comfortable.
  2. A couple 1-ply socks - I wish I could get rid of these, and have tried a few times, but they are a necessity to add a little fill in the socket.
  3. Outer sleeve - I cannot tell you how many of these I have gone through. As an active amputee, I keep getting holes in them, which defeats the purpose of having the vacuum (see #4). Any ideas on how to fix the problem?
  4. My "normal" leg - A suction based socket (with my favorite college team's logo on the front). Underneath the socket is a LimbLogic Vacuum by Ohio Willow Wood. I just noticed that they came out with a waterproof version (the LimbLogic VS) recently (for us amputees who don't want to worry about getting our prosthetics wet!). I'm planning on doing a post highlighting this little gadget in the near future. The foot piece is a Renegade by Freedom Innovations. It is awesome! I use it for everything and have never thought about changing.
  5. My "water" leg - Another suction based socket (without the motor) for my water activities. Although now that OWW came out with the waterproof LimbLogic VS, looks like I might only need one leg in the near future!
Do you have any sweet features on your prosthetic? Any suggestions for myself or other amputees on technology that has worked for you? Let us know!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

What This Amputee Blog Is About

I am an amputee. I hope this blog can be a place where current amputees, future amputees, and family members of amputees can come and support each other through the good times and the bad. It doesn't matter is you are a leg amputee, arm amputee, quadruple amputee, or not even an amputee at all, you're all invited.

Share with me your stories, battles, victories - I want this to be an open forum. If you see a new technology, let's talk about it; a cool video, let's watch it.

Why did I start this blog?

At the age of 18, I was diagnosed with cancer in my left foot. That diagnosis led to 8 months of intense chemotherapy and the amputation of my left leg below the knee. One of the greatest assets I had at the time was my best friend's father, who was an amputee himself. His words of encouragement and advice gave me the strength and courage I needed to come out on the other side. Because of him, I decided to enjoy life, not just live it.

Here's to life! I am an amputee.