Sometimes it’s easy to caught up in the negative thoughts, the “what I can’t do’s” and focusing on what we DON’T have and what we have lost. That negative thinking can drive you crazy and lead to endless days of frustration, aggravation and self-pity. I try to remember all of the things I have to be thankful for, not just at Thanksgiving, but EVERY day.
First and foremost, I am grateful just to be alive. The accident that ultimately cost me my leg could very well have killed me, given all of the other multiple injuries I sustained. Recovery was hell, but living was worth it. I’m thankful for all of the opportunities I have had because I lost my leg. My writing career, lobbying in Washington, D.C. for amputee-related issues and the privilege of educating other amputees to be certified peer visitors to new amputees.
I am grateful that I am able to live independently, even though there are things that I struggle with once in awhile. There is always someone I can call if I need help with anything, even something as simple as changing a light bulb, since climbing on a step stool is not always safe. It’s been difficult, at times, having to say “I can’t do that”, but I have learned that it’s ok to need help and ask for it. No one I have asked for help has ever said no!
I’m grateful that I have been able to continue my work in nursing, though not always doing direct-care, which I love. I still have the ability to educate patients, their families and other care givers as to the physical and emotional issues amputees face every single day. I know that the combination of my being a nurse and an amputee gives me an advantage in educating able-bodied people about our daily struggles and the life-long issues we will face. People who don’t experience such challenges cannot be expected to comprehend what it’s like for us every single day doing regular and routine daily activities. I know I have been a voice for all of us and for that I am very thankful and proud.
More than anything, I am grateful for the love and support of my entire family, my son, my parents, my siblings and all of their children and my close friends. There are times; mostly in the winter that I know it’s not safe for me to venture out into the elements. They have always been there to bring me things from the store, give me a ride if I need one and anything else I could possibly need from them.
I try to remember every day that there are many people who struggle more than I, who have more challenges and maybe don’t have the support system that I do. So as bad as things seem once in a great while, I know that I am truly blessed to have to have so much love in my life and for that I will always be grateful.
Carolyn McKinzie, LPN/RBKA