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This is called 'T's Story', but does it really matter if my name is really T. or if I am a male or female other than to help you with your fantasy of knowing someone of one gender or the other that is glad to be an amputee. What I am about to tell you is true for me and is very representative of others like myself. There are both males and females that share my experience.
Here I am once again sitting in my wheelchair dreaming of being legless. My left leg was amputated about 5 or 6 years ago. Let's just say I was quite glad to be rid of it. Maybe I did help it along and maybe it did not go as smoothly as I had hoped for, but it was amputated about mid-thigh and the result was much better than I could have expected. I am now in my mid to late 40's and divorced after many years of mariage and two children. Some parts of that relationship were not bad, but as you probably understand, there are few if any spouses that understand the desire to be an amputee. The final blow was the first amputation and I knew then that in that relationship, I would never be able to consider having my other leg amputated as I had wanted for so much of my life.
When does one decide to become an amputee? I am not sure that you wake up one day and say 'I think I would like to not have any legs'. It is a place that you arrive at after most of your life. In my case, I remember as a young child enjoying dreaming of missing an arm or a leg or several limbs. My first memory of seeing an amputee was around age five or so. I was small enough that I could use croquet mallets as crutches. Later I was able to use them for a peg leg. There were many times that I would pretend to be missing a leg when I was 'alone'. During times playing cowboys and girls with others, I would often be the one that would get shot in the leg and have to have it removed. Once about age 10, I had the girl next door pretend with me and we both had a leg 'amputated' and stuffed in our jeans when my mother caught us and scolded us.
During college when my roommate was away during the weekend, I would sleep with my leg bound up for as long as I could stand the pain. When I finally moved away and started living on my own, I would spend time as an amputee, but never realized that I could buy crutches to aid in the fantasy. Over the years I have realized that this all evolves over time and things become clearer. At first you are alone feeling some what like a freak and don't understand that others share the same feelings or that you can just go into a store and buy crutches or a wheelchair without the bright lights of the inquisition shining down on you. For years I used just an ace bandage to hold my leg up and then one day I discovered a lower leg elastic support stocking from a company called Futuro (part 005105, comes 1 per box) that was much more comfortable and held my leg up much better than anything else. A good girdle helps hold the foot against the hip. For the men reading this, the people in the ladies' underwear section of the store really don't care that you might be a man either. I remember being on a business trip once and quite nervously going into a drug store to rent a wheelchair for a few days of rolling around as a DAK and giving some bad story about why I wanted it. Later it became clear that all I had to do was just say 'I want to rent a wheelchair, period'.
For me, the desire was always there, but not always at the same level of intensity. Growing up is hard enough without having to deal with some 'dark' desire that you believe would put you in a mental hospital if anyone found out about it. Those occasional glimpses of an amputee and not having the slightest understanding of how to start a conversation with them would only add to the frustration. I had enough trouble with talking to the opposite sex when they were perfectly normal! Remove a limb or two and I was a basket case. For a few years after I was out of college, I guess the desire just to have any kind of relationship so overwhelmed the amputee desires that I was able to bury my true feelings. I guess that is one of the worst things about this for me. I convinced myself that this was such an abnormal desire that I 'hid' it for awhile. During that time, I met a non-amputee and after about a year of dating, we married. Not long before getting married though, I saw an amputee and all the feelings that I had stuffed away came flooding back. I acquired some crutches and spent all of my time 'alone' as an amputee. I never reviled my feelings and desires and went ahead with the mariage.
The first few years were rocky to say the least and seeing a few more amputees didn't help either. It would sometimes take me a few days to calm down after a sighting. One evening I found a 'comic book' called Amputee Love that clued me in to that fact that there were at least others that shared my delight in seeing an amputee. Quite by accident a few days later I found a copy of Fetish Times that had the headlines 'Amputee Heaven'. It had a bunch of pictures of amputees from AMPIX. This, for the history buffs, was about 1972. Over the years, I could not hold it back and eventually told my spouse about my desires. I even slept some with one leg bound up. Maybe I believed that acting like I only wanted one leg amputated would be more acceptable than both. All of this was so poorly accepted by my spouse that eventually I let things go underground. I never was able to go around the house on crutches (having a wheelchair was out of the question) when anyone was home. My pretending became limited to those brief periods when I had the place to myself or when I might be on a business trip. I would bring it out into the open sometimes just to test the waters and it never got any better.
I had a secret PO Box and bought pictures and anything I could find about amputees. There was never much to be found though. I didn't even limit my search to one gender or the other and it still did not help me find anything. During the early 70's I saw an ad in the LA Free Press for someone that was interested in giving massage to amputees and there was a small sketch of a person missing all arms and legs with short stumps. I ran my first ad trying to find someone to help me become an amputee. There were some strange replies. I remember one that suggested that he would be glad to sever my leg if he could also cut me in other places. I did not reply to that one! I met a few others that shared my desires and even one that had attempted to destroy his leg to force an amputation but failed. He even had a close friend that had been successful. The person that had failed I met several times and talked about the mutual desires and how others had dealt with it, even how to go about forcing an amputation. We always came to the conclusion that the risk of death was great without someone to help at least make sure that you got to the hospital. Well the chances of finding a person that you trusted that much were about as slim as finding a doctor just to perform an amputation on a good limb. Over the years, I heard about a few people that were successful and one or two that died trying.
Years went by and it became clear that nothing would be happening if I did not take steps myself. I told my spouse a number of times that I wanted to get rid of my leg and I was always made to feel like a fool or just told that I would probably die if I tried anything. As part of the evolution, it became clear how to do it. How, is my secret, because if you want it enough, you will learn how to without my help. I don't ever want to feel like I had anything to do with someone's death or have a person feel like I pushed them too far or even worse, blame me. Finally I made the move and let's just say that it was awful. The doctors reattached the leg over my objections. I was very upset and could never get anyone to listen to me and they kept performing operations to repair my leg. Once before one of the surgeries, I was told that I could always find another hospital. Yea, right! Much later, quite by chance, I found a doctor that agreed to amputate, not because I wanted to be an amputee, but because amputation was the best way to make me more mobile. As far as I was concerned, the end result was the same.
I awoke in the recovery room with a sharp pain in my leg and asked for something for the pain. They gave me a shot and I went back to sleep. Eventually I came too in a regular hospital bed and room. I think I was awaken by the phone and it was my friend that had failed so many years ago in his quest to become an amputee. He called each day I was in the hospital.
After I returned home, the pain was extreme. The local doctors were of little help and eventually I did find someone that would work with me to keep the level of pain down through medication. After about 2 months of major pain pills, the pain went away almost over night. I believe that much of the pain was as a result of the emotional situation at home. I could not even now enjoy my new stump. Once I just told myself to stop feeling guilty, I started to feel better. It is important to realize that doing something like this can have devastating effects on those that are part of your life. No matter how much they may have been prepared, getting that phone call telling them that you are in the emergency room and may die is very hard. Of course all I heard from them on was 'How could you have done this to me/us'.
I dress for my own enjoyment. I wear what ever I want which usually jeans or shorts. I don't try to hide my stump which is short and even in shorts does not show. When I wear a swimsuit of course it shows. I was surprised that most people do not react to even a bare stump. Children are a different story. There is always a loud one, usually across the store, yelling 'Why does that person have one leg?' at the top of their voice. I have even had kids ask if I would let them see my stump when it is not showing. Sometimes I do.
Aren't modern prosthetics wonderful? NO! I wear a leg during the day, but I prefer to use crutches. I have gotten quite good with underarm crutches and can carry things in both hands for short distances. I still can't walk on one crutch. If my prosthesis ever needs replacing, I probably will just give up on it. The biggest problem is the relationship between the top of the stump and the socket. The body changes size and the socket doesn't. There is a lot of wear on the skin in the crotch area and for both genders that is uncomfortable. I always wondered what a stump would feel like as part of my body. Well I can tell you that for me, it feels much better than anything that I could have imagined. I am sure that it feels different for each person and for many it is not fun by any means. To me, it feels like my leg ends at the end of my stump. I can flex the muscles in my stump on both the top and bottom like I was trying to flex my knee and the end of my stump rolls around. I rarely have any sensation below the end of the stump, but there are times when I have really bad muscle spasms during the night and I am awakened with my stump flopping up and down on the mattress. Also I have time when I get a tingling sensation near the end of the stump and just below. None of these 'bad' experiences last very long, thank goodness. I love the feel of my stump pressed against my other thigh although I would rather be able to press my two stumps together instead.
Stumps come in all shapes and sizes, I guess because doctors feel so compelled to save as much limb as possible. My stump looks different depending on the way I am holding my stump and what angle I look at it from. I have made some videos and taken some pictures of my stump and it looks much different than when I look down at it or watch myself in a mirror. There are times when it looks pointy and times when it looks quite blunt. Because of the way the muscles are sewn up, when I lie on my stomach, my stump does not look very good from the back and is quite flat near the end. If I ever get to have a second stump, I want it to be shorter and cut more squarely across with the end fuller.
Back to where this started, in my wheelchair. I am now on my own again. Children grown and away. Divorced and independent. Although my apartment is not wheelchair accessible, I have one and love to bind up my remaining leg and roll around in it. The reason for the non-accessible apartment has a lot to do with financial issues resulting from the divorce. I am in the process of finding one that is accessible now. I sometimes take my wheelchair out in the evening and roll around the town up and down quiet streets. I wait to get where I am going and then bind up my leg and get into my chair. I love to watch myself in the reflections of the darkened store windows as I roll my 'legless' body past in my wheelchair. I recently bought a nice new lightweight chair and enjoy it so much more than the ones that I had rented in the past. There is no way to compare them. Some day I want to buy a van and an electric wheelchair.
Pretending is such a bad way to 'test' if being an amputee is the right thing for you. I found that, getting around on crutches with my leg bound up compared to having a real stump like day and night. The biggest problem was always my foot was really in the way. Now as I pretend to be legless, my foot is again in the way. Also my folded leg is so much thicker than my stump that I do not sit well even if I pad one side of my wheelchair seat. I also can't get out of my chair and move around the floor on my hands like I want to. If I sit on my folded leg for long, it begins to hurt a lot also. This is one thing that makes it very 'test driving' the new life very difficult. To some degree with a gender change, at least you can change your outward appearance and begin a new life and be successful. Here you can only go for a few hours at a time.
Why do I want to be legless? Why isn't just having one stump enough? Got me! This is such a different topic that has not been discussed or researched much so there is no vocabulary to use. I know that over the past many years, I have wanted to be without legs so much and have given a lot of thought to how my life would change, that I believe that I understand the issues and am comfortable with the thought of being legless.
Who knows where this will end? I have a very close friend that is an SAK amputee and we have been very open about this with each other. My friend is very supportive, but I would never ask for that person to do anything to me. I do hope that someday I can find an understanding doctor. I can't wait until I can wake up after surgery without either leg.
What would I do to get rid of my remaining leg? Well I would not go to the extreme measures that I went to get rid of my left leg. I sometimes look back at than moment in my life and wonder how I did it. I am very happy that I did, but it was just a moment when it was possible and that moment may never have happened again. Anyway for the remaining leg, I want to have a 'doctor' do the surgery to try and insure that the results are as 'good' as possible. By good, I mean pain/discomfort free with good shape and minimal scarring and problems. I would be willing to travel to anywhere in the world to find such a doctor, although I would hope that it would be a country where I had a good chance of being able to enter and leave without trouble. For example a country where a war was underway would not be interesting to me or which was sufficiently backwards such that the care might not be adequate.
I often dream of having the amputation performed in a cabin in the woods near a lake. I would be on a table in the kitchen with a local anesthetic numbing my leg and something drifting through my system to relax me. The doctor would work alone. Because the local anesthetic does not numb my hip and its muscles, I would be aware of the tugging on my skin as the scalpel cuts through the tissues of my thigh. I would 'feel' my leg being lifted as the doctor works first on the top of my thigh and then the bottom. Finally I would hear the sound of the saw cutting through the femur and the file as the edges of the end of the bone are smoothed. I can now see my severed leg on the kitchen counter with the top of the thigh hanging over the edge of the sink. Soon the muscles and skin will be stitched up and I would be lying there without either leg, just two short stumps, the new one much shorter than the other. Over the next few days I will regain most my strength and begin moving around in my bed, then in my wheelchair. I keep a small dressing over the stitches so that they will not get caught on the sheets at night. I get to take care of changing it and during the day I often just leave it off. I have been left with some pain pills and I drift in and out of a wonderful high as I float on the effects of the pills and the sensations of my new legless body. The doctor will check in on me over the next week. The weather is nice and I spend the days of the next week rolling along the level path to the edge of the lake and out on to the pier where I slide out of my wheelchair and sit soaking up the warm rays of the sun. There are few if any people around and sometimes I slip out of my cloths and lie on the deck. I have stopped taking any of the pills and now I am completely absorbed in my new legless life. At the end of the week, I will meet the doctor and while he watches, I will remove each of the 50 or so stitches from the end of my new stump. The wound has healed enough that it holds well without any of them. My other stump healed well also. I load my wheelchair in my van, wave to the doctor, and drive off towards home.
What would I like to do with the rest of my life once I was legless? Well I believe that I would continue to be much the same person as I am today only I would no longer have to pretend to be legless. I don't contemplate doing this just to shock people anymore than I try to shock people while I am one-legged. In spite of having just said that, I have often wondered what it would be like to go to some town where I was not known and sit on a downtown corner on a push board. I know of a woman who is legless that sometimes goes grocery shopping with her husband while she is on a skate board. I do not know her personally so I have never had the chance to ask her why she does that.
Since I have been one-legged, I have tried to work with other amputees, but have had little success. I assume that being legless will not improve anything on that front. I have considered making some movies, but part of me is not into exhibiting myself. I do like to go to the beach or the pool and get some sun and don't try to hide anything. I do find it kind of exciting thinking about lying by the pool with two little stumps sticking out of my swim suit. Can you imagine being at a pool and seeing someone there without legs moving around with their hands or on a push-board? I know that I enjoy thinking about such a vision and I hope that someday I can be the one in it.
I hope that someone can help me fulfill my dream.
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