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UnaGamba: The Experience Of Becoming An amputee

Warning: This testimony is now believed to be faked.

I'm an architect, 37 years old, and I work in a small design bureau in one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. I was, also, a model, and I had part-time job, modelling for a local women's journal. That part of my career is finished now, because of something that has changed my way of living, changed my image, and put me into a new adventure. That, what has happened, didn't change my femininity, maybe even increased it, but it changed my image too much for me to be a fashion-model any longer. However, it made my life more interesting and makes more challenges for me, so I have gained much more than I lost ... or, have I?

My story began a long time ago. When I was young girl, I broke my right thigh bone skiing. It was a severe injury, and I was in a cast for six weeks. Then, my leg was in an elongation brace (a small part of my thigh bone was removed, so it was shortened by six centimeters) three months more, and after that I remained on crutches for four more months. My complete recovery period took nearly full year, and I was limping more or less for another year. But finally I recovered. At least, my mobility was recovered. And my right leg looked on the outside exactly like my left one, except for its length: it was two centimeters shorter, but it was not a problem, but only on the outside. Inside, I had some injuries, which were for life. My femoral artery was severed completely by the broken bone, and I was happy I didn't lose my leg even then. The artery was connected during the operation, but it was never as it had been.

I had bad circulation in my lower leg all my life (till my amputation, of course: now it's OK), and it became worse as the years were passing. Also, my right leg was growing more slowly, and finally when my growth stopped it was even shorter (one more centimeter was missing of my thigh bone, but I lost full three centimeters of the shin because it so much more slowly). But it was the smallest problem which was solved by small pad inside my shoe or a little higher heel. There was, also, the possibility to do an elongation of the bone, but there was a risk that my bad artery might be broken, so I decided to leave it short as it was.

Its shortness was invisible, and I didn't limp at all in the short term; but after long walks (a few kilometers) my leg always became very tired, painful and swollen because of the bad circulation. Sometimes I was returning from the city with a severe limp. My modelling career gave me the worst problems. The Model's walk gives a very hard strain to legs, and it was very usual that I returned from fashion expositions with a cane in my hand; but it was not an everyday problem, but only a sometimes problem, so I never felt disabled. Besides in my personal file was written under Disabilities: 'Right leg four centimeters shorter and very slightly disabled (permanently). Not influencing office work. Do not apply for an invalid- income. Inspection required each three years', with something similar written in my driver's-license file. In normal circumstances nobody would say that both my legs were not completely healthy. Even my boyfriend (my husband now) didn't notice it for months, before I told him.

Real problems came with my leg as I got a little older, and became severe suddenly, approximately two years ago. I began to be tired even after short walks, and I had begun to limp permanently. Of course, it stopped my modelling work, I did before sometimes. By then the circumference of my right shin was five centimeters smaller than the left one (Can you believe that it was still hardly visible outside?). After deep inspection at a clinic, in April 1994, the doctor told me my final destiny. His prediction was that the situation would get worse faster and faster. At the time he prescribed me an ankle brace to release my muscles from the strain. But, it was not only an ankle-fixing brace, it took most of my weight from my foot and transferred it from my shoe to the upper part of my shin so that my heel was not touching the bottom of the shoe. Fortunately, my leg was little shorter anyway, so it just fitted the missing length, and I didn't limp much because of it. Simply, the leg-length adjusting pad had to be removed from my existing right shoes. But, it was only the beginning, and it takes only short time. His prediction was that my shin muscles and even part of my thigh muscles will degenerate further because of the bad circulation, so that after one or two years my knee will loose mobility and ankle- foot brace will be replaced by a long knee-ankle- foot brace - I will become real cripple! Maybe even my toes will be amputated because of possible gangrene. Even that was not the end. Finally after three to five years, my leg will be amputated, because of possible gangrene. Below knee amputation was the best possibility (but with knee immovable!), and perhaps above knee after few months or few years more. I don't believe you can understand what horror all that was for me. In the moment I heard all that, I was sure it's some horrible mistake, it simply can not happen to me! I didn't want to believe it, but I was very afraid. After all, doctors are always making mistakes, and I did the same inspection in another clinic, with a same result! No, one more time: this happens only to other people, not to me! I simply didn't believe it. I slept all the time sure I would wake up and remember that it was dream, only. But, the symptoms were there, I simply didn't want to believe in simple logical things. However, the doctors were too optimistic.

I got a long KAFO brace after only eight months latter, and this time most of my weight was carried by my thigh, so I was practically walking with part of my thigh muscles only, like I'm already above knee amputee! I needed cane, and even underarm crutch for long walks. My thigh was visibly thinner now (more than ten centimeters in circumference) and my right leg became very ugly. It was moment, when a KAFO-brace was put on my leg for the first time and I heard 'click' of its knee-lock and made a first step on it helped by an underarm crutch I realized it's the truth: I'm crippled forever, my leg is half-dead and it will be dead very soon. It was the end of my self-deception. It was the end of all hope for me. My life was finished, what remained was only horror, and the self-pity of an old, crippled woman. I forgot I was not alone, and I began to cry. Like a child. It took minutes, before I return to the control of my manners. But, after that, I didn't want even to look at my leg, it made me so sad as if I was dying. However, every morning, I had to look at it while putting my brace on. And I was asking all the time: 'Why me?'. That was one of the reasons why I wasn't wearing KAFO brace more than a few weeks. After that I forgot I had two legs. I hated my right leg, like she betrayed me. I hated that ugly slender thing, like I hated nobody before that. Also, 'walking' with a brace was not comfortable and easy. Especially longer walks. At that time, by coincidence, my daughter had injured her knee. She was using crutches for a short time.

So, one morning, I took my daughter's crutches, as her knee injury healed up, and begun to walk using one leg only. However, it was also not easy. Especially stairs were big problem, because my leg was hanging down and dragged on the ground. I wanted it to be much more shorter, instead of only four centimeters. Slowly, I began to wish my leg was off!

Finally, it was not a doctor who made the decision at last: it was me. I found my disabled leg definitely so ugly and uncomfortable that I wanted to have it off as soon as possible. According to doctors I would be two-legged now, perhaps till the middle or end of the year, but my life would be horrible if I didn't finish in the mad- house. Also, amputation would be below knee, with another one above knee after one or two years. But what to do with a completely disabled knee? Why save it? What about the ugly below-knee stump? And all that only to have another amputation after one or two years. No thanks! I wanted to finish with that as soon as possible, and for ever. If I ever made mistake, I did when I got ankle-foot brace. I had to get that leg off just then. Of all memories I have, the worst one is memory of my thin, ugly disabled leg in the long brace.

I'm a woman. It's nonsense, stupid, but the loss of beauty was the thing which made me most unhappy. Loss of function affected me but much less. I must say that in that moment I believed life with one leg is much easier than it really is, I didn't know anything about phantom- limbs, stump-shrinkage, problems with balance, shivering of my stump which happens every time I'm tired of walking, or nervous, and couple of other things. The main goal I had in my mind when I decided to be amputated, was to improve my beauty. I came to the state when I was impatient to have my amputation as soon as possible, but not as something which must be done. This was something I liked, as somebody who wants to do away with some ugly wart because he prefers to be without it. It became, also, a new challenge for me, something like a new adventure, or better to say, a life-changing. I'm not sure I'm clear enough, but it was something like you are preparing for long trip to unknown place ... Of course, you always return home from such a trip, but from my trip there was no return. But, who cares? I'm not sure I'm fully conscious even now that it is not interim but final, but at that time I was not, for sure.

When I found about what was going to happen I told my family and my friends. My husband and my children knew all about my sickness and I needed them to know to help me with kind words at least. But, I was very nervous at the beginning, and I know how I was heavy for my family. Later, what was a horror, became suddenly only a challenge, and then slowly an adventure ...

My husband, at the beginning, didn't understand how the loss of my leg was important to me. Men's way of thinking is quite different from women's. He needed time to understand how much my legs are important for me. But he helped me, very much, later. Sometime he was too assertive wanting to help me and to spare me from some activities, so that I felt even more disabled, but he tried to help as much as possible all the time. My daughter was a completely different case. She was fascinated with my leg in its brace, and even with a possibility to lose a leg! It seemed 'very interesting' and 'simpatico' for her. Somehow, just when I got KAFO, she injured her knee and got a cast and crutches first, and then a short knee brace for period of two months. She wanted to walk with me (she was sixteen and didn't like to walk around with parents before that) and found us two very nice pair of 'crutch-and-brace women'. It put me very near to the nervous breakdown at the beginning, but I must say that her silly ideas and her weird feelings of beauty helped me much later to accept my future one-leggedness. Now I know what her real reason was, but in that moment I hadn't have slightest idea what will be the worst thing which happen in my life. My son is too young to be much concerned with all that, and he accepted that 'From now, mama will walk on one leg and two 'sticks'', as something very normal.

It was my daughter's idea to help me to recover from my bad emotional state. First, she modified some of my photos from fashion shows so that I'm one-legged to show me 'how nice you will be'. Of course, I exploded! But later, I was looking at those photos and found out that they don't look so bad and ugly. Later, she proposed to me to try to fold my shin and tie it by elastic wound round my thigh, and to cover all that by a wide skirt to see how I would look one-legged in the mirror. Much, later, I learned that she was doing a similar thing secretly with her own leg, and that that was her obsession! That was the time I was already using crutches as I had abandoned my KAFO-brace. I refused at the beginning, but one morning I tried it and when I've seen one great leg going from the skirt, I said sincerely 'Not so bad!' (that gives me idea about the motto: 'One nice leg is better than two ugly'. Frankly, in my case even one nice leg looks better than one nice and one ugly, but in that moment I saw my daughter who had just arrived from her bedroom and caught me! She was so happy, she was in triumph! But, I was very confused in the moment, and I needed more than a month of my daughter insisting to try to do the same thing in public. But when we entered in a garden-restaurant full of people, I was in the centre of attention. Every man was staring at me, I even got much more attention than my much younger and much more beautiful daughter, and only a few of them had pity in their eyes. Most of them were 'attracted, even if she has only one leg', or 'simply attracted'. How many of them were 'attracted just because of one leg', I'm not sure, but I'm sure, it was more than a few. But, all those people were unknown to me. It was completely different to go from my flat, a few months later, this time one-legged for real, into the street where everybody knows me, and be attacked with those shocked looks with a unspoken questions like 'Oh, what ... ? How ... ? What the hell?' It was a little difficult, but not so difficult as I assumed before.

Even now, I am aware of people staring at me, and believe it or not ... I like it. It's part of my new 'adventure', part of my new 'way of living', part of my new 'image'. Sometimes strangers have approached me in the street, but that happened before also. I don't think there is any difference in the frequency of such approaches.

Finally that day came. I was in hospital, prepared physically and psychologically for my journey with no return. I was in the operation room, and after surgeon asked me am I ready, I responded with a smile: 'Go on!'. However, When I woke up the first time after operation I didn't remember what had happened. I even didn't know that I was in hospital. I had a dream that my leg was amputated but I woke up with relief: 'Thank God, it was only a dream!' I had a feeling that my leg is still there, but she had 'gone to sleep', however. To be sure, she is still here, I tried to touch it with my left foot. There was no other foot! Then I tried up and up, and found nothing! 'Oh God! It was not a dream?' Then I tried by hand and found that my thigh is bandaged. In the same moment, somehow, I discovered that I'm in the hospital. I tried to go down with my hand, completely wet of panic, and finally found the end, the end of my stump! What's happened? I began to cry and call a nurse to tell me what's happened to my leg. 'You forgot? But your leg was ...' She stopped. 'Amputated? Yes, I see. But why? Did I have an accident? What's really happened?' I asked through tears. She didn't answer, but left me. A few minutes later another, older nurse entered and told me with smile that everything will be OK and I have no reason to worry. Then she gave me some injection. and very soon I fell into deep sleep again. The last thought with which I slept was 'Oh, stupid nurse! What can be OK now, when I have only one leg!' Next time I woke up, I was half-conscious, but this time I remembered everything, and that time I was happy I have my leg amputated. The human brain is a very strange thing!

After I came home from hospital, the most difficult thing was when I met my mother a few weeks later. She was the only person from our family who didn't know what the operation was that I had. It was horrible for the old lady, and I was crying, not because of my loss, but because of her sorrow.

Another 'hard day' was my first day at my working place. Of course, my colleagues knew about my illness, and they knew that I had had an operation, but they didn't know that it was an amputation. So, I was thinking for many days and nights about how to arrange for them to find out in a way that would be as clear as possible and as fast as possible. Finally, with little help from my friends I arranged an excellent way to manage all that. I arrived before beginning of work-time, so I had to answer to horrible questions just to the doorman. I was sitting at my working place with one of my crutches below the table and other one leaning to the wall (I used one crutch only, the last time I was there before my amputation) when my colleagues arrived. They were happy to see me after the few weeks of absence. When they all entered, I told them simply that I had some operation which changed my behaviour a little, but which increased my health and solved all my problems with my leg. After a few questioning looks, I told them to prepare a drink for my new figure. When it was done, I told them to close their eyes and wait. I took my crutches, moved fast to the middle of the office and told them 'OK, open your eyes. Now!'. I was in mini-dress approximately the same length as my stump, so they had the chance to see exactly how much of my leg remained, without seeing my stump (which was still in bandages), and I had a glass of cognac in my hand. I said 'Cheers!' to them.

It was great shock for them, but it was fast enough to be good for me ... After that some of my closer friends were asking me some questions, but after the first 'attack' it was an easy business ... So I passed one of last tests with no problem.

Sometimes, meeting with a person I knew was hard for me, because of their shock, sad faces, unspoken words, all the things that told me they see me as a cripple, as a disabled person. But, I didn't want to feel so. There was no reason to, as it was only a 'change of the way of life'. Not positive nor negative, only change. And, in some ways, every change is positive. 'You are shocked! But why? I have only one leg less than before. It doesn't hurt. No pain at all'. Usually it make even more shock to other side, but I like to make that sort of 'dark humor'. Physically, the most difficult was having a bath, and, even going to the toilet. Stairs were not such a problem as I expected. The problem I haven't yet solved is that it's impossible to me to cross my legs (you need two objects to be crossed!). Every time I get a cup of coffee (and I drink about ten of them every day), the first thing I do instinctively is to take a box of cigarettes, lighter, and then cross my legs. It is still very disappointing when I cannot do that. It seems that coffee has lost its taste, the cigarette smoke its smell ... Also, I have some problems to carry things, especially at my work place, but I hope it will be solved by my new 'leg'.

At home, I finally solved that problem by using one crutch only, with a 'stump support', but it would be too provocative at working place. Only thing I can do at home is to hold a cup of coffee without pouring out a good part of it.

I found out about devotees on AOL. I found a newsgroup 'disabilities' and there is a theme Devotees under it. I didn't understand what that word means and began to read messages. It was a 'new wonder' for me, that there are people who find ampu tation which was my future as something like 'Šsthetic surgery'! Then I heard about wannabes, also, but in the moment I didn't know how important that was for me, and my family!

To be frank, my first opinion was that they are some perverse persons. But, after little more thinking, I remembered how beauty is individual and not according to some 'general rules'. So, why have those people no right to have their own definition of beauty? Especially, if it's something which is a picture aligned to my future appearance. When I sent my first message I got many messages from them. I must say there are many really stupid persons among them, but the majority are nice men. I had no negative contacts. If I don't like the message I don't read it.

I think it is good to know that devotees exist. Not only to amputees or 'soon to be amputees', but to everybody. It is part of society, and everybody has to know. I also think that society at large has very, very bad opinion about them, an opinion, most of them do not deserve. They are not 'perverts' as some people think. They are much less 'different' than gays or lesbians, but the latter are accepted and they are not! Why? Why is this world so stupid sometimes? I knew before, there are men (my husband is one of them) who prefer glasses-wearing woman (I'm one of them from my age of fourteen, so why to have something against them?), and nobody sees anything wrong in that. Or people preferring large breasts or fat women? Why, then, should majority think it's wrong if somebody prefer amputee- woman? If I was younger and single, I would be very happy that such persons exist who find me more attractive now than before. Because every women want to be not only attractive, but to be more attractive today than yesterday. If I didn't know about them, my emotional recovery would go much slower, as I would see all those men staring at me as 'staring with pity', and maybe I would never find that the majority of them are staring with attraction. I'm not modest, and I know I was always attractive (even with my face which is far from ideal), but with very good body, and really great legs. Now, there is only one of them, but it's still great (I really mean what I said in tagline to my signature mentioned earlier: 'One pretty leg is better than two ugly').

Please don't think that I'm one of those women who are 'running for a man'. No! I have never been unfaithful to my husband and I will never will be. But anyway, I need to know (as every woman needs) that I can attract a man, and flirt with him, despite my one-leggedness. But I still don't understand devotees, thoroughly. What is it that fascinates them? Is it simply the fragility (one of the most feminine of attributes) of an amputee that makes her attractive? Or her victory in beating her handicap? Or, maybe, the way of 'walking', especially how her breasts movr when she steps with a crutch? Or a stump alone? Or, maybe, all of that? Even less, I can understand wannabes, but they have their right to be different, anyway.

While I was in hospital and rehabilitation I received counselling about how to adjust to my amputation, but fifty percent of it was nonsense. They concentrated on the assumption that I would get a 'leg' as soon as possible, and I didn't want that. But also, some ideas which sounded stupid (like stepping on wrong, nonexistent, leg when going to the toilet during the night) were really good to have been advised about in advance. As I said, I think it would be good to be told about devotees, but they didn't mention them. Also I didn't want a 'leg'. I have been wearing glasses for more than twenty years. Also for the same period I had to wear a modified shoe to adjust shortness of my leg. Not to hide its length, but to walk more easily. I had been walking on crutches for more than six months before my amputation. These are artificial things like my dress, but I'm using them all because I need them. It's the same with an artificial leg. What I hate are things which try to be seen as real but are artificial. I don't want a cosmetic leg for the same reason I never wanted to wear contact lenses, even if they are practical sometimes. I never thought to increase my breasts (which could be bigger), or to shorten my nose which is too long. I would be more beautiful so 'modified', but that would not be me. It would be another person! I don't like to hide reality. I am woman with one leg, and I don't want to pretend to be woman with two legs. I want to be what I am.

My experience as a model was very helpful and I am building a new style for myself. It is very good for an amputee to know the 'science of walking', that means that somebody who knows how to make her walk elegant and gracious can adjust much more easily to walk on crutches so that it doesn't look too 'disabled', too unskilled. Also clothes: Fashionable cloths are used to emphasize beauty and all good details (My glasses are very successful to make my long nose shorter, for example). So in my case, I'm wearing short skirts which emphasize my (only) great leg. But also, there are some practical viewpoints. Underarm crutches requires wide upper parts of sleeves and a free waist, forearm ones require only free forearms or tight sleeves ...

I always preferred skirts and dresses, because they are more feminine. Also, I prefer mini-length. Sometimes I think it would prefer even shorter stump just because its length gives me an unwanted limit to skirt or dress minimum length. Also, I used to wear shorts, but now it is very questionable. Also, I liked very long, maxi, dresses. Now, I'm not wearing maxis very often, but I do sometimes. I'm too sorry not to show what remains of my 'great' legs. Sometimes I'm also wearing trousers, but I don't like folded leg, it doesn't look very feminine. Only few jeans I used with folded leg, for house-work. Its 'pocket' is very practical for holding things for somebody whose hands are occupied by crutches (I have learnt to walk with one crutch, also, but I soon become very tired). But if the empty leg is hanging down it would fall to the ground when I am sitting, and also it can make problems (once I nearly broke my sole leg when I tripped on it). So, I usually make a knot in unused part of the leg of my trousers to shorten it, or simply cut it up to little more than knee-length. I had the idea to make a joke attaching my unused right shoe to it, but I'm afraid it would be too much.

One of my favorite dresses I made specially for me is a 'Turkish' style dress: it's a long dress with the part below the knee like wide trousers which are tightened at the bottom of the shins), but with one 'leg part' only. It looks wonderful, as it seems my sole leg is in the middle of my body, not on one side. And my one- leggedness also looks 'natural'. There is no missing thing like in skirt sewed for 'two legged beings'. My husband has an association with a mermaid when I wear it. I hope, next summer I will also wear bikini in public, and perhaps, shorts. But for the last I'm not sure, yet. I preferred very high heeled shoes when I had both legs. I like them now also, but they are not very practical for women with one leg only. They are fatiguing anyway, and if you use only one leg, they are even more fatiguing. So I don't use higher than eight centimeters. Maybe, I can wear also ten centimeters for a 'special occasion'. But, an elegant, beautiful shoe is much more important if you have only one leg. Because, naturally, a single leg attracts much more attention than one of two. And, with the shoe go crutches, of course, as an exchange for another shoe. They have to be adjusted to all my dresses as a shoe has to be. For everyday, 'sporting' wearing, I use aluminum adjustable forearm crutches as they are most practical. For a picnic or short excursion, I prefer wooden forearm, or (when I became more skilled) perhaps one 'heavy' wooden underarm with a stump-pad. I'm not sure about the last sort, as till now I'm to shy to use it in public. But, for special occasions, with an elegant, festive dress, underarm crutches are more elegant. But, the are better to be a little shorter than usual a nd not touch under my arms. And, the design of the dress must be adjusted to them. Also, they have to be as slender as possible, and fixed length, without unnecessary bolts. Colour also have to be adjusted to dressing and shoe (the rubber tip has to be the same colour the as shoe heel, and arm-pad can be covered with a material similar to some part of the costume). I don't have yet a big enough collection for all my dresses, but it is increasing fast.

You can be beautiful and fashionable in ways that don't hide it, but include the fact that you are physically different. Each 'speciality', I mean, something different can be shown so to look beautiful. Very big breasts for example, some people can see as something 'abnormal', because they are far from average, but many men see them as beautiful. When a leg is in question, if I try to hide that I have only one, I would always look worse. If I use a cosmetic prosthesis, it can look very real only when I'm sitting, but when I begin to walk, it can be seen only as a very bad copy of the real one. At the very least, I would look as if I have sprained ankle and knee. On the contrary, walking on crutches can be very gracious and even erotic. Also, a peg-leg or even hi-tech leg but without a cosmetic cover is visibly artificial, so a severe limp does not look disabled and ugly, just natural because of the leg's clear nature. I'm sure a peg-leg can make a fabulous image, but I doubt it is very practical for walking, I think about hi-tech one, but with peg instead part of shin and foot, but I can't say anything before I try it.

Sport is really one of the few things I lost with my leg. I played tennis before, and I will try when I get my leg, but I'm not sure it will be successful. Swimming was a problem at the beginning, but I'm learning fast, so I don't think I will not be nearly as good as before. But, volleyball I can forget, it's clear, as well as my modelling part-time career, the tango-argentino, and few other things! But, when I look shortness of the last paragraph, I see one more time I gained much more than I lost!

One of the biggest surprises was finding out about wannabes. I never heard about them before. One of my worst qualities is that I understand people too much. So I have nothing against any wish, any taste if it doesn't do something wrong to others. But, I must say that I can't understand wannabes. As an involuntary amputee, maybe I'm acting now just like them, I begin to enjoy my one-leggedness as something new, some change, some new experience. I find it really interesting, sometimes diffi cult, but I have joy every time when I beat some 'new limitation'. Also, I found myself more stared by men (some of them with pity, but not the majority), I'm for sure more interesting now, and even more attractive (maybe it's logic of the style: 'Look she is so attractive even with only one leg', but anyway it's the truth) for men, even for my own husband. And is there any woman who doesn't like that? If you ask me to make balance between what I get and what I lost, I'm not sure is the final result positive or negative. But, I didn't want that, and if somebody asked me I would say that I would have liked it never to have happened. But, it did happen! So, I didn't want to cry, to be self-pity. No. I had to find only good things in my one- leggedness, and to forget all the bad ones. And, this is what I'm doing. My joy in my new experience is, perhaps, self-defence by my subconscious, but I enjoy my new 'way of living', my 'adventure', my 'new image'. I don't want to say that I like to have one leg only. If I only can return ... But, I can't! If, it was necessary to become one-legged, I had to learn to be happy one-legged, to find out how to feel even better than before. And I have learned that. But, it's completely different if somebody who has two healthy legs wishes to have only one. That's nonsense for me. But, it's also nonsense to me if somebody want to increase her breasts (mine are too small, but I would never have them operated on to be bigger), or to shorten my nose, or anything else. So, I think everybody has right to wish and to do whatever he (she) likes with his (her) body.

I have to be frank and to tell you that my own daughter is wannabe. At the beginning, I believed that it's my fault, that she begin to feel so, because she wanted 'to be like her mother' what is typical for teenage girls. But, no. After our sincere talk, I found that she had had these feelings from her early childhood. My illness only give her the chance to show more of her deep feelings. I'm very unhappy because of that, but I have nothing against that, and I even permitted her to play her 'forbidden games'. What I'm afraid, that her 'game' (she is using my, now unneeded, KAFO brace 'part-time' to be shown 'disabled' to her friends) will make her disabled for real if it continues for long time. If she will be happy so, I have nothing against it, but what if she change her mind, and this is likely and what I would prefer, but in the meantime suppose she became disabled for real? What then? What will be her life? And who will be responsible for that?

Someone wrote that one of things she liked about being an amputee was how good she felt when she defeated her physical challenges as an amputee. She is right about that. It's the beauty of victory. And I make a progress every day. Just in the last few days, I began to learn to walk (with a prosthesis) second time in my life. And, every step is better than the one before. It is small victory and big joy for me. I don't have any phantom-pain now and only a little at the beginning, and massaging the stump and caressing it gives pleasurable, feelings, sometimes even more than that. (Depending on who is caressing, of course.) I don't feel less of a woman than I did, maybe even more. I was beginning to age before, but now I'm changed. I've got a new body. I feel younger in my 'brand-new' body! One of the attributes of woman is her fragility, and I'm more fragile than before.

The best piece of advice I can give somebody who has become an amputee is: Your life is not finished, it continues. But your new life has just begun.

One pretty leg is better than two ugly.
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