I had planned on saving this book for my time in the hospital as I face amputation of my left leg above the knee. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately still, as soon as I received it I cracked it open the new binder and began reading.
"You're Not Alone" is a collection of personal accounts, just a few pages each, by 38 amputees. The book provides any person who is facing amputation, or who has gone through limb amputation, with a wealth of information regarding what you will face going through the procedure and recovery.
I am sure many current amputees will identify with at least one of the many personal narratives by the actual amputees themselves. I am a paraplegic by birth due to spina bifida and a full-time wheelchair user. Still, the loss of my left leg is traumatic for me. I will transfer in and out of my wheelchair differently. My body will react to things differently. I will face pain and therapy. But on the lighter side of things, I will be preventing further, more serious infections in my left leg from a deep non-healing wound I've battled on and off for years that finally decided not to heal.
I had planned to read the individual accounts in short bits between lapses in my pain medication and the stimulation of visitors, but I could not put it down. I laughed. I cried. I cringed. I identified with something in every page.
These truthful narratives given in a "been there, done that" style have given me a new perspective into the challenges I will face as a newly initiated amputee. I don't feel as clueless and lost in the darkness now. Have I learned all there is to know? No, I haven't. But I have a better road map. The 38 honest stories have helped me to rid myself of the fear of the unknown, given me the courage to pursue more openly the support of other amputee survivors in my community and ask for prayer and motivational support that seems so hard for someone who is used to motivating others herself.
I look forward to the challenges and new opportunities this opportunity for renewed wellness will afford me that this book as revealed to me. I look forward to doggedly maintaining my wellness, independence and feelings of wholeness with a lighter heart.
My desire to motivate others with all disabilities has been renewed through "You're Not Alone". I realize now that I have another population of people with disabilities to reach out to as I go through this new journey. Thanks to this book and the quiet time spent taking in all the personal accounts, I now recognize the silver lining shining through what has felt like one of my darkest, impending hours.
There are several accounts I've bookmarked and look forward to reading while in recovery at the hospital, but I also look forward to visitors more than ever now that I am, indeed, not alone.