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Issue

october/november 2012

#04

this issue

The Power of Prosthetic Art 12

Building Core Support for Fitness 15

The Health & Lifestyle Magazine for Amputees Who Want to Live More Fully

Restoring Your Self-Image 16

Embracing the Balance


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February 22

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The Health & Lifestyle Magazine for Amputees Who Want to Live More Fully

Volume 1, Issue 4 Amp It Up! c/o Eureka Custom Media, LLC 1916 Redbud Valley Drive Maryville, TN 37801 865 233-8711 rick@EurekaCustomMedia.com

From the Editor

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elcome to the fourth issue of Amp It Up! magazine! We hope that you’ve been enjoying each issue so far and that the magazine has benefited you in some way. Can you believe that it’s December already and that another year is almost gone? It’s difficult for me to believe that it went by so fast and that it’s already that time again - the time when people start reevaluating their lives to determine if they need to make changes. As the new year approaches, we all tend to look back on the past and evaluate whether we’ve accomplished what we wanted to accomplish - if we are where we want to be in life. Many of us (I’m raising both hands here!) find that we have not met our past goals, and we decide to recommit to them or make new ones for the coming year. We find that some areas of our lives need to be “amped up” a little or a lot. Perhaps we need to work harder to ensure that our health is good. Maybe we need to cut back on sugar and carbs, lose weight, get our cholesterol under control, exercise more or stop smoking. Perhaps we need to deal with some emotional issues that have been bothering us. Maybe we need to forgive someone for what they’ve done to us or ask forgiveness for something we’ve done to someone else. Perhaps we need to get out more, to make new friends or enjoy more time with our current friends and relatives. Or perhaps we need to help others more, to give more charity or to volunteer more of our time to a worthy cause.

This issue of Amp It Up! includes several stories of people who’ve changed something in their lives - people who weren’t quite happy with things the way they were. Perhaps their experiences will help motivate us to do what we need to do this year. Change is often difficult, but sometimes knowing that others have succeeded can help us believe that we can too. Let’s all see what we can do to make sure that we accomplish our goals in 2013. If you do make positive changes to your life, please send me an e-mail later in the coming year and tell me about it. I’d love to hear from you. My e-mail address is Rick@EurekaCustomMedia.com. Wishing you all the best in 2013.

Rick Bowers

Editor-in-Chief Editor’s Request: If you haven’t already done so, please help us spread the word about this publication. Simply tell five amputees you know about Amp It Up!, and ask each of them to tell five others about it. By doing so, you will help us grow and become a more effective communications tool for the amputee community. The more people we are able to reach on a regular basis, the more we can accomplish. When amputees need to unite on a political issue; need to learn about an important event; need to know about support groups or peer support services; need to be informed about ways to prevent a second amputation or deal with pain; etc., we can be the vehicle for making that possible. But, first, we must build a regular audience that will help us reach more and more amputees. Spread the word. Help bring this community together to make life better for amputees everywhere. Thanks in advance for your assistance.

publisher Eureka Custom Media, LLC Editor-in-Chief Director of Communications Rick Bowers rick@EurekaCustomMedia.com

Creative Director Michael Shannon michael@EurekaCustomMedia.com Editorial Advisory Board Jamey French Molly French Patty Parrish Friend Jim Haag Tammie Higginbotham M. Jason Highsmith, DPT, CP Dr. Mark Hinkes, DPM Brian J. Johnston Jason T. Kahle, CPO Shauna Mote John Rheinstein, CP, FAAOP Jennifer Latham Robinson Neal Seigfried Stella Sieber

Amp It Up! is published 9 times a year by Eureka Custom Media, LLC. Copyright © 2012 Eureka Custom Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced in whole or in part, in any fashion, electronically or otherwise, without the written permission of Eureka Custom Media. Information in this publication is the responsibility of the producers of the content and does not always reflect Eureka Custom Media’s views. Such information is provided for educational purposes and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice. For specific medical advice related to your situation, please seek the advice of a professional healthcare provider. The inclusion of advertisements and articles in this publication should not be construed as endorsement of any product, service, device or company by Eureka Custom Media.

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Contents

regular From the Editor 03 Sports Talk: Build core support to maximize fitness success 15 Body Image: Restoring a positive self-image after amputation 16 Upcoming Events 19

12

features 06 12

6

Cover Story: Embracing the Balance The Power of Prosthetic Art

16 15


filling in life始s missing pieces.

Fun empowering adventures for teens and adults with limb differences and limb loss. To support or take part in an adventure, visit footprintsadventures.org


Cover Story

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Amp it up! magazine  october/november 2012


Embracing the Balance BY DANIELLE ORNER

With the crown of my head on the mat, I watch my toes. I walk my feet, one plastic and one real, toward my face. Sweat trickles down my back, and my core contracts. Even though I feel my body working, it still seems like magic to see one foot and then the other float off the floor. I can hover in headstand for only a moment, but I’ve learned by now that today’s limits will be tomorrow’s victories. After all, I used to believe that yoga wasn’t for me. I used to believe my body was the enemy – the ticking time bomb, daring me to try to live between cancer treatments. At 15, I was an honors student, a varsity runner, a singer, and an aspiring actress. When a running injury grew into a lump just below my knee, I discovered I was also a cancer patient. I began my life in the children’s oncology ward with fake tattoos and body glitter on my bald head. Armed with a dedicated family and supportive community, I did everything I could to remain positive. People called me an inspiration, but, honestly, I did whatever I could to survive. With four younger brothers and a dad in the Marines, I felt guilty for taking up all my mom’s time. She had to give me daily shots and help me bathe, and she slept beside me in the hospital room during weeklong chemotherapy sessions. I knew if I couldn’t smile, my family and friends would drift away. My greatest fear was that I’d be left alone, left out, and left behind. Just before my 16th birthday, the

doctors decided I needed an amputation to prevent the spread of my bone cancer. Although I felt a strange sense of peace about this decision, I also knew that no one would ever see me as well again. I would always be sick and broken in everyone else’s eyes. I learned to walk again. When I received a prosthesis, my goal was to look and move as normally as possible. The best I could do was “pass” for able-bodied. Ashamed of my flesh-toned covers, I stuck to wearing pants and avoided walking past windows where I could see the reflection of my halting gait. I auditioned for school plays but avoided changing in the dressing room. My body was an obstacle to my goals. An actress is supposed to be able to melt into whatever character she is playing. She should be able to be beautiful and sexy when the role calls for it. Try as I might, I couldn’t transcend or pretend my way out of my identity. I was always anchored to reality by a hunk of metal. I had what I believed was my last chemotherapy treatment on the night another girl died. We had shared hospital rooms, and I knew her family members, who often brought homemade tamales. I went to hold her hand one last time before I left. Her family had decided against amputation, fearing their daughter would be damaged beyond repair. Who would marry a girl like that, they worried. I walked out of the hospital that night, broken but alive, wondering why I had been saved. I

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Amp it up! magazine  october/november 2012


vowed to make a difference, to be worthy of the work and resources the doctors and my family had put into me. Before my high-school graduation, the cancer returned in my lungs. The doctors cut through muscle and spread my ribs to surgically remove the tumors. Two years later, more grew back. The pattern of re-occurrence continued until the heartstopping doctors’ calls blurred into one memory of hopelessness. Even when I was well, I planned my life in the three-month periods between scans. I couldn’t feel the cancer growing so I stopped trusting my body. For over a decade, I let doctors, specialists, and the scans take control of my health. I felt completely out of control. I stopped telling people about my amputation and cancer. I didn’t want to be defined by it. In college, I threw myself into a frenzy of acting, journalism, working as a resident adviser, and writing. After graduation, I got my teaching credentials as a way of giving back to the community. A second full round of chemotherapy after four lung surgeries woke me up. I had to learn to care for myself. The doctors recommended removing my ovaries to protect my fertility from a second year of toxic treatments. I declined. I already knew the side effects of my treatments could include leukemia, cardiac damage, hearing loss, and many other debilitating problems. Fertility concerns seemed vain and frivolous compared to these risks. No one had promised me a future since my initial diagnosis when I ask my mom, for the first and only time, if I was going to die. If I ever managed to attain health, I decided I would adopt. I didn’t know then that preexisting conditions make the already difficult process of adoption nearly impossible. All I knew was that I’d always worked extensively with kids so I could love any child when the time came. Besides, I couldn’t stomach the idea of yet another surgery and additional medical bills my parents would have to pick up. By this point, I was angry with God. I grew up in a very spiritual family and was taught to look for lessons in all experiences. But I wanted to know what I could possibly learn from having the same horrible experience over and over again. I had done all I could to inspire people with my faith and courage in the face of adversity, but I still wasn’t getting well. I was deeply frustrated

at not being able to build a life worthy of all the sacrifices made to keep me alive. Depression and survivor’s guilt set in as I began to fear my life would never change. Apparently, I still had everything to learn. Those years for me are what we writers like to call “the dark night of the soul.” Struggling in a marriage to my high-school sweetheart who grew frustrated with my emotions and needs, I was terrified that letting go might mean no one would ever be able to love me again. Our 10-year relationship had protected me from the trauma of trying to figure myself out and date as an amputee and cancer patient. He knew what I had been through. He had witnessed my body shutting down from an anaphylactic reaction to experimental chemo and had taken me to get a brain scan at two in the morning because I kept blacking out. If he didn’t want to work on building a life with me and encouraging my dreams, I thought, maybe no one would. Maybe I had nothing left to give. Desperate for new tools, I started doing my research. I discovered wellness coach/author Kris Carr, The China Study, and many other anti-cancer diet books. I began experimenting with new recipes. I visited a farm animal sanctuary. I became a vegan and focused on a diet rich in whole foods. I started craving a form of exercise that could reconnect my mind and body. I wanted to find peace, strength and balance. I had already returned to weightlifting and cardio. Still, I needed to reach a deeper level of acceptance. I was worried I wouldn’t be welcome in a general yoga class. I was afraid of making a fool of myself or of being pitied. So, I practiced at home with DVDs and books. I couldn’t find any specialized classes for someone like me. Still, I had the nagging desire to overcome my fears and practice with others. I had to dismiss the idea that yoga is only for the few – for the graceful, the flexible, and the whole. Finally, I attended a class. I hid in the back. I was terrified that I’d end up standing around the whole time unable to follow the flow. Self-conscious and awkward, I did what I could. I kept showing up, and the amount of things I could do increased. The number of poses I learned to modify grew. I found myself moving through entire classes. I no longer cared that people could see my prosthetic leg in certain poses. Yoga defies expectations. Over the

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years, I’ve watched people walk into class with an array of expectations of what yoga will be for them: easy, torturous, simply exercise, youth-restoring, spiritual, woo-woo, relaxing, boring, weird and lifechanging. Once you begin your practice, you learn to give up those labels and just show up. In each of my classes, I never know what is coming next. I never know if it will be something I can do, something I will have to work on, or something I will never be able to master. I’m OK with

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that now. I’m OK with showing up to uncertainty. Yoga helps me realize that life is a combination of practice and letting go. As a writer and actress, I deal daily with the cycle of creation, risk, rejection, and getting back out there. Creation happens in the midst of doubt and obstacles. I never know if a book will sell, but I start writing those first words anyway. I don’t know when or where funding will come from when I sit down with a team of directors and producers, but

Amp it up! magazine  october/november 2012

I edit my screenplay anyway. Like a strength pose where I am learning to relax my muscles even as I shake with effort, I breathe into my projects. Yoga reminds me to live in the now. It reminds me that if I keep showing up for myself, I can do more than I imagined. Several times, I have gone into auditions only to have directors say some version of “You’re great, but what’s wrong with your leg.” One even told me he was ready to cast me in the lead as long as my leg was healed


by opening night. He thought I had a brace. He ended up casting me anyway. Some casting directors would be excited about me until they watched me walk, painfully slow, up the stairs. I always wore pants and worked hard at “overcoming” the problem of my limp. In an industry that is all about appearance, I’ve often thought I was at a disadvantage. Sure, I could get theater scholarships and do community productions, but make a career out of it? No way. Then, I started

combining my talents and writing my own roles. I’ve discovered that I am in the perfect place to tell stories that haven’t been told. I decided to embrace all parts of my identity and stop judging myself by how well I passed for “normal.” I began connecting with other amputees and began to think of our shared identity as a culture – one we could celebrate. Now, I dream of pushing the boundaries – both in my life and my work – of what is considered feminine, healthy and sexy. I had to let go of my survivor’s guilt and stop trying to be someone worthy of

– my hair, my energy, my career, my comfort, my future plans, pieces of my body. Now, I treat my body like a temple with fresh vegan food, relaxation and forgiveness. I celebrate what is here now. I put more scars on my mat than there are scars on my body. No matter what comes, I will be present for it. Being committed to my health and the environment gives me a sense of stability in a tumultuous, and at times toxic, world. I love it when people ask me how they can change their lives to be more like me. I think it’s kind of funny when people forget

I decided to embrace all parts of my identity and stop judging myself by how well I passed for “normal.” I began connecting with other amputees and began to think of our shared identity as a culture – one we could celebrate. being saved. Being “an inspiration” can be extremely lonely, especially when I let that title keep me from being, saying and doing what my true self desires. Despite disappointed friends and family, I let go of a marriage that no longer served me. Currently, I continue to work on the fear associated with the type of films I’d like to make and the messages I’d like to send. Will people see me differently after they know what goes on in my head? Maybe. But I’m opening myself anyway. I’m tired of clutching my life so close. In the Western world, we are so competitive and so focused on keeping hold of things we have no control over. We set ourselves against our own bodies. We talk in terms of fighting back the bulge, the disease, and the clock. We hold tight to images of what we need to be before we find happiness. We think of diets and exercise in terms of deprivation and torture. We push and we struggle. I had to let go of the fight. Now, I listen for where I need to go and take steps into the darkness. I embrace my body in sickness and in health, in triumph and in failure, in strength and in weakness. Three years into remission, I am no longer afraid. I used to spend so much time worrying about whether or not cancer was growing inside me. I worried about what the treatments would take away from me

to pity me. Together, we are learning to see vibrance instead of disability. I’ve changed the intention behind the question “Why me?” For me, yoga is more than an exercise; it is a spiritual practice. When I am on my mat, I remember to just be. I remember that life is a balance between what we can control and what we can’t. I’m learning to live between effort and surrender. Danielle Orner practices yoga for her health and sanity in sunny Southern California. Diagnosed with bone cancer at age 15, she spent a decade undergoing surgeries, scans and treatments. Changing her lifestyle revitalized both her body and spirit. A writer, actress and teacher, Danielle seeks to explore the difficult questions about identity, sexuality and recovery. Her first feature screenplay, Exposure, placed as a semi-finalist in the Francis Ford Coppola American Zoetrope Screenplay Contest. Visit her fan page for updates on her short films, silly vegan cooking videos, and wellness events. facebook.com/pages/Danielle-Orner/268506179923521?ref=hl Learn more about Danielle on YouTube at youtu.be/tUk2dgRTOws Editor’s Note: For information on adaptive yoga, please visit www.stretch.com.

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A virtual art gallery of some of the custom designs Dan Horkey’s company has painted directly on clients’ prosthetic limbs.

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The power of prosthetic art ARTICLE BY GABRIELLE WOOD, COMING HOME PUBLICATIONS (REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION) DESIGN BY AMP IT UP!

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ife can change in an instant. It’s what we do with those changes that make up the rest of what life has to offer. For Dan Horkey, life changed forever for him in 1985. It was a motorcycle accident. It was devastating. It was life changing. He could no longer be on the job working in construction, being on-site, and in the thick of the family business. When he recovered, it was a new life for him learning to walk again. Learning to cope with what life had handed him. Learning to live without half a limb. Sitting behind a desk, learning to run the business. The accident cost him more than just his leg; it cost him his self-image, his confidence, his world, as he had known it. So much to manage in this new world; physically healing, mentally dealing. More than he had bargained for when he set out that day for a bike ride. A lifetime of change occurred in just a few short minutes. Dan did what most would expect. Feelings of sadness and questioning the future filled many of his days. The rest of his time was spent learning to function again, to handle normal tasks. They say time heals all wounds. And, with time, he learned to live a new life as this new man. He learned to overcome the depression and move on, again, but it was all in good time. When he began his post-accident journey, he really just wanted to feel normal again, to feel like himself again, and mostly, to be treated by others as if nothing had changed. The prosthetic leg he now depended upon he kept hidden under long pants, the foot covered at all times with a sock and shoe. The initial goal was to walk again, without a limp, so that no one would know that he was somehow different. Four years of working toward that goal, four years of periodic re-fittings for his prosthesis, and lots of practice gave Dan the outcome he was looking for, he was a master at walking again, just like everyone else. Yet, there is still something about knowing that you are different that stays with a person. Dan knew. And, even though strangers didn’t know, he knew that

there was a man made part of him, something that he couldn’t live without, but was still somehow bothered by having to live with. It had been 20 years since his accident and he’d moved on with his life, moved away from the family construction business and was working as a prosthetic technician for a company in Tacoma, WA. It was there that he happened upon a roll of flame ensconced material, and in that moment, the wheels began to turn, and, essentially, the concept of prosthetic art was born. Dan Horkey laminated the fiery flames to his prosthetic and unveiled his leg for the world to see. What had once been a source of indignity was now one of pride. “My prosthetic became a subject of conversation, and from that, my self-confidence and self-esteem went up. The way I felt made me want to bring the world of color and custom art to other amputees.” Dan has converted the process of healing into his life’s path, his life’s work. From the tragedy emerged a different man, and the future he is now living. He founded Global Tattoo Orthotic Prosthetic Innovations (GTOPI) in 2008. His company creates artwork for prosthetics for amputees. The artwork is customized, and reflective of the person who wears it, much like someone’s tattoo, there is personal meaning, sometimes obvious in content, like the Marine Corps emblem, sometimes more covert, and of meaning only to the wearer. The patent-pending methods entail a unique process that utilizes custom painted automotive finishes and then airbrushing or hand-painting the design of choice. “My finishes are safe for children and adults, proven durable and of professional quality,” says Horkey. “They are similar to what is used for custom jobs on hot rods and motorcycles. What I’m offering for prosthetics vastly expands the options beyond the laminated fabric choices that are currently available.” Additionally, he is also working on perfecting the current fabric choices and offering custom printed designs on fabric and vinyl. This will make a person’s design interchangeable should they require a change in prosthetic or have more than one limb that they use. This second method will increase the october/november 2012  Amp it up! magazine

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cost effectiveness of his products to allow a greater percentage of amputees to take advantage of his services. Since 2008, GTOPI’s work has created prosthetic designs for wounded warrior soldiers at WRAMC and BAMC, as well as Veterans from all over the U.S. that have contacted him independently. In 2009 he became a VA contractor allowing him to offer custom airbrush art, simple custom vinyl images, painted or chrome finishes all considered custom restoration to veterans. Veterans can make their request through all VA Hospitals across the U.S. and the VA will cover 100% of the cost. The VA Prosthetic and Sensory Aids Service believes that Veterans using devices such as artificial limbs or wheelchairs should have the options available to have it look as they want it to as it is such a critical part of their daily lives. And, while most of us would equate the loss of a limb with that of war, or military service, there are others to consider. Dan has worked with children as young as five years old just entering school and experiencing life for the first time outside the protective walls of their homes and families. By removing the stigma of having a prosthesis and replacing it with the sense of individualism, Dan has, in

Artist at work.

Dan and his first GTOPI customer in 2008.

essence, given people the greatest gift one can give, a strong sense of self. He knows from his own experiences that the hardest thing to recover from is your loss of self-esteem. By creating an environment of interest he has created a world for amputees in which they feel unique, rather than damaged. However, with all the hard work he has put into his business and the dream of restoring pride to people who have survived a devastating accident or life threatening illness, there is still a struggle for him to survive in the business world. With the downturn in the economy, Dan’s hopes for success become dampened once in a while. He still works from his home office, and employs artists on a contract basis rather than as employees. It’s not been easy to stay afloat, but he’s not willing to give up on something he understands in a very personal way is such an important endeavor. Dan’s ultimate goal is to one day be linked to clinics and hospitals that offer prosthetic services. The patient will simply sit at a computer station, log onto the GTOPI website, shop for the design of their choice, and, through the magic of technology, place the order through their Prosthetist, who will fit their prosthetic and have it decorated and ready for pick up, all within a week’s time.

He knows his company is far more than just a business, that generating revenue is not the only reason life has taken him on this path. He’s found a way to restore a person’s life by not only sharing in their stories of pain and discouragement, but also in providing a road to recovery for the soul, the heart of a person who has seen their lives turned upside down and experienced a physical loss that cannot be reversed. Dan’s hope is that he can reach the masses who will be able to help him launch a fullscale attack and get his business into a facility where he will be able to ramp up his production, employ veterans and amputees and grow a business that deals in the restoration of dignity and pride. He has lived through the loss, and now he’s looking at the other side with hope and optimism. For more information about prosthetic art visit www.ProstheticINK.com or call (360) 895-1976. Amp It Up! Editor’s Note: While the VA will cover 100% of the costs of this service in certain cases, please note that these costs must first be approved for your specific situation. Contact GTOPI for more information.

Dan Horkey in his home office.

Dan Horkey Office Photo: Gabrielle D. Wood

What clients say about GTOPI custom artwork for their prosthetic devices

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“It’s funny that I used to get upset when people would stare at my prosthesis but now with this Superman and Flash artwork people will be astonished. Great company and great work. I am very pleased.” - Michael, Retired Veteran (Provided by Indiana VA Hospital)

“My pride goes up every time people see it and the reaction is ‘Oh! WOW! Is that cool!’ I chose to have a Marine Corps emblem and my date of service on my prosthetic to show everyone that I have served and I am proud of it. GTOPI.com offers a unique one of a kind product and that is just what I wanted.” - Mark, Ret. USMC (Provided by Durham, NC VA Hospital)

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“Dan, I want to thank you and your guys for the outstanding work you did on my leg. Being able to sport my Vietnam Army Airborne Ranger tattoo has made me less selfconscious about the leg.” - Bob, US Army Airborne Ranger Vietnam (Provided by Georgia VA Hospital)


Sports Talk

25, 35 or 45

Build Core Support to Maximize Fitness Success

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BY WALTER URBAN

have been training over 17 years, and, over this time, I have come to emphasize and value the need to surround myself with “core” support, which embraces and encourages my effort to maximize my progress and longevity in fitness. Over the years, my “core” support has been a combination of my wife, daughters, co-workers, clients and friends. As you get older, it gets even harder and harder to maintain the stamina of earlier years. Your “core” support fills in the gaps when motivation, fatigue and boredom hit you in a long training cycle. There are a number of studies from respectable national health organizations that reinforce the notion that “social” influence and support can play a big role in fitness and exercise. In short, socio-cultural variables can negatively or positively influence an individual’s involvement in physical activity. The key point being, you will do more if you obtain positive outside support. The top 5 areas to look for “core” support are:

Family Depending on your age, you spend more of your “free time” with family than any other group; thus, family support is paramount. While you are at home and not doing exercise, you and your girlfriend, boyfriend, wife, husband or other family members can work together to live a healthier lifestyle. Brothers, sisters and other relatives can also be good sources of support.

Training Partners Seek out and look to others who are exercising. Working out with a partner helps you

stay motivated. Find someone who does similar workouts and goes to the same gym or attends the same classes. This is great support – you can push each other when you are at low points and enjoy successes when you are both peaking. Partnerships can even extend well beyond the gym to social surroundings and pursuing a healthy lifestyle.

Personal Trainers If you can afford it, working with a personal trainer is the best way to reach or exceed your fitness goals. A personal trainer will also be able to correct your form and give you tips for making your workouts as successful as possible. He or she will provide mental support when you don’t have the motivation to exercise or move beyond your current state.

Social Media Sounds crazy, but Facebook and Twitter are outlets that allow you to join online fitness

groups and even possibly find training partners. Don’t underestimate these online media. If you search, you can find local or regional gyms, personal trainers, fitness groups, clubs, etc. online.

Doctors Doctors will be able to give you limited suggestions about your exercise routine and point out anything you are doing that could be bad for your body. Make sure that you visit your doctor regularly to chart your health, and also check with him or her when you drastically change your fitness program. Remember there is power in numbers so get support whenever or wherever you can. *As always, check with your doctor before starting any exercise program, and get regular yearly checkups. For more information on Walter Urban and his World and National records, please visit www.walterurban.com.

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Body Image

Restoring a pos after amputatio

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BY BOBBY PUCKETT

ost people enjoy swimming, whether it’s spending the day at a favorite beach, taking a quick dip in the pool, or doing laps to get in shape or maintain our fitness. But, according to most of the recreational therapists I know, swimming is the sport that attracts the fewest amputee participants. Why? It’s all about body image. Taking off our street clothes in front of others is traumatic for any of us who don’t think we have society’s idea of a perfect body. It’s especially difficult for those of us who live with amputations and other extreme physical differences. Speaking from my personal experience as an amputee, I’m sure some people feel anxious or apprehensive about the “ability” part of getting in the water, but sometimes the “appearance” part of removing the cover of regular clothes can be even worse.

My bilateral amputee status does not make me abnormal or weak; I now see it as a symbol of my strength. When we are able to persevere in the face of life-changing obstacles, our true inner strength and courage shine. These are perfectly normal reactions and emotions, especially after we have gone through something that can affect our self-image and self-esteem. Most

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a statement NOT a question

sitive self-image on of us who have experienced a life-changing illness or physical injury must struggle to come to terms with the difference between our previous self-image and our current reality. I went through this and, by sharing my experience, I hope that I can help other amputees who are dealing with this issue. Twelve years ago, I was in a severe car accident and came out of the experience a bilateral below-knee amputee. This completely turned my self-image upside down. At first, I went through a phase where I was embarrassed by my appearance. I did everything I could think of to hide my “new reality” because I did not want anyone to realize that I was different. People who know me notice that I walk without a limp. This is because, from the very beginning, I was obsessed with practicing my walk in hopes of fooling the world. My attitude about trying to disguise my condition did not change until I met my wife, Andrea. One thing Andrea and I share is our joy in being able to help others. After lots of convincing from her, I realized that I could help others by not hiding who I was (and am) and by just being myself. I swore that if I could help others through a time like I was going through, I would do whatever it took. At first, I was extremely self-conscious and very anxious whenever I went out in public with my prosthetic legs “exposed.” And then I found that, after “just doing it” and beginning to speak about my experience to other amputees as part of the Westcoast Peer Visitor Program, my perceptions about myself and how I thought others perceived me started to change. As with many things in life, it’s all about perception and practice. The more

a statement

it’sNOT ana attitude question it's an it’s aattitude book

I got out there, the more I began to feel comfortable with myself and realize that I needed to be looking at my “new” situation differently. My bilateral amputee status does not make me abnormal or weak; I now see it as a symbol of my strength. When we are able to persevere in the face of life-changing obstacles, our true inner strength and courage shine. Once I began seeing things from this perspective, I realized that my self-esteem had improved and my confidence had increased - all because I allowed myself to believe that I can still accomplish whatever goals I set for myself - even now, as an amputee. I moved myself from a place of surviving to a place where I am thriving. I now believe that any of us can achieve whatever we desire. Yes, the equipment we use might be a little different, the training must be designed to accommodate our physical differences, and it will take hard work, but it can be done. Whether it’s during a dip in the pool, a bike ride, or a run with friends, I now proudly display my prosthetic legs and scars as trophies from a battle in which I was victorious. In our society, we are always on the lookout for heroes. We love to find that “next new person” who has done something amazing, especially in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. So my advice is, “Go for it. Be that hero. But remember, even though you now control how others see you, it’s how you see yourself that’s the most important thing of all.” Bobby Puckett is a bilateral amputee, a Westcoast Brace & Limb Patient Ambassador, a competitive handcyclist, and a Paralympian-in-Training. He lives in Tampa Bay, Florida.

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Inspiration and motivation forall all Inspiration and motivation for

Crutches built for LIFE! Lightweight & Durable

Shock Absorbing Sandshoe & Snowshoe Tips

Nico Calabria USA Amputee Soccer Team

1- 87 7- 4 6 4 -78 4 9 w w w.SideStix.com

october/november 2012  Amp it up! magazine

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TM

Athletes with Disabilities Network’s mission To promote a better quality of life for people with physical disabilities by creating awareness and offering opportunities to get involved with athletic, recreational and educational activities nationwide. Programs include: ● Athletes with Disabilities Hall of Fame ● Extremity Games ● Mentoring & Outreach ● Adaptive Sports Coalition ● Collegiate Scholarships

2013 Events Calendar April - Adaptive Rock Climbing Clinic Joshua Tree, CA May - Detroit Lions Tony Filippis, Sr. Memorial Bocce Tournament Palazzo di Bocce, Orion, MI May/June - Extremity Games 8 Motocross - Baja Acres, Millington, MI Main Event - Texas Ski Ranch, TX October 24 - 15th Annual Athletes with Disabilities Hall of Fame MotorCity Casino, Detroit, MI

248.829.8353 www.adnpage.org www.extremitygames.com ADN_FlPg.indd 1

facebook.com/adnpage facebook.com/extremitygames 12/27/11 7:59:42 AM


Upcoming Events Athletes with Disabilities Network (ADN) April Adaptive Rock Climbing Clinic Joshua Tree, CA May Detroit Lions Tony Filippis, Sr. Memorial Bocce Tournament Palazzo di Bocce, Orion, MI May/June Extremity Games 8 Motocross Baja Acres, Millington, MI Main Event Texas Ski Ranch, TX

Be sure to verify event dates and venues with the hosting organization to make sure that they have not been changed.

Camp No Limits February 21-24 Arizona March 1-3 Camp sNOw Limits Maine June 11-14 Missouri

January 12 First Climb and First Swim Phoenix, Arizona February 22 Inaugural First Row Orlando, Florida

June 28-July 1 California For more information: www.nolimitsfoundation.org campnolimits@yahoo.com 207 240-5762

For more information: www.adnpage.org www.extremitygames.com 248 829-8353

Orthotic and Prosthetic Activities Foundation (OPAF)

March 23 First Dive Dayton, Ohio For more information: www.OPAFonline.org info@OPAFonline.org 319 235-4318

Bionic arms cost a lot and are not high performance technology!

Bob Radocy

PERFORMANCE ✔ SPEED ✔ STRENGTH ✔ QUALITY ✔ RELIABILITY ✔

Body Power vs Bionic . . . There is no contest!

. . . exceeding the challenge. 800.279.1865 www.oandp.com/trs october/november 2012  Amp it up! magazine

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Tell your friends, family members, and other amputees about these informative publications today! AmputeeNews.com

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Amp it up! magazine  october/november 2012

Amp It Up! Vol. 1 Issue 4  

The Health & Lifestyle Magazine for Amputees Who Want to Live More Fully

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