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Life can, and does, go on...14th June 2018 Personal Injury
At Pace Rehabilitation (Pace), our clients are all amputees at various stages of their rehab and many have suffered life changing injuries that have caused their amputation in the first place. Despite this they are a positive, motivated and courageous crowd who have accepted the cruel hand life dealt them and are trying their best to move forwards.
But being a new amputee is not easy. It can be an emotional and physical roller-coaster, but you can do your best to stay on the highs and avoid the lows.
People who have chosen to have an amputation may find the first year easier than those who had no choice. They may have gone down this path because of failed reconstruction surgery after an accident or because they are fed up of a life full of pain and difficulty walking. Either way – if they have chosen this route they have already taken that step to accepting who they are and what they will look like.
It is, however, completely normal to grieve for what you have lost even if you chose amputation. Looking at your leg after surgery for the first time is a scary prospect and the realisation that you can never go back to how you were can be terrifying.
One of the simplest ways to cope with this huge change in life is to break it down into mini milestones – getting home, your wound healing, coming off your pain medication, walking for the first time, getting your first prosthetic limb. These achievements will happen within the first few months after the operation, and all will help you to feel like you again.
Getting your first prosthetic limb will likely be a highlight of those few months. At Pace we encourage clients to wear their new limb with pride - it is part of you and makes you the amazing person that you are, so show it off!
Your physio and you
You will spend a lot of time with your physiotherapist, whether you want to or not. The physiotherapist’s job is to challenge you, push you outside your comfort zone and show you what you are capable of, as it is always more than you think. We want you to be confident with who you are and what you can do – our ultimate aim is to give you your life back or better still, enhance it. The more we can increase your confidence in your physical ability, the more it affects the confidence you have in you and we want to see that bloom.
During your first year there are a lot of adaptations to make – falls are fairly common, which can knock your confidence and make you embarrassed if you are out in public. People may look at you and ask questions about what happened. You may have problems with your wound healing or damaging your stump during a fall. Your family may also struggle to accept what has happened. A good physiotherapist will help you to develop coping strategies.
Fitness is also a large part of life as an amputee, the added energy expenditure needed to get through a day can be exhausting. Staying on top of your calorie intake and making sure you do enough exercise can be difficult to come to terms with if this wasn’t part of your life before.
Looking to the future
Physiotherapy is a key part to your recovery – it will teach you how to move with confidence on your prosthesis and reduce the risk of falls. Setbacks will happen – no one’s journey is plain sailing from beginning to end so do not worry if something unexpected crops up in your recovery.
But the most important thing to remember is: it doesn’t matter what other people think when they look at you. What matters in how you feel about yourself. If you are happy in your own skin, then life is yours to live – go and get it.
This article was written by Pace Rehabilitation, for more information visit www.pacerehab.com or call 0161 428 5500.