I have been revisiting the TV show E.R. (thankyou Hulu)- One of the episodes has 2 Dr.s talking about if they would ever date a woman with “missing parts”- This brought back memories of my adolescence. Yes, I know most everyone was insecure in their youth. We all had issues, whether it was bad skin, frizzy hair, we were too short, too tall, too heavy, too skinny, etc. and I often tell people my issue was not any different, but in truth it was. I don’t want to minimalize it now- because although I am through it now, I still get curious and even rude looks it hurts less than it did when I was young and I know others with limb differences might feel that now as well. So I wanted to talk about it.
I was, in my opinion, an average looking teenage girl (my dad would say I was pretty!:))) lol , pretty smart, I was active in sports, soccer, cheer, volleyball, tennis (Jr High)- in High School we moved to Tahlequah and I did not participate in sports – it was VERY difficult to make friends in this small town but I made a few) I always had friends growing up but very few “boyfriends” My friends all seemed to have crushes that were reciprocated but not me- I had a few but not really. I have dated basically 2 people I felt really never gave my missing a hand any thought. My high school boyfriend I started dating the summer between my Jr. and Sr. years and my husband I met when I was working with him at Wal-Mart. Granted, I am lucky and I know it that both these men were and are very caring and compassionate people. I know in my heart that I was overlooked and dismissed as “dateable” in high school and it hurt pretty badly- I was made to feel different and ashamed of the way I looked- but there was nothing I could do about it so I created an armor of sarcasm and self-depreciation. I also started “partying” pretty hard- drinking and being somewhat promiscuous to try and be accepted. I do not like to admit that and I told my friends at the time that was my choice but I know I did these things to try and belong. I don’t know if it would have been different if we stayed in the same school district more than a few years so I didn’t have to keep proving I was just a normal kid.
I don’t think given the chance I would change the fact that I was born with just one hand because honestly, I partly credit the person I have become (a strong, self confident, socially responsible woman) to facing the challenges of having just one hand. BUT, I would not wish it on anyone- it took a long time to become the person I am and with a lot of heartache.
Anyway, I know I am rambling – I just felt the desire to put some of this down. This might help understand me, maybe it will help the way you interact with someone with a disability. We are not any less or more than anyone else because of our difference- We are just Human.
Me in 2014 (46 years old)
Yesterday I was running my 15 mile training run and was pretty much “done” at mile 12. But my last mile I spotted the Iron-Man tattoo on the calf of the guy running right in front of me. I caught up to him and told him I liked his tattoo. Turns out he got it after he ran his first Iron man in Louisville 2013. I was excited- since this was my planned debut into the triathlete arena.
His health journey started during a visit to his doctor- He shared with his doctor that he wanted to ultimately run a marathon. His Doctor told him that he couldn’t do it- that it would ruin his body. That pretty much ticked my new friend off and he and his wife started eating healthier and working out- between them, they lost over 150 pounds. Not only did he complete a marathon- but he completed his first ever marathon DURING the Iron-man. He has now done over 18 marathons, 10 ultra marathons and 3 Iron-man. He and his wife have found a love for running trails and staying healthy.
His story and mine have several parallels, including the fact our “get healthy” journeys both started with our Doctor telling us either we couldn’t do something or that it was normal and OK to gain weight as we get older. On a yearly visit to my gynecologist I shared with him my concern that every year I came my weight increased- gradually but consistently. He told me basically not to worry as we age we gain weight (I was around 40 at the time, and at least 20 pounds overweight) This pissed me off so much that I decided to show him!- I started weight watchers and added longer distance running and dropped the pounds, fat and excuses. What I hope he would do today to that same type of concern is-ask “tell me about your activity level?” ” What is your nutrition like?” At least get to know the lifestyle of the person first. We already have so many excuses not to be healthy- we do not another one given to us my our health care professional.
First picture is me in 2009- 41 years old, 2nd picture is 2014 when I was 46 after my 50 miler
Me in 2009 (41 years old)
Me in 2014 (46 years old)
My point is listen to your Doctor but don’t let anyone limit you. You can achieve almost anything you put your mind, body and soul in- and if you do not- at least you tried.
Day 1 as a blogger Who would have thought? Not me, I have tried journal-ling before, I believe 3 days is all I have ever completed. I could never find anything “interesting” or “insightful” enough to record. So why now? I am a fitness trainer and a marathoner I recently decided to complete an Iron Man Triathlon, not a huge deal these days, in my opinion, but the stats say only about 0.001% of people will do an Ironman – I also have another challenge, besides being a 48-year-old female who came into the fitness arena later in life (late 30’s) I am also 1 handed I am missing my left hand and forearm (from about 1 inch below elbow) from a congenital amputation in other words I was born with only 1 hand.
I have been getting some press on my quest for the Iron man and some have suggested I blog about my training……. so, here goes!
I plan on taking you through my training as I experience it, as well as sharing and inviting you to share other stories of determination, health, fitness and happiness.
Everyone has excuses as to why they “can’t” do something I try, and encourage you to find reasons to try things you “think” you can’t.
My official Iron Man Training will not start until after I finish my next Marathon (April 9, 2016) until then I will cross train with swimming and cycling.- So now I am off to the pool to get some laps in before I return to work.
Thanks and have a Fantastic Day