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Life becomes a little easier when you’ve got a friend who really understands.
From an older person with diabetes to a teenage survivor of a traumatic injury, most new amputees feel alone, isolated. Sharing experiences, challenges and fears with another amputee can reveal solutions, hope and new possibilities.
Losing a limb can be overwhelming. In the beginning, most people have more questions than answers, more uncertainty than hope.
Amputee Empowerment Partners is a diverse group of people who have first-hand experience with limb loss or limb difference. Having successfully adjusted to life with limb loss/difference, these peer visitors are available to give support and encouragement to new amputees, their families and loved ones.
AMPOWER trained mentors are individuals who want to share their stories in order to help someone else in a similar situation.In addition to their personal experiences with limb loss, they participate in a comprehensive training program that prepares them to become certified peer visitors.
What a peer visitor does is very important in the pathway to healing process. Here are just a few things our peer visitors are
By Carrie Davis, AMPOWER National Coordinator
When I was a girl growing up, I spent many moments staring in the mirror at my reflection with my shiny, metal hook peeking out of my shirt sleeve. I often wondered, “Why me?” Why did I have to be born without my arm? Why wasn’t it someone else? Why weren’t there any other people like me?
I felt alone quite often and didn’t really know how to talk about why I felt that way. More importantly, I didn’t know who to talk to. Who could possibly understand what I was feeling? Though I wanted to pretend that not having an arm was “no big deal,” at times, it was all that I focused on. I used to get so frustrated trying to figure out how to do everyday things that everyone else took for granted like tying my shoes, putting my hair in a ponytail, cutting my own food on my plate. Ugh…why me?
With years and with experience, the answer to that question has revealed itself over and over to me. It’s answered when I visit a school and teach students that the only limits we have are the ones we place on ourselves in our own minds. It’s answered when I can sit with young, concerned parents who have a child who was born without a hand and I can show them that everything is going to be OK; that their baby will be able to become anything that he/she dreams of becoming. It’s answered when I teach a 70 year old woman to use her new prosthesis to peel vegetables for the first time in her life or to teach a 13 year old boy to tie his shoes. Why me? These are my answers.
And why AMPOWER? Every time a connection is made between people who really understand what each other is going through or has gone through, we become stronger, wiser, more aware and more empowered to see that our extremities do not define our potential. We will overcome and rise to the challenge to redefine and invent ourselves in our best light.
Losing a limb should impact a person significantly; but it does not define or limit him/her. It is our challenge to find meaning, purpose and hope in the face of our struggles. It comes easy to some and to others, it's more difficult. Thus, AMPOWER; providing encouragement, support and help to those who need a little nudge getting over the hurdles. Wherever you fall in that continuum, know that there is a place for you here.
I would like to personally invite you to our AMPOWER e-community; the largest and furthest reaching online peer-to-peer resource for information, guidance, and perspective on issues related to limb loss and limb deficiencies for patients, families, caregivers, coworkers and friends.
Why me? Why AMPOWER? Because this was meant to be.
AMPOWER National CoordinatorUpper Extremity Patient AdvocateCongenital Below-Elbow Limb Deficiency
"I believe it is extremely helpful to talk to or see someone who has been through or is going through a similar situation as you are facing. I love to see all the activities that the amputee community is still enjoying and them showing others that life does not have to end after facing an adversity, such as an amputation."
John CoolCertified AMPOWER Peer Visitor2010 Amputees Across America Rider
EmpoweringAmputees.org is a password-protected, monitored online community for anyone affected by limb deficiency or amputation. This community is rapidly growing and includes amputees, parents, siblings, friends, care givers and healthcare providers. The goal to support one another drives the community with motivational videos, discussions, forums and blogs.
Join us today!