This month is National Limb Loss Awareness Month. For those living with amputations and limb differences, this month brings awareness to the physical and mental challenges that often times come from looking “different” in a world where the pressure of maintaining your physical appearance feels so important.
One of the hardest parts of my injury was accepting that it is okay to look different. Accepting that my lower legs were gone, and would soon be replaced by pieces of carbon fiber. Accepting that the scars covering my body are not signs of weakness, but are signs of survival. I have to admit, getting to this point of acceptance took time. Instead of focusing on how my body looks different in ways that I never would have expected, I choose to focus on how my body is also stronger than I could have ever expected. My scars are signs of what was needed to be done to survive, and I cannot regret those or feel ashamed of them. The loss of my limbs forced me to find a strength within myself that I never knew I had.
The Amputee Coalition shares that there are an average of 507 amputations every day in the United States. Of all amputees, 36% of them have experienced depression at some time.
A month that focuses on bringing awareness to these circumstances is so important to me. After an amputation, recovery is difficult and brings feelings of loneliness and hopelessness. After going through times where I was too uncomfortable to leave my hospital room or be around others, I now feel proud of my prosthetics, and am more comfortable with the new person I have become.
Not everyone’s transition with prosthetics is the same, but with new insurance fairness laws for prosthetic care increasing throughout the U.S., I hope anyone who needs them will get the opportunity to find their inner strength just like I did.
I encourage everyone to focus on who you are as a person. Choose to focus on your inner strength and character, not on your appearance.
#StefFindsNewRoads #StefStrong #NorthCountryChevyDealers
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