Coping After An Amputation

While your body heals physically after an amputation, there is an emotional healing that takes place as well. Neither of the two healing processes are quick, but taking steps to move forward in a healthy way can help promote a positive outcome in the end.

The Power of Positive Thinking

Did you know that scientific study has actually proven that optimism promotes physical health and may improve the well-being of an individual [1]? While a period of grief, frustration and possibly anger is expected and okay, it is important to then move forward with hope and with positive thoughts. Remind yourself that simply going through this process has shown you that you are stronger than you ever thought you were.  Recognize the unique perspective you now have on what is important in life. Identify the creative ways you have learned do tasks that you previously took for granted before your amputation. Be thankful for the strength your body has to adapt to this new change.

Boundaries and Expectations

Learning to navigate the world after an amputation takes time. Identify your new challenges and consider how you can address them. It is important to communicate with your family about what things you need help with and what things you can do for yourself. Don’t be too quick to assume that you can’t do something. You may be surprised how your new resilience can provide just the push you need to figure out good options.

Emotional and Spiritual Well-Being

Keeping a journal is one of the best ways to express your feelings and frustrations without letting them bring you down. It’s also a great way to track your progress; it can encourage you down the road as you look back at how far you’ve come as you record milestones and accomplishments. Never underestimate the power of prayer either. Taking time daily to sit quietly, reflect, pray and journal can provide balance to what otherwise can be an emotional roller coaster.

Physical Health

Despite the changes in your mobility, finding new ways to exercise is still important. While combatting disease, exercise is also proven to improve your mood, your energy and your quality of life [2,3]. Core exercises surrounding your lower back, hips and gluteal muscles can also make a major difference in your ability to comfortably wear a prosthesis [4]. Physical exercise and a healthy diet also combat weight gain, which results in a better fitting prosthesis.  Talk with your physical therapist and prosthetist about exercise ideas that are best for you.

Peer Support

Plug in to an amputee support group, organization or sports team. The camaraderie with others who understand your unique challenges renews your confidence in yourself and your abilities. See our previous post on local amputee support groups.

And always remember:

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[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2894461/

[2] http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20048389

[3] http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/PhysicalActivity/FitnessBasics/Physical-activity-improves-quality-of-life_UCM_307977_Article.jsp

[4] http://www.amputee-coalition.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/common-exercise-issues.pdf

 

 

Posted in: Tips and Self-Help

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