Saturday, October 31, 2009

Goose bumps

One oddity of having an amputation, aside from phantom pain, is increased sensitivity in the residual limb. Not only am I consciously thinking about the limb much of the day, but also the stump is something of an emotional barometer of sensitive instrumentation.

When I think of something that emotionally affects me, the feeling is conveyed to the residual limb in several orders of magnitude of response than the rest of me. Lately I often think of how it's going to feel to cross the finish line of my first race...or standing on the starting line with my fellow multi-colored eagles, or seeing and hearing the spectators along the course. Sometimes this elicits goosebumps, which I feel 10x more powerful in my missing limb.

It's as if my spectator of a lost foot is claiming this miracle for itself.

I often get goose bumps only on my residual limb, none are allowed elsewhere. It is intense and approaches a degree of discomfort than makes me think of something else to stop the thought that brought it on. I suppose the severed nerves are the cause of this unique awareness; the new me is different from the old and I would not change it.


It has been over two years since Jennifer and I went to race together. That was the Maggie Valley Moonlight race, which is an uphill then downhill course for the 5k. My online race pics showed my distress, so much so that I hesitated too long to purchase them. I regret I didn't.

In two weeks we will run the Rivertown races in Conway, SC. Jennifer will be doing the half marathon and I will be participating in the 8k. When Jennifer signed up for this race I wasn't sure I'd be ready for it...but yesterday I ran 5 miles and know I can do it. It will be exactly 7 months since my right foot was amputated, about the time I will be finishing will be when the time my surgery began.

As I wrote this, my residual claimed the goose bumps. And rightfully so.


I saw my CP, Larry Wiley, on Friday. I now have a new Ossur Iceross Cushioned Liner and was fitted for a new socket. My residual leg shape has changed and this liner has a different shape than my old one. Larry is working hard to obtain me an Ossur Flex-Foot Cheetah running foot. These are amazing prosthetic feet, and will afford me the opportunity to run the best I can as an amputee.

Larry filmed me running which I wasn't expecting. It usually takes me about 150 -200m to settle into a running rhythm, but I did the best I could. Run upright, watch the cross-body arm-swing, and try to run a bit faster than my current slow running pace. I hope the fact I am a grand masters runner will have some bearing on an emerging running demographic. I looked for SC state disabled running records but so far haven't found any. I have no idea if I will be fast enough to challenge or set any marks, but I'd like to know if there are any to shoot for.

I do plan to run everything from the 800m, my high school event, to the marathon, perhaps beyond. I have given my second life as a runner and I intend to go the distance to show my gratitude for this impossible gift.


Almost time to fly.

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