Celebrating the Milestones – Dancing, Walking, and Running for the First Time
If you have recently experienced the loss of a limb, it can be difficult to envision yourself and what your life will look like in a month, or a year, or even tomorrow. You know there are incredible amputee athletes out there pushing the limits of human endurance – climbing mountains, sprinting, or competing with thousands of elite athletes in the Paralympics. Perhaps those stories inspire you; maybe they’re just hard to relate to. Most of us are not world-class athletes or driven to pursue extreme athletic accomplishments.
We’ve worked with these impressive elite athletes and honor the path they’ve chosen, but we know they represent only a small percentage of the population. That’s true even with our veteran population. While some pursue extraordinary physical feats, many of these heroes simply want to enjoy the simple pleasures of life after the military. We admire them no less. The fact is, living is more about the small moments. Maybe it’s walking with your children to the school bus, or dancing at a friend’s wedding, or relaxing on the beach with friends on a hot summer’s day. It’s your life, and your goals should be to reclaim the activities that bring you joy.
Take Stacey. Before her amputation she enjoyed judo. She certainly doesn’t see herself as any type of role model, but is on the road to reclaiming her life one step at a time. Today, it’s walking with her dogs, tomorrow it’s successfully riding her bike, and ultimately, she will enjoy judo again. As she puts it “I’m just somebody trying to recover as much of my old life as I can.”
Then there’s Maureen. She’s 75 years young with a brilliant smile. Only weeks after getting her new prosthesis, she was walking, but it was the day she took to the dance floor for the first time that was her great milestone and joy, serving as an inspiration for her own daughter who wrote, “After eight short weeks of [mom] Maureen getting her prosthetic leg, thanks to Liane from Catholic Medical Center outpatient rehab and all of you here at Next Step our 75-year-old mother’s dream to dance happened today.”
So, what will your life look like? Really, it’s up to you. Wherever your journey takes you, we are celebrating every milestone with you.
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