On May 6th, Marijo and I attended a fund-raiser for our good friend, Cyndi Desjardins. Her event was held had Fairy Lake Park in Newmarket. I’m not sure how many folks were there but it was well attended by lots of smiling, happy people and the weather was perfect.
Cyndi had told me that there would be many of her friends there that also were amputees as well as other survivors of Flesh Eating Disease, like myself and I was very excited to meet them.
It didn’t take long for us all to find each other in the crowd and we became fast friends. They shared that at West Park, which was the Rehabilitation facility many of them came through, they referred to below knee amputees as ‘paper cuts’. To get them back, the below knee amputee’s started to refer to the above knee amputees as ‘drama queens’. A little amputee humour – but it got me thinking – what does that make me? I asked Marijo what she thought, and she said “oh, that’s easy. You’re a drama queen with a papercut”. Hmmmm… Not sure I like that! One of the guys there, who had above knee amputations and was learning to walk, told me that wheelchairs are only made to sell on ebay. 🙂
It was nice to see Cyndi and Marc and I hope they achieve their goal of getting Cyndi some myoelectric arms.
There was a lovely woman named Heather who shared her story with me but only when I asked….It’s hard to miss Giuseppe who is very flamboyant, with a strong personality, and very inspiring. He was able to show us great walking and running skills. ‘Joey’ as they call him is an above knee double amputee….Stefan who has similar amputations, was also an inspiration to me. He had an accident with a train 15 years ago. Joey inspired Stephan to get out of his wheelchair and learn to walk. He has discarded his wheel chair and is learning to walking again…. There was story after story – burns, flesh-eating, motorcycle accidents, industrial accidents, etc.
The common thread in all of my new friends – they all have drive…no one’s taking ‘no’ for an answer, they all have huge smiles, they all have amazing support provided by friends or family. Each person was in a different stage in their journey. We’re all still getting new stuff…tweaking , adjusting and learning.
My new friends are all so very supportive and you can’t help but feel good after leaving them.
Sometimes I think I won’t ever walk again without gait aides….my friends made me rethink this. I went walking as soon as I could when we got home. Several times I lifted my crutches and I walked lamp post to lamp post (not pretty but….) and I’m going to keep trying. Thank you my friends and I hope to see you again soon in my travels.