well hello there that was a little hard to get off my beautiful internet friends welcome back to my channel four years it has been four years since I started this Channel and much more importantly since I lost my leg and I still haven't found it so four years ago I walked into a hospital up in Denver on two feet knowing that I would be leaving the hospital without one of them I knew that it was the last time I was going to take steps as a two-legger I still remember walking into the waiting room it felt so surreal uh I gave my mom and my then husband a hug I called my dad he said I'll see you on the other side and then the good drugs hit and I went under four years later it has been quite a journey and every single year has felt so different I'm gonna put a link down below to some of the other previous anniversary videos also noting that this video is about a week and a half late because I was in the middle of moving and couldn't film it and actually release it on the anniversary date but it's close enough we're gonna count it but first before we dive into this you may have guessed what time it is sponsor time a big thing thank you to today's sponsor bright sellers a company that I have actually wanted to work with for quite some time now so I love white wine I'm still working on my red palette we aren't there yet on special occasions or game nights with friends I love having you know a glass to sip on I'm a total beginner when it comes to wine so going to the store I was basically just choosing you know it how pretty the wine label looks however bright settlers actually matches you through their quiz with a variety of wines from small Vineyards worldwide they are curated to what your taste preferences are and with hundreds of exclusive wine Brands you'll be able to try some wines that you've never tasted anywhere else if you're anything like me someone who is not super wine educated each box comes with wine pairing suggestions and education cards I love knowing more about what is actually in each bottle such as the flavor notes so I can kind of learn a little bit more about it also if sustainability is something that you are striving for in your life bright sellers offers a number of sustainable brands in their wine repertoire my personal favorite for my box is the Hazel air first of all super pretty label dear bright sellers you get to decide how often you want to receive one of your boxes from them as you guys know sponsors like bright sellers are what make this channel possible if you're interested at all I would highly recommend checking out their Link in the description below and right now bright sellers is actually offering a limited time offer of 50 off their first six bottle box click that link in the description to find what wine is going to best suit you so go ahead and click that link in the description and let's jump back into the video now that we are four years into this I wanted to talk a little bit about what it's actually been like to live life as a below the knee amputee and then I'm actually going to re-watch one of my old videos where I talked about the dreams I had like what I want to do when I got a prosthetic leg I have not watched this video in three years and I don't remember what I said I'm kind of curious what goals or dreams I have achieved and what might have shifted the first year was a lot of Agony and disappointment and pain because I had a fall the surgery didn't end up working out correctly and I had to wait to have my leg amputated a second time that August but ironically October 11th of 2019 one year after my first amputation I got my first prosthetic leg and I feel like that really started my journey of being able to walk again that first year there was so much adjustment to like how different everything felt how weird everything felt kind of the societal aspect of integrating in society as someone who looks different but then that second year was so good because it was learning to walk it was learning to run it was learning to snowboard rock climbing doing all of these things that I'd been dying to do and then the pandemic hit so that complicated things a little bit 2020 to early 2021 was just kind of a blur a lot of staying at home and working and continuing to kind of walk normally this past year I feel like has been marked with a lot of frustration and feeling like taking steps back and disappointment because I've been experiencing a lot of nerve issues a lot more pain I've still been able to do a good bit in the last year but I feel like 2021 to 2022 has been a good reminder that this is not a straight line living with this kind of a disability it's never done you're always adjusting to something you're getting adjustments made to your prosthetic leg fan of pain got a lot worse this year and I'm not sure if I've released this video or not but I just moved for accessibility and to be able to use a wheelchair I got a wheelchair this year for my good friend which has been an amazing device to be able to use but has also forced me to really come face to face with a lot of the internalized ableism that has been in me feelings of Mobility devices like wheelchairs being bad or feeling like I'm less or I shouldn't have to use one and processing through those emotions and I honestly think that has been one of the most beneficial things of this year there's a loud truck one moment it's been the year of not shattering boundaries and doing incredible new things but of recognizing the limitations that my body actually has and how to respect those without judgment allowing myself the space to accommodate my body in a way that it requires without feeling crappy about that or feeling you know judgment or resentment still absolutely work in progress but something that I'm really glad I finally had to face because it feels so much better being able to use my chair and not feel icky about it but to actually be really grateful for it and be like okay cool this is another tool in my Arsenal for days when my leg isn't good so I'm really glad to have the last four years under my belt but I feel like it's easy to get excited about doing new things when you have that opportunity but years into it when you're faced with the understanding that this is going to be a lifelong journey that this is you know an ever-changing process I'm gonna get more and more comfortable with everything but realistically I'll probably be looking at more surgeries realistically my body over time it's probably not going to get better that part has been very bitter to swallow however with that being said I got back to Jujitsu this year I don't even know if anyone cares about Jujitsu on this channel let me know down below if you do but dear sweet Jesus that has been the best thing that I have done for myself this year I have never felt more comfortable in my physical body in my entire life that's like including going through years of eating disorder recovery and all different kinds of surgeries and body stuff I have never felt better than being on the mat and learning how to use my lack of a leg as a tool to my advantage in a fight that is so cool yes it's a disadvantage but good God it is an advantage too you can check out my video on Jiu Jitsu up above if you're interested and I want to talk about some of my goals and dreams for this coming year but first let's take a look at ones that I had before I was even walking I also find it so weird to look back at videos from years ago I just feel like a very different person but I'm really grateful to kind of have the history that this is so let's dive in is about T minus two days until I have my second below the knee amputation oh I didn't realize I filmed this two days before so I was about to crutch my way into the second leg chopping what about there's a lot to deal with I thought that we would take today's video to focus on the reason why I did this in the first place honestly I think this will be helpful for me and I thought it'd be fun to share this with you guys because I've talked about like the reason I had this amputation in the first place I mean I was tired of living in pain and I wanted to live a more active life because being active is a huge part of my identity and it still is I would say more than ever and I have been able to get so much more active since filming this which is really cool you did it Joe I just want to like Pat Little Joe on the shoulder and be like it it will be okay it's gonna be challenging but it will be okay but there are so many things that I am ridiculously excited about there are so many things that I am like hardly even want to think about because they get me so excited like the possibility of them happening is simultaneously the most exciting thing and the most heartbreaking thing because I can't do them just yet but it but it could be coming in be coming soon so these are the things that I am looking forward to these are the things that I will be taking you guys along with me to do and the reason why I started down this road in the first place as I head into my second amputation knowing how rough it's going to be just quick note when I watch back videos of myself I come across as so much more chipper and positive than I was actually feeling like this is an inauthentic but when I think back to like the emotions that I was having during that time I was really trying to be like I am committed to being hopeful and to looking at the things that I can do because right now things are trash it was awful having to go back in to have more of my leg cut off I got really emotional about it I was like they're taking more of my body haven't I lost enough it ended up being totally fine and actually worked really well though with that being said these are the things big and small but I cannot wait to do and share with you guys when I get there let's start with a simple one walk my dogs around the block on days a week I've done that so many times if I can find the video clip I'll pop it up on screen but taking my dogs for a walk is an amazing thing that I have been able to to do for years now the walks are very short I take them up to the forest to go actually run and get energy out because they're big and they hurt my legs sometimes but I can do it now and that's amazing and that is one of the most exciting simple ridiculously little things that I cannot wait to do just take my dog for a walk in the morning secondly a little bit of a bigger goal I want to go for a jog with my Dad I'm gonna get emotional with this one so I grew up with my dad and I would go jogging he's been a jogger his entire life and um I could never run with him oh God come on I put on mascara and eyeliner it's gonna bleed all over the place I had the opportunity to do this and it was actually filmed by Runner's World I went for a jog with my dad it was one of those moments that I was just oh uh on top of the world it felt incredible and I'm so glad to have that documented to have that for the rest of my life when we can both run it felt like the most normal thing in the world and also one of the most emotional experiences it was incredible I got to do that all right so two goals down that I did building on that getting home bigger with the vision I want to run a 5k but I think what I actually want to do is run a marathon no we're not running a marathon however I did run a 5k I love that I've gotten these checked off so far um so I ran a 5k around the same time that I jogged with my dad the runners world did a video about it I'll link that down below oh my God the feeling of Crossing that finish line I literally just like was like yeah I crossed it and I was like oh my God I did it and was just sobbing as the cameras are like zoomed into my face thanks guys it was truly one of the most amazing experiences of my life I remember turning the final corner of that race and seeing the finish line and being like how did I do this like this was so impossible to even dream of doing but I did it also what I said about running a marathon there you know what I could prove myself wrong I don't think that one's in the cards for me at least right now I'd rather focus on you know other sports and taking care of my leg a little bit better right now I live in Colorado and if you don't know about Colorado we have a ton of 14 years which are mountains that are over 14 000 feet they are intense to climb you can get to the top of I think all of them actually and I would love to hike at 14.

I did hike a 14 or previous to losing my leg I wanted to do it because I could say I had done it 14 years are basically mountains over 14 000 feet in Colorado they're like a big thing like a big hiker thing it's a big achievement it's hard it's a hard hike um and I did it once when my leg was trash I knew I was going to be an insane amount of pain but I wanted to do it anyways and I did it but I wanted to revisit that uh as an amputee actually getting up to Tahoe Mountain I was going to train for that this year but I decided against it because of the nerve issues that I was having and that's definitely something that I'd like to shoot for in the future I will do that one day haven't gotten there just yet swing dancing so if you've watched my videos that long ago I used to go swim dancing every Sunday night in high school and I love it swing dancing I this has actually been on my list of uh things to look for classes for and places to go to in the area because I love dancing every time I say that I want to add the caveat that I am not a naturally talented dancer I'm just not and I've accepted that fact for years but I love it and so this is something I'm actually actively pursuing right now I haven't done it yet but I'm gonna and I think it's gonna be great I'm not sure how quickly I can move my feet in like some of the spins with the prosthetic but I'm gonna make it work zero skill no skill unbelievably white in the stereotypical white people can't dance when it comes to dancing but I'm still true I want to be able to just like dance like an idiot at any concert that I go to because I love being able to like move with the music I got to do this Apparently one of my goals was to dance like an idiot concert check and check I went um actually by myself to a Matt Carney concert it was one of the best experiences that I've had like taking myself on a date I always felt weird doing things alone like going to a theater going to a concert anything like that I would never do it but as I kind of went through a divorce this year and everything I was like I really want to go to this and so I did and I danced like an idiot because literally I did not care what anyone thought who was around me and a lady came up to me and she was actually like you're my hero like anxious for expressing yourself which I think meant that I I was dancing a lot but gosh darn it I was your hero for the night so I'll take it do the incline again so the incline is this ridiculously difficult short hike in Colorado Springs yes so the incline is an Infamous hike in the Colorado Springs area you're basically going up the old railroad tracks that brought you to the top of Pike's Peak it's not to the top Pike's Peak it is an insane amount of elevation in a very short period of time very challenging hike I did it a couple times before previous to limb loss and I do want to do that again the problem is the trail back down is very steep downhill and winding and right now that's going to set my leg off a whole lot so I'll hold off on that goal for now but I will get back to that that one is still on the list if this doesn't require a working prosthetic leg but just get back to jiu jitsu I would love to give back to jiu jitsu I am back at Jiu Jitsu and it is giving me so much joy in life and giving away a secret here I am actually training for competition I think I'm gonna do it I think I'm committed to it when I got back into Jiu Jitsu I was like I'm just going to do this as a hobby just for fun I don't need to compete I'm not that competitive person I like lying to myself sometimes I am a very competitive person with very select things the vast majority of games and activities I can lose all day I'm happy I'm fine when it comes to combat I I like I like winning I like actually pushing really hard and so as soon as I actually got back into the gym I was like no I think I actually want to compete main priority is not getting injured so I'm making sure I can do that safely and train well for it but I think I'm gonna do it I think I'm gonna do it this coming year because Jiu Jitsu is in my blood it is like a part of who I am and I miss it so much soon I will return to the mat run with the bulls in Barcelona or is it Madrid I'm not sure I actually don't want to do either one of those things but it's okay okay good for a second I thought one of my goals was actually to run with the bulls in Barcelona is that even like good for the animals I don't I don't know anything anything about that I'm glad this was a joke because if I actually aspired to this I would have been concerned for my previous self go back to Ireland and walk around the streets of Dublin okay so I went on a trip to Ireland a few months before filming this video where I was on crutches on an iwalk the entire time and I'm still dying to go back there and actually explore the country on foot walking around new places is my favorite thing to do of all of the things that is my favorite thing and one of my best best friends just moved to Ireland and so I'm planning on going and seeing her this year so I think this goal will be checked off the list very shortly specifically like walk through the city just side note my music was way too loud in these old videos I'm so sorry guys I think I learned about audio balancing a little bit better maybe so I have crossed off a significant portion of the goals on my when I can walk again as an amputee list and I'm actually really excited about that climbing a 14er and doing the incline definitely still on the list I'm gonna wait until my leg is feeling a lot more stable to be able to accomplish those but the uh Jiu Jitsu competition thing that one that one is coming up soon and I'm anxious nervous excited about it so I would say that my goal is moving forward for this year of my journey as an amputee or definitely get back to snowboarding last year I was able to learn how to snowboard it was incredible I had a lot of issues with my socket and trying to get things right and it's kind of this constant process of I gotta drive hours into the mountains to get there you've made some adjustments to your leg maybe they'll work that day maybe they won't so now that I kind of have a better idea of what works and what doesn't I'm gonna go back up starting in November and see how I feel maybe join an Adaptive team maybe maybe not depending on how my leg feels I don't know as much as I can compete in anything this year I'm here for it because whatever my body can enable me to do right now I want to do because I'm aware of the fact that this is not forever I'll take care of it I'll take care of my leg my body the best I can um but right now I am capable of doing some things and I want to capitalize on that I think my other goal for the year is to really really learn to respect the boundaries that I have in the moments when it matters the most so here's the thing in daily life I'm getting pretty good about being like nope I can't do that right now I don't have the energy for it or I'm in too much pain nope I need to use my wheelchair okay that's not a bad thing I'm good with it no judgment let's do it in moments when people are like let's all go do a thing or if I'm you know on the math with someone and I know I should probably slow down or like not roll as hard but they're pushing I throw logic and reason aside and I'm like let's go right even though I know it's gonna hurt me those moments I'm looking to eliminate or at least scale down quite a bit I've never been really big as a gold person and I feel like when I say that it sounds like I'm a lazy bum and I'm not I mean some days yes but I feel like the older that I have gotten the more I have been interested in finding peace actual connection with people and that being pretty much it so I definitely have physical goals because they excite me and I love doing things but more than anything I want to take care of myself and the people around me and find moments when I feel at peace because those are rare and build a life that I continue to want to be a part of that has nothing to do with being an amputee it's just a person four years in this is all of the things it is challenged me in ways I didn't think were possible it has benefited me in ways that bring me so much joy it has been frustrating in some of these setbacks um it has expanded who I am and the understanding passion for myself and other people that I have it has helped me overcome internalize feelings of ableism and given me a whole lot of cool opportunities so happy four years to me it's so funny it doesn't actually seem like that long of a time four years is like a short amount of time in someone's life I'm still new to this I'm still figuring it out and I'm excited to see what this next year brings a big thank you to today's video sponsor check out their links down below to my beautiful patrons over on patreon thank you for your continued support of this Channel and most importantly to you watching this video right now thank you for spending a few minutes out of your day here with me today celebrating and listening to my stories of four years as an amputee you could be anywhere else in the world doing anything else and you chose to hang out with me for a few minutes and I really appreciate that I love you guys been thinking about you and I will see you in the next video bye guys foreign [Music]

As found on YouTube