At the gym this morning I noticed a girl in a maxi skirt with crutches. I wondered if perhaps, like me she was using this to disguise the fact she only had one leg. Trying not to stare I tried to suss it out.
I couldn’t draw a definite conclusion until later she came up to me and introduced herself and said I was doing well.
I told her it was the first week without my leg. Her eyes widened.
I realized she probably thought I meant the first week since I have been amputated and rushed to clear up the confusion.
She told me she had lost her leg as a young girl to cancer and while she had a prosthetic leg she hardly ever wore it as it caused too much pain and was too uncomfortable since she was amputated so high up.
She was so good with her crutches; she had the underarm model rather than the Canadian ones I preferred. She had become so skilled at them and her muscles under her arms were so strong she could crutch without her hands and keep them free to carry things, including her baby. I was in awe.
I could relate to so much of what she said about having days were she just wanted to blend in and not have people notice or ask her about her leg. She wore long skirts for this reason. I could see a sadness behind her eyes when she spoke about strangers at the shopping centre asking her about her disability and children staring. I knew exactly what she meant.
She told me that she did yoga and Pilates classes which greatly impressed me. She just did other exercises when they were doing standing poses.
I have only ever met a handful of other amputees in my life so the chances of running into one who was also confined to crutches seemed so bizarre. As well as being inspiring she also gave me hope for a normal life as she was married with a child. Perhaps there is hope for me after all.