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Contact the Amputee Coalition at 888/267-5669 or 3

Volume 21, Issue 5 Published six times a year by

Amputee Coalition 900 E. Hill Ave., Ste. 205 Knoxville, TN 37915-2568 865/524-8772 888/267-5669

Fax: 865/525-7917; TTY: 865/525-4512 E-mail: Web site:

President &CEO Kendra Calhoun Chief Communications Offcer &Public Policy Director Sue Stout Communications Manager Melanie Staten Senior Editor Bill Dupes GraphicDesign Karen Alley, Patrick Alley Advertising 865/524-8772

Board of Directors

Executive Board:

Chairman Marshall J. Cohen Vice Chair Pat Chelf Vice Chair Dennis Strickland Secretary Tami Stanley Treasurer Jeffrey S. Lutz, CPO

Directors: Jeffrey Cain, MD David McGill Richard N. Myers, Jr. Leslie Pitt Schneider Terrence P. Sheehan, MD Charles Steele Scott Stevens, MD

Medical Advisory Committe

Stephen T. Wegener, PhD, ABPP, Chair Roberta Cone, PsyD David Crandell, MD

Scott Cummings, PT, CPO, FAAOP Rachel Evans, Lt. Col., PT Natalie Fish, PT Robert Gailey, PhD, PT Grant McGimpsey, PhD Danielle Melton, MD Nancy Payne, MSN, RN Bruce Pomeranz, MD

Terrence P. Sheehan, MD, Medical Director Christina Skoski, MD

Douglas G. Smith, MD, Emeritus Member Charles E. Steele, ACA BOD

“Over every mountain there is a path, although it may not be seen from the valley.”

~Theodore Roethke

Whether you are born with a limb dif-ference or lose a limb to an injury or disease, how you deal with it will largely determine the quality of life you will have.

This issue features the stories of people with limb loss or limb difference who have learned to not only cope but thrive, fromMountain guitarist Leslie West who has reinvented himself with a new tour and album, to Brian Washington, the frst amputee to graduate from the U.S. Navy’s Civilian Police Academy.

It is truly remarkable to see how other people adapt to their situations. Each person chooses his or her path to recovery and thriving in life, with its own set of unique twists, turns, setbacks and triumphs.

But why do some people who have lost a limb spiral downward, while others survive the loss, rebuild their lives, and, ultimately, even reach a high level of suc-cess in their personal and professional lives?

Although fear and pain are unpleasant experiences, they are healthy devices that protect us from danger, alerting us to be careful and to avoid doing something

that may cause harm. However, when fear of the unknown causes new experi-ences to be avoided, we stop growing. The more a feared situation is avoided, the scarier it becomes. Alternately, each time we do something we fear and expe-rience success, it becomes easier. But confronting and challenging fear is one of the most diffcult tasks anyone can face.

Rehabilitation after an amputation can be flled with many frightening challenges. For example, learning to trust and rely on a prosthetic limb can be a traumatic experience. Finding the courage to do what you fear can help you attain levels of ability never considered possible.

You can expect to try, fail and try again in the process of relearning skills, discover-ing new abilities and confronting limits. Most people will consider giving up. But keep in mind that the fght to reclaim your life is worth it. Be patient with the pro-cess. Be compassionate toward yourself. Be curious about your limits. Laugh at your failed attempts. Don’t compare your progress to someone else’s. But, most importantly, don’t ever give up!

If you work with courage, patience and curiosity, in spite of pain and fear, in spite of setbacks and unexpected outcomes, you can creatively fnd a way to live fully and joyfully. And thrive.

Bill Dupes, Senior Editor

Finding Your Own Pathway to Thriving

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