First Step: A Guide for Adapting to Limb Loss

Web Administration Blog

Shared from inMotion  |  Volume 30, Issue 4  |  July/August 2020, Page 18

By Carol Blymire

First Step is the Amputee Coalition’s guidebook to navigating your limb loss or limb difference journey. We’ve updated the book this year with new information and resources, and are offering it free to people in the limb loss or at-risk community.

Chapter by chapter, over nearly 100 pages, this helpful resource will walk you through the limb loss and recovery process from preparing for surgery and choosing a prosthetic device to managing pain and staying healthy. There are even specific sections just for parents, children, and caregivers.

There are many roads that bring each of us to the limb loss journey. Some may begin their journey suddenly due to infection or an accident. For others, it may be a way to manage health challenges, such as diabetes, vascular disease, cancer, or chronic pain. No matter where your journey begins or why, First Step explains what milestones to expect and offers tips, insight, and information to help you get the best care for you.

Whether losing a limb is your first major health care experience or your hundredth, communicating with your health-care providers can be intimidating. Many of us grew up with the idea that we’re supposed to do whatever our doctors tell us without question. But times have changed. Now, health-care providers like doctors, surgeons, physical therapists, occupational therapists, social workers, and prosthetists are trained to involve you in decisions about your care and treatment. In learning to be an advocate for yourself or others, it’s important to remember that no one knows how you feel but you. You are the expert of your own body.

First Step will help you navigate your journey and become a strong advocate for your own care.

Sections of the guidebook include:

Preparing for the Road Ahead
Living Well

Staying Healthy
Caregiver’s Journey
Next Steps

Your Emotional Journey
Your Child’s Journey

As you take your next steps, you will have new questions and new needs, and First Step is a resource to use again and again. Recovering from limb loss isn’t easy. The road forward won’t always be clear, and there will be days when you’ll wonder how you’ll possibly find your way. It takes time to regain your strength and learn new ways of doing things. You may have to try, and try again. Be patient with the process. Be easy on yourself. Be curious about your new limits. Don’t compare your progress to others.
It’s your journey and no one else’s. And, most importantly, remember that you weren’t defined by your limbs before, and you won’t be defined by your limb loss or limb difference now. With patience, persistence, compassion, and curiosity, you can — and will — thrive.

You can order a free copy of First Step: A Guide for Adapting to Limb Loss on the Amputee Coalition website ( or by calling 888-267-5669 ext. 1.

©2020 Amputee Coalition LLC  |  |  888-267-5669