At the time I was extremely ill from a deadly bacterial infection that I was exposed to when I had my surgery. Our attention was far more focused on that, and my organs shutting down, then the amputation itself. I never actually had much chance to deal with loosing half my foot with all else that was happening. The amputation wasn’t trying to kill me, but the infection was. What we didn’t know is the amputation also was… Long story short we learned a year later, that everything hadn’t been removed that should have, and that more damage had been done, and I would need to do a below knee amputation… A month later (November 2012) I had the below knee amputation done.
Through my own experience, I have seen so many areas where without advocating for ones self, you’d get nowhere or get somewhere worse than you originally were… I am sure anyone who has gone through an amputation, or any medical challenge, you can relate to this.
I thought it was just on Maui that little information was out there for amputees and what’s needed after surgery. It doesn’t end at loosing a limb… It only just begins… In more ways than one. And what you are left with is a new way of living. It’s simple to say just adapt and overcome. But easier said than done for many. This is why I feel, as does my husband, Matt, that more is needed to help people get not only through this, not only move forward in life, but find their path in adapting, overcoming and thriving in this life.
While in California we learned that even there, in LA, where so much resources were available when it comes to the Doctors, Rehab Clinics and Prosthetic specialists that even they themselves have little info to offer to patients when it came to support groups, help in paying the costs for new limbs, help in moving forward… I knew more about the online resources, like Limbs for Life, and Amputee Coalition then they did. We were blessed to work with an extremely talented Prosthesis, named Steven. We mentioned that we were going to start a local support group for people in Maui, and put up something online for a forum and such. He suggested we reach out much further than Maui and help anywhere we possible could. So now we are on a mission to do just that.
So at this time, my husband and I are in the process of putting together a local support group for Amputees and their Ohanas in Maui. As well as an online support group to be available to anyone in need worldwide. We want to be able to help connect people with others who not necessarily understand and know what they are going through, but who are growing through similar challenges and changes in their life, and possible can relate in ways best with one another. No one can say that know what you are going through, or fully understand. None of us have ever walked a day in another’s shoes. No matter how similar, we all see, feel, and handle things differently. I am not the same as any other who has lost their leg. We are all unique. I do not understand how anyone else who has lost, their foot, leg, hand, arm, or any other limb feel. But I can relate, and share and help…. We all can who have lived this, as can anyone who loves us and helps support us through it.
Our families, our loved ones who help each day, live with loosing a limb in ways even us who have lost it can’t fully understand. The helplessness they feel, the need, desire and want to fix things, to take away pain, to understand… Our loved ones live and breathe the loss of the limb in their own way. They cannot understand what we are going through, any more than we can understand what they are going through. But we can help love, support and respect one others feelings and ways of coping. Support groups are not just for the person going through the loss, or addiction or whatever one may be there for. They are just as much for the loved ones who live it with them. And for anyone wanting help in being a caregiver, and a supporter… Support groups are simply there to offer support, in and for whatever manner one needs…
For anyone interested in being a part of this with us, please contact us via email at email@example.com. We could really use help in others sharing their personal stories, experiences and feelings. Support Group meetings locally on Maui will be held each month. Online resources will be set up so that we can reach out to others no matter where they are in this world. Anyone who has been touched in some way by a loss of limb, whether it be yourself, or a loved ones, is more than welcome.
*March 2013- Happy to share wonderful news. We have a wonderful locations to host our monthly support group meetings. Please email us for location/dates etc. Meeting will begin April 2013…
Please find sites below that are out there to help amputees with information, resources and support on many levels. I will continually be adding more info about networks and coalitions that can help amputees and their families with questions, concerns, funding, and such…
Limbs for Life not only helps inform amputees, support their families, but they also help pay for prosthetics. http://www.limbsforlife.org
The Amputee Coalition helps to ensure that no amputee goes through their journey alone. http://www.amputee-coalition.org
AAF will empower amputees, their families, and care providers to make informed decisions by providing them with information, referral, peer counseling, self-help literature and education. http://www.americanamputee.org
Please stay tuned for more info. This will be a constantly updated page.
** Update 2/2013: We’ve created a website specifically for Amputee Support. The new site can be found at: http://www.amputeesupport.net
You can also EMAIL US anytime with any questions or concerns.
Matt Kan Hai Jr. and Peggy Kan Hai, Ph.D
firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Peggy Kan Hai