Effectively managing your long-term health can assist you to prevent future problems.
Remember that you emotional health is just as important as your physical health. Managing problems and addressing concerns sooner rather than later is an important part of your recovery process.
Following an amputation, individuals are often concerned about their appearance and how this will impact on family, friends and others. As human beings, we all think about how we look and how others see us. Even though your body has changed physically, it’s important to remember that you are still the same person inside. Focus on learning new ways to do things you enjoyed before.
As an amputee, you not only have to deal with changes in how your body works and feels, but also how it looks. The more you focus on what is missing, not just the limb but also things you could do before, the more likely you are to become depressed and angry.
Amputation will initially affect your self-confidence and confidence is a big factor in dating and maintaining relationships. Males sometimes relate the loss of a limb to the loss of their manhood, while women tend to be more concerned about the impact it will have on their sexuality. Amputees often worry about how people will perceive them or that others will stare, ask inappropriate questions or treat you as a lesser person. If someone asks a question or makes an inappropriate comment, point out why you find it offensive. Hopefully they will understand.
If you are learning to use a prosthesis, your body image is likely to change once you feel more comfortable with the limb. You will notice this when you begin to feel lost without it.
Friends and family members often go through the process of grief and loss, similar to the person who has lost a limb. It is a major change for everyone. You may find that family members and friends will try to do things for you and often have your best intentions at heart. On occasions this can be frustrating, especially when you are trying to re-learn to do new things for yourself. Try not to get angry at those who are too helpful. Explain your situation to them and what you are trying to achieve in a passive tone. Let them know that it’s important for you to learn to do things for yourself, even if it takes longer for you to do them. Like anything, it’s a process and you will need friends and family to be supportive.
Talk to the people in your life about how you are feeling. Stay connected to your friends. Share your thoughts with others as this will help you to deal with the changes of how your body looks and feels.