I mentioned earlier this week how proud I am at the risks Jordan takes on a regular basis. One activity that’s been a constant since Jordan was two and a half years old is dance. I tend to just consider is an assumed activity until I step back and watch her. That’s exactly what I did earlier this week during Jordan’s dance class just after they got to try on their recital outfits for the first time.

Dang. She shines. She’s confident. It’s awesome. I absolutely know for a fact that I couldn’t shine like that at her age. I was singing solos in my church choir, but you couldn’t catch me performing with that kind of ease.

So… I’m proud of this kid. She really is confident and defies expectations on a regular basis. Our kids can really do anything if we give them the space to try.

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Sarah with her prosthetic as a child.

My journey with prosthetics started with I was five months old.  My parents knew that I was going to need to learn how to crawl, and realized early on that I would need a prosthetic limb in order to do so without major difficulty. They took me to Shiners Hospital in Chicago and had me fitted for a passive arm (a prosthetic created to resemble the body part that it is replacing, it’s typically used for cosmetic purposes). When I was 18 months old, I became the youngest person ever at Shiners to receive a myoelectric (this type of prosthesis has electronic aspects to it and it is able to mimic some of the motions of the missing limb).  While my first prosthesis allowed me to crawl, my second limb allowed me to do two-handed tasks more easily. As I grew older however, wearing a prosthesis slowly went from serving a purpose, to getting in the way.

In my last post, I told you a little about my softball career. From a young age, I was spending several days a week practicing softball or in gym class. I always left my prosthesis in my coach or gym teacher’s office because I hated wearing it while doing any kind of an activity. For those of you who have worn a prosthesis, you understand! They can be fairly heavy, and depending on the material, can get very hot. I eventually realized that my prosthetic arm was just getting in the way and was no longer serving a purpose. After I had this realization when I was 12, I stopped wearing my arm at all times.

When I was 12, I had been going to school and playing softball with the same kids for many years. I didn’t constantly have to explain what happened to my arm or prove what I was capable of. I was just Sarah. I spent the next several years living life one handed, and not giving the dusty prosthesis in my closet a second thought.

That changed when I was 16 and my family moved from Indiana to Oklahoma for my Dad’s work. I knew that as soon as I started school, there would be all kinds of questions again, and I was going to have to prove myself in softball all over again. I made the decision before I started my junior year of high school that I needed a new prosthesis. I wanted to make things easier for the new kids that I would be meeting. I wanted to help them feel more comfortable around me and not be too intimidated to be friends with me.

However, I didn’t plan for what was going to happen before I started at my new school. I was playing powder-puff football during the last week of summer and had an unfortunate mishap during the first play of our first game. I had a linebacker from the other team slam into me and send me flying towards the ground. Even in the spur of the moment I was terrified of breaking my hand, so I used my stub to brace myself. In the process, I managed to break my elbow and tear multiple ligaments in it as well. The most excruciating pain that came from that injury wasn’t the broken bone; it was accepting the fact that I would no longer be able to wear my prosthesis due to my enormous cast!

In hindsight, I love this story, and it makes me laugh every time I think of it. I made my parents get me a prosthesis to prevent the kids at my new school from feeling uncomfortable, and I never even got the chance to wear it. Not only that, but when I started school it looked like I had just had my arm amputated!

This forced me to learn one of the biggest lessons that I’ve learned in my life so far: never hide who you are. I wanted a prosthesis to hide the real me. I believe that the Lord knew what I really needed in that situation when I clearly didn’t know what was best for me. While I would have loved to learn the lesson without the pain of a broken elbow, I’m grateful that I was able to learn it at the exact time that I did. It was difficult at first, but I had to learn that the only opinion that matters when it came to me was my own. I needed to be comfortable in my own skin, and nothing anyone could say about me or to me could affect that.

After my powder-puff debacle, I have never worn a prosthesis again. It never again served a purpose in my life, and I don’t have any reason to change my mind.  No, a prosthetic arm is not for me, but I know that everyone is different and either wears them or doesn’t wear them for different reasons. The great thing about your prosthesis is that it is your prosthesis.  You can wear it because it makes you feel more comfortable in your own skin, or you may not wear it merely out of pride. No matter what, it’s your choice, and I don’t believe that anyone can tell you what decision to make or how you should look.  To me, I was only wearing it to try and hide who I really was. As soon as I realized that I had nothing to hide, my prosthesis no longer served a purpose.


Trying to Make Teeth Brushing Fun

April 14, 2014

This paid post is brought to you by the new free Oral-B Disney Timer App as part of a Type-A Parent Community Sponsored Post. Tooth brushing has never been so important in our household. Jordan has more and more grown up teeth and Cameron has braces. It’s so important to make sure the kids brush [...]

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Taking Risks All the Time – Top Five Favorites

April 14, 2014

Over the past week, Jordan returned to softball practice and it made me think back to a bunch of different times when Jordan has surprised me by taking risks with her activities. Why not share my top five favorite risk taking moments so far in Jordan’s life? Here you go. Number 1: Rock climbing Jordan [...]

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Finding Community When It Is Everywhere

April 11, 2014

I’ve mentioned a few times before how I founded Born Just Right because I didn’t have many resources when Jordan was born. All I had was my doctor using the term “amniotic band syndrome” and sent me on my way after we left the hospital. We knew Jordan’s joints were loose (they still are) and [...]

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Music Continues to Rock

April 10, 2014

Jordan is now into her second semester of piano. It is so cool to watch her figure this out. Her teacher has been so cool about helping Jordan learn how to read music for the right and left hand. She has found a consistent collection of beginner music that only needs one note at a [...]

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BEARS Fun For All and Tickets for St. Louis

April 9, 2014

There are two things you will easily find our family doing when we are crashed out on the couch together – We’re either watching a Disney movie or a nature show on TV. It’s super cool when those two things merge… Like with the new movie, Bears. Disneynature releases the movie on Earth Day, April [...]

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That Time of the Year

April 8, 2014

It’s that time of the year when all of Jordan and Cameron’s activities collide. Jordan has dance, physical therapy, piano, softball and all kinds of birthday parties scattered throughout this month. Each activity has a reason: Dance is something Jordan loves and it helps her work on her core strength, physical therapy is another important [...]

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A St. Louis Running Adventure

April 7, 2014

Jordan is lucky enough to go to a school with a committed running club. We meet before school on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This year, Jordan signed up for two big challenges: To participate in three 5K races during the school year and run enough miles to match a full marathon. So far, Jordan has participated [...]

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You can do anything you want, as long as you want it badly enough!

April 4, 2014

I’d love to introduce everyone to Sarah Johnson. She is new to writing for Born Just Right and I’m thrilled to have her join us with her one-handed perspective! ——– Running across this blog happened by chance. I was browsing the Nubability Athletics website searching for a way to get involved. That’s how I found [...]

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A One-Handed Pep Talk

April 4, 2014

In the last month, Jordan has spoken twice about her limb difference to kids and adults. It’s pretty impressive. A few weeks ago, Cameron’s basketball coach asked me if Jordan would be willing to talk about living with a limb difference and how it doesn’t hold her back. He hoped she could help motivate the [...]

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Limb Loss Awareness Month is also for Limb Differences

April 3, 2014
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This is the fourth year the Amputee Coalition has hosted Limb Loss Awareness Month in April. To me, this month’s theme has always felt a little detached from my feelings about limb differences since Jordan was born with a limb difference not a “loss” since Jordan never lost a thing. So I dug a little [...]

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The Sweetest Moment Ever at Walt Disney World

April 2, 2014
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We are still riding the post-Disney high that happens each time we visit the parks. But this time around, something very special happened. We didn’t ask for it and I think that’s what made it extra magical. Here’s the story. Do you remember the movie, Up? The little boy in the movie is a Wilderness [...]

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Knowledge and Family at Type-A Parent Bootcamp

March 31, 2014
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I am very lucky to have the chance to attend conferences throughout the year with many different focuses. There are ones that focus on the tech industry, the midlife and beyond world, blogging and special needs. Each conference is full of incredible knowledge, support and friendships. This past weekend was no different. I had a [...]

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Preparing for More Disney Fun

March 26, 2014
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It’s spring break in our household! Well, it is for the kids, I’m still working. But after work Thursday, I’m driving the kids out to Kansas City to stay at an airport hotel. Why? Because we’re making a quick mini-trip to Disney World! Yes, I know. I know. How is that possible? We were just [...]

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