12 Sept 2009

Risking Life and Limb

When writing the post entitled The Resilient Leg, I already knew that the bloody thing wasn't resilient. It should have been called The Resilient Mumborg, as she keeps going even when certain limbs become defective and dangerous. Can you guess where I am going with this post? The thing that I had hoped I would never have to write about, well one of the things anyways. The Mumborg and the not so resilient leg have decided to part ways and it is not on good terms at all. There is nothing more the doctors can do with the leg, other than lop it off, so that is what they will be doing in a few weeks. It takes a while to get things sorted. Teams of surgeons, an operating theatre booked for the day, oodles of blood ready to go. Also the mumborg has to be in as tip top shape as one can be, when one is having their leg removed.

Amputate verb
cut off, remove, separate, sever, curtail, truncate, lop off.

The type of amputation is call a Hind-quarter amputation or a

Hemipelvectomy (posh whatnot name as one of mum's nurses said)
(Science: procedure) amputation of a lower limb through the sacroiliac joint.

How do you feel?
People have asked me, including myself how hearing that the mumborg losing the leg is affecting me.
Do you want to know that I have sat here with tears running downing my face, trying to choke them back at times. I don't want a hug, I don't want sympathy, and I want to cry about it. I don't want the feelings to overwhelm me, but I don't want to ignore them either. There is a sense of relief letting the tears flow and at times snot flows too, then I wipe my face with dressing gown sleeve and carry on. I don't want an audience when I feel like this, I am not bottling it up, it is just mine and for me. So when people ask, I say 'If the mum is okay, then so am I', it is my new mantra. I know it is a shit situation, I know I have every reason to be upset, I also know that words and hugs wont make it all better. That probably makes me sound like an ungrateful wretch, but that is just how I roll. That doesn't mean don't ask me or don't express what you are feeling, I appreciate it, and I really do. It all gets filed into a special place that I know I can dip into when I need it.

When good old Willy wrote this:
"Care I for the limb, the thews, the stature, bulk, and big assemblance of a man! Give me the spirit."

 William Shakespeare quotes (English Dramatist, Playwright and Poet, 1564-1616)

I don't think Willy had the mumborg in mind, or indeed amputation, but for me this sums up what is important. The mumborg is full of spirit no matter what her body has in mind for her, her spirit is as resilient as ever. If she was devastated about this, I have no idea how I would feel, luckily I don't have to go there. As I looked around for more appropriate limb quotes, if there is such a thing, I came across this one
"The loss of a friend is like that of a limb; time may heal the anguish of the wound, but the loss cannot be repaired."
Robert Southey quotes (English Poet and Writer of prose. 1774-1843)
Is that true I wonder? Will time heal the anguish, but leave a loss? Luckily through writing, even when it feels indulgent and emo, I am thankful for this space to write. Mainly because I will be able to look back at this in a few weeks, months or years and see how things have changed for me.

How does the mumborg feel?
The mumborg has had to live with the pain, the operations, the long long hospital stays and everything else. So quite frankly she is more than okay with divorcing this limb. Yet again I went quote searching for a way to sum up how she has explained it to me and this one does it quite well.
"I would consent to have a limb amputated to recover my spirits"

 Samuel Johnson quotes (English
Poet, Critic and Writer. 1709-1784)

Where is the leg going?
Once the leg is removed it will more than likely be incinerated, the mumborg thinks this is wasteful and has asked whether it would be of use to anyone else. That made me laugh , maybe the local zoo would like it for lion food? She wasn't impressed with my suggestion of cremating the leg and keeping it in a mini urn, waiting for the rest of her. I thought it was a practical suggestion, apparently not. Joking aside maybe some medical students can practice their suturing skills on it or something like that, seems a shame to just chuck it in a furnace. Although as I am typing this, I actually think 'Fuck it' and 'Burn that fucker' would be more appropriate.

Final thoughts for now
The operation is going to be horrendous, with side effects of severe blood loss and possibly death, so until the operation stage is over I am just going to focus on the day to day things of life, as best I can. After that I will be looking into the new world of buying one shoe, one legged doodles and all things amputee related.

I have not forgotten about my mental health monsters, I have more than ever developing and welcome the chance to indulge in something that feels rewarding, whilst still being hugely enjoyable.

If you have only recently joined in on the mumborg adventures just click the 'mum' to find out more.


  1. hi, I don't come by here often enough. I recall the post I read on mumborg. Both the story and your writing had my interest from the start.

    I'm a little lost for some good words to send your way.

    Life does come with plenty of shit. Some say we get better because of it. I'm not so sure.

    When my parents passed on, there were parts of my life that left with them.

    Well maybe Monty Python said it right - give a whistle.
    All the best to you and mumborg

  2. Wow! Is really about all I can say for now. A lot to take in but boy of boy I don't need to tell you that! I'll write a longer reply later but just wanted to let you know that I'm in for distraction duty, we never did get to do that photo walk :)

  3. What a place to be in...the crying...why not get it you say snot and all. It is so much better then keeping it bottled up. You mom sounds amazing with her attitude. She has the fighting spirit to adapt to anything thrown her way. I love your new mantra..if she is ok with it, then so are you..

  4. Claire, you are wise way beyond your years. You are dealing with this the best way you know how and I think it's working...
    Love to you and mum.

  5. Yes - and if anyone dares to criticise your way of dealing with this then I'll come up there and lamp 'em! I think you are doing brilliantly. That said, I'm thinking of you both.

  6. Claire, I'm sorry that it has come to this. Keeping Mumborg close to my heart in prayer...You all as well. Please keep us posted on when the surgery will happen and how us bloggers can help.

  7. You have done an excellent job of transmitting what it's like to go through what you're going through right now - it's as if you've made yourself transparent and let the experience flow right through to others.

  8. A diabetic friend of mine who used to be a ballerina has, over the past decade, lost both legs in a series of surgeries. It's a shock and you and/or your mum may imagine it's something that you'll never get over but people are incredibly adaptable and it'll surprise you how quickly it all seems normal once more. After it's done, it's done; then it's onwards and upwards. You and your mum will be just fine.

  9. Well I sure as hell am not sending you any bloody cyberhugs as you know I'm not much for hugging in real life either (it's the Brit in me via my grandmother, I'm sure of it!).

    I think that you are handling this brilliantly and that your Mum needs to be canonized when all is said and done. I'm sure she'll be well rid of the appendage that has caused her nothing but grief and will be more than happy to get out of her hospital bed even if she has to hop on one leg to do it.

    As for you - crying is therapeutic (especially if there is snot-flow involved). Do it as often as you need to and don't - DON'T - apologize for anything. You have every right to feel as you do and were you not crying then I'd have to wonder what on earth was wrong with you (other than the usual).

    Hang tough, my friend, and know that I am keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

  10. Hi Claire! So sorry it has come to this for Mumborg. I haven't read all the posts, but it's like you said, if she is okay with, then so are you! She has the one who has to deal with it and accept it. Just stand by her side when she's feeling down and give her comfort when she needs it ^_^! Take care & keep on doodling!

  11. Wow. If I was the type to be speechless, I would be. You are so honest and vivid in describing this journey - the suffering and grief that ironically gives rise to your courage and resilience. You and the mumborg are able to see the world with promise in spite of the blows you are being dealt. You are both amazing, Claire. I wish you and your mom well in this next challenge.

  12. Tough times, but you're tough too, as I guess is the mumborg. All this hopefully will pass and together you can go forward, dealing with the new challenges coming your way, but DEALING with them.

    My thoughts are with you both. All the best with all that is ahead, and stay positive.

  13. The situation sucks. Cry your eyes out, Claire. Feel every one of the emotions that arise, and be who you are -- the remarkable daughter of a courageous woman, who has been through hell on earth. Say goodbye to that damn leg. NO! you will not be saying goodbye to your mum -- she's a survivor -- damn it! Remember that, focus on it and visualize her survival.

    {{HUGs}} and much &hearts through tears

  14. My own mum (not quite a mumborg, but with an impressive array of hardware holding her left arm together) nearly lost her arm. It wasn't healing after an horrific break (or rather, smashed into pieces). And she had the same convictions as the mumborg - its caused me so much grief, might as well take it off.

    I think the whole thing with amputation is that its one of those way less that 'normal' things. Not as in, weird like a bearded lady. But not normal in the sense we don't see many people who are missing a limb.

    And there is always this urge to stare, but we don't wish to appear rude, but we are also very curious. And we also secretly wish that it never happens to us or someone we love.

    We can't imagine life like this, with a missing arm or leg. But so many people live a completely fulfilling life this way. I'm sure they'd have their limb back if they could (except for those folk who have some weird body dysmporhpia & actually want a limb removed!!), but regardless... they find a way to live happily as they are.

    All of that rambling aside, Claire, I am sorry for how you're feeling right now. And you're doing exactly what you need to by the sounds of it. Cry when you need to cry, be strong when you need to as well.

    You and the mumborg will both get through this. I'm sure you are an invaluable support to her with all of your wonderful drawings.

  15. I'm so sorry to hear your mum will lose her leg after all she's been through Claire. She's a true trooper and if she can cope then you will too. I'm sending Reiki to your mum if she cares to accept it and keeping everything crossed that the operation goes well. x

  16. Ugh, sorry Claire! I'm not exactly sure what to say... I know nothing will make it better. As someone who has dealt with a lot of illness with both her parents in recent years, I know it's tough. All I can say is hang in there, and if you need to cry, well then you should cry. Sometimes nothing feels better than a good snot flowing tear fest :)

  17. Claire-I admire your courage and your determination to face all this open-eyed-even if those eyes are full of tears. Your mother is a brave and spirited woman and she raised a brave and spirited daughter. Those two attributes will help see the both of you through. I only hope all goes well with the operation and that, after the ordeal, your mom will be able to go home and return to the daily pleasures of living. Even absent a leg, those daily pleasures will still exist for each of you.

  18. I think what you are feeling is normal, Claire. I am the same way. I need MY time when dealing with issues. I know this is a hard situation to swallow. You are doing the best you can and holding up well for your mom. I wish you both the best, Claire. You know that I think a lot of you, ya red headed bugger. I'm sending good thoughts your way and saying lots of prayers for a speedy recovery for the mumborg. Please keep us posted when you can.

  19. My God, Claire,

    I had no idea that this was happening to you. Remind me to read people's blogs properly , before I insensitively spam thier shout boxes with inane drivel...:(

    Still, I'm glad I found out about this situation for a whole host of reasons, although mainly because I get an an opportunity to (having read your posts on this subject) mention to you just how proud you should be of yourself for these posts.

    They're all so ludicrously, marvellously brave and charming. The mixture of openess about all your feelings (bitter, tender or wahtever) is so disarming. It's like their some kind of advertisement for English pluck and charm circa 1945 like you're an American anti-isolationist's vision of an RAF pilot in the battle of britain, a WREN during the blitz: at any rate (and more pertinent to the actual you) like a person who has an entire menagerie of good psychic animals in her mind to fight the boggarts. (Note: you should write about these when you get a chance!)

    Anyway: I hope you know how inspiring and cathartic these posts will be to other people in similar situations. I hope this helps -you- to gather strength to fight your battles against the moment.

    Best wishes for everything, not least a speedy recovery.

    P.S. The "Mumborg" is -just- lovely. I hope she assimilates you... In a good way.



  20. I do think about you, your family and of course the lovely Mumborg a lot and wish you all the very best of things. I know that this is shit and am hating this happening to you, but believe me when I say that the shit stuff passes, and I should know.

    On the other side of things, I think the Mumborg should have the divorced limb placed in a large jar. I can just imagine students oohing and ahhing over it for the next 100 years or so :)

  21. Oh Dear Claire,
    Whenever I see how funny, wry and dryly witty you are online, I forget all that you are going through in the real world. Your Mumborg is lucky to have you and I wish your Mumborg all the best.

    Now, it's my turn to be wildly inappropriate and suggest a burial for the Mumborg's leg along with a party in which she will celebrate wildly with family, friends, Mimosas and delicious foods from strange, foreign lands.

    I am happy we are friends and my thoughts are with the Mumborg.

    As Always, ST

  22. Am new to your blog, so quite a full-on first post to read. Sad news for you and your Mum. Hope to read in next few weeks that things have gone as well as can be hopefully expected.

  23. You my dear have a knack of cracking me up... I do think you should get together some sort of wild nail polish and polish up mum's toe's for the event... Kind of like a last harrah!!! Make em look good for the event.

    I know all to well about not wanting any hugs at times like this.. so I will just give ya a saying to tell your mum.

    As she Wailed... If it's not one thing it's another, and if not that it's the same damn thing over and over again... So down with the bum leg!!!

    Woo Raw Take Care Claire

  24. I know you don't 'do' hugz just as much as I don't do flying (yet you try to convince me to get on one silver bird and have a USA / Canada adventure with you...].. wanted to give you a big hug when we met up for real recently but knew it wasn't the thang to do .. so sneeking on here and giving you and Mumborg HUGE virtual [and heartfelt] hugzzzz xx

  25. Well that just sucks several nuts. I'm sorry to hear that. I know what you mean about how hugs (about said mugs) and condolences won't, just suffice to say I'm always here, floating on the other side of the pond, available for bitchfests if you ever need an ear.

    Take care of the Mumborg. Take care of you. XOXO

  26. If it ends all the hospitalization and pain, I feel sure the Mumborg will be able to adapt and thrive without it. She sounds like she's got it together as best as she can under the circumstances.

    I look forward to good news from you, saying this operation has, in the long run, been an improvement. :)

  27. As I mentioned on BC, my mom had her leg amputated as well. Definitely scary and I bet you are feeling quite a myriad of emotions for sure. Everyone deals with things differently so just let it (the emotion) happen. But I have to say it was a really good thing for my mom in the long haul and really saved her life. The prosthetic technology is much better these days as well. That said, we have a pretty sick sense of humor in my house so we've taken to calling mom "Peg". Bad, I know but it helps to laugh. Anyway, all the best to you. I'm sure it will all work out for the best. Take care...

  28. I dont know you obviously and i dont know this page..truthfully im only looking on it now because my dear friend is as I speek getting his leg amputated from the knee down. He was runned off the road by a car ( he was in a motorcycle). He is critical, had hip surgery as well, and now this. I dont know how to handle it. Im happy he's alive but im not even himm but i feel like a huge part of his life has just been destoryed. I myself was in a wheelchair for a year cause of 2 knee surgeries and that was life changing enough but... this. Idk what to do. I know i will support him.. but i have no words right now at how i feel.

    But i just came on this page looking for hope for him after the amputation. Is there? Is mumborg okay now?

  29. Hey Tracy if you come back to this page, then email me :)

    My email address is

    Yes there is hope, mumborg is doing great at the moment. Things are obviously very strange and new at the moment, as the surgery was only just over a week ago, but so far so good!