Monday, December 12, 2011

Touch and be touched!

As many of you know, I am not very good at keeping up with this blog, but now that I am between semesters, I will do my best to update my post, as promised!

My mom and I were traveling this past week to visit our family in Texas for Christmas and during those 4 days many things happened that made me reflect on how important family-time is and how you can motivate others without realizing. The intention of my posts are to educate others on the differences of people and that everyone is different whether it is physical or not.

On our way back from Texas, we stopped to eat at Cracker Barrel and I noticed the woman next to me staring at me the entire time. I ignored it, as usual, because I am stared at everywhere I go, which is understandable. I thought she just wanted a bite of my which case she'd be better off asking for my other arm because I do not share food. :)

As we got up to leave, she stood and confessed she had been watching me eat the whole time and was amazed at how well I maneuvered. I acted as if I didn't realize she had been eye-balling me and thanked her for her compliment. She then went on about how God put her next to me for a reason and how I inspired her to not only think before she complained, but continue to think everytime she felt as if something is too difficult. She gave me a hug and said to continue to inspire others and she will always think of Me.

It made me happy to hear her say she was touched by something I have no control over. I get compliments occasionally, but when someone tells me I am put here to help others and inspire them to push forward, that is what makes me truly believe those of us who have to struggle everyday are the ones who have to push harder. I don't see me as being different, but I am thankful to those who take the time to know there is a difference and acknowledge that we are capable of the same things, just in a different way.

The other side of this is people always wonder why I try to stay fit or attempt things I probably shouldn't. Well, for one, if I don't try something, I'll never know if I can do it. (Duh!) Like, using knives, saw, hammer, ax, etc...I promise everyone who has told be to be careful has hurt themselves more times than they have warned me. It's all about logistics when you have to adapt. Trust me, you know where you can't go wrong! I have no spares, but I am willing to stretch my limits! The best advice I give is to stay out of my way because I know I am safe, but one slip and anything around me is in extreme And, for the ones who hound me about my size. Well, you try to tie your shoes with your elbow and let me know how long it takes because you can't bend low enough. Same as buttoning your pants, shirts, etc...go ahead and try. Let me know how far you get and how much time it took. I can do it without thinking, but only because I have no choice!

The typical person who goes about the day without having to worry about these little details, when you have to think before doing ANYTHING, you tend to appreciate the things you have and to not complain, because sometimes it is more rewarding to focus on what you lack.

Again, that is the reason I started the blog to begin inform others and make them realize the importance of appreciating what you have. And, that if you see someone with a physical is OKAY. The worst thing you can do is treat us different...or think we can't keep up, because I promise we can and we will!!!

Love to all,


Sunday, July 31, 2011


My first Sunday morning of waking with no homework due, no deadlines to meet, and I am up and at-em still at 7 a.m. So, now what? I could go to the gym, but what fun would that be? I could go to the pool, but I'd fry before I made the trot. So, I decide I'm going to make breakfast, do some shop therapy, and then visit one or both of the previously mentioned hang-outs, time permitting. Then, I remember I'm getting my wisdom teeth out in 48 hours. It's been planned all summer, but I've been pre-occupied, and well, haven't paid much attention to the fact I'll be "put under" for the first time since my hand surgery. Holy moly. Why hadn't this occurred to be earlier?

When I was 6, I remember being prepped for what I thought was a pizza party. Really, Bri? At 4 a.m., in TSRHC, you think it's a pizza party? OH, I're giving me a pizza flavored mask that in no way, shape, or form, tastes like pizza, to put me to sleep for the next 6 hours. That's what I get for being 6 and naive. So as I am being wheeled into this huge, white, freezing cold room, I am hooked up to all kinds of machines and sniffing rubber pizza and watching the doctors fizzle away into failrytale land. All I remember is the nurse asking me if I could still see her...and then, I was a goner! Needless to say, my Sister was in the same operating room...with a longer hand surgery under way at the same time. I'm sure my parents were just a bundle of joy that day!

Recovery was gross, painful, and long. I will spare you of the wonderful details that followed as they weird me out, myself. But, the week long stay in TSRHC was a ton of fun...along with the fact Sam and Pa brought me food everyday because I refused hospital grub. If you haven't figured it out by now, I was pretty rotten to say the least.

Now, 20 years later, I am flashing back to these memories and beginning to feel like this will be nothing compared to hand surgery, but enough to make me anxious. Yes, I know, it's teeth. They aren't breaking any of my fingers, taking ligaments from other parts of my body, or re-configuring any bones, BUT somewhere, there is someone who wishes they had the chance to under-go an orthopedic procedure to better their lives and I am happy to say I lived through all of them and well, it's pretty awesome!

So, now I will suck it up, ignore the fact I will be in la-la land in less than 48 hours, and embrace the opporunity I have been given to share these oh-so-weird stories!

P.S.- I forgot to much do teeth go for these days? I need to write the "tooth-Mother" a note in advance and leave it in the basement, so she doesn't try to come in my room. (Yes, that's another hang-up. I'm terrified of the tooth-Mother...seriously!)

Love to All,


Saturday, July 30, 2011

Survival of the fittest...or not so much!

Well, I am happy to say, I survived another round of summer school. 5 pounds, disgruntled people who had to be around me, no sleep, a face that looks like I went to combat and lost, and 1 massage later, I would like to say it was a piece of cake, but I just ate one, and well let me assure you, it was anything but.

8 weeks ago, or so, I informed you all I would be harping on another grueling round of summer classes. I also was super nervous because 3 of the 4 were senior level courses, but Stats cut me no slack, either. The Associate Dean of the Business school personally emailed me a week before classes began, asking me to unload one or two of my courses...that I was carrying too "tough" of a workload for a summer semester. I assured her 4 senior level classes was not only do-able, but I would pass with flying colors. (No, I didn't word it like that, but you get the point) So, with a week to torment myself on if I'm doing the right thing, I start reading the books. Forget break, forget life, all I'm worried about is I have to face this woman if for some god-foresaken reason I fail one (or more) of these courses. If you know me, I would rather someone pluck my hair out one-at-a-time than swallow my pride and admit I was wrong.

Anyway, fast-forward until tonight, when I have taken my last final, and pretty confident I have not only passed every class, but have made B+ or better in each of the 4 classes. No, I am not bragging. In fact, I am pretty upset I didn't clutch all 4 A's, but at some point I have to let it go.

If you're wondering why I am blogging about finals when this should be second nature to me by's because this is my last summer in college, and I am starting to feel like I have accomplished something alot of people have a fear of, or don't have the opportunity to do. I had to prepare and deliver a 30 minute presentation this semester. Look, I can talk all day about a whole lot of nothing, but ask me to tell it to a class of people glaring at me and I crumble like a cookie...instantly. I fretted for about 6 of the 8 weeks until I realized I have to suck it up and do what I gotta do to get it done (thanks, Brooke). I felt like the elephant in the room had to perform a solo act. I not only sucked it up, but we went 40 minutes strong! I'm stared at everywhere I go, so why be nervous about speaking? Because there is a sense of self-consciousness with people of physical differences that will never go away, regardless if you get to hide behind the podium or if you're on the soccer field. But, when you are able to get past the point of nervousness, it's a wonderful feeling because you aren't sure if they are interested in what you are say or just why the hell you only have 2 fingers?!?!? It's quite magical. I assure you if you ever encounter someone with a physical difference of any kind, if you listen to what they say rather than why they are the way they are, you will walk away a much more knowledgable person!

I hope to expand on this topic and many more that have come up within the past week from a few of my blogger friends in the next week, but for now, I am enjoying a great big bowl of cake and ice cream!

Love to All,


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Springing into Summer!

Spring has definitely arrived at Ferguson Mountain. I have been spending most of my time at the cabin, as I will most of the year. With that, comes 3.5 acres of high maintenance yardwork and we have more project ideas then we have energy or time to start...or complete. So far, Arnie and I have planted the "orchard" and garden in hopes they will supply a bountiful amount of fruits and veggies.

Besides the never-ending work around the house, I am in 5 classes this summer. Cramming has a whole new meaning. However, I love what I study, so it isn't so bad. Also, I am finally able to put my "skills" to work as I have started working for a factoring company, Aberdeen Funding. Lucky for me, I work remote...which makes life so much easier! Lastly, I think I have once again decided to double major, and get my accounting degree as well. One, because I'm a glutton for punishment, but more importantly, I will not go back and get it once I graduate. So, more fun in store for the Parrott-Kelley family!

The reason I decided to post an update was because we attended a festival in Waynesville yesterday and there were so many crafters who were having so much fun doing what they love. Whether it was a bluegrass group, cloggers, woodworkers, or hunters, they were truly passionate in their job and that made me think about dropping my accounting degree just because I could graduate a whole semester earlier, if that, is not smart. While there were many people who recognized me from always perusing the town, there was one guy that pointed at me from across the street and motioned with his little (literally) finger to come. I was a little apprehensive at first because he was so persistent, and the fact that if you've spent any time in the mountains there are more people who fit the term "mountain man" than not. This man clearly and appropriately played the part. But, as I was surrounded by hundreds of my closest mountain friends, I made my way to his booth. I motioned with his stick to sit down beside him. At this point I thought I was getting ready to be a part of some demonstration or something, but then he muttered, "How'd you get like that?" When I replied, "I was born like this", he said, "me too!" He had club hands and feet. I am so used to not paying attention to physical traits, I did not notice. He was retired from the civil service and is a blacksmith here in town. Pretty awesome. He was probably in his 50s, maybe 40s, but his deformity was caused by Thalidomide. Those of you who are not familiar with the causes, this is a drug that pregnant women took back in the day when they were pregnant which was the main cause for missing limbs. I think it was the first person I have ever met with that cause. All-in-all, it's always so interesting to meet people with any kind of physical difference, but even more fun when I can relate. After sitting with him for a while, he made sure to ask, "You don't let it slow you down, do you?" I assured him it didn't and promised it would never. My parents and friends were there also and they re-assured him I am a bit stubborn. After meeting him, as well as everyone who was near the booth, I realized how happy these people are that have so little, but the passion they have for their work made their life worth so much more!

So, why start holding back on what I want now? The thought of graduating with anything less than I want would be stupid. The thought of being held back from traveling and pursuing the job I want would also be stupid. I may not get my Wall Street job out of college, I'd settle with Rockefeller In the end, it doesn't matter where you end up as long as you have the goals and dreams set, and settle for nothing less...regardless of your physical or learning difference. In fact, it may give you a slight advantage because you tend to be remembered in a positive light!

Love to All,


Monday, March 21, 2011

It's how you play the game!

This post is stemming from an article I ran across online this morning. It has taken me all day to be calm enough to write in a humane fashion. I apologize for any anger you sense in my words. I will do my best to bring it down a few notches. In case you did not see the article, I am pasting it below. I do not know this person, nor do I know anyone whose comments were left.

The article itself is not what set me off, it was the comments of others who voiced their opinion, which is perfectly fine, but know I am going to voice mine as well. It takes alot for me to get irritated by what others think, and most of the time it only makes me stronger, but for some reason this hit a nerve. It takes a lot of courage to publicly share a disability and not be self conscience, regardless of what severity the disability entails. To know you have finally built enough courage up to want to be involved, there is always that someone who wants to drive you right back into that shell.

Today, all sports are about winning. And, if for some reason you don't win, you are most often saddened by what may be a lack of effort or because there is room for improvement. But, the next time around you find it in you to do a little better, right? That attitude is what I have dealt with and what every person with or without a known difference deals with every day of their life. If I woke up every morning and knew I was going to win every battle and conquer every goal, why would I put forth the effort to try harder? Because you WILL NOT win every game, accomplish every goal, or be satisfied in how you handle your tasks. For me, soccer was the sport of choice. I hated going to practice. Hated, hated, hated it. But, if I didn't go to practice, I sat my little hiney on the sidelines come gameday. The lesson there was what made me think I could play above the other girls if I didn't practice? I thought I was good enough...I didn't need practice. Well, I wasn't...and had I not been pushed, I wouldn't have tried to exceed my expectations. Later, when I picked up golf, it was a little more difficult. I pushed myself. Not only did I want it to go further than the guy next to me, but I wanted him to try to out-do me, so I could step up my game. In the end, if my coordination was right and I actually hit the ball, I was a winner. If I got the ball in the hole, I was a winner. I didn't need praise or a medal to show I did what everyone else around me was doing, without being put in a "category."

For example, the comments that were left that stated the wrestler in the clip had an unfair advantage because he was "used" to having one leg and the opponent wasn't "used" to wrestling anyone that was different. Hmmm...wouldn't that mean the opponent might feel HE had the advantage. I mean I'm only speaking from experience, but what do I know?!?! That is where the lack of education (among other things I can't type) comes in and not only is he worried about if they are categorized the same, but who has the upper hand. THAT IS WHERE WE GO WRONG! It is not about winning, it's how you play the game. Sure, Anthony may have different techniques to moving about, pinning, or holds, but that doesn't give him an advantage. In fact, he probably sees himself equal as his opponent, as his opponent also probably thinks nothing of it. It is the people who are on the sidelines yelling in as if they know the circumstance. Kids, or adults for that matter, do not find self confidence or esteem in someone always telling them to "do better." Sometimes, that is their best, and whether they win or lose, they played the game. They feel as if maybe the effort they put in was good enough, but next time they're going to kick butt. We need to teach children (and adults) that it is OKAY to lose. Life will go on. If you are always telling someone to do better, you are not allowing them to accomplish what they feel they need to at their level.

So, now that I am done ranting, the point (if I haven't already made is that ANY person, difference or not, should not be put in a category or feel as if they can't accomplish something because of what others say or if they don't always win. I say it all the time, have fun with how you function because it makes people wonder just what you are able to do....and if they sit back and watch, you may give them a dose of reality!

Love to All,


Sunday, March 13, 2011

School Days!

It has been a while since my last post. Mainly because of school, but also because I have been stumped as to what to write about. My goal is to inform, not spill. So, I sent a "tweet" out asking my followers what questions they wanted me to answer and my first responses were about school. How did you fit in? Was it difficult to adapt? And, ultimately, how was the school experience as a whole. In order for me to explain, you know I have to use real life's just better that way!

For many, school does not start on the first day of kindergarten. Like most, I attended daycare, pre-school, k-12, and now back in college as a "typical" student. When I started school, the idea of being a 'special needs' child never crossed my mind. A physical and mental challenge at times, yes. A challenge for overall social acceptance, absolutely. But, never once did I have to encounter any of the cruel and difficult hardships children with physical challenges face today. But was I a 'special needs' child? I don't know. I don't like to categorize anyone because unltimately we all are faced when challenges of different magnitudes. One of my best friends is an advocate for special needs children on all ends of the spectrum. Some easy, some difficult, some so challenging you start to question how many people, especially in education, understand kids with special needs. I admire her for her amazing work and dedication, and there are many situations I am able to relate to with these children on a social and personal level.

I started going to daycare at 6 weeks old. Granted, I only went the two days my Grandma worked (at the daycare I attended). I then went on to another pre-school, and eventually Elementary school. While I don't remember being hesitant about the younger grades, I refused to go to middle school. It terrified me to think I was going to this new huge the kids were going to eat me or something. I cried for a week straight before school started, BEGGING my Mom to home-school me. Why? I dont know. It's not like I would've listened to her, nor did I really want it. I was perfectly comfortable with the kids and staff and I found no logical reason I needed to move up grade levels...nor did I want to have new faces staring at me. Ultimately, the fact was I didn't like CHANGE. Period. I tend worry about everything before there is ever reason to worry, but it's my nature to give myself ulcers! If you know me, you are smiling right now because you know I am not lying. :)

Well, turns out it wasn't so bad. Everyone else moved up to the 3rd grade with me. Funny how that works! It also helped (and hurt in my later years) that I had family friends as Teachers, Principals, and Superintendent's throughout my entire schooling career. The question was raised not too long ago regarding how I 'fit in' at school and if I was given any 'special' treatment. The short answers would be, like everyone else, and no. The reason was because I, nor my family, allowed me to be treated any different. In fact, even when I tried to pull the 'wamp-wamp' card, it was almost always discarded immediately. While I may not have liked it at the time, that was the best lesson I was ever taught. I can do anything everyone else can, sometimes the same, sometimes different, and somtimes better. But, in order to understand that, I had to fail on my own and do it again...ON MY OWN! If my Grandpa had it his way, he would have went to school with me and did everything for all times. And, at times, it would have been great, but then I wouldn't get to be as bossy as I am today! Special needs children are the same. If you always try to help, they cannot be challenged on their own. One of my favorite little girls has Down Syndrome, and she also happens to be one of the smartest 5 year olds I know. She's independent and that is the most important trait a person who is faced with challenges can be blessed with.

One good thing was when I had band or P.E. and the kids wouldn't hit me with the dodge ball or steal the ball away from me on the court in fear they would 'hurt' me. That usually lasted about 2 weeks until everyone realized I wasn't sparing any ass-kicking on them. Band on the other hand, I pretty much sat and listened. I could play hot cross buns. That's about the extent of my instrumental

Junior high and High school brought on a whole new world. I'm not really sure how else to explain it. I would like to fast forward through this part and finish this post with my college career, but that would leave out the reason I am back in college and back under my parents roof (which I love!) 25. Like most teenagers, I went into Junior high...boy crazy. Well, kind of. I had one boyfriend from Junior high...through high school...until I moved to GA in 2007. (I don't think I need to name But, anyway, Yes, that's a long time (I lost count). Yes, I missed out on the whole "dating" thing (which explains the reason I am against it now). And yes, I didn't move to Austin after graduation to attend the best Accounting school in The U.S., University of Texas, as I had planned on doing since I was little. But, that's beside the point, and had I persued that life, I would not have had the experiences that led me to who I am now. Other than the boy, I was a pretty good teen. I got a car when I was 14, hardship on my 15th birthday, and carted everyone around...and around. I was never exempt from any class, sport, or experiment. I still had to suit up (or out, I cant remember the term), type tedious reports for Ms. Brandon, blow up chemicals, and disect cats and pigs in my favorite Coach Little's biology and anatomy class.

In 2009, I went back to college to re-start and finish my finance degree. As I have stated in a past post, that has been my life since and until I graduate. I was devoted to taking care of other people and things for so many years, I feel like this is my time to do what is best for me. Selfish or not, independence and determination is all I have ever known and regardless if it is from having one arm, or simply my personality, I will not back down until my goal is completed. Thanks to my parents, I am able to successfully do so, with their support and trust in me and my fear of getting my butt

Whether you are special needs, handicap, armless, toothless, all, or none of the above, you are faced with the same hardships of growing up. Everyone has a voice, everyone has an opinion, so when 2,000 kids come together it can get nasty. And sadly, now days it does. My advice for the kids and Moms I am friends with, or working with, who have or is going through some of these experiences, is to embrace it whether they are good or bad. Trust me, it isn't always going to be peachy keen, and sometimes you think there is nobody who understands, but it usually is more comical than not, and there are more children that are faced with challeneges than you realize. Most of all, it passes and you move on a stronger person.

So, get out there, dig in, and enjoy life!

Love to All,


Friday, February 11, 2011

Silly Sleeves!

The seasons bring different meanings to people with missing limbs. For me, Summer was always when I felt most self-conscious. One, because you have spent fall and winter wrapped in clothes, able to hide your differences. Two, because now if you wrap in clothes, you will stick out like a sore you're used to. So, the best advice I was given as a child is to either ignore comments, or stare back. Rude, but it sometimes works. However, I loved summer because I no longer had to fight with my shirts, coats, and jackets everyday!

With one arm, you tend to have this ridiculous problem with sleeves. You can roll them up (57 times a days), have them altered (which I never did), or simply have this huge jumbled up mess that makes your arm not properly fall by your side.<< That's usually Me!

Amber, my Mom will appreciate me telling you this story so you don't fall in her footsteps. :) I was not one that liked to get up and be rushed in the mornings. But, one morning in particular I had to be ready for Scottish Rite and to hurry, my wonderful Mother decided she would help me along by rolling my sweater, followed by my jacket. In case you dont know, trying to layer something that feels already like a knotted mess, isn't comfortable. My arm was only so long, so the more layer, the less force I had to push through more clothing. Anyway, she's telling me, "Bri, push your arm through the jacket." Me: "Mom, I'm's stuck!" Mom: "Let me look...I can see it in there, if you'd just push harder." As she is looking down the tunnel of the sleeve, my little arm broke through and punched her right in the face. I'm not sure who thought it was funnier, but I am pretty sure, I did. After that, not only did she refrain from looking to see if I was truly stuck, but realized once I was all tucked in, I was immobile. I could always leave the sleeve dangling (which happened in rushed or lazy cases), but then I felt like even if I wanted to hold something, there was the barrier, and forget about trying to eat or drink. ;)

Since I was only about 5 or 6 at the time, I didn't know my options on the different types of clothing and that there were places called "alteration" stores! So, as I got older, my jackets that are not roll-friendly gets the ax and shirts are typically rolled as normal. One upside is noone can share your clothes, unless of course they have one arm. Lately, what works even better than having alterations, is wearing a warm vest (like a bubble vest) in place of the jacket. It allows full movement of the hands and you dont have to constantly push your sleeves up. Typically, unless a jacket (with sleeves) is absultely necessary, I go without. Being cold is miserable, but not being able to hold, move, or open anything with a jacket on, is far more frustrating!

Don't get me wrong...if you count the closets that are stuffed with my clothes, you will clearly see I will make just about anything work, but it has to be realistic and adaptable to my circumstance.

Hope this helps a little...and now, you can go shopping! :)

Love to All,


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

On my last leg...

A month or so ago I started running and immediately fell into training for my first half-marathon. While I have performed better than expected, I am still not completely sold that I am yet a "runner." I have, however, learned I am not a cold weather, bad weather, or any weather besides sunny and at least 45 degree runner. I'm not picky, really...just with this running business. So, this past weekend I set out for an 8 miler because according to my training schedule, that's how long I should be able to go. Being the stubborn, hard-headed, and ornery person I am, that's how far I was going to run...if it killed me. Thankfully, it didn't and I managed to finish, but then the fun began. The stabbing-knife feeling that sticks me everytime I walk has been haunting me as if I'm being punished for accomplishing the not so reasonable goal I set out to achieve. I have tried to forget about the pain radiating in my foot for the past couple days, but after exhausting my usual "walk it off" approach, I have come to the conclusion something just ain't right. I still think I can run it off, but I've been advised otherwise, so for once I should probably listen to what someone tells me to do. :)

With that, I am down to one foot. Something new to me. Never been down to one working leg, so, if anyone has any experience in this department and has an idea of some exercises to do that doesn't involve all your hands or feet, please let me know!! Thanks.

Love to All,


Sunday, January 30, 2011


Everywhere you go now days everything is automatic. Automatic stairs, automatic doors, and the restrooms where everything is automatic. There are some things in this world that are simplified for cleanliness, people with handicaps, and people who are just plain lazy. I'm sure we can all categorize ourselves accordingly. However, some of those things are a pain in the ass for us with no hands, small hands, or in some cases, normal hands.

I mean really, how hard is it to turn the water on, dispense your own soap, and release your own paper towel? Apparently, pretty hard. Over the years I have had many fights with different types of these devices because they do NOT work for anyone with a missing hand, of any kind. The instructions read, "Wave hand in front of sensor." Straightforward, right? Of course, if you have something to "wave" in front of the stupid thing. When you spend 10 minutes fighting with water that clearly does not speak back to you, it becomes very frustrating. I am not only speaking from experience, but I saw a kid with both hands trying to get the water to work with him and he looked at me like, "What's wrong?" I just laughed and said, "Don't worry, it won't work for me either." To me, it isn't about efficency, but effectiveness. Sure, automatic everything makes everyone move faster....I mean it must since it wants to think for you and send you on your way. But, it's not always the case. The it's the little things in life typical peers do not think twice about. And, it's times like these that I am happy to relate to a typical person with the same frustration while it being a totally different circumstance.

Another circumstance is that I am working with a teenage girl who finds it almost impossible to fit in socially because of the technological developments that are great for people who are able to use them, but alienate those who are not adequately suited to do so. For instance, the latest and greatest gadgets are the Ipad and Wii. When you are at the age where everyone has both and you cannot use any without it clearly being noticeable, the challenge becomes pressure and it completely takes the fun out of any activity. However, in order to be "socially accepted" you have to find ways around challenges. It never stopped me from the Wii, Ipad, or any other device because I didn't give it a chance. Yes, everyone moves out of the way when I am playing baseball or golf on Wii, and that the controller is tighly fastened so the TV doesn't shatter, but in order to overcome challenges, you have to live them. It really isn't all that bad once you figure it all out. Personally, I don't use an Iphone or touch screen, I have to use a blackberry because of the size and shape that fits in my hand.

The last question I received was, "How do you dispense candy from a quarter machine without it going all over the floor?" Good question. Another little fact nobody thinks about. The answer to that is, you don't use loose candy machines, or you use someone elses hand to catch it for you. Brooke would dispense mine and hers...Yes, she was 3 and I was 23, but she never minded, as long as I "shared" my handful with her. Hey, it always works out. But, if your like me, you just go buy a bag of may not last longer, but there will never be any wasted. :)

Love to All,


Monday, January 24, 2011

Mousy Monday!

Today, a received an email from a Mom and mentioned how her daughter carries things under her arm or under her neck when trying to carry more than one thing, due to only having the use of one hand. My answer to this, after I stopped smiling, was ME TOO!!! You have to make use of what you have, however you can. That prompted me to think of all the things I've held using other parts. Not many of you think twice when carrying your phone, drink, and laptop at once. You just pick it up and go. When you have one arm, you have to analyze every situation carefully in order to dodge disaster. Like, laptop in hand, phone under arm, and drink? Drink in hands, laptop under your arm, and phone goes in the mouth. Yes, PERFECT!

Not every situation goes that easy, but they ALL end up working out somehow. Three things you have to remember when living or being around someone with one hand: Your mouth and knees become your second hand and you can pretty much pick anything up with your feet. Sounds freaky, right? Trust me, after my 2nd round of braces, my orthodontist hates that fact! But when you think about it, how do you open a jar? Two hands. Nope, not us. You get on the floor, put it between your knees and after a while it pops right off. How do you open chips? Two hands. Or, if your like me, you pop them and hope the bottom doesn't fall out, or use your teeth. After all these years, just a couple weeks ago, my Aunt asked,"What happened to this bag?" and someone immediately responded with, "Bri opened them." Not only did that start a laughing fit in the house, but everyone wondered, "How the hell did you get it to open like that?" Again, it takes talent. These are types of things you (we) have to figure out on your own. Don't try to help, don't tell me how to do it, and don't mention, "It'll be easier if you just let me do it," because I promise, it's not. I will only ask for help if it goes all over the floor...and chances are, it will not.

Another short-cut to carrying things is to hold it up against you, very tightly. Makes it easier to control what you are holding...unless the thing is an animal, bug, or rodent. I, of course, was the tom-boy of the family. I mean, why not? Of course I wanted to hunt, fish, cut, climb, and anything dare-devilish. I climbed the kitchen cabinets to get what I needed, scaled the chest of drawers, climb fences, and whatever else I had to in order not to ask for help.

My sister wouldn't get near anything muddy, sweaty, or anything dirt related. My lucky mother was horrified at the fact I dug worms, chased mice, and caught every cricket in Ferris. What's wrong with that, you say? I had to bring it all inside to show my days work...held up against me as if the dead rodent was going to leap out of my hand. Grossed her completely out. I then would proceed to chase her and my Sis around the house because they were afraid of bugs and dead I loved it! And yes, leave it to the 2-fingered girl to check mice traps, catch spiders, and rescue them from scary daddy-long legs. But, anyway, that's how I had to hold things because you can't cup anything in a hand with 2 fingers. It would fall through my fingers and tick me off. So, I killed everything that was captured. Sad now that I think about it, but at the time, that was the only logical option. Now, to you Mom's who want to know why everything your one-armed child brings you is dead, you know! It's not out of meanness, but determination. Very different. :o)

There are so many other stories, but I will withhold my grossness for another day. With that, I hope I have made you ready for what you have in store for tomorrow!

Love to All,


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Prosthetics, Part One!

I tried to think of a clever title to this post, but Prosthetics pretty much sums it allllll up!! :)

When born with a missing limb, the first thing someone wants to do is 'fix' if it is broken. Truth is, it's not. Really. Shocker, I know. It is easier to adapt to situations with the limbs we are born with, without the use of a prosthetic limb. I was a patient of Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children from birth until they kicked me out at the age of eighteen. Sad, sad day! But, at the age of 6 months I was fitted with my first prosthesis. My Mom and Dad wanted me to have the option of using a 'bionic' arm versus my 'real' arm. Let me just tell you how that went down over the next several years.

I was a loving, quiet little girl throughout my childhood, but when I wanted something I made it known. I am sure my Mom would like to re-write this blog in her own words, but I will tell you the one-arm version. Much. More. Funny. (to me)

So my first arm I remember wearing fit my right arm, of course, and had a sling around my shoulders and when I reached, the fingers would open. I hated it. I cried when I had to wear the thing. There is no feeling, so it's like trying to win a teddy-bear out of one of those claw machines at Cici's. me!! But, they insisted I 'try' to get used to it. So, I used my advantage. When we would go to Walmart, like most 4-5 year old child, I would find a toy I had to have. When my Mom gave me the, "Bri, I'm not buying you the toy" line, I would come back with, "I'm gonna pop my arm off!" If any of you are parents, you know how embarrassing it is when your kid throws a fit in public. I didn't throw fits. I popped my arm off and let it dangle behind me. You want to know how long it took her to say, "Bri, put your arm back on and you can have the toy"? Not long. My poor Mother was given looks you wouldn't believe, but sweet little Bri got what she wanted. A toy and NO.MORE.ARM!!! She did not think it was funny, but I thought it was quite clever. I mean, how many kids can pop their arm off to get what they want? It takes talent.

When I went to Kindergarten, I think the only thing special I used were scissors made for me by TSRHC. Again, like the silverware, they were a hit. Everyone wanted to play with my scissors. By the end of the year, I used real scissors, and the 'cool' ones were no longer needed. But the fun had yet to begin. At the age of four or five I was learning to ride my bike with no training wheels. The arm attached to the handle bars and my arm just popped into it. A simple, but very helpful device. It made it to where I was level with my other arm and could balance myself on the bike. I admit, I loved this arm. I mastered the bike with no training wheels in no time and was all over town on two-wheels. If you don't know, I grew up in a very small town. The kind where you leave your keys in your ignition, your doors unlocked, and your arms on your bike. There wasn't alot of crime, but my sisters bike got stolen a couple times off our porch. Mine wasn't touched. I'm not sure if it was because it was barbie and had strings dangling from the handle bars or because there was an arm attached to the handle bars. My vote is for the latter, but I'll never know. I did not use the arm for more than a couple of years, I still had many body slides across pavement, but again, very helpful.

By the second grade, I had a myo-electric. Back then, it was the new 'bionic' arm. It had a sensor that open the fingers when my nerves hit a certain spot. Annoyed the hell out of me. Took me five minutes to get the pencil to stay in, then when I wrote it would tilt it was not worth the trouble. Kind of fun to wear when you didn't need to do anything, but useless to me when I actually needed to perform. At 8 years old, I didn't stay still long, so it got to hang out in my desk all day. I had a gymnastic arm, so I could do cartwheels like Jessica. And, I did. There was also the claw that I could screw onto it so I could pinch my sister back. My latest prosthetic was the golf arm in high school. Absolutely the best thing ever...for everyones sake. I wanted to play golf with my Dad so bad, but because when I swung, the club went further than the ball, I had to use an arm. It felt amazing to be able to actually hit a ball as far as everyone else. My Mom carted me an hour away twice a week for golf lessons with a professional golfer just so I could have the experience. To this day, I still like to play. Do I play well? No. Do I want to play a round? No. I just like to hit the ball and know that I was able to, even if it meant wearing the arm. I will tell you the contraption I have to get into the make it happen is almost as funny as watching someone swing and miss (not that I ever do), but to know I'm not going to kill anyone when I play, makes it all worth it.

The arms sit and collected dust until Halloween time when they got farmed out for props in neighbors yards. I am pretty sure between El Fenix and Magnolia St., my arms and silverware are still playing roles in very different ways than TSRHC doctors anticipated. But, each one tells a very different story.

So, while you may think it's easierto function with ten fingers and ten toes, it depends who you ask, and what you're trying to accomplish. But, don't think I won't try something just because I don't look able-bodied....because if you know me, you know I will!!

Love to All,


Friday, January 14, 2011

Sisters will be Sisters!

When you think about Sisters, you automatically think of sharing, right? WRONG! The only thing we shared without a fight was the attempt to break into our parents room in the middle of the night to make pallets. Most often than not, we got busted and sent back to our rooms. Or did we? Either way, we were the normal set of siblings who would have loved to have a good swing at each other if the chance was given, but (most) always rekindled our differences.

Le'Ann absolutely hated that I called her 'Sister' well into our teens, and the fact that I got to eat with 'special' silverware made by my cousin and she had to use a 'boring' fork. Eventually, I used the normal silverware and she, along with the rest of the kids, used mine. Anyway, I looked up to her for everything. Well, most everything. Our favorite thing to play was school. We had a life size barbie dollhouse, every barbie, ken, and accessory known to man, a playroom full of babies and God knows what else; and here we were with our parents magazines, playing school. Go figure! But, I always had to be the student because I was youngest and she was oldest. I didn't know at the time I was being had by my own sister, but I played along until Ms. Bossypants made me into her slave. For whatever reason, I think I dropped out of class and resumed to Barbie-land where the only thing that stumped me was trying to braid Barbie's hair like her. Frustrated-the-heck-out-of-me!! She would try to teach me and would say, "Bri, just do it like this!!!!" as if I could whip out my magical fingers and make it happen. Either way, she or Mom would do it, and I would usually mess it right back up. Oh, the fun we had!!

There was a time I recall when she put me our baby's stroller and she ran me into everything in our house. She had a blast, however I could not undo the buckles on the stroller, so I was helpless bait. She would then take my elbow and pinch the fire out of it, again, out of pure meanness! Oh, but when I finally broke free, it was on! I may be little, but when I struck, I left a mark!

Okay, so we didn't ALWAYS argue. There were days we schemed up ideas to get out of going to Church, taking a bath, or doing homework. It was all her idea. I was the angel there for back-up purposes only. (haha!) Did I mention I never got in trouble? I probably should for future reference. It wasn't because I have one arm, it was simply because I was very sensitive and the "look" was all it took to put me into tears. Le on the other hand had enough mouth for both of us, so I let her do the back talking. :)

When we both hit our teens, lord help our parents, it was on! I wanted everything of mine to be mine, she wanted everything of hers to be hers. God help us all if we even eye-balled one anothers closets, make-up, or shoes. We would push, shove, throw punches one minute, and the next, be happy as clams together. Thinking back, there were not too many instances where we were treated any different, or thought about us being any different. We clearly lived the typical sister-sister lifestyle. I remember I always wanted to hang out with her and her friends and I still not 'cool' enough. Well, sweet little Bri decided to turn everyones bras into icicles. A few rounds of that and I became inducted into the 'big-girl' club!

All in all, 'Sister' made me who I am able to be today. Dependent, because if I asked for a favor, it was backfired with, "No, you have two fingers, get it yourself!" Then one of her friends usually came to the rescue (Thanks Summer, Jackie, Jennifer, Kimberly, and anyone else I left out!) A fighter, because...well, if you re-read the blog you will see how much we loved one another. :) LOL..Not really. I could go on, but I want to ease you into our childhood background before I added surgeries, prosthetic limbs flying around, or many of the other theatrical moments most families don't get to encounter!

My Mom always said we would end up being bestfriends when we grew up. As children, we couldn't fathom the thought. But, as usual, she was right!

Love to All,


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Change of Pace!

So as many of you know, I have spent the past two years with my nose stuck in textbooks...(some could probably speak of better places I've had my nose, but whatever!) Anyway, this semester I have decided to change things up and take one whole class. While this makes me very nervous, I think I will find the change of pace a good decision. Life has gotten away from Me lately as it too often does, and I have decided it is time to catch up on the things I have let slip away.

The past two years I have also been involved in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure. The experience was absolutely amazing and would recommend it to anyone wanting to make a difference. However, this year I want to challenge myself further (imagine that), so two of my very good friends have me running. While this is an exercise I have shyed away from for the past 25 years, I admit I love the feeling I get when I finish a new goal. So, I hope to be able to run many races in my near future. I guess my next goal would be a half marathon...we will talk about that later In my spare time this semester I am studying for my Series 7 Exam, running between the 2 houses, looking for a job, trying to keep everyone happy...(which is the hardest job of all), and now, blogging the wild, but exciting life of a one-arm girl!!!

Throughout my life people have told me I should write a book or speak about growing up one one arm. While I have never really seen myself as being "different", most people do, with good reason. More often than not, it is due to lack of education on the circumstance, but many times it's pure curiosity. Growing up it bothered me to be stared at everywhere. I. go!! Now, when I see someone who looks like Me, I find myself -staring- as if they have two heads...which would be perfectly normal, right? So, I get it. You can't imagine us being able to do anything, I mean why even try when you have one arm, leg, or neither? Take it from Me, and anyone who has come in contact with Me in the past 25 years, WE TRY HARDER!! I cannot remember the last time I asked for help....even if I need it. I'm not one to give up. I was the first to tie shoes in Kindergarten, fastest typist in Jr. High, and runner up in my Senior Prom. No, I do not like to be singled out, nor do I like the attention...but I know being challenged as a child has made me the independent (too independent at times) person I am today.

Today, I ran across a blog of a Mother who has a 1-year old daughter who also has a limb deficiency due to ABS. It inspired me to start sharing my experiences, hardships, and so many accomplishments. I hope this is the start of a happy, new year of whatever the good Lord has in store!

Love to All,