Liz Saul on Limb Loss Awareness Month
Dorset Orthopaedic ambassador Liz Saul is a Cyclist in the GB Paracycling Squad and is Communications Manager at University College London. As a teenager, Liz had a rare bone tumor and doctors eventually had to amputate her leg. She has now been an amputee for 15 years and in this time has moved to London for university and work, and she has competed internationally in her sport. Liz wears a custom cycling leg designed for her by Dorset Orthopaedic as well one of our world renowned silicone covers. Here, Liz explains what Limb Loss Awareness Month has meant to her.
I wish that Limb Loss Awareness Month had been around when I lost my leg 15 years ago. In 2003 there was limited information that I could find about what life would be like as an amputee - and as a 14 year old that was more than a little terrifying. I certainly didn’t know any other amputees, and had no idea who to ask all the significant questions to like ‘will I ever find shoes that fit both feet’ ‘can I paint my toenails’ or ‘will I ever not be bothered by people staring’. (The answers being yes, yes and yes for those who are interested.)
Instead of being empowered by my surgeon, I was presented with a list of things that I wouldn’t be able to do. Admittedly this was a lot shorter than if I had chosen to keep my leg but still - it didn’t leave me with much optimism that I would be able to do everything I had dreamed of.
Now, all I need to do is open Twitter and look under the hashtag #limblossawarenessmonth to see what life as an amputee is like. It is full of photos of people, young and old, sporty and not, living their best life. It is also shows the vast global network that exists to support those living without all four limbs. Had I had access to all of this information when I lost my leg, I don’t think I would have been as terrified.
We often hear stories of inspiring Paralympians doing amazing things in the face of adversity, however we can find just as much inspiration by looking closer to home. It doesn’t just have to be athletes breaking world records that can be empowering. Limb Loss Awareness Month is the perfect spotlight to champion all amputees and perhaps even provide a bit of reassurance to those feeling slightly lost that they’re not alone, and that there are so many people out there going through the same thing.