Being A New Amputee


I’m a recently new amputee and I encountered some roadblocks in my journey from able bodied to being an amputee. Some roadblocks were of my own creation. Some were not. This is my advice for new amputees on how to navigate the first year of “Being An Amputee.”…/dealing-with-being-an-amputee


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What NOT To Do When You Are In A Relationship And Become An Amputee.


It’s been awhile. Not everything has been good since my last post. Not everything has been bad either.

I’m a very private human but it just might be time for me to share and in some way help heal myself as well as maybe help a new amputee not make the same mistakes I’ve made the past 12 months.

I’ll start from the very beginning….in case you’ve not followed my journey from being just a diabetic to becoming a diabetic with an amputation. And a horrible attitude. I’ve always been militant, but never had a horrible attitude. Read on to see this transformation.

I was diagnosed with diabetes in 2008, and it was strongly suggested I stop being a chef, stay off my feet as much as possible, because standing on my feet for 12 to 16 hours a day was not good for a type 2 diabetic. 

So I retired. I was bored and ready for a change anyway. 26 years, a loooong time to do something you love, for people you do not love. Anyway, back to the diabetes…..

I of course ignored the diabetes, which is exactly why this blog, which used to be called “The Militant Negro” and was all political, is now renamed “Ignoring Diabetes.” But I digress, which I do a lot.

2008,…. diagnosed with diabetes, ignored diabetes until 2012. By then I’d had two toe amputations and to be honest, they really meant nothing to me. I got along just great with 8 toes. I mean who actually needs 10?? Sometimes I took insulin as directed by my doctor, most times I did not.

June 2018 I met Shantelle. By August of that year we were living together in my one bedroom apartment. I lost my wife and 9 year old son in a car crash in 2001, and I had been practicing social distancing from 2001 until 2018, when I met Shantelle. I was in a self imposed isolation from the female species because I imagined being involved in a relationship with a woman other than my “dead” wife, was un-loyal.

That didn’t prevent me from having meaningless protected sex when I needed meaningless protected sex….just having a serious meaningful connection was off limits, in my mind. 

Meeting Shantelle changed all that warped thinking. I was ready for whatever the future held for me at the time we started talking, as she walked her dog, Dexter. I liked her, admired her look and found her special. This all took place between June to August of 2018.

Then came my third and final toe amputation, with Shantelle by my side. On the way to surgery, which by now for me was a walk in the park, I proposed to her asking her to be my wife. She answered YES with the most beautiful smile ever smiled at me.

I recovered. Then things went downhill from there, health wise. Fast.

I started to have severe pain in my right leg/foot. After many trips to a podiatrists and other doctors I was put into a walking boot, then a walking cast, then was diagnosed with osteomyelitis, which is: Inflammation of bone caused by infection, generally in the legs, arm, or spine.Infections can reach bones by traveling through the bloodstream or spreading from nearby tissue.Common symptoms include pain, fever, and chills.Treatment is usually surgery to remove portions of bone that have died. This is followed by strong antibiotics, often by an IV, for at least six weeks.

This is what osteomyelitis did to me….

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It took from August 14th until January 31st for me to get this infected right leg removed, amputated, cut from my body. Shantelle was there the entire time, changing my nasty, smelly, disgusting bandages daily. Being something I had missed the past 17 years, a loving caring partner. I attempted to get her to leave and move back home, she was not having any of that.

Why so long you ask, from August 14th until January 31st is 170 days. Thats a Looooooog ass time. Simple Answer: Doctor and insurance hoops I was required to jump through, infected leg and all. BUT I finally had the surgery and came home on February 4th, 2020.


The surgery and healing process was a piece of cake. Shantelle was an angel sent from above. Never leaving my side and putting up with ME, all while smiling and making me feel loved. She nursed me, changed bandages, helped me to the bedside commode, and did other things I will refrain from bothering you with visualizing. 

I healed faster than normal.

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Then trouble arrived in the form of my expectation for my progress being just too damn much. I wanted too many things way too soon. I was up walking with the aid of a walker days after healing and getting the staples removed. Three days after receiving my very first prosthetic leg, I chucked the walker and cane in a corner and was walking unassisted, on my own. Shantelle cried with joy.

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I was NOT satisfied. 

I saw people on social media doing the things I wanted to do, and I had gained weight from being bedridden, on my ass for 170 days, after losing weight. I was miserable. Not liking ME. Hard to get along with. All because I was not progressing as quickly as I wanted to progress. Doctors and my prosthetic professional told me I was moving much quicker, faster than normal.

I wanted more. I WANTED TO DO THE THINGS I SAW ON SOCIAL MEDIA….Never being sick or in any type of disabled situation in 59 years meant I had a ton of unrealistic expectations for myself. Before being diagnosed with diabetes in 2008, my only illness was a toothache and a sciatic nerve issue that lasted exactly 4 days, then vanished as quickly as it appeared. I was NOT prepared to be this slow in doing the things I “used” to be able to accomplish.

I had unrealistic expectations and things were made worse by the fact I had little to no faith in my prosthetic company….Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics.


I saw people, like me, on social media outlets, doing the things I “thought” I should be doing. I wanted to swim, ride a bike, climb a rock wall, be able to walk like “normal.” Doctors and Hanger all told me I’d be able to do everything just like I used to do. Thats was a lie. 

My very first prosthetic had a foot with no ankle, it was a block of wood.

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This block of wood, which was/is where an ankle should be, meant I could not walk “Normal” and that was unacceptable to me. The K testing I took to determine what type of prosthetic I’d receive put me in this garbage, I tested at a K2. Four months later I retested from a K2 into the top category of a K4, and got this beauty….

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But even that was not enough for me.I STILL was not moving at a pace I imagined I should be moving. I was never satisfied. I wanted more. Faster. Quicker. I became super frustrated. Many things frustrated me, not having a socket that allowed me to bend my knee and put my foot flat on the ground, which prevented me from standing with my legs, or walking up/down stairs one foot on a step, then the other foot on the next step. Instead I had to do both feet on the same step in order to climb or descend stairs.

I wanted to be normal, I needed to be normal. Finally on March 31st of 2020, I got a socket that allowed me to put m y foot flat on the ground.


And it only took me TEN MONTHS. Problem is by now, I had lost Shantelle.

In the ten months since I got my first prosthetic leg, I was in limbo. Stuck. Not progressing in the manner I wanted to improve. NOT being able to do the things I wanted to accomplish. Unaware that my expectations were unobtainable. 

I became sullen. Moody. Grouchy. Argumentative. Mean at times. Verbally abusive. Sometimes depressed but not knowing I was depressed. Other times I was my usual nice loving self. A roller coaster ride is fine for an amusement park attraction, nothing is attractive about a roller coaster describing a relationship.

I lost the woman I was deeply and hopelessly in love with because I changed. I became someone she could not be “IN” love with any longer. I didn’t recognize who I had become….. and when I did recognize me, I hated Me. Bad thing to hate oneself.


First rule of healing from any mental/physical disability or ailment is self love. I am here, now, in this blog post, to tell anyone who goes through life altering moments….. be careful you do not make my mistake. Communicate with your partner. Talk to him/her. Express what you are feeling, how you are feeling, when you are feeling it. Calm yourself. Find inner peace however you must.

For fellow amputees: Don’t ever expect too much from yourself too quickly, as I did. Locate a fellow amputee who has been where you are right that moment and talk to them. ASK for help. Don’t be too proud, too stubborn, too macho, like I was, to seek counseling….from a fellow or Lady amputee. Find someone who can understand what you are experiencing.

My suggestion would be, another amputee.

Whatever you do, do not make the mistake I made. Never do what I did. Don’t ever be like Me.

Do NOT lose the one good thing in your life and end up alone. 

And scared.

If I can assist any amputee who happens upon this blog post, help or assist you get through the tough times… know how to reach me….

Instagram: militant_amputee



!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!000IGNORING DIABETES

The Reality Of Being.



I don’t even have a clue how to start this blog post. What I do know is that I am not alone in what I am dealing with on a daily basis being a new amputee. This blog post started out as a rant against my journey from having two legs to having one leg. As I sit here with my ex fiance, I am struck by what we are doing……not what she is doing but what I am doing with her. I met Shantelle 19 months ago and we got engaged quick, I asked her to marry me as I was being wheeled into surgery for the last of my 3 toe amputations.

I was different back then, more relaxed and at ease. Anyway, what we’re both doing right this minute is watching a live feed of The Jay Eberly Ministries on you tube. Shantelle wanted to attend in person but she is feeling under the weather after spending the day in bed trying to get healthy enough to attend. When first meeting Shantelle I was unaware she was religious, but since then I have realized she is deep in her faith but she does not beat you to death about her beliefs.

I admire that because average everyday Christians, the many I have known in my past, want everyone they pass on the street to know all about their faith. Thats a huge turn off to me.  Let me show you Shantelle……


The one person on this earth who I love unconditionally and with all my being. Trouble is, I didn’t treat her that way, like she is the one person on this earth I love unconditionally with all my being. Thats why she is my ex fiance, even though we are best friends and she is my favorite person in the entire world.

Let me explain….


This is me above, a 60 year old diabetic who was diagnosed with diabetes in 2008. I ignored the diabetes diagnoses for 4 years, finally doing what I was told to do in 2012. Hardheaded to say the least. In January of 2019 I had a RBKA which is a right below the knee amputation. I met Shantelle in June of 2018.  Would you believe this special woman nursed me back to health after my amputation, only knowing me for a grand total of 7, thats SEVEN, months?? She did that.

But that is not the entire story….. I had an infection in my foot that progressively got worse, worse to the point that I spent the next 5 months in bed on my back trying things to heal the infection followed by a 2 month waiting period to have the amputation.

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What you see above was me from August 2018 until January 2019. What you see below is me on February 4th, 2019, the day I went home. With Shantelle by my side.


Long story very short…..I lost my wife and son in 2000 to an auto accident. I lost my grandfather to age in 2004. My grandmother died from neglect in a nursing home in 1989 while I was serving overseas in the us military. I decided I hated god/jesus because they hated me. I was raised up in the baptist church, my grandfather was founder and pastor/minister to one of the biggest and most successful Negro churches in Chicago throughout my youth. I turned my back on religion.

I separated myself from humanity after losing my wife and son, cut myself off from people. Worked, lived and survived but not in any normal way. I avoided all relationships with females that could have resulted in a relationship. I was a hermit. Just not wealthy like Howard Hughes. Now what happened to me as a result of this seclusion from humanity which ran for 10 years until meeting Shantelle in June of 2018 was I became antisocial. I lost all my skills as a human, to communicate with Shantelle….as a human should.

I realized Shantelle was sent to me by God/Jesus. I was alone an this infection in my foot hit me as soon as Shantelle and I started seeing one another. I was all alone. I would later realize Shantelle was sent to me for a reason, by the very God/Jesus that I turned my back on 20 years ago. I even went as far as to tell Shantelle this several times during our relationship.

She nursed me.


Little did I know that the surgery would be a piece of cake. The recovery after the amputation was easy peasy. What messed me up was the poor, unprofessional and incompetent service I received from prosthetic “professionals” who failed to help me become mobile and progress to walking and doing daily activities of life. I was angry, frustrated and mean spirited.

Shantelle was the closest human to me, she was with me every minute of everyday. During this time of frustration and low self esteem and no self worth, I took everything out on the one woman who smiled and I melted, but her smile was gone. I didn’t know I was depressed. I had no idea I was full of anger at the world for my past human losses. I didn’t have a clue I was in a bad mood because for 20 odd years I was alone, never being involved in a relationship that was more that sex.

Shantelle told me about 2 months ago she didn’t want to be engaged to me anymore. She explained to me why. I didn’t hear her for a long time. Then this past week I heard her and heard someone else as well. I won’t say it was God/Jesus because I’m not there yet…but it was something/someone who has guided me and followed my life all my life.

Tonight we are watching this video…..

New Year’s Eve Special Service // December 29, 2019

There is no reason or explanation why I decided to watch/listen to this with Shantelle, who has remained my favorite person in the world and my best friend.

I do not understand faith at this time in my life. I am never going to give up on Shantelle, one day, she will be my wife, I owe her my life, my very existence. I will start to pray to God/Jesus that he allow me to win her love back as never before.

Stay tuned because she was sent into my life for a reason and it was NOT just to save my life, but to improve my heart and soul.

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A New Leg AND Foot***


*** By Accident.

Thats correct. I got a new leg/socket and foot, by accident. When last I posted here on my blog I may have mentioned how I passed a K test which put me into a new level for receiving the best equipment available. Sadly, because my doctor and my prosthetists failed to submit the request for upgraded equipment, properly, the insurance company denied me what was rightfully mine to have based on my new classification. 

An appeal was filed. This past Thursday, the 21st of November…..I was finally approved by the insurance company….or so my prosthetic company, Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics, informed me by telephone. I immediately made an appointment, for the next day, Friday the 22nd, to finally get my new leg…..See, the old leg had not fit properly since August 30th, and I was cast for a new prosthetic leg on October 2nd….so for 52 days I was forced to wait for Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics to get my new leg on my amputated limb.

Think of wearing an uncomfortable ill fitting pair of shoes….everyday…all day long…for 52 days.

So I get to my appointment on the 22nd and find out that the insurance company had made a mistake in telling Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics that MY claim was approved. Apparently the insurance company, United Healthcare, had my name attached to someone else’s claim and that someone else was approved, NOT I. So the phone call informing me MY claim was FINALLY approved, was WRONG. 

Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics decided rather than tell me they were incorrect in telling me the claim was approved, decided to eat the cost of the claim and give me my new prosthetic. Wise choice. I was already shopping for an AK.

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Above is the brand new prosthetic leg, complete with a smiling Barack Hussein Obama lamination on the socket.

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And above here, is the new foot with a flexible ankle…..YES….the same flexible ankle I was repeatedly told was not available because it didn’t exist.

SURPRISE SURPRISE (in my best Gomer Pyle voice) this flexible foot and ankle socket DOES INDEED EXIST.


So now I have a new leg, and guess what……because it was made 52 days ago, it is too big now….. and DOES NOT FIT. Ain’t life grand. Incompetence runs amok.



United Healthcare Insurance


I’ve been absent for months fighting United Healthcare Insurance for the right to have a life, a life as normal as I can expect being a right below the knee amputee. This fight is for me, but it is also being used by me to inform and educate future amputees as well as amputees who are experiencing the same unethical and unacceptable behavior from insurance companies.


United Healthcare denied a prescription from my orthopedic doctor for a brand new K4 prosthetic system because the old prosthetic no longer fit properly as well, and this is the important reason why my orthopedic doctor wrote a new prescription….. I am no longer rated as a K2 amputee. On September 9th, 2019 I retook the AMP test which is designed to determine what level an amputee can function and what type of prosthetic that amputee “deserves” to have.

Back on April 17th, 2019 I took my very first K test, which is the AMP test. I passed that K test at a K2 level which meant I would get a basic barely functioning prosthetic because I didn’t score high enough to “deserve” a better and more technologically advanced prosthetic limb. Fast forward to September 9th, 2019 and all the hard work I did from April 17th to September 9th…..when I retook that AMP test and scored a K4 total score, up two levels, which meant I was now “deserving” of a new, technologically advanced, top notch prosthetic, which would include an Active Foot-Ankle Prosthesis.

See, the K2 foot was a fake rubber foot on a block of wood…….


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Now lets take a gander at the K4 foot I am supposed to have since September 9th, when I became a K4 Tested amputee…..


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Now allow me to explain the journey I’ve been on since September 9th, 2019.  No wait…..lets take a look at the entire journey since January 31st, 2019 when I had my right below the knee amputation….THE TIMELINE….

Time Line
January 31st, 2019…….Amputation.
February 4th, 2019………Discharged Home.
February 14th, 2019…..First Shrinker.
February 19th, 2019….Surgery Follow Up.
April 17th, 2019……AMP Testing…K2 result.
April 17th, 2019 ……..1st Prosthetic Casting.
May 2nd, 2019…..1st Prosthetic Fitting.
May 16th, 2019…..Home With Prosthetic.
May 16th, 2019……Using Crutches To Walk.
May 17th, 2019……Using Walker To Walk.
May 19th, 2019…..Using Cane To Walk.
May 21st, 2019……Walking On My Own.
May 30th, 2019….Prosthetic Adjustment.
June 19th, 2019…..Prosthetic Adjustment.
June 20th, 2019…..New Prosthetic Specialists.
June 27th, 2019…..Doctor Writes NEW Prosthesis Order.
July 3rd, 2019…..Casting For New 2nd Socket (Hanger)
July 15th, 2019….1st fitting for new socket (Hanger)
July 19th, 2019….picked up new 2nd socket (Hanger)
September 5th, 2019…..1st PT evaluation with Top Shape Gym.
September 9th, 2019….K Test ReTest….PCI PT.
September 9th, 2019…KTest results: Now A K4.
September 10th, 2019…1st ever PT session with Top Shape Gym.
September 18th, 2019….orthopedic doctor visit: new prosthetic order.
October 2nd, 9th, 16th……Hanger new prosthetic casting /fitting.
October 29th, 2019…… Denied new K4 Active Foot-Ankle Prosthesis by United Healthcare.

Now by any standard this recovery from amputation to walking unassisted by any and all mobile assist devices is remarkable…..which appears to be my problem. And here’s why……I healed very quickly. I never had any surgery complications. My amputation shrunk quickly. I was ready to have stitches removed quickly. I was on my first prosthetic very quickly. I was walking on my own with no walker, crutches or cane very quickly. You’d think this are all very good things to have happen.

Seems when a patient recovers tooooo fast, that patient throws a monkey wrench into the insurance works. See, insurance companies such as United Healthcare, have protocols and timelines THEY have determined must be used for ALL amputees. Being a quick healer, being a patient that has an agenda for getting his/her life back and is successful at accomplishing that agenda… NOT acceptable. I healed too fast. I walked too fast. I needed new sockets and prosthetic systems too fast.

Insurance companies like United Healthcare will only pay for a prosthetic foot once each year……UNLESS THE PATIENT ADVANCES TO A NEW K LEVEL (like I did) OR THE CURRENT FOOT BREAKS OR IS NO LONGER USABLE BY THE PATIENT. So United Healthcare has no right to deny me my new K4 Active Foot-Ankle Prosthesis…..

Unless…..the orthopedic doctor and the prosthetist both are bad at their jobs.

What exactly is a prosthetist you may ask…… A prosthetist also known as an orthotist is a trained health care professional that designs and measures medical supportive devices called prosthesis. A prosthesis is an artificial device that is used to replace a body part that may be missing, malfunctioning, or partially or completely damaged.

I use a prosthetic company named Hanger….


and my prosthetist at Hanger is Tim…..


Tim is very bad at his job…..and I am going to change my prosthetist very soon, but because Tim is incompetent at what he gets paid to do, I suffer. What my common sense tells me is this….Tim should have known submitting a new K test results to an insurance company would be an uphill battle, Tim should have suggested to me, “Let us here at Hanger submit a claim for a new socket, since this current socket is WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY too big and it being this ill-fitting may cause your amputated limb to blister.” (which is exactly what is happening to me right now)

Because Tim never offered that suggestion, as my prosthetist, I’ve been wearing this ill fitting prosthesis since October 2nd, when I visited him for a new prosthetic system. I now am fighting to heal blisters on my amputated limb caused by the ill-fitting socket. Tim is also very bad at giving information and explaining his reasons to a first time amputee, like me, why he is doing what he does the way he does it.

Now to be fair not all Hanger employees are incompetent like Tim, the good Hanger employees are just not in the Cedar Rapids office….except for the receptionists, Ms. Amy. Ms. Amy greets all patients with a million kilowatt smile and is professional and kind. I also must commend Ms. Sarah, an insurance specialists in the Ames Hanger office who was visiting and filling in at the Iowa City Hanger office when I reached out to that Iowa City office for some advice and guidance.

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Ms. Sarah was so informative in our exchange. Sarah told me about United Healthcare and how that insurance company is notorious for denying amputee claims for the express purpose of saving money. Ms. Sarah also guided me to several insurance companies that approved amputee claims like they should. Thank you Ms. Sarah.

Next lets move on to my orthopedic doctor, Dr James Huber….


Dr Huber is the orthopedic doctor who wrote my prosthetic orders to United Healthcare, and he did a very generic, bland, unspecific order writing job… much so was his laziness in writing these orders that needed to be very specific as to WHY I needed a complete prosthetic upgrade (Going from a K2 to a K4) that I can understand why United Healthcare just said no.

Dr Huber was so NOT specific as to why he requested United Healthcare pay for a new prosthetic system for me, that they explained to him that he should do it over and add an addendum to his original prescription.

Lastly, lets discuss United Healthcare…….


After being denied my K4 prosthetic system I got on the phone and called a prosthetic company in Florida, out of frustration, and talked to a lady whom gave me more information in that 20 minute conversation about insurance than anyone who is here in my city, ever offered about this entire insurance claim process.

Seems United Healthcare is notorious for denying claims for amputees if the claim is not perfectly filed and gives detailed reasons and descriptions as to what and why a claim is being submitted. The Lady in Florida who works as an insurance specialists for that Florida prosthetic company, told me she fights with United Healthcare ALL THE TIME over prosthetic claims.


I have arranged to meet with an insurance representative and change my carrier from United Healthcare to Aetna insurance. 


Here’s what I was told about United Healthcare….this insurance company is not very concerned with approving an insurance claim if United Healthcare deems that claim to not be 1000% absolutely necessary… THEIR definition of “necessary.” Your doctor writing an order, especially if said order is not detailed or expressly specific, that doctors order will be denied. The important thing to understand about United Healthcare is: United Healthcare is far more concerned about their bottom line than helping customers who might need their claims approved in a timely fashion.

Finally…..United Healthcare is making my prosthetic company resubmit the claim for my K4 prosthesis as well as making my prosthetic company submit a separate claim for just the socket while the foot denial is being appealed… which means I am still wearing an ill-fitting prosthetic on my amputated limb….for over a month now, since September 9th…and it is now October 31st.

So…..this has been my battle since September 9th, if you may have wondered where I’ve been…..I’ve been in purgatory…..waiting to continue my journey from walking stupid with a prosthetic that does not fit, to wearing a prosthetic/socket that FITS….and allows me to go to the gym, and walk in/on uneven ground and finally, lets me rock climb or ride my bike. 

Here’s a tip and some advice, NEVER IGNORE YOUR DIABETES. You’ll end up like me.

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