This post is aimed towards anyone who is going to have to lose a limb. There is quite a lot to write about on this subject, so I might revisit later. For now I am splitting into 2 posts - Mentally and physically.
When you buy a new gadget, you can go on Amazon and get an "idiots guide to...". I almost wish there was something like this around, as I found when I had my operations there was very little advice available at the time.
Part 1 - Mentally
Firstly, as I have said before, this is NOT the end of the world. Although it will most probably feel like it, and there will be a lot of things going through your mind before and after. No matter how much you prepare there will be something that comes up.
I have had a few near death experiences in this journey. I am not sure if it's because of this, or because I am not as able as some people, but I find that now I need to live a fuller life. I find that if I don't fill my spare time and achieve something, then I feel that I have wasted the gift of life for that day. Maybe this will fade over time.
You are going to have a grieving process. I found it helpful to say goodbye to my legs. I patted them, said goodbye, and took a photo ! Even now I have been told I haven't grieved fully... hmmm...
You find out who your friends are - I have an amazing group of friends who have been there for me and helped me emotionally and physically, as well as family. (Thank you to all my friends and family who read this)
It really helps to talk. I find I can't tell people close to me everything, as I worry about upsetting them. So I have been lucky in finding a good councillor. That is very important.
You are going to be on medication for at least a little while. This could be for phantom pains (Yes they do exist !), or other things. These are going to make you feel miserable, perhaps high, perhaps unwell. But they are for a reason.
There will be a list of things you can't do any more, but there will be more possibilities to do things that will challenge you and make you happy. I am not sure if it's best to lose a limb when you are young and can adapt better, or when you are older and have had a chance to live with a limb first. Personally I think I am about the right age.
If you lost a limb to make you physically better, then it will help to focus on this. I lost one to save my life, and the other because the situation of keeping it was making my quality of life deteriorate. So I know I lost them for a good reason.
Ask to meet other amputees. That can be difficult to arrange, but useful to see how they are coping. I was already going to the rehab centre for one leg, so I was already meeting other amputees when I was about to lose my second leg. Seeing a double amputee walk well really helped me to make that final decision.