Here's the text of an essay I wrote for InMotion Magazine's My Amputee Hero, called "Bookends." (It's in the November/December 2016 issue, page 14, cloud.3dissue.com/75702/760...). It's about the camaraderie between two "amputees." Hope you like it...
My Amputee Hero: Tina Brown
by Catherine Gigante-Brown
My amputee hero is my cousin Tina Brown. In 2012, Tina lost part of her right leg due to complications from diabetes, which she’d had most of her life. It was a difficult transition for Tina but she re-learned how to walk with a prosthesis, learned how to climb stairs, learned how to adapt, adjust.
Adjusting to life with a prosthesis in her 50s hasn’t been easy for Tina but she takes it as it comes, enjoying nature, spending time with her family, and gardening.
A few months later, I lost my left breast to cancer. After my mastectomy, Tina became my “Amputee Cheerleader.” Although losing a breast isn’t the same as losing a limb, it’s still a body part. Most people don’t understand how fragmented and “less than” this can make you feel. But Tina did. She called me regularly to check in and gave me the kind of caring only people who’ve lost a piece of themselves can know. Tina helped me come to terms with my new reality; she helped me heal emotionally. She’s inspired me to keep on keeping on.
Since Tina had been a nurse for more than 30 years, she’s always there for me with practical medical advice to calm my fears. Having her in my life helped me through a very difficult time post-breast cancer. She showed me, by example, that feeling sorry for yourself isn’t an option.
My cousin Tina even inspired me to write this poem (which made her cry!). As a writer, I take great pride reading “Bookends” at open mike nights every chance I get because it’s a great way for Tina to inspire others.
was not an easy one
part of your right leg.
my left breast.
But you were
talking on the telephone
in kitchens and bedrooms
of the sort of loss
that few knew:
loss of self.
here we are,