How can I stay positive after a limb loss?

The most important factor in moving forward is to accept the limb loss with a positive attitude. Continue to see your doctor and physical therapist. Stay on prescribed medications. Get plenty of exercise to keep your body strong and healthy. But having a positive attitude may make the difference between being able to get up and go to work each day or staying home alone and living an isolated life void of social support and activity. Many veterans who suffer limb loss return to exciting careers and active social lives once they finally accepted the situation and became committed to living life to the fullest. Belief is crucial in overcoming obstacles life can throw in your path.

If you are having difficulty accepting your plight, consider how someone with a resilient personality would handle the situation. Resilient people have fewer and less severe illnesses and cope better than those who are not as resilient. How can you make yourself more resilient? Suggestions include:
  • Maintain a sense of control. This means an ability to face future situations with determination rather than helplessness.
  • Be a survivor. When problems happen, find ways to take action and prepare to survive the problem.
  • Stay involved in life.  Don’t allow yourself to become withdrawn and pull away from family and close friends.
  • Make a commitment to stick with healthy habits. While a healthful diet and regular exercise cannot change the limb loss, positive lifestyle habits are important for staying healthy and avoiding other ailments.
  • Keep your activity at the highest level within your personal limits. Get involved in committees. Find a real purpose in your life.
  • Be determined. Do not let the limb loss stop your goals in life.
  • Look for areas of growth and opportunity. Though you may still have some restrictions on activity, there is a world of opportunity for you to use your talents and energy.

Continue Learning about Amputation as a Physical Disability

Amputation as a Physical Disability

The National Library of Medicine defines an amputee as a person who as lost a limb, an arm or a leg. While other amputations (such as breast) are done, they are considered differently. The most common reason for amputation is not ...

injury, but peripheral artery disease. Other reasons include cancer or an extremely severe infection that is not responding. Amputees may have phantom pain which is pain that seems to be in the limb that is missing. This often goes away after a period of weeks to months. Part of rehabilitation after an amputation may be fitting with an artificial or prosthetic limb and training in how to use it. Amputees are encouraged to exercise, and special prosthetics have been developed to help golf swings or enable skiing.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.