Prosthetic arm, Madison Lehman, Christian amputeeMy name is Madison. I lost part of my right arm on July 21, 2018 as a result of a work accident. I want you to know that I understand everything you are going through right now. Whether you are lying in a hospital bed trying to absorb all the changes that have taken place in your life, or flipping through this guide wondering if a prosthetic is right for you, I want to encourage you that you have hope and a bright future! Changes in life can be scary and daunting, especially when getting used to life without a part of you. When I was in the hospital looking at a similar guide while an SRT representative explained all my options to me, I felt overwhelmed and unsure. I knew I wanted a prosthetic to take the place of my right hand, but I felt scared about having something mechanical attached to me. How would the prosthetic feel? How would I work it? Would a prosthetic really benefit my life? Is it really worth it? What would I look like? Maybe these are some of the questions you are asking yourself. I hope I can answer them for you!

  • How will your prosthetic feel?

My prosthetic is so much more comfortable than I ever imagined! I envisioned something hot, bulky, heavy, tight, and hard. Well, I have found that my myoelectric arm has been anything but what I imagined it would be. I was very pleasantly surprised to find that my arm was comfortable! The prosthetic cushioned my arm with just the right amount of pressure, which, if you are an amputee like me, you will find that some pressure feels great! (It will feel similar to a shrinker stocking that you will be given to help your swelling). Yes, my prosthetic felt strange and a little heavy at first because I lived a whole five months without having that normal weight of my full arm. But you will get used to the weight like I did. In about a month, you will not even think about the new sense of weight. Your prosthetic will become so much a part of you that you will miss it when you have to take it off.

  • How will your device work?

You will learn to work your prosthetic device with ease! Your SRT prosthetist will work with you every step of the way to make sure you feel confident and enabled to live as closely to your old sense of normal as possible! Because each device is different, your SRT team members will train you to work your specific prosthetic. With patience and perseverance, your device will become a part of you as you work it. There is something really marvelous about watching the immediate reaction of your prosthetic in response to your brain, muscles, and nerves!

  • Will a prosthetic really benefit your life? Is it really worth it?

Yes, yes, and yes! My prosthetic has greatly benefitted my life and is completely worth the training, time, and patience it took to learn to use it! I have heard some people say that they do not like their prosthetic because they feel limited or encumbered. From my experience, your prosthetic will liberate you! You will be able to do all the things a two handed or two-legged person can do. Even if you can get along alright without one hand, like I can, you will quickly find that there is no substitute for a helper hand! Your prosthetic will enable you to do more things than you ever thought were possible. You can have complete confidence that your SRT team will give you everything they possibly can—the best device (or devices), technology, and support—to ensure that you leave their care knowing your choice was worth it! As a team, SRT will guide you along the way and make every effort to give you the confidence and independence you need to carry on with your life.

  • What will you look like?

There is truth in the phrase, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Looking at myself in the mirror five months after my accident when I tried my arm on for the first time, I thought that my new hand was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. Yes, it was black. Yes, it was a robotic hand. But it was my hand! At that moment, my prosthetic felt like it belonged there—at my side, on me. There will always be people in our lives who look at us differently because we’ve lost a part of ourselves. Remember that your scars are what make you real and truly beautiful. You are beautiful and valued not because of what you look like on the outside, but because of the person you are on the inside—and the inside of you does not change just because the outside of you changes. You will find that your prosthetic device looks beautiful to you, and that you will like seeing it on yourself. Your new arm or leg will be a part of you and make you unique and special.

One day at a time, one step at a time, will get you where you need to be. I once heard motivational speaker Coach Vera Jones say, “Don’t let the things you can’t do overshadow the things you can.” As you move through this process of adjusting to your new normal, remember that as time goes, you will be able to do more and more things. Right now, you may feel limited. That’s normal; I understand the feeling. But do not let your perception of your limitations now pull you, your courage, your motivation, and your hopes down. Right now, is not forever—it is just now. I heard another man say, “Your condition is not your conclusion.” Your life will keep moving on and keep changing, and so will you. Your attitude is everything for you right now. It is your key to opportunities and progression. People say, “You are what you eat.” Maybe, but you definitely are your attitudes and thoughts. How you choose to face the changes in your life will affect your progression or lack of it. I would like to challenge you to look at every hard, new thing as a friend or tool that has come to change you for the better. Hard things shape us. Think of a precious stone—its hardness largely determines its quality and value. See your challenges as the tools that shape you and make you more precious. Hear them call your name and ask, “Will you come to meet me, or will you run from me? Will you let me show you what good I can do for you, or will you resist me and cause yourself more pain?” It’s okay to feel afraid about what is ahead, but do not let your fears and worries pull you down, locking your confidence and courage in a box. Courage is not the absence of fear; courage is the ability to move through your fears. You have got this, friend! Always know that there are people out there who care and understand what you are going through. You are not alone. There is always a new day, a fresh start, and new hope. Never give up!

I want to thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts and be apart of my life for a brief moment. I want to tell you something that I know would never make it into any publication just because some people would be offended by it. I have felt very convicted to tell you though. At first, I wasn’t going to say anything at all, but then I realized what a fake I’d be if I didn’t. When you have something drastic change your life, the loss of a loved one, an accident, an illness…etc., your ability to get through your loss and pain goes beyond your attitude and having a positive outlook on life. You must have something much deeper and more real than the breath you breathe every minute to survive. You must have faith in God—the only unchangeable, reliable, constant God Almighty. Maybe at this very moment you’ve closed your heart to what I just said. But hear me! I am proof that this is true if you’ll look! Without my faith in Jesus Christ, I wouldn’t be where I am today. The instant my arm was taken from me and I saw myself as I would be for the rest of my life, my first thought was, “This is me for as long as I live!” It was a scary, panicky moment like I was waiting to suddenly be jerked awake from a nightmare. But in the very next moment, my next thought was, “God knew this would be me.” That settled it for me. I had immediate peace with everything. The thought that my God knew—my God was taking care of me even in the worst moment of my life so far—that thought gave me peace and acceptance for something that my whole being would have struggled and fought against. How could I possibly know this? Because I believe, by faith, that Jesus Christ died and rose again for my sins, that He is living and working in my heart, and that my life is completely His. He loves me with an everlasting love that doesn’t change even though my body, my circumstances, and everything else in my life changes. Even though you may not understand this, it is true. God has fought for me through everything! He gave me the best doctor to do my surgery, the best team of people to help me with my prosthetic, and the sweetest therapy ladies to work with me every day. God dealt with every mental issue you’d think someone like me would have after going through such an experience. I have never had a bad dream about my accident. I have never been afraid to remember what happened and accept it. He’s helped me move through everything because He loves me and has something far greater for me than what I can imagine. Where would I be without Jesus? I’d be lost, depressed, angry, and alone. Where am I with Him? I have hope every day, a future, and the ability to move on. I have the only One in the world that’s able to fight for me, to keep me secure, and to love me—on my side! Do you know Him? He can be your God! He can change your life too! God wants to. He has made a way for you to come to Him. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” He loved you so much that He died for all your sins, your failures, your brokenness, and your inability to be perfect. He died and rose again so that if you believe in Him, you can have life, peace, wholeness, and forgiveness. You will never be good enough to make it to Heaven. When you believe in Jesus, He clothes you in His righteousness so that you can go to Heaven one day. All you have to do is “believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). He will do everything else. If you were in an accident today and were about to die, do you know where your soul would go? I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that if death came for me today, I would go in the arms of Jesus to my Heavenly home. What about you?

My faith in Jesus is the only thing that’s gotten me through this. I want you to know Him too and be able to experience His companionship in Your own life. Everything else that I wrote, and firmly believe would help someone like me, is just extra encouragement I’ve received from God.

Thank you for reading this and even considering me as a patient to help with your project. I hope you, as the reader, have been a little encouraged too.

It’s Going to Be Okay:
You’re going to hear this a lot. But let’s face it, it isn’t okay and you’re not okay. It’s hard and you’re hurt. You are different, life is different, and you can’t cope. It’s not okay. So why in the world am I saying, “It’s going to be okay?” I can hear you telling me that I don’t understand you or your story or your pain. No one gets it. How could this happen to you? Somehow, I hear you because pain seems to level us all, leaving us bare, raw, and broken. You won’t be okay and you can’t be okay until you know the One that make you okay. You’re right that nobody gets it! And here’s the reality: nobody is meant to get it. You can talk all you want and cry all you want. They can hold you and love you and try to put you back together. But they don’t get it. And my friend, that’s okay! What? Wait a minute, you tell me. You just said that it wasn’t okay. Yes, I did.

Dear friend, life is a double sided coin. One one side there is joy, life, and love. On the other there is pain, suffering, and loss. You know this reality all too well right now. One minute you are living life and the next your not. Do I sound hopeless? Haven’t you felt this too? It’s called living in a world marred by sin and death. Nothing was meant to be this way. But guess what? Life doesn’t have to be this way! You don’t have to live this way! You don’t have to bear your pain, your story, your hurt alone! You can’t. It will crush you, so please, don’t try! There is only One who can get it and get you! He is the only One who can bear your burden and heal your pain. He was “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). He was pierced and scarred until He was unrecognizable (Isaiah 52:14). And He endured such suffering for you! Oh, friend, hear me, please! He loves you! Jesus loves you! (John 3:16-17). He chose scars for you (Psalm 22:16, John 19:34). He chose to die and bleed and be separated from God for you. He gave up His life because your greatest problem is your sin. Yes, hear me: sin scars you and separates you from God (Isaiah 59:2; Romans 3:23). Sin scars your heart and now it has scarred your body. Have you ever wondered why bad things happen?

My friend, the answer is sin! And no, God didn’t make sin. It’s not God’s fault that there is sin. It’s our fault as humans, my fault as a sinner, your fault as a sinner (James 1:13-15). Who cares if it’s not popular or politically correct to say! Who wants to be called a sinner? Nobody. But that doesn’t make it any less true. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” All means all. You’re tightening your jaw saying, “What’s the hope in that?” I’m tightening my jaw too, because we have to face the ugly before we can find the beauty. The ugly is that we are sinners. We have all thought things, said things, and done things that have broken God’s law. The hope is this: when you realize your sin and admit your sinful state to God then you are in a position to receive the greatest blessing, the greatest gift that you could ever imagine! (Romans 10:9-10) When you believe that Jesus took the punishment for your sins and you ask Him to save you from your sinfulness, He will! (Acts 16:31; Revelation 1:5; Colossians 1:13-14)

Jesus will enter your life and walk with you and love you and fill you. He will bear your burdens and carry you through the pain that would crush you without Him (Matthew 11:28-29). You have this hope because Jesus didn’t stay dead! He came alive again because He is God! He was seen by hundreds of people before He ascended into Heaven where He now reigns as Sovereign LORD (Acts 1:3; 1 Corinthians 15:6.) You realize that Jesus bears scars for you. He will bear those scars in His hands and side throughout eternity (Revelation 5:6). But you won’t! If you ask Him to forgive you for your sins, you will go live with Him one day when you die. You are sealed with the Holy Spirit and this is a sure guarantee (Ephesians 1:13). You can “take it to the bank.” You will not bear scars in Heaven. I will not be an amputee in Heaven, praise God! I will not have pain in my body. I will not remember what hurts (Revelation 21:4). I will be whole—the best and most beautiful me that I ever could be! God said it! I believe it. My God does not lie (Numbers 23:19; Titus 1:2). He wants to be your God too. Do you know Him?

Only God can get you through these changes. Only God can make you okay even though you are so not okay. My God fought for me! He allowed me to loose my arm to bless me—yes, bless me! You realize I wouldn’t be talking to you if I hadn’t lost my arm. God brought SRT to me when I was in the hospital the day after my accident. God helped me through therapy when the pain was sometimes so bad that I was weeping and wreathing. God caused my stubborn elbow to bend again. I couldn’t make it bend. Believe me, I tried! God gave me the ability to work a myoelectric arm, and He gave my SRT team the wisdom to guide me through the process. God taught me to write again with my left hand. God got me through my last two years of college and caused me to graduate despite the year I spent in rehabs and adjusting challenges. God did it all, and He’s waiting and willing to do it all for you! Will you let Him? Will you give Him control? Just see what He will do for you! I serve an amazing God! Friend, I wasn’t okay. This wasn’t okay. This wasn’t my plan, and I can bet it wasn’t yours either. How will you ever be okay? By trusting yourself, your life, your soul into the hands of the God who made you, loves you, knows you, and walks with you. Your soul can be okay even when your circumstances and your body is not okay. God is the only One who gets what you are going through. No one else does; no one else is meant to. He is worthy to bear your pain because He took all the pain of all humanity for all time on Himself (1 Peter 2:24). That’s mind blowing.

I want to be in that kind of a God’s hands, don’t you? Every other god is above humanity. Go check it out. Evidence is everywhere that ever other god and religion is above you, and you aren’t good enough. My God came for me. He took my place, He took my pain and my punishment of separation. He did it for love. He loves me. I chose this God, my God, because He chose me first (1 John 4:19). I’m okay because He’s got me. Injure me, amputate me, abuse me, kill me—do whatever, do your worst—my God has got me. Nothing can snatch me out of His hand (John 10:28-30). Nothing can separate me from His love (Romans 8: 38-39). Everything okay because God is in control. I’m okay. Is everything okay with you? It can be. Please friend, choose to be okay too.