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Getting your life back when you lose a limb

It may have been like any other day. You got up, started your day and went to work. You knew that your job came with certain risks, but you never expected your day to end with you in the hospital facing the loss of a limb.

A limb amputation represents a game changer in your life. More than likely, you face numerous challenges as you strive to find some semblance of normality with your new circumstances. Hopefully, you have a good support system in your friends, family and medical team, but that may not be enough. As you struggle to adjust to your new life, you may also struggle with receiving the workers' compensation benefits to which you may be entitled. Fortunately, you can find help in this area as well.

Handling those first days at home

In addition to recovering from your physical injuries, you probably face some mental and emotional issues as well. Trials with your body image, quality of life and self-esteem could plague you. You may wonder how you will work, engage in activities you used to enjoy and continue to be an active part of your family. Because the loss of your limb occurred under traumatic circumstances, you could also suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

In addition to working with a medical team, you may require counseling and medication to help you through these issues. Most importantly, however, you need to know that your thoughts and feelings are normal. The steps you take from this point forward will define your future, so you need to arm yourself with all of the help you can get to find a way forward.

Give yourself a break

Unrealistic expectations regarding healing and recovery could doom you before you start. Give yourself, and your body, a break. Take the time you need in order to increase your chances of achieving as full a recovery as possible. Advancements in prosthetics could allow you to regain a considerable amount of mobility and ability to get back to doing the things you love. Don't discount them because you feel they remind you of your injury or illustrate that you are no longer "whole" anymore. A prosthetic could give you your life back, if you let it.

Who's going to pay for all of this?

Since your injury occurred at work, you may file a claim for workers' compensation benefits. You have enough on your plate taking care of yourself and making the necessary adjustments to your new life. Seeking help in getting the benefits you deserve could keep you from adding more worry and frustration to your situation.

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BARRY D. ADLER
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