Welcome to our health education library. The information shared below is provided to you as an educational and informational source only and is not intended to replace a medical examination or consultation, or medical advice given to you by a physician or medical professional.
Losing a limb can be a profound shock. Everyone reacts to loss in different ways. You may be feeling angry, frustrated, scared, sad, or lonely. These are very common feelings after limb loss. In fact, many people go through distinct stages of grieving. Only you know how you feel. But don't hesitate to ask for the emotional support that you need. You don't have to go through this time of adjustment alone.
Stages of Grieving
Grief is a complex emotion. It is a normal reaction to any kind of loss. It may begin right away after limb loss. Or, you may not really feel grief until later in recovery. The process of grieving can be broken into five stages. They may happen in any order. You may feel one stage more strongly than others, or get "stuck" in a stage. Learn to recognize the stages of grieving:
Denial ("This can't be happening to me.")
Anger ("Why is this happening to me?")
Bargaining ("I promise to be good if only I can have my old life back.")
Depression ("I'll never be normal or okay again.")
Acceptance ("I'll find a way to move on with my life.")
Spending time with a peer counselor may help you feel more comfortable with your new body image.
Adjusting to a New Body Image
We all see ourselves a certain way. After limb loss, your self-image may be altered. Accepting the changes to your body will take time. Keep in mind that losing a limb doesn't make you a less valuable person. As you go through your physical recovery, allow yourself emotional recovery time, too. Take as much time as you need, but commit to accepting and caring for your body.
You're Not Alone
Asking for help can be hard. But everyone needs support from time to time. Don't let limb loss isolate you. Reach out. Ask for the support and assistance that you need. These people can support you:
Peer counselors (people living with amputation who are willing to share their own experiences). Talking to a person who's been through an amputation can be a great help.
Family and friends. People who love and care for you really want to help. Tell them what you need and how you feel.
Psychologists or other therapists. Therapy can help you work through the adjustment process.
Contact Wisconsin River Orthopaedic Institute at 715.201.3624 for your orthopaedic needs. For your convenience, you can fill out our online Request an Appointment form to book your consultation.