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Delano Wegener

Delano WegenerFull, Normal, Satisfying Life With Amputation

My name is Delano (Del) Wegener. I am a bilateral above-knee amputee. I would like to describe my experience of living with limb loss.

Prior to the amputations, I was a university mathematics professor (Dr. Del), mathematics researcher, author, lecturer, engineer, and software specialist. I have always been very physically active with gardening, lawn work, fishing, and home ownership, but have never been involved in sports. Essentially, none of that changed after my amputations.

I am fortunate to not suffer from any secondary health problems except severe and frequent phantom pain. I have always been able (with the help of God) to maintain a positive “can do” attitude and have never experienced depression. I do experience sadness and a sense of loss. I believe these are normal emotions. They do not interfere with my life.

My amputations are the result of lupus anticoagulant, a type of antibody that can increase the risk for blood clots. The right leg was amputated on July 28, 2003 (age 66). I learned to walk with a prosthesis and continued all my professional and leisure activities and chores without the use of a cane or other assistive device. Only minor modifications were required in how I did some things. Although I spent a lot of time with therapists, using the single prosthesis was so minimal that I don’t have pictures or videos. Then came the second amputation! The left leg was amputated on July 28, 2009 (age 72).

Learning to walk with two above-knee prostheses was physically and mentally very difficult. Moreover, walking with two above-knee prostheses requires a tremendous amount of energy. In 2011, in consultation with my doctor, therapist, and prosthetist I decided that the benefit of walking with two above-the-knee prosthetics was not worth the effort. I took off the legs and have maintained mobility with a wheelchair.

I retired from teaching in February 2017. I continue some website work for a long-time client, and I write a blog about teaching mathematics. I remain active in the local amputee support group, and I maintain a website for the Mercy South Amputee Support group. I drive an Impala Sedan with hand controls. After the death of my wife, I assumed all shopping, cooking and other housework duties. The point I am trying to make is, life can be full and satisfying after limb loss.

My latest project in the fall of 2018 was to build a raised garden with normal retaining wall blocks. Here is a view of the nearly finished garden and a view of the Square Foot Garden layout. At age 81, I built this raised garden so that I can garden with convenience while in my wheelchair.