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Having your leg amputated is upsetting and learning to live with new challenges can be vexing for anyone. The patient may often feel depressed. Of course losing a limb is challenging, but it anyways does not change the way you are or prevent you from enjoying life. What one needs is learning how to acclimatize and learn new ways to do things. Perhaps this is what the users of a Whatsapp group believes whose members are all women amputees. This Whatsapp group was created in 2013 by Sneha Kale, Darshana Deshmukh and Manasi Joshi, who had never met each other but who had the same prosthetist and connected over Facebook. This group has 14 members. Women amputees often look for guidance deep-seated in our experience. The members of this Whatsapp group have found this on this group. The group has women from Mumbai, other parts of Maharashtra and Bangalore. Form advice to inspiration, these women back each other in ways that doctors and prosthetists cannot. The women also help each other build confidence in their bodies. The process of amputation involves a prosthetist who examines the patient and then accumulates various components of the prosthetic limb as per the patient’s requirements. Once the prosthetic is made and fitted, prosthetists aid patients learn to use the limb but it is totally on the patient to learn how to live with experience. Talking with family, friends, and health professionals is an imperative part of recovery and talking to a person who has had an amputation is quite supportive.
The woman in this particular group help each other.They share stories and photographs of themselves like going for a trek, swimming or wearing skirts or shorts which reveal their prosthetic legs. This is motivating for the ones who never thought of doing this because of their frailty. The regular point of discussion on the group is shoes. People using prosthetic legs cannot wear heels or sandals with split-toes. So these members tell each other when they find suitable footwear. It is also tough for such patients to get married because of the stigma attached with amputation in our society! According to a report on Scroll, Hema Subhash, founder of One Step At A Time, a support group in Bangalore for both men and women with amputations and orthopaedic disabilities who is also a member of the WhatsApp group said, “ The idea of a disabled woman finding a partner is one that the world still finds astonishing. People still think that a disabled woman would require care and demand it from a male partner.” Geeta Salunkhe, another member of this group who is from a village in Jalgaon district in Maharashtra had her leg amputated below the knee when she was fourteen months old. She said that she had grown up without being conscious of her disability. She had been fond of playing kho-kho and kabaddi as a child. The group members inspire each other in various ways. They share their experience. They also share if anyone has to bear an insult somewhere. Other members give advice as to how to deal with challenges, big or small.