Finding fulfillment through family

Check out the latest blog by Bulow Orthotic & Prosthetic Solutions. A huge thank you to Matt Bulow and his team, who have taken care of all of John’s prosthetic needs for the last 7 years.

img_7406

https://www.bulowops.com/success-stories/2016/11/10/mabry-finding-fulfillment-through-family

For John Mabry, the hardest part of being an amputee was overcoming the mental and emotional effects—the physical part was the easy part.

He became a below-the-knee amputee while still in college. During a ride in a friend’s SUV, a right rear tire blew out, causing the vehicle to roll twelve times. John’s legs became crushed from the impact.

“I literally envisioned the remaining seconds of my life as a scene from a 1920’s-style movie reel,” he said.  “However, instead of thinking my movie would end in true love and conquest, the reality was looking more like a conclusion of indescribable fear, terror, and pain.”

John was faced with the choice of another year of surgery and therapy with no guarantee of complete recovery, or to amputate his right leg below the knee.

“Nothing can really prepare you for the moment when you first look down and see an empty space where your leg used to be,” he said.

He said what helped him the most was being able to talk to another amputee, who showed him that life does go on. Just six weeks later, John walked across the stage to receive his bachelor’s degree.

John went on to earn his master’s degree and married his wife, Sarah. He acted in Hollywood for a while, appearing in movies and TV shows as Superbad, NCIS, E.R., JAG, and numerous commercials. He is also credited with inventing a revolutionary product for the prosthetics industry that allows thousands of amputees around the world to live healthier, more active lifestyles.

However, in spite of all these accomplishments, he wasn’t addressing the mental and emotional impacts that his amputation was having on him. He fell into alcoholism, which caused much strife within his family.

Eventually, he sought help for his addition. Today, he says being sober and having a loving family is a greater accomplishment than his inventions or acting ever were. He documents his wacky day-to-day life with his wife and kids on his blog, www.mabryliving.com.

In 2009, he and his family moved from California to Nashville, where he works at Addiction Campuses to help others who struggle with the same issues as he did. When he knew he was moving, he called the first amputee he ever met and asked if he knew any good prosthetists in Nashville. That was how he first came to Bulow Orthotic & Prosthetic Solutions.

 

To other new amputees, he says, “It isn’t always as easy as they make it look on TV when they show the elite athletes competing. There is a rollercoaster that we go through, both physically and emotionally, that the average person doesn’t understand.”

Thought you knew everything about us? Here’s our story of presented in a way you’ve never seen or heard it

Check out this short, powerful video the amazing people at Redemption City Church put together on the struggles and redemptive nature of John’s journey. Life throws us all extremely difficult choices and we don’t always make the right decisions when faced with adversity. But, we can be forgiven by a God who loves us more than we can comprehend. Grab a tissue and click PLAY.

Redemption Story

People with chronic pain are just lazy complainers

Have you ever felt like the struggles you’re going through are so unique that no one would understand you, even if you tried to explain them? And even if you could explain them, you don’t want to because it might make you seem weak, like you’re a complainer and not a fighter. I often feel like this with my chronic pain, but it’s not something I talk about much. Since my car accident, it has been difficult not to let my struggle become my identity, as I did for so long.

2- Hospital in College Station, Texas

When my severed nerve flairs up at night, I get an ingrown hair or a blister forms on my residual limb from my lower leg amputation my first reaction is to ignore and conceal the issue. All that does is cause more problems. So what happens when you actually let people know what’s going on with you? You might be surprised by people’s reactions.

Like many who battle with chronic pain and chronic illnesses, I attempt to minimize it to be seen as “normal.” I don’t want to be perceived as a complainer or lazy so I keep much of my pain to myself. When a particularly painful ingrown hair formed on my amputated limb recently I felt overwhelmed and depressed to the point of not wanting to get out of bed. Instead of keeping it to myself I opened up to Sarah to let her know about it.

Surprisingly, she didn’t roll her eyes in judgement or imply that I was worthless like my mind told me she would. Instead, she exercised compassion and patience and served as a voice of reason. See, I still wanted to ignore the problem and go workout. I mean, how can someone call an amputee who’s working out lazy, right? When the infected ingrown hair was causing me as much pain as it was, working out on it would have been just plain stupid. So not only did Sarah suggest that I not go workout, she encouraged me to take it extra easy that day and to keep my leg off as much as possible so that I didn’t continue to aggravate it. I experienced such mental and emotional relief to be validated and supported for being in pain. The hardest part was admitting to myself and someone else what I was going through at that particular moment.

When you’re dealing with any kind of chronic physical, mental or emotional issue you can’t merely stop fighting. Life is going to happen around you whether you like it or not. What this recent experience reminded me is that sometimes continuing to keep fighting means to surrender and ask for help or to simply let someone know what you’re struggling with. I strive not to let my chronic pain identify me as a victim or a complainer, but many days it’s just too overwhelming. Maybe the good side of it is that it allows me to identify as being a normal human being and, that possibly, I have been sent along this path to help someone else who is hurting. If this is you…KEEP FIGHTING!

Our shelter dogs rescued us

DSC_2444_cropped

In celebration of National Dog Day we wanted to share a short bit about our pride and joys with you. Nope, they’re not Snots from the movie Christmas Vacation, but they’re not too far off.

Although Cubbie (white) and Finley (brown) were adopted, we like to think that they rescued us, not the other way around. They picked us out of the litter of possible owners because they’re as unique as our family – they are both amputees. Cubbie was born with a birth defect to his left front paws. Finley had one of his rear legs amputated when he was 8 years old after his original owner let a severely broken bone get too infected. Given John’s leg amputation, we knew they fit perfectly into the Mabry family circus. We couldn’t imagine our family without them.

The thing about many rescue dogs like these is that they are so appreciative of being welcomed into a loving home. Ok, maybe they don’t relish the fact that baby Sawyer pulls at their fur or takes mom and dad’s attention away from them, but at least she’s good at dropping expensive, organic food on the floor from her high chair that she doesn’t want to eat.

IMG_1794              fin3

I consider Cubbie and Finley my therapy buddies. I can’t tell you how many times they have been there for me, to support me emotionally, when I was sad, worried or depressed. They are more effective than any antidepressant I could ever take. So go out and let a dog rescue you today!

download (1)

Here’s why John’s $20k prosthetic leg may no longer be covered by insurance

John’s prosthetic leg cost over $20,000 and requires regular visits to maintain it. A major part broke last week that had to be replaced. Medicare has now proposed serious limitations that are a detriment to all amputees needing prosthetic care to live active lifestyles, remain in the workforce, etc. Please take 1 minute to sign the petition on the link on Mabry Living’s Facebook page to rescind the proposal.

11873412_701953443283135_5542434236612575513_n

CLICK HERE TO SIGN THE PETITION:

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/rescind-medicare-proposal-restricting-access-prosthetic-limbs-and-returning-amputees-1970s-standards-care

Whitney Houston reemerges thanks to new holographic technology

With new holographic technology, Whitney Houston has reemerged in Nashville to re-record her 1992 chart-topping hit “I Will Always Love You” with Kenny G. It was recorded at Mabry Living studios due to a challenge we received on Facebook this morning.

John’ infamous prosthetic leg featured in new article by UNYQ

SPOTLIGHT: JOHN MABRY

John with his two amputee rescue dogs.

Addressing Me

In 2000, as a senior in college at Baylor University, John Mabry found himself in a tragic car accident that left him with a horrible leg injury. Over the next year he had 14 surgeries in an effort to save his left foot. Eventually, due to constant staph infections he began to consider amputation. While researching this option, he began to reach out to the amputee community and was amazed at the positivity and strong responses he received. Mabry decided to go through with the amputation, and 6 weeks later, he walked at his college graduation and received his degree while using a temporary prosthetic.

After graduation Mabry felt a strong calling to help other people in similar situations to his own. Mabry enrolled in a Master’s program in Rehab Counseling that focused on helping people with disabilities get back to work. For the first time in his life, he decided to leave Texas and move to California to pursue the master’s program.

Mabry’s desire to help people is truly remarkable, yet, he soon came to realize, it was at his own expense. He was so focused on helping others with their struggles that he never paid attention to his own.“I kept running from my trauma and my fears. I covered it up with trying to accomplish things… I thought, I am going to go skydiving, I am going to run triathlons but I was just running from myself.” At the end of his Master’s Program, Mabry realized,“I couldn’t go help people I needed to help myself”.

In 2008, it all came crashing down and Mabry and his family made the decision to return to the South to begin focusing on his personal healing. “The biggest part of my journey is addressing me, and working on myself emotionally and mentally, the physical part is what is easy.” Addressing oneself does not come naturally. Whether you are a mother, father, friend, or partner, it is innate to want to care for others. We are taught selfishness is ugly and it is better to be selfless. But in order to be truly successful, we must remain most faithful to our own being in order to then help others. Mabry says, “The point I like to tell people is to get support for whatever you are doing so you don’t have to do it alone, and ask for help. That is okay.” Mabry relies heavily on his support team, including other amputees, his physical therapist, and his family.

       

Once he addressed his own identity and trauma as an amputee, he and his wife began to address themselves as a duo, as parents, and as a family. Through self-examination and revelation he realized we both have, “goofy, quirky personalities, and a big sense of humor. We don’t fit in the mold of suburban family.” Mabry said to his wife, “I think it would be really therapeutic to be who we are and quit caring what the neighbors think of us.” So that is what they did—they began to be their truest selves.

Mabry, his wife and their three kids spend weekends creating skits and YouTube videos. Their days are filled with family bonding, face painting, and being creative. You can read about their latest adventures, such as driving through a drive-thru dressed as a cartoon character or spicing up date night with prank wars, on their family blog, https://mabryliving.com/.

Ever since Mabry began to “address me” he has felt his life get back on track, he volunteers at the Vanderbilt Trauma Center as a member of the peer support group, and he plays around with the idea of writing a book. He now sports the Alzette UNYQ cover in blue and white and says, “it is part of my new identity…it’s like my tattoo and I am proud of it.” UNYQ is thrilled to be part of Mabry’s journey and grateful that he took the time to share it.

Huge thanks to John and his entire family, they are truly filled with love and laughter!