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.

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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.”

Posts you don’t want to miss! #1

With all of life’s craziness, I’ve gotten behind on my a number of my popular posts. Here are some I’ll string together for you all into a tidy post package…

Mabry Living's photo.

November 29, 2015

My courage and bravery were tested this morning when I saw a little black thing move across my kitchen floor and under my refrigerator. I am pretty sure it was a mouse…and I don’t handle those little critters well at all. I get the heebie jeebies just thinking about them. Eek! I finished cooking breakfast on top of the kitchen counters just in case our new home resident decided to come out and play for a little bit. Today I am thankful for my dad. He doesn’t know it yet but he will be setting traps this afternoon to try to catch that little booger. I pray that the mouse is trapped before my dad heads home tomorrow. Catching mice is a man’s job in my book!‪#‎myweakness‬ ‪#‎keepingitreal‬ ‪#‎morningpanic‬ ‪#‎mansjob‬ ‪#‎mice‬ ‪#‎grossmeout‬‪#‎bedhead‬ ‪#‎makeupfree‬

November 30, 2015

How is it going to be December already tomorrow?!? We decided that tonight was a great time to bring a little holiday cheer into our home. I love when the tree and angel are lit up.🎄

Mabry Living's photo.

The kids and I are entering our 4th week of John being away. Over the last several weeks we have been adjusting to our new normal. It has been a growing experience for all of the Mabry family and I pray we come out stronger because of this transition.

John returns back to the Nashville area on Friday. Being that I have become adjusted to my new normal, I am a little nervous of the upcoming transition of him entering back into our every day lives again. The last time I saw John at the beginning of November was a day I wish I could erase from my memory. He was not healthy, addiction had stolen his soul. I plan to continue living one day at a time upon his return. I know TIME will be our friend as we slowly adapt once again.

Its always hard to know who the person is going to be when they come back from treatment. I am praying that the man I pick up from the airport greets me with clear eyes and a renewed spirit. Hopefully we will both be able to see clearly now that the rain is gone!

Who knows, it could be a bright, bright, bright sunshiny day!

‪#‎wifeofanaddict‬‪#‎onedayatatime‬‪#‎sobriety‬‪#‎healing‬‪#‎recovery‬‪#‎seekjoy‬‪#‎alcoholism‬‪#‎substanceabuse‬‪#‎prescriptionpills‬‪#‎hope‬‪#‎prayerwarriors‬‪#‎addiction‬

December 2, 2015

I love seeing God’s work in progress. A new circle of friendship has blossomed! This morning I hosted a little get-together with new friends that I met by sharing my journey through Mabry Living. These ladies are walking along a similar “valley” in their own lives. I believe our paths were meant to cross, it was no accident. All of us are wounded and are leaning on our faith by trusting God’s plan for our futures. It was nice to witness our pain shift to power as we sat and encouraged one another with hope. We have already decided to call ourselves, “The Valley Girls.” Like new adventures, I never know what life lessons these new friendships may teach me as we continue to support each other one day at a time!


Today I am thankful for friendships-old and new. Like I used to sing when I was a Girl Scout in the 80’s, “Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other is gold.”
‪#‎valleygirls‬ ‪#‎newfriendship‬ ‪#‎hope‬ ‪#‎healing‬ ‪#‎encourage‬ ‪#‎onedayatatime‬‪#‎friendship‬ ‪#‎godsplan‬ ‪#‎trust‬

Mabry Living's photo.
December 3, 2015

Today marks the Eve of John’s return to the Nashville area from treatment in Texas. I am still anxious about reuniting with him tomorrow morning at the airport. It’s always awkward to see him after treatment. It’s kind of like going on a first date with someone you never met before yet having the guy be your husband and the father of your kids. What will he look like? How will he act? Will we get along? Oh Lordy, I don’t feel ready to ‘date’ again and rebuild from ground zero.

I never liked dating. It was not something I desired…like EVER! It makes me so uncomfortable. Seriously, look at how silly John and I look in this picture! It’s hard to tell if we are siblings on a family vacation or a couple. We definitely respected each other’s personal space. Don’t even get me started on my pants! This was taken on one of our first dates back in 2002 when John lived in San Diego.

From what I heard, a successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person. So, cheers to attempting to fall in love for the 35th time throughout 11 years of marriage (that may or may not be an exaggeration). Prayers will be necessary for this love story.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

‪#‎wifeofanaddict‬ ‪#‎loveispatient‬ ‪#‎onedayatatime‬ ‪#‎healing‬ ‪#‎recovery‬‪#‎1corinthians13‬ ‪#‎firstdate‬ ‪#‎addiction‬ ‪#‎substanceabuse‬ ‪#‎alcoholism‬‪#‎prescriptionpills‬ ‪#‎learningtoloveagain‬ ‪#‎7×70‬ ‪#‎forgiveness‬

December 4, 2015

When I was in college I had a framed picture of John on my nightstand…because that’s what you do when love is in the air. The frame (with hearts on it) joined me in Tx, moved with me to California and then onto Tennessee. Eight years ago, a baby intercom took over the frame’s home on my nightstand. It now resides in a drawer full of other unused framed pictures.

Mabry Living's photo.

Since John left for treatment, Sawyer has been sneaking into that drawer on numerous occasions retrieving the framed photo. I have observed her saying “Dada” while pointing at his face and then giving the picture a kiss. It’s pretty sweet to witness! I think it’s safe to say that the kiddos are ready to see their daddy!

I got the boys off to school and now Sawyer and I are getting ready to drive up to the airport to get John. Carrie Underwood’s lyrics keep coming to my mind…

🎶“Jesus take the wheel
Take it from my hands
Cause I can’t do this on my own
I’m letting go”🎶

It’s time for me to LET GO AND LET GOD do his mighty work. I’m trusting that he’s got things under control.

***side note…I wrote a lot of this post last night knowing that this morning was going to be hectic. This morning I woke up to TWO people sending me encouraging messages that included the lyrics to “Jesus Take the Wheel.” Coincidence, I think not!

‪#‎letgoandletgod‬ ‪#‎onedayatatime‬ ‪#‎healing‬ ‪#‎recovery‬ ‪#‎wifeofanaddict‬‪#‎reunite‬ ‪#‎trust‬ ‪#‎marriage‬ ‪#‎learningtoloveagain‬ ‪#‎jesustakethewheel‬

Mabry Living's photo.

Hello, my name is Sarah and I am a wife of an addict

My intention for creating Mabry Living was to have an outlet to let my voice be heard and to share my views and experience through our family’s journey. I want to be truthful, raw, hopeful, and inspiring through my writing. I find writing to be very therapeutic in my healing process and that is why I do what I do. Releasing my truth frees me and my hope is that it may touch someone else in a similar situation.Seagull_dropping_clam

With that being said, our family has been attacked again by the terrible monster, ADDICTION. I truly despise this disease.  Just when I feel like I am getting to a point that my heart is starting to mend, addiction swoops into our home like a seagull, sh#*s everywhere, steals my husband and my trust, leaving me to clean up all the mess. I am no doctor, but I believe addiction to be a spiritual related disease. To me, the Devil sees that our family is thriving, healing, mending, loving, and living a God focused life.  Nothing fuels the Devil’s fire more than seeing a family overcoming obstacles, never giving up, and growing stronger as a family unit. Boy, does this just piss him off! When our inner lights shine brighter every new day with God’s love, the Devil must shrivel up and throw a tantrum. Yet, somehow, someway, he still finds an entrance into our home and attacks with all of his power. What he isn’t catching on to is that every time he tries to destroy our lives, it only makes me strong in my faith and a tougher warrior.  Hanging right in my closet is my armor of God.  It’s not the most stylish look, but I am going to rock it every day and make it the new fashion trend…just you wait and see!IMG_9007

Yesterday, the Devil swung the door open into our lives and made his grand entrance. The ‘door’ had been ajar for a few days and I tried to slam it shut but addiction was serving as the door stopper, blocking me from turning the lock and dead bolting the door. However, just because the Devil is present in our home does NOT mean that he won the war! I will continue to fight this battle without ceasing with the help of God’s angel army and a whole lot of prayer warriors.  Luckily, I also have my boys’ Spiderman boxing gloves, Dollar Tree nunchucks, Nerf Guns, and plastic brass knuckles to use if needed!IMG_9009

All of this sucks, I just hate it! Addiction has stolen so much from me in the past and I refuse to let it rob me of anything else in my life. I am making the choice today to seek joy, trust God, reach out for help from friends and professionals, and do my best to continue moving forward in life with my head held high. I am going to try…keyword TRY…to not let the fear of the future consume me.  Living one day at a time will allow me stay present in this chapter of my life’s story.  Why should I fear of how my story will end when I am not even there yet (please remind me of this on the hard days, friends and family)?  God is the author and he already knows how my storybook ends and I have comfort knowing he will be walking along side me through every life chapter.

Am I scare? Yes

Am I sad? Yes

Am I angry? Yes

Am I hopeful? Yes

Do I still love John (my husband)? Yes, with all of my heart.

Do I think God can use this situation for his good? ABSOLUTELY!

This morning I contemplated if I should stop Mabry Living all together, drop out of my upcoming craft show, and not redo my family room (which I am in the middle of redecorating and something that makes me very happy).  It only took a second before I heard my soul screaming, “NO!  YOU MUST KEEP GOING! Continue LIVING, LAUGHING, and LOVING.” So, here I am this afternoon sharing a post I prayed I would never ever have to write.

To all the prayer warriors out there, please lift our family up in your prayers.  Thank you!

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

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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.

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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!

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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.

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CLICK HERE TO SIGN THE PETITION:

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