Hello, my name's Hugh and I'm about to become an amputee.
But before I get into that, take a quick look at my beautiful family. I'm married to the truly extraordinary Mary, we have two crazy, gorgeous & smart little girls; Lily (4) and Maisie (2) and I have two grown-up children, the superlatives about whom would fill this page and many more; Cameron Boyle (26) and Kitty Boyle (23). Mary, the girls and I live in Dallas, Texas. Cameron lives in Manchester, England and Kitty lives in London, England. They'll all no doubt feature in the pages of this blog over the coming months, so you'll soon understand how and why I'm so crushingly proud of them all...
Oh, and we have a very cool dog named 'Shamrock'.
As I write this on February 15th, 2022, I cast my mind back just 155 days to September 16th last year. At 6.15am I got into an Uber to take me to Baylor All Saints hospital in Fort Worth, where at 7.00am I was to check-in at the day surgery to have a procedure on my right ankle.
I'll go into more detail on the history of the ankle isssues that led me there that day in another post, but suffice it to say, the surgery I was there for, really should not have been problematic. Not only that, my Uber dropped me at the wrong entrance to the hospital, so I ran the 5 minutes around the block to the correct entrance to arrive on time. Yep, you read that right, I ran to an ankle surgery.
Yet, 155 days later, just 36 hours before an appoinment with my doctor in which he'll confirm what I already know, I find myself writing the 'Introduction' section of a blog-site, on which I'll chart my journey through the below-the-knee amputation of my right leg.
Inevitably, I've had a huge amount to process and understand in a very short period of time. Balancing my emotional response to the increasing liklihood of losing my leg, with my need to absorb masses of information about every facet of amputation, has been immeasurably hard. But without question, the most important source of both reassurance and knowledge I've had in this time, has come from others who have gone through the same experience.
Either in Facebook Groups, where the support of strangers is the stuff of angels. Or on YouTube channels, blogs and podcasts, where personal stories are generously - at times vulnerably, but always inspiringly shared. They have been the very foundations of my getting through the last few weeks, and about these brave people, let me say this...
Having the courage to stare down the lens of a cell-phone the night before or the night after an amputation, such that the sharing of an experience might help someone else, somewhere else, maybe years in the future, is an act of unfathomable kindness. A kindness that I have been a full beneficiary of, so therefore, an inspiring kindness that I now hope to pay-forward as best I can, in the content of this, my own amputation blog & podcast.
I was not expecting to do this. Nor was I expecting that after 54 years of excellent health (that perhaps, my lifestyle in younger years neither guaranteed or deserved), to be facing the rest of my life, classed by the healthcare system as 'disabled' and as an amputee. But, that's life and 'disabled'...well, it's just a word.
What I know is that just waking up every morning is a gift, but is not a given. Whereas adversity in your life is a given, that rarely feels like much of a gift. But I believe it can be turned into one. If this is the path that has been determined for me, I'm gonna embrace it, own it and learn from it. There's plentiful gifts right there.
My hope then, is that one day, someone in exactly the situation I'm in now, finds these pages and something they read or watch, however consequential or small, helps, or reassures, or offers some light to them, as they go on their own journey.
So if that person is you... yeah, you over there... reading this on your iPhone 17... Let's do this.