My name is Lucas and I have a limb difference and I wear a prosthetic leg. I have been wearing one since I was 15 months old. I am now 9 and a half. I was born with Tibial Hemimilia. I don’t remember a lot about the hospital but I remember I used to like the ninja turtles and I was in a green hip-spiker after the surgery. I thought I was a ninja turtle. It was cool. I had two operations. First I had one when I was 12 months old, then I had one when I was three years old.
My Mum and Dad were at home with me when I got out of hospital. Lots of friends and family came to visit and if my parents had any questions they would ring the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. When I got my first leg at 14 months old, I learned to walk with a little trolley my Dad made. He left the wooden blocks in there and then taped two heavy telephone books to it so it wouldn’t flip. I used to stand up, hang on to the handle bar and push forward. As I would push, I would start walking. I remember my first steps without the trolley. My family were on one side of the lounge watching TV and I was on the other side of the room, sitting with all my toys. I wanted to sit with my Mum, Dad and sister. I stood up and waddled towards them. They all screamed with excitement.
I go to a very good school. The children at my school are friendly, but I find it annoying when the same kids keep asking me questions about my leg. They ask me “Why do you have a fake leg?” I get really annoyed with them because they ask me every day. I understand that some kids are just curious and may have never seen a prosthetic leg before, but we found a way to solve this problem.
My mum and I used to do presentations from Prep to Year Three so they understand what a prosthetic leg is. My Mum and sister brought ‘The OK Book’ by Todd Parr to the presentations. Each page of the book starts with ‘It’s okay to …’ (eg. be tall, be short, wear glasses and so on). We added a page that says ‘It’s okay to wear a prosthetic leg’. I also show them my legs to show off how tall I am now. I have 10 legs so far.
At school I look and feel like everyone else. I play soccer, tennis, cricket and I enjoy playing them. I have lots of fun with my friends at school. Sometimes at school I have to stay indoors, especially when it is hot because my leg swells up. The teacher asks for volunteers to stay indoors with me. We have lots of fun even if I am not wearing my leg.
In the future, I would like to be a Prosthetist because I love making things and because I wear one, I’ll know what feels good. When people ask me why I know so much about prosthetic legs, I will pull up my pants and show them that I have one too! To get some practice, I made one out of Lego!
I am Lucas J Di Guglielmo, I am an amputee, and I am proud of who I am.
Lucas the Ninja Turtle by Lucas J Di Guglielmo