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"It's Just a Matter of Balance"
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Endorsed by Celebrities
It’s Just a Matter of Balance is listed on the website of Heather Mills McCartney, who is also an amputee. “Living proof that overcoming adversity can lead to greater things for yourself and those around you. An inspirational book whenever you’re feeling sorry for yourself,” wrote Ms. McCartney.
Kevin Garrison writes an excellent book that shows life is just a matter of balance. His personal story is an inspiration to us all. To me, as someone who has gone through similar trials, I relate to his recovery and his perception of life. I am very proud of him not just for his book, but how he has conducted his life.
Former Senator Max Cleland
A quick thanks to Goodreads for the contest, and to Mr. Garrison for the free book and opportunity to take a glimpse into his life.
Having very little knowledge and contact with the world of amputees and prosthetics, Kevin Garrison’s book is a simple, yet genuine, introduction into the life of someone who has navigated his way through the process of diagnosis, amputation, and life afterwards. With its friendly and honest narrative, I can easily see why the book is on the recommended reading list of the American Academy of Orthoptists & Prosthetists.
Starting with his childhood and the invasive tumor that was the root cause of his foot being amputated, Garrison gently walks the reader through over a decade his personal life and the various emotional stages he experienced from initial loss to final acceptance. At first I found the language almost too conversational and simplistic until I realized that this casual and open narrative voice was actually the core of the book’s charm. Rather than the clinical fact-focused narrative tone many memoirs seem to take, Garrison manages in a short few pages to make the reader feel as though they are listening to family at the kitchen table. The book deftly demonstrates the struggles for acceptance and normality that an amputee faces, and the important role that family, friends, and a good prosthetist can make. I was likewise impressed with Garrison’s recollection of the many people involved in his story, and his genuine appreciation for their help and guidance.
This was a surprisingly insightful and sincere look at the journey of an amputee and his immersion into the world of prosthetics.
Please forgive my poor English…I’m French Canadian.
I just finish reading your book. You gave it to me at the ACA convention in Orlando.
It was very interesting and I can relate to what you are saying. It’s been one year now since my RAK amputation. I really like the part about El Paso. I spent few days in El Paso before my surgery. My surgery was done at “Angeles Hospital” in Juarez. Here in Canada I was on a waiting list.
Someone sent me the website of “Medical Tourism Corporation”
I was involve in a major car accident few years ago. The surgeon had to put plates and screws in my leg but the pain was terrible. They gave me all kind of medications it did help a bit but I was more like a “zombie” than human.
I ask my doctor for an amputation but the answer was no. Then he finally said yes. I was on the waiting list because my life was not in danger they said.
I got hold to my medical file and I sent it to the surgeon in Juarez. One month later I was in El Paso and the driver from Angeles hospital drove me to the hospital. I spent 6 days. They did a wonderful job and I’m finally pain free.
My prosthesis at “Eastern Prosthetic Clinic” in Moncton, New Brunswick was please with the good work the surgeon did with my stump. I’m walking now with a very comfortable C-Leg.
Once again tanks for your book and it did help me…
Thanks for taking the time to read my long email…
Best wishes from New Brunswick, Canada
I recently received a copy of your book from Liesl, who found me through my Canadian Amputee website at www.amputee.ca. Your story touched me and brought back many memories of my similar experiences. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your story, and your attitude and sense of humour are what makes your story special.
Kevin Garrison’s story reinforces what many of us as amputees feel…something GOOD has to come from the limb loss we have faced. He truly took a traumatic event in his life and turned it into something absolutely inspiring. More importantly, Kevin is helping those in the limb loss community live happy, BALANCED lives. Kevin reminds me to continue to “pay it forward” to those who are facing or currently live with amputation.
Molly French: Bi-lateral BK, Multi-Finger Amputee since 2008,
Amputee Support Group Leader, Greenville, Ohio
I wanted to take a few minutes to thank you for all of your efforts to assist my son Matthew in his recovery during his time of troubles. He has always had high words of praise for you.
Your book was a great source of encouragement to Matt, as were your words of hope during his healing process and in those visits where he has replaced prosthetics and sockets.
The hope you gave Matthew was not only professional, but personal. When you shared your own story of your amputation, it gave Matt hope because your story was similar to Matt’s. Thank you for sharing your humanity with my son, Matthew.
This note is intended to thank you for the special efforts and personal time you took with Matt. Thank you for being an important part of his healing process. Thank you for being a bright light in his life.
Representative Ken Sorensen, Ph.D.
Florida House of Representatives
It was such a huge pleasure to meet you, Catheline and Gabriel, plus your dear friends in Dallas. I want to thank you so much for coming to our meeting with your family and sharing your inspiring story with us. You are an amazing guy, a perfect example of perseverance in following your dreams and achieving your goals. I wish all amputees could read your book; so many of us can relate to your feelings as you describe making the transition into amputee life and overcoming obstacles along the way. What a success story!
Amputee, founder of the “Dallas Amputee Network”
It’s Just a Matter of Balance is recommended reading for new amputees—and also the health care staff that serve them! Kevin shares his own journey through life, and inspires with his sincere desire to overcome his own fears and tackle his dreams, wherever they lead him! Kevin is not shy about sharing his most difficult, embarrassing, and, in retrospect, funny moments—an approach which would put a new amputee at ease with his own fears and insecurities. This book will be included in the library for the Amputee Support Group at Idaho Elks Rehab Hospital.
Kathy Irwin, OTR/L
Orthopedic Program Director
Idaho Elks Rehab Hospital
I received your book yesterday and have got to the point where you were fitted with your first leg. I remember when I put on my first leg—I cried as I walked to my Dad’s car, I was so happy to have a foot. I like your style of writing, you created some really vivid mental images and brought to life the moments as if they happened just yesterday. When my boys are older I’ll make sure to put it on their reading list.
" Owner and Webmaster of Amputee News
Our group of local South Florida amputees would like to extend a warm thank you to you and your wife for the wonderful and inspiring program you presented to us in November 2006 about your recently released book, It’s Just a Matter of Balance.
The two chapters you read from brought all of us back to that moment when we all experienced the emotional and physical realization that we were going to be missing a limb. But in those same two chapters you were able to show us how we could accept the loss of a limb and move on with our lives with a new and inspiring purpose.
Your book is definitely a must read for anyone facing amputation or who has already had a limb loss. We also enjoyed your insight as a wonderful prosthetist who cares for the amputee community like no one else can. You said it best…“I make my own prosthetic device.”
God bless you and good luck with the release of this wonderful book.
Florida Amputee Support Team
Thanks for sending your book. I read the book very carefully and related to it so much. It brought back things I went through when I lost my leg to cancer and also the learning process of different types of prosthetics. I am proud of you and the work you do now. I always love it when I go into an office and find an amputee to talk with while going through the fittings of a new leg. I think that is where you needed to be and you made your life work for you.
Good luck in your life with what you have yet to do. I will share this book as much as possible with others who need the courage to go on.
Angie from Kentucky
A heartrending and inspiring story, one that each and every amputee would not only enjoy, but gain some very valuable insights from, too! While we use them on a daily basis we are not offered insight into the amazing world of prosthetics–this moving read provides that insight.
Director, Limbs 4 Life Inc, Melbourne Australia
I finished your book, and was so overwhelmed; it took a while to be able to comment. You have adeptly captured the emotional essence of amputees with humor and feeling. I became an amputee at thirteen and you identified many of my feelings, especially the rage you typified later in your life. Thank you for giving voice to all of us who suffer in silence, thank you for giving strength to all of us who have felt defeated. Above all thank you for caring!
On my life’s journey, it is my extreme honor to have met you, and to have you as my prosthetist! You have enriched my life in many ways, and sharing yourself with us all is the ultimate human expression!
As an educator, I believe this book will surely help high school and college aged students find their own strength and passion when creating personal and professional goals. A true story based on courage and the determination to succeed.
Dr. Linda Gettinger-Dinner, MSN, ARNP
Associate Professor, Nursing
This book is an inspirational story for anyone facing the life changes of an amputation.
Susan M. Daugherty, RN, CCM, CRRN
Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurse
A heartfelt rendering of a personal story to gladden the hearts of rehabilitation practitioners everywhere.
William H. Moore C.P.O.
Certified Prosthetist, Orthotist
The book clearly shows how the disabled, with perseverance and tenacity, can still fulfill their lifelong dreams.
Carl A. Baader
Disabled Vietnam Veteran
This book will touch anyone trying to overcome obstacles, and reach a new level of compassion that you think, you don’t have. I highly recommend this courageous story to those going through a tragic time, and are seeking the light, at the end of the tunnel.
Veronica Noboa-Pantuso, MS, Psy-D
Truly inspirational. A must read for anyone with a disability. Very graphic yet with a humorous touch. Puts life in perspective.
Bryce E. Epstein, M.D.
Fellow American Academy of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
Reading your book, It’s Just a Matter of Balance, evoked a lot of memories, some good… others bad. I remember the times spent in the military hospital with my own “kind,” and how we used to joke about our situation. I was glad that the hospital I was in was far away from my family—I hated visits. Before all this, I used to exercise and had a pretty good physique. I would never be the same, I thought. I tried a half-hearted attempt to end it with pills. After I got my prosthesis, I made sure that whenever I sat next to anyone, especially girls, it would be on their left, thus avoiding any possibility of them touching my left leg. I used to own a 1966 GTO or Goat as it was called then. It had a 389 tri-power (3 carbs) 3/4 cam, posi rear. I lost a cop that was chasing me one time. I’ve had numerous accidents, my license taken away from me. My wife, (fiance at that time) was in one of those accidents; she sustained a compound fracture of her arm. I thank God that she did not take her family’s advice to leave me.
Kevin, I have gotten past that craziness, but I still had something that made me feel standoffish. Notice I said had. God works in mysterious ways, your book was one of them. I can now say that I have come full circle.
Thank you so much for sending me your book. It has come at a time when I’m finding things difficult to cope with—even though I am almost 3 years post op! I felt that it was written very well, with honesty, humour and, being an amputee yourself, experience. The journey is a hard one, and there will always be times when maybe we feel “I wish…”, but then have to deal with the here and now.
Your description of the early part of your operations and eventual amputation reminded me very much of my own. The feelings that you expressed were familiar, and the descriptions of the prosthesis were so accurate! I applaud the way that your drive and determination to make better prostheses resulted in your qualifications, and undoubted success, as you know first hand how it feels to have to wear these.
The descriptions that you gave about how amputation affects family and friends was, again, so real to me, and even now my sister (2 years younger) finds it difficult to come to terms with it, and after the amputation cried buckets.
I found myself crying silently while reading the book, as it kind of brings home the reality of emotions, feelings, and the uncertainties also.
My amputation was brought about after my stepdad asked me to put a car into my drive that he had bought for spare parts, etc., and after some nagging, I gave in. I was directing the car, and he came forward and hit the wall square in the middle, knocking it off its foundations and onto my right leg. I was conscious the whole time, and thought about this when reading your book. It’s strange the way that we remember certain things, the order, the surroundings, the lighting, the smells etc. Like you, I was by myself in the hospital when I was given the information that I was going to have my foot/leg amputated, and I was remembering the nurse that sat with me, before the consultant came in—now I realize that she was there just in case I lost the plot! I was sort of numbed by it all at first, then determined to be strong, to be ‘normal.’ Your descriptions about wanting no one to see you as an amputee, and to walk normally so that no one would know you were wearing a prosthesis, were so real to me, as I have felt this also.
After my surgery, I, like you, spent some time looking under the sheets at the wrapping and bandages etc., and wondering what it all looked like! I then felt the pain and the toes in much the same way as you describe. My amputation is below knee, on the right side.
My first prosthesis was a shock, similar to yourself, and again, after the swelling went down, I was requiring a new one pretty quickly.
The first year, I sort of got on with it, set goals, not giving myself time to think too much about it all. Then I had some problems with my knee joint, and pain in the stump etc., and seemed to unravel at the seams. I’m getting there, but now face further surgery for neuromas and a recurring knee problem, with chopsticking of the bones also! But I will get there.
I wanted to say thank you for the book, and I do feel that it reflects the feelings and emotions experienced with amputation.
Cardiff, Wales, UK
Kevin’s new book It’s Just a Matter of Balance is a testimonial of courage and personal fortitude.
Living his life, through his words, delivers a powerful, motivational and inspirational message to all those that read it. It also reveals why so many amputees become prosthetists themselves and how achieving proper ‘balance,’ both physically and emotionally, can lead to a happier and more productive life. I highly recommend it!
Thank you so much for the supplies and also for your book. I read it as soon as it came and I enjoyed it. It was almost like reading about myself. I had forgotten about how much it hurt in the beginning when someone walked heavily or too close to my leg. And of course reactions from the opposite sex were an issue. You are a great prosthetist and you changed my life. This is the very best leg I ever had since 1967. It is still doing me good but I will contact you when I can get to Ft. Lauderdale for an adjustment. Thank you again.
Thank you for sending a copy of Kevin’s book. I enjoyed reading it. Kevin did a great job in writing it. It really is a book that most people should read. Yes, especially all amputees. It definitely shows how one person can overcome most tragedies and still have the guts to go ahead and fulfill his or her dreams. He took his problem of being an amputee and through his hard work turned it into a positive, a career for himself. He has accomplished his dream, and is helping other amputees. He understands their concerns. The book is an easy read. It holds your attention!
With all his feelings for his work and his outlook on life, he will always be a successful person.
Uncle Leonard (age 81)
To: Kevin Garrison
Thank you for everything! I really appreciate all the help and hard work you put into making me feel whole again. While reading your book I noticed that we shared a lot in common, and I feel somewhat normal to know that I am not alone. Thank you again.
Michael Fletcher (age 19)
How to Get the Book
Available on Amazon.com, Barns & Noble, your neighborhood book store, or call and order the book or artwork directly from the author at: 305-949-1888. The book is recommended reading by the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists and a new developing part of the curriculum in a number of universities and high schools. Part of the proceeds from the sale of It’s Just a Matter of Balance are donated to the Barr Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supplies prosthetic limbs to amputees in need.