How Much Does a Leg Weigh?

Just before my recent amputation, my leg had become extremely painful and stiff.  And when I say stiff, I mean locked in a 90 degree angle unable to be moved.  Limited to crutches, I was more less toting an inoperable leg.  That’s why amputation has actually been a relief; now I maneuver more stealthily without pain or a clumsy useless leg getting in the way.  However, the question that has been weighing on my mind is, how much did my leg weigh?  Prior to surgery I weighed in at 183.5 lbs.  Yesterday I had an appointment with Palliative Care to discuss my pain medications, and I finally had the opportunity to weigh in again; the result…166.5 lbs.  Sorry to the Ginna training department for not using value/unit/trend, I’ve had a hard time letting that habit go and listen for a bell every time.  Therefore I conclude that my right leg weighed 17 lbs, so for the average male that would be about 9% of total body mass.  I found this to be much lower than I would have expected, but still an excellent form of weight loss.  For those analytical types, I agree there are several other variables that could create error, but roughly speaking, there you have it!

After a very informative appointment with Dr. Quill, and a solid pain management plan established, Johnny Z and his Uncle John stopped over for lunch.  Uncle John is a mechanical whiz and can do just about anything with motorcycles.  It was an excellent opportunity to learn about modifications that could keep me riding on two wheels.  We discussed several possibilities, but they all seemed to take away the excitement, freedom, and character that makes motorcycles so great.  For now, I’m just excited about driving the Volvo into some untraveled terrain.  Meanwhile I can ponder the options; I still see Shannon and I bombing down Lake Rd on an old military style bike with a side car both dressed in army fatigues, Shannon in the sidecar as the gunner.


About bhoefen

Going on a road trip.
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10 Responses to How Much Does a Leg Weigh?

  1. Cousin Mike says:

    During your trip there’s been a lot of eating and not a lot of exercise. I know I’ve been picking on you to lose some weight, but cutting your leg off wasn’t exactly what I meant to drop some pounds. The scary part is that you topped out at 183 and I’ve actually lost about 15 pounds and am now 205. I’d surf on your blog more, but instead I think I’ll do some sit ups.

  2. Jessica says:

    Bret – I really do believe that the pain is your body’s way of preparing you for what comes next… As you mentioned earlier, when you started on this journey, amputation was not an acceptable option – I think you said you considered that to be the end of your journey. Well, look at you now! Here you are maintaining your wonderful sense of humor and actually welcoming and celebrating your new “freedom.” I think you take every path in your life for a reason and, as my Poppa used to say, things work out for the best. While this situation is definitely not ideal, you have seen/experienced/done more with your life (and taken the rest of us along with you!) than most people do in 50 years. Seriously, how cool is that?!?

    As for Shannon in fatigues – you would definitely have to get her a beautiful belt with stylish flair and some rocking accessories. 🙂

  3. Peggy says:

    the Trike Motorcycle looks like fun- the two of you could definately ride that!

  4. HP says:

    I would’ve guessed a leg would weigh more than that too. And I agree with Cousin Mike: Probably not the best weight loss recommendation. 😉

    We just got back from a long weekend in Paris, and we think you should add this to your list of destinations.
    1. They have motorcycles with 2 wheels on the front. So the rider is positioned like on a moped (good balance) but you get the guts of a motorcycle. Could be fun.

    2. I think you have not yet challenged your driving sufficiently. Paris offers many traffic circles with no clear lines and no clear rules. Optimal. Driving. Challenge.

    3. Food. Because you are on what appears to be the ultimate sandwich quest, I recommend (a) the Croque Monsieur and (b) the Merguez-Frites. Option ‘a’ is a ham sandwich on thick-sliced bread, grilled, then covered with bechamel sauce and gruyere and put in the oven to melt the cheese. Sounds oh so simple, but it’s oh so delicious. Option ‘b’ was a new one for me this trip, and we thought of you guys while we were eating (should have taken pics but that would have required some restraint on eating). Merguez is a spicy Mediterranean/North African sausage. They’re about the diameter of a thick pen, and run the length of a hoagie-style roll. The sausage is piled on top of lettuce, tomatoes, and french fries, all crammed into the roll. Yum-o.

    4. Leffe is available at nearly every cafe, brasserie, and restaurant. Tempted yet? 🙂

    So excited for your progress! And so glad you’re at home. It’s always good to be home. Take care. Sending big hugs to both of you.


    PS Jessica is so right. Shan would definitely need to rock-out the fatigues with accessories!

  5. Aaron King says:

    I read a story a while ago in a Subaru magazine called “Drive” that comes my way now and then about a guy that had lost functionality of both of his legs. He was a car guy, just as I, and he was upset that he was unable to drive his Subaru STI any longer. Cobb Tuning of Plano TX took it upon themselves to create mechanisms for the steering wheel that will allow him to drive his manual 6 speed car with out the use of the clutch, brake and gas pedals.

    Edit: after some searching, I found the article

    I know this doesnt help with a motorcycle, but if they can do it with a manual 6 speed car, I dont see why someone couldn’t come up something similar for the bike. Anything is possible if you put your mind to it, but you already know that!

  6. Dani Solberg says:

    When I had my leg amputated it only was about 10 lbs and I was shocked. I swore it weight A LOT more than that. Guess I dont carry my weight there!!!

    I am hoping to get a 4-wheeler someday (when I ever have money again) and be able to ride down here in Texas. I LOVE those things and havent been on since I was 13ish. Will take some effort to do it, but they make so many things automatic. My cousin who was paralyzed from the waist up rode those religiously and if he can do that and only feel his head and arms then I think with 1 leg we can do anything!!!! HUGS!

  7. judy gratz says:

    Okay so I’m not a bike kind of person 🙂 but I do use hand controls to drive my van. (I have two legs that don’t work) 😦 . I’m sure that there are places out there that can help with your motorcycle!

    Good thoughts and prayers are being sent your way!


  8. Cousin Geoffrey says:

    Always good to have a gunner on board when driving around Wayne County – especially if you’ve still got that Obama sticker on your bike.

    You’ve got a lot of good meals ahead of you from many far and distant lands before you’re back up to your fighting weight! Let’s get to eatin’!

  9. Cousin Geoffrey says:

    Hey – Do you guys have tickets to see Edward Sharpe at the Bear Tooth Theatre in Anchorage, Alaska on June 8th & 9th yet?

    If not, you should join our growing entourage to see them at Mountain Jam, Hunter Mtn., NY 3 days prior (June 5th). The more the merrier, loyal fans…

  10. Lori Downey says:

    Hello Bret…We have not met, but after reading your blog every day, I feel as though I know you very well and I am so touched by your daily entries. I do know your mother who used to come into Accent Printing in Wayland every now and then to purchase notecards for her fabulous art drawings. She is a wonderful person.

    I was pleased to see that you would be happy to talk with some folks affiliated with Camp Good days and Special Times. I worked there for a week every summer for about 20 years and had to bow out when we opened the print shop. Believe me, volunteers get much more back than they are ever able to give. I remember a very young camper (may 6 or 7 yrs. old) from many years ago, who had an artificial leg and when he couldn’t go as fast as he wanted, he would just take it off and leave it wherever he was and kept on going! And someone would find it and take it his cabin.

    I think you have a gift in your ability to describe your experiences so well that I can always visualize what you are saying, like you were sitting near me and telling me your story. I admire you and Shannon very much. I am proud of what you have accomplished and just wanted you to know that you, Shannon, and your families are in my thoughts and prayers every day. And I just know that you will be riding that motorcycle with the side car in Alaska! Good Bless.

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