Frozen extremes

We get a lot of requests for amputation stories, so today we’ve got one, but be warned, this one is pretty intense.

While I don’t know the reasons behind it, Tegumai_B decided to remove his lower left leg.  Typically the types of amputation we see on ModBlog are small digit removals, which are done at home.  However with the loss of a large potion of a limb, Tegumai_B needed the help of doctors.  Of course, going up to a doctor and asking them to remove your limb probably won’t work, so Tegumai_B used his own method of getting his leg amputated.

To start with, he spent most of a day with his foot surrounded by dry ice.  To see what happened next, you’ll have to keep on reading.

Once he removed his foot from the dry ice, it was off to the hospital where he had his foot examined by a doctor.

Sitting in an examination room. My foot is the color and texture of frozen chicken. The red bit looks nasty, but doesn’t hurt.

After being admitted, his foot began to swell up.

Skin of the entire frozen area has filled with fluid. It’s like wearing a rubber glove full of water. Still doesn’t hurt.

You can see how his toes have already started to turn black.  At this point, surgery is the only option as leaving his foot intact could potentially kill him.  The next step of course is the surgery.

Back in the ward. Two drains in, which were removed the next day.

5 weeks after the stitches were removed, here’s how the leg looked.

5 weeks post-op. No issues or infections then or now. All done.

It’s now been 5 years since the amputation, and Tegumai_B is happy with the results.

Just a photo of my stump, for ‘proof of identity’ purposes. Amazing how many ‘amputees’ are out there with the same photos ;-) About 5 years post-op.

To see more of his incredible journey, check out the amputation gallery on BME.

95 thoughts on “Frozen extremes

  1. Outch!
    I would really like to know his motivation to remove his lower leg… I know it’s probably intimate and complicated, but I’m pretty curious.

    Well… I’m glad he’s happy.

  2. that’s pretty intense, i would be interested to hear, and understand, why he felt he needed to have the lower half of his left leg amputated. i.e. why not the right leg? etc.

  3. I’m happy for the wearer, but this definitely poses a few personal questions as to how I feel about this.

    I’d love a write-up on possibly what the motive was behind this, and how he’s now handling life as an amputee if he was up for it.

  4. I know he said it didn’t hurt once it was frozen…but that dry ice had to be mega-painful for a few minutes at least right?

  5. This story is heartwarming. I’d love to make a children’s book out of it and read it aloud to a kindergarten class.

  6. I would like an interview with this guy about his motivation to do this. Amputation, especially large scale, is something that I just don’t get why people do – but I would like to understand.
    From my point of view this is just insane and loosing my leg would pretty much ruin my life.

  7. So what did he tell the hospital – drunken prank gone wrong? Also, add me to the list of people who would love an interview.

  8. The thing that seems most startling about this story to me is that he couldn’t have really known how it was going to come out. There’s just so little control over a situation like that. I’m glad he’s happy with the results!

  9. For those wondering why he did it there is actually a condition where a person pretty much hates a part of their body, i read a story once of someone that had it and he hated his bottom half of his leg and brought home dry ice from work and did this exact thing and ever since getting it removed was alot happyer so that is a possibility, (but im not tryin to be the doctor here ;P) either that or he really loves his body modification!

    I personally would not be able to do that unless my life depended on it!

  10. I’d also like an interview if possible. Large scale amputation also fascinates me. I can understand small amputations to a degree, but not losing the majority of my leg.

  11. so long as he’s happy.

    and i figure he didnt do the right because its his ass kicking leg!

    (but really, probably so he could still drive without having to modify a car.)

  12. so did he pay for this out of pocket or did he make insurance/the country (depending on what country he’s from) pay for it?

    also really cool to make doctors who could be saving another person’s life do your modification for you by forcing them into it

  13. I actually recall reading a case study on this. I don’t recall the actual name of the condition, but (to roughly sum it up) there are people who are attracted (sexually or not) to being an amputee. As opposed to another condition where people are attracted -to- amputees. Interesting stuff.

  14. I could be wrong, but I believe this gentleman was featured on some television program a while back. Howver it may have been somebody else who suffered from the same condition Claire posted and decided to stick his foot in dry ice. Apparently it’s illegal for a doctor to amputate something that’s perfectly healthy, so this man featured in the program decided to make it unhealthy and was completely unashamed to tell the doctors exactly what he did! Happy ending :)

  15. It would presumably also be agains their doctoral code of ethics to deny “help” to him, so either way he’s in a win-win situation. The only negative I could see with the immediate situation is he’d have to pay for it – either by not having insurance at all or by having insurance and them somehow finding out he did it intentionally.

  16. Not labeling him for the oddities part of the book o’ humanity, but I think it’s some sort of dysmorphic disorder that causes fulfillment post amputation. Anyone know what I’m being unclear about?

    As previous comments, I do hope, after 5 yrs that he is just as happy. I hope people also realize how easy it is to get a limb lopped off.

    It’s not my body, not my limb, but I’m glad he found his bliss.

  17. It would be interesting to hear more how the hospital trip went. Did he tell the doctors and nurses what happened? Did he do it in winter to better hide how he did it? If he did hide how/why he did it, how did the talk about amputation go? Most people who need to have a limb taken off don’t go “Yup! Sign me up Doc, lets get rid of this thing.” I do give him super props for going through it all. It’s one thing to use a cleaver and chop off a digit, but another thing to freeze your foot and have it removed by a doctor.

  18. That third picture is gnarly. O.o *slight cringe*

    @lili: Claire posted the link about it. Body Integrity Identity Disorder.

    So many unanswered questions here… Due to there being so many comments, everything is already said, but if anyone has a link to an interview or if BME could get an interview (if Tengumai_B wanted, of course), I’d be really interested in reading it.

  19. I find amputation stories very interesting. In particular I think it should be discussed the ethical issue in the medical environment? how doctors should behave in front of a wannabe? Should they comply with the need of a patient and remove a healthy limb? Or should they deny assistance and expose the patient to the risk of a home made procedure? I read few articles on the topic…authors supported the patient’s right to fullfill the desire of modelling his/her own body to meet the mental representation he/she has of it like those willing to change gender. The question is: why could I become a male from female but cannot have a part of leg removed? I’d love to find more scientific literature on that…

  20. I’m more curious to know what was said to the hospital. they would still have to amputate whether or not he told the truth, just want to know if he did or not.

  21. If the USA had a national health plan, everyone would be burdened by paying the heath care costs for demented MF’ers ike this guy. I hope the doctors/hospital discover the truth and lock him away.

  22. I can’t help but feel that this was entirely the wrong place to put those pictures up.

  23. I think a major point on how ‘everyone’ could potentially be paying for this surgery depending on the health care system, is really the fact that if one with this disorder could go to a plastic surgeon and request this surgery in a safer manner then no one would have to pay for an unnecessary surgery. Because despite having national health care, in Canada cosmetic surgeries aren’t covered. Easy fix.

  24. I’m happy for him, he cheated the system, good on him, but I can’t help but think “…And yet trans people have to go through years of therapy to get surgeries…”

  25. When there is no information on the reason of such an extreme choice I guess we cannot assume that amputation is pursued by demented. Actually such a behaviour is documented as the result of the body integrity identity disorder which is similar in some aspects to the gender identity disorder. If the health care system covers the expenses for sex change, then it should also cover amputations for diagnosed wannabe…I mean…if would be interesting a general discussion on this issue :)

  26. Now, we have to draw a line somewhere.

    The solution here would have been a shrink, not a surgeon.

    No, it’s not subjective.
    No, it’s not subjective.

    No, really, I know that there are people who aren’t convinced yet, let me rephrase that…

    …it’s not subjective.

    I really hate it when the otherwise very well written modblog chooses not to take the subject seriously enough, possibly encouraging other people to go down the “cold ice” path instead of the “go see a shrink NOW” path.

    Seriously, it’s real people we’re dealing with.
    It’s serious issues we’re dealing with.

    A guy screwed his leg up, you see?

    Put it in cold ice and got it sawed off by doctors on the NHS or whatever.

    Guy will never get his leg back.

    Never to walk normally again, never to chase a bus, never to run, never to chase his significant other at the park on a spring day, never to play football with his mates or son, never to…

    If he ever ends up the tons of money he has without doubt stashed away and will need to take a job which will require him to… oh, nevermind.

    People, get a grip.

    “Incredible journey”.

    Come on, Rob, come on.
    I like you and all, but… seriously, come on.

    Back to reality. Pretty please.

  27. @meow: “also really cool to make doctors who could be saving another person’s life do your modification for you by forcing them into it”

    Really cool. Horrorshow.

  28. re#33… I agree with your post in a way. I don’t know that we need to go down that whole “OMG he’ll never be able to live a ‘normal’ life!” path, because that’s particularly illegitimate as a topic of debate if we are to grant everyone the right to do what they please with their own bodies. Shannon was a champion of a person’s right to choose what they to do their own body, and Modblog is carrying on that tradition by highlighting stories like this.

    But this lacked all of the context that Shannon would have written. It’s far too serious a story to simply showcase without a carefully worded warning as to its content and it lacks any real information as to why this individual chose to nullify a limb. I’m left wondering why such an extreme story, with such an extreme lack of information and a context to place it in, was showcased on what has become a mainstream blog.

    Maybe there needs to be a permanent disclaimer at the top of Modblg explaining that some truly graphic material is presented on Modblog and only those over the age of 18 are allowed to view it.

  29. Jon, THAT’s my point.

    The fact that he isn’t gonna play much baseball for the rest of his life is rather obvious, and it’s a fact.

    Which is one of a million reasons (ethical, medical, legal, legal, and did I say legal? Hope his insurance will be kept in the dark) why we are dealing with SERIOUS BUSINESS.

    Which needs to be treated in an appropriate (=serious) fashion.

    “Incredible journey”, pheeeew, what is this, Disneyland?

    BTW, Shannon is a cool guy, but medical science says “here we have an ill guy who didn’t get the help he needed on time”.
    Out of gratitude, I’ll side with medical science rather than with snake oil, having the former saved my life a few times.

  30. It’s not snake oil to grant an individual the right to choose what they do with their own body. And I don’t know that all psychiatry or psychology is medical science.

  31. @Jon P: Like this one:

    “Many of these pages contain documentation of dangerous or life-threatening activities of questionable legality — BME accepts no responsibility or liability for the actions of others and urges anyone interested in this subjects to educate themselves completely and seek professional assistance. Please view with respect and intelligence, or don’t view at all. Experiences, articles, and pictures on BME are not an endorsement and not always representative of the opinions of BME.”

    It’s on the main page of BME and repeated throughout the site.

    @Spaghetti eater: At no point did I ever encourage anyone to do this, nor would I as that’s not my place to do so. The fact is, ModBlog is here to cover every aspect of modifications, and not just the common ones. This is an extreme example, and I mentioned in the article that he was not only putting his limb at risk (which was the goal), but also his life. I have enough faith in our readers that I shouldn’t have to place a “don’t do this” warning above every extreme modification.

    This person chose this path without the influence of ModBlog, and was willing to share their experience with us. If a person is set upon losing a limb, then anything I say (or not say) won’t change that. It’s up to them to seek out help and guidance on their own. As was mentioned earlier, BIIS is a legitimate condition, and people who are afflicted will try to find ways to remove their limb. We can only hope that they seek some form of counseling ahead of time and are made aware of all the risks before doing anything this extreme.

    This isn’t the first amputation story ModBlog has run, and it certainly won’t be the last. However, as many people have requested it, I’ll try to get in contact with this gentleman and see if he’d be up for an interview. I know that in the past Shannon actively sought out individuals who chose amputation, which resulted in a number of great articles. Sean and myself are both always on the lookout for individuals who would interested in doing an interview. It’s not a question of us not wanting to interview these individuals, it’s whether they wish to tell their story publicly, and that’s something we can’t force upon them.

  32. I’d love to hear the dialogue between the amputee and the doctor when this happened. Especially when it came time for the cutting. I wonder if it was like a barber’s visit… “Hey, do you mind going just a little bit shorter? I know just the end bit is dead, but I kinda like the look of closer to the knee…”

  33. @Rob;

    A lot of people don’t access ModBlog through the main site so it doesn’t matter that the disclaimer is posted everywhere else. Not to mention that many people learn about the site by being linked directly here. Many of those people are under the age of 18 with little knowledge of the potential dangers of body modification, and others are fear-mongers who will gladly make snap judgement and claim we promote self-harm.

    This is the place where the disclaimer needs to be prominent.

  34. i don’t know how i feel about this

    i saw a show where someone wanted their leg amputated. they ended up going through a similar procedure. after the amputation they started taking some psychiatric medication and possibly therapy and said that they did regret it.

    so, i guess good thing that this person is happy with the decision they made.

  35. That was lucky I was just about to chop my leg off, but then noticed a warning at the top of the page informing me its dangerous so I didnt bother. Thew……

  36. @spaghetti eater

    Perhaps he did go and see a shrink, and that didn’t help either. Searching the web will bring up many stories, where people were suicidal because of a body part they felt didn’t belong. Which is better, to lose a life or to lose a limb? I am sure that he also considered the fact that he would “Never to walk normally again, never to chase a bus, never to run, never to chase his significant other at the park on a spring day, never to play football with his mates or son, never to…” All of which are possible, with crutches or false limbs (which might make the entire process seem redundant, but hey, it was his choice).

  37. @Rob: it’s not a matter of “disclaimer” or not “disclaimer”.
    I feel very outraged at the way the topic is being dealt with on the whole.
    Unfair comparison, but Our Dear Leader’s (of Spaghettiland, that is) way of dealing with issues springs to my mind.

    And Jon… psychiatry IS medicine. Unless Creationism is legit science, that is.

  38. Let me rephrase the above: the article is written in such a way that the whole thing sounds cool.
    That’s something I find very hard to come to terms with (as in, makes me want to bang someone’s head with a stegosaurus bone).

  39. I’m a minor amputee, and on seeing my chopped-off finger it immediately was no longer a part of me. To people with this condition the feeling is very similar (I don’t have body dissmorphia, I should point out….) It is not a part of their body. When doctors asked if I wanted it reattached I said absolutely NOT. It was not mine anymore, it was a dead, pale, horrible thing to look at and the thought of having THAT stitched back on horrified me. They respected my wishes. And I respect the wishes of this man. His body, his choice. I imagine he had insurance, therefore he HAD paid for his op, I wouldn’t presume he had it done on the NHS, as we don’t know where he’s from.
    Besides, how many hundreds of people on BME have had to get medical help for infected mods, mods gone wrong and things like implant removal, scar revision and the like?
    Don’t judge until you’ve been there. The sense of happiness and relief for him is no doubt insurmountable. I’m happy for him.

  40. Hi all,

    First-off I didn’t realize when I hit the “Submit to BME” checkbox that it might end up on the blog, and the pictures of the process did have the “Photo(s) may not be appropriate for minors” checkbox checked. I thought all it did was put them behind the paywall and also – being a tightwad – score me a free IAM membership.

    My fault for not RTFM, and this puts me in a great place for arguing my competency….

    Claire is indeed right that I have BIID. The wikipedia article looks relatively accurate (as of this edit).

    For me, I’ve always felt a need to be an amputee, It was an internal body image thing. I’ve jokingly described it as being born a congenital amputee with a growth on my leg. I can certainly identify more with congenital amputees than acquired through illness or injury. I have not really “lost” anything, but I still deal with the physical and social issues of being an amputee.

    I haven’t been on any TV programs. My wife would kill me. I’m not averse to interviews so long as I can remain fairly anonymous.

    So. Questions regarding my sanity. I’ve seen shrinks. I’ve talked to Dr. First at Columbia, who is looking into this as part of DSM-V, I got grilled by the staff psychiatrists during my stay in the hospital. All of them gave me a clean bill of health, apart from BIID and depression, which appear to be separate and unrelated.

    @spaghetti eater: I agree this is deathly serious. I did the whole fighting-it thing for a long time. As far as current research goes, there isn’t any drugs or therapy that works, and that was my own experience. Surgery appears to work in most cases and has done for me.

    Maybe at some point there will be something that reduces the need, and then we can get into the argument of if modifying the body images of otherwise-sane individuals is ethical or not. If Dr. Ramachandram is right and this is a parietal lobe thing, then such a ‘cure’ could be really useful for other disorders.

    Ethics of surgery:

    Currently there is no non-surgical remedy that has any proof of working. I know a mental health professional with BIID who reduced their need by about a decade of intensive self-therapy. Most people don’t have the training or the stamina for that.

    BIID causes mental harm. It is pretty debilitating in it’s own right. I am really glad to not feel like that any more.

    “First do no harm” only recognizes physical harm, not mental. This may be because mental harm is difficult to quantify. For whatever reason, legitimate surgical help is not available.

    @kendall: To be honest, I’d love to have a legitimate professional method of treatment, even if it meant having to wait a few years and exhaust other treatment avenues.

    I worry about people who perform self-amputation for the “wrong” reasons. I’m probably being chauvinistic there, but I have heard anecdotes of people doing it based on sexual fantasies (so-called apotemnophilia) and regretting it afterwards. Stories like that make chances of legitimate surgical treatment for BIID further away.

    Financial Ethics:

    I’m not comfortable with what I’ve done there, although like any Pan Narrans I can come up with a great set of rationalizations for my actions.

    In the US, some people’s health insurance covers self harm caused by a mental disorder, and thus they are covered for BIID self-amputation. Of course, being the US health industry other people with legitimate involuntary amputations are covered for one crappy prosthetic for their entire life, which is real useful if you lost a leg as a child, Just look at the Amputee Coalition’s “Prosthetic Parity” lobbying for more info.

    I’m told there are parallels between transgender and BIID in terms of being recognized as not crazy, surgery being considered a legitimate treatment and then the financial ethics of who should pay for the surgery and aftercare. I also recognize the huge difference that ‘Gender’ is a normal attribute, and disability isn’t. I hope I didn’t offend too many people with that comparison.

    (Just remember though, to the disabled community we’re all “Temporarily Able Bodied.” Old age or the next car running a red light will change your designation eventually, and its hard to get back.)

    “Never to walk normally again, never to chase a bus, never to run, never to chase his significant other at the park on a spring day, never to play football with his mates or son, never to…”

    As a BK, and with a decent prosthetic, people have gone YEARS without realizing I’m an amputee, so I must be doing good at the walking normally thing. I’m currently slightly faster than my son and much faster than my wife, and I’ve never been one for sports, either playing or watching.

    I haven’t found much problems with maintaining my job, since it involves sitting down and staring at a computer most of the time. When required I haven’t had trouble crawling around customer’s sites either.

    I think the issue is you’re assuming those things are more important to me than the hell of living in a body that didn’t fit my body image was.

    That’s enough for one post. Im sure I missed a bunch of stuff. You’ve got my email.

  41. I don’t understand why anyone would amputate a limb or remove any body-part in any way whatsoever, nor do I quite understand the urge for anyone to tattoo their face and head or to scarify them. I will, however, defend anyone’s right to do so.

    I think a great number of BME users, readers, contributors and lurkers would stand up and defend the right of an individual to tattoo themselves, and whenever someone comes and comments how disgusted they are by a tattoo/piercing/scar and especially genital modifications they are immediately set straight. For me I see great similarities.

  42. re: 44… Psychiatry and psychology differ from what one would traditionally associate with medical science in several ways. I’m not sure that I can articulate what I mean clearly enough at 2.30am for you not to jump all over it though. Your quip about Creationism was masterful, however. Bravo.

    One example: BIID… psychiatry may work, but probably won’t. It’s a gamble that one makes.

    Conversely, a chest infection will probably be cleared up with antibiotics such as Cefaclor. That’s not a gamble, that’s rigorously tested science. I don’t know if you’ll get what I mean, but psychological theories as to mental illness are just theories, even if they’re the best we have. Actual medical science to do with PHYSICAL sickness is a different thing. That’s what I was getting at.

  43. Well then, now we have a definitive statement from the subject of the photos himself that this was not a “body modification,” but the result of a disorder–Wikipedia categorizes BIID under “Abnormal Psychology.” So, yet again, why is it being featured on BME, when BME does not feature other disorders and pathologies that result in dramatic changes to the body? Where is the Eating Disorders gallery featuring the skeletal bodies of anorexics and bulimics and the barely-recognizable-as human forms of the super-morbidly obese? You regularly feature self-harm in the form of scratching and cutting, but where are the trichotillomaniacs, the dermatillomaniacs, and the compulsive nail-biters? And where are the junkies? They’ve got some pretty cool “modifications” like track marks, rotten teeth and self-inflicted wounds. Really, how is BIID, a condition which falls under the same category as self-harm, psychotic depression, paranoid schizophrenia and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, any more “body modification” than these conditions?

  44. @tegumai

    Thanks for the explanation! It was nice to learn more about this from your point of view.

  45. @wob:

    You raise a good point that BME might be the wrong place for biid. I was pointed this way by other people in the biid community, and thought I may meet others in the same boat.

    I’d like to take some exception to being lumped in with the other disorders. From the point of view of the DSM, transgender is an abnormal psychology, and previous versions had homosexuality as the same. I’m sure there are medical professionals who would consider the genital mods, esp castration and genital nullo as abnormal.

    Does body modification need to be a “lifestyle choice” to be valid, or can someone need a mod to help their body match their soul?

  46. i think this is a fine forum for amputations of this type. I think that the term “body modification” is an umbrella term for lots of mods we see, all joined by a voluntary desire to change or modify something about ourselves. It may be BIID but it ended in body modification. We see grotesque images of some dude who wants his dick chopped under the guise of “body modification” all the time, we see people RESHAPE their anatomy to fit their desires (elf ears for example), and tons of digit amputations with significance to the modifier… how is this different?

    Anyway thats not the first thing I thought about when I read the post. It wasn’t disgust or admiration or any of that. It was:

    DUDE HE CAN GET A BIONIC LEG

  47. While this site is here to feature body modification, at what point do we draw a distinction between a desire to modify the body based on mental illness vs. a decision to modify the body made by a sound mind? If we’re okay with posting the story of someone who amputates willingly because they have a mental disorder that causes them to hate a limb for no reason, how is this any different than the individual suffering from anorexia or bulimia? Are we going to start posting their story and photos too? They’re modifying their body, right? And they’re happier the thinner they get, so that makes it ‘okay’, as long as they’re happy?

    While I fully support an individual’s right to modify their body, it is only under the assumption that this individual is making the decision from a psychologically sound standpoint. I don’t think it really does anything to support the modification community to showcase modifications of this sort. If anything, it’s taking the community 10 steps backwards. Can you imagine how the mainstream public would react to this if they got wind? I can see it on the news right now. You know exactly how they take a thing and run with it. “Tonight at 10: Piercings and tattoos are no longer enough. Tune in to see the latest craze in body modification!” ModBlog is so much more than a story about a willing amputee, but in the wrong hands, this story will end up being the face of ModBlog, making everyone on here look like nuts and supporting mainstream society’s prejudice that all of us who modify in any way (even just tattoos or piercings) are crazy. We’re trying to advance our image so that there is widespread acceptance, not set ourselves back. Right? It’s not that I want to have to give a shit about what Mr.Businessman in his corporate office thinks of my mods, but unfortunately, he’s the one writing the company rulebook and signing my paycheck, so I unfortunately have to care about how he perceives the modified community, and I definitely don’t want to make the situation worse by having the mainstream see something like this.

  48. What constitutes a sound mind? I’ve spoken to a professor of psychiatry and editor for the next edition of the DSM, as well as a neurologist working on body image and biid, as well as the doctors at the hospital, and I’m apparently of sound mind.

    It would be WONDERFUL if there could be a proper screening and treatment program for biid same as for transgender. There’s a marked difference between biid and eating disorders or other compulsive self-harming disorders: we know what the problem is, and when it’s done, we don’t want any more!

    Maybe I’m committing a “no true scotsman” fallacy by saying that people who compulsively amputate more don’t have biid but some other disorder, but that’s how it appears to me.

    I certainly don’t want to hurt your cause.

  49. @47 Thank you, interesting reading.

    @50 Clearly because of the way it is executed. Most of what you mention is side effects, this is not.

    @56 Do what you feel you have to dog, and let others do the same. The whole “what will the public think about us now” approach just proves, that you do not belong here.
    And all that “from a psychologically sound standpoint” bullshit is just.. well… bullshit! Who are you, or anyone else for that matter, to decide if someone is psychologically unbalanced for wanting a mod?? We own our bodies and are (or should be) able to do what ever the hell we want with it! Even if that means poking holes in it, chopping off limbs or even committing suicide. WE are the only ones fit to decide what is best for US!
    Yes, Tegumai has BIID and decided that he needed his leg removed. But I am pretty sure that “professionals” will also be able to label me with some kind of condition because of my need to have 1″ holes in my lobes or a 2g hole in my dick, and always wanting to stretch them!
    If you can’t accept that people have different needs then MODBLOG is not for you.

  50. re: 59… “The whole “what will the public think about us now” approach just proves, that you do not belong here”

    It is not your place to tell someone they do not belong here any more than any other person. You might live your life completely free from the necessity to conform to certain societal criteria, but we should be thankful for those with the bod-mod “community” who are willing to debate the particulars of society’s perceptions of bod-mod. It’s not a “fuck the world, we’ll live how we wanna” kind of choice that will help the “community”, it’s the people who are out there in their respective fields helping advance bod-mod by fitting into pre-existing societal slots and pushing out their edges bit by bit.

    A person walking into the corporate environment with facial tattoos and missing digits saying, “I’m here, accept me or fuck you” will do nothing to help the community. However, a school teacher, a lawyer, an HR consultant, or any other “professional” who stretches their lobes or has extensive, but covered, tattooing will, through dint of their hard work and the respect they earn from it, help to further the mainstream acceptance of bod-mod.

  51. Tegumai, Rachel and others: Let’s not forget that the mere fact of being listed in the DSM doesn’t imply that two conditions are equally severe, but regardless, someone who feels a deep psychological urge to intentionally damage a healthy limb so severely that it must be removed is suffering from a mental illness. Body modification is explicitly different from altering the body for medical reasons.

    I also have deep reservations about so-called body modifications that are done in the manner depicted here, in which unwilling and unwitting participants are drawn into the process. First, you took up scarce medical resources that would have been better used caring for someone who didn’t deliberately harm themselves. I’ve no idea where you live, but unless it’s somewhere where you’re liable for 100% of the cost of your treatment, that means you also put pressure on the healthcare system as a whole, and very possibly cost other people money. Second, you forced your doctors to do what they ordinarily would not have done. We can debate whether or not the treatment for BIID *should* be removal of the limb(s) desired by the patient, but at present that is not the medically accepted treatment in any jurisdiction I’m aware of.

    Your comparison with transgender is not apt, since the majority of transgender individuals do not remove their own genitals or breasts (and yes, I’m aware that some hijra do remove their genitals, but they are a minority within a minority within a minority), besides which there are a multitude of other (social, cultural, historical, psychological and other) issues surrounding transgender which do not surround BIID.

    The point I have made repeatedly is that BME is ostensibly about body modification, not about the external effects of mental illness, and that presenting things like this at all, let alone uncritically, is deeply problematic. If self-amputations are to be featured, particularly those resulting from a self-professed mental illness, regardless of whether that condition is considered to have been cured by the amputation, then all forms of mental-illness-induced self-harm should be featured, and they would include the effects of anorexia, overeating, hair-pulling, skin-picking, excessive body-building and other disorders. Either body modification is a series of safe practices done by sane individuals or it is the external manifestation of mental illness; it cannot be had both ways.

    To # X regarding “psychologically sound,” you do make a valid point about ownership over our bodies. As you say, if someone wants to commit suicide they (should) have the right. But your point doesn’t seem fully thought out. For example, surely we can agree that, outside of the issue of euthanasia, few people who want to commit suicide are psychologically sound. And surely we can also agree that as a society it’s in everyone’s best interest to try to prevent people from killing or permanently damaging themselves.

    This is one major aspect that is missing from what little debate there is over these issues here: there is a point at which any activity becomes too extreme. I’m not fully decided about what that point is when it comes to body modification, but I’m fairly convinced that Tegumai’s action falls over the line.

  52. wow soo many close minded pieces of shit in here. let the man do what he needs to do to be happy. just because your not happy with yourself doesn’t mean you people have to try and bring everybody else down with you. even with one leg he is much more of a wholesome person than any of you will ever be.

    on a side note…you should totally make a captain morgans commercial

  53. also, you people talking about “self harm”…what is self harm…why dont you explain to me, explain to us, explain to BME what self harm is? I just stuck a 14 gauge needle into the skin on my forearm because I have the right to do so…Is that self harm? Tell me, what is self harm.

  54. Reading through a few more comments alot of people are arguing about mental illness and how modifications from a mentally ill shouldn’t be shown on this website. Did you take a split second to think about how many people on modblog, with scars and tattoos and piercings could have gotten them in result of having a mental illness? Does that mean that they shouldn’t even have modblog anymore, because everybody is a potential case of mental illness that resulted in a modification. BME should probably delete the website as a whole because its full of mentally ill people who do scary thing to their bodies. Just grow the fuck up :)

  55. @62 Fuck mainstream, and more importantly, fuck acceptance!
    I am SOOOO tired of these fucking newbs that get tattooed, pierced and stretch their ears because “it looks sick n’ gangsta n’ shit!”. These retards, with their “off the shelf” tattoos and messed up lobes are making me and everyone else with a deep and lifelong interest in body modification look bad! Nothing good have ever come from making things mainstream!
    And about acceptance.. I love when someone have the guts to just walk up to me and ask about my lobes because it fascinates them, and I always take the time to explain and answer their questions. But those who are so shallow and close minded that they want to tell me how wrong it is, don’t want to hire me because of it or simply tries to avoid me without knowing anything about me… Please tell me WHY I should care about them or waste even one word on trying to make them like me/accept me? In my opinion trying to fit in and please others is just pathetic. Be who you are, not what others want you to be!

  56. @63 I have discussed that topic and every aspect of it many times.
    But no, a person who wants to commit suicide is in most cases not psychologically sound – but shouldn’t he/she still have the right to do what seems to be the best solution?
    If a person is very ill, psychological OR physical, and treatment is no longer an option, they should have the right to do what they feel is necessary. If the pain is too great to deal with and a person just wants to have peace, the most cruel thing you can do is force them to live on.

  57. Hi Wob,

    I think you misunderstand my comparison with TG. Saying there is a difference because TG don’t have to resort to self-injury ignores the fact no hospital in the west would allow a surgeon to perform surgery for biid even when they are comfortable with doing it.

    Mr. Smith of Falkirk Royal Infirmary performed three amputations following psychiatric screening and with the agreement of the ethics committee in 2000, until the media got hold of the story and the hospital admin shut him down. While biid is different from TG the treatment was deliberately modeled on it.

    In the body mod community, why would there be an interest in cutters if plastic surgeons were willing and legally allowed to do every mod people wanted?

  58. Tegumai, I didn’t say that transgender people don’t “have to” resort to self-injury; I said that historically most haven’t, even when surgeries weren’t available.

    And maybe plastic surgeons should do some of the modifications currently done illegally by cutters: they do breast implants and nose jobs, after all. But none of that changes the fact that there’s a difference between medically necessary surgery (if that’s what your amputation represents) and body modification.

  59. Thanks for sharing with us Tegumai.

    Im glad you found this thread and answered many of our questions. I cant help but feel that Rob should have contacted you before posting this to the blog for some more insight and context.

    I wish you the best of luck, and im happy that you are happy with you choice.
    What you have done, and the ease and clarity with which you explain why you have done it, I find fascinating.
    I would be interested to hear more.

  60. re 67… I do not advocate total conformity for anyone. Indeed, the very idea of conformity is a farce as not a single person on this planet will conform body and MIND to ideals put forth from a mainstream, societal viewpoint. But get off it. One person’s reasons for modifying their body are no more valid than another person’s assuming they are of sound mind. Whatever YOUR reasons are, they are no more valid than the “newbs” you so virilently oppose.

    And assuming that you are important enough for anyone to approach to query the reasons or mechanics of your modifications is purely arrogant. Perhaps someone sees your stretched earlobes and is fascinated, disgusted, or indifferent. So what? There’s no prerogativeon your part to expect that they’ll query your choices of modification.

    Sure, there are success stories in the media, such as SkullBoy working with Lady Gaga, that probably make you think your “I’ll live how I want to live” attitude and demeanor will not impede your material success, but those are one in a million. You are not one in a million. Nor am I. So chill out with your holier-than-thou, “I’m such a rebel” bullcrap and sniff the manure that we al have to plod through grudgingly to make something of ourselves.

    But what you need to realise is that the people who handle HR for corporations will probably look down on your modifications if you don’t have the requisite qualifications and experience for the job. A “fuck you” attitude looks awesome on a GG Allinesque documentary, but for those of us with families to feed and careers to work on, a “fuck you” attitude does nothing but impede success. If I work hard, produce work of an exceptional standard, maintain a polite, respectful, but strong-willed demeanor, then my modifications will become less a problem for those who want to hire successful individuals. But if I walk into an office with my tattoos showing and with jewelry in my septum, without having a reputation precede me, I’ll earn the ire of those I am hoping to work with.

  61. Wob: I’m not surprised transgender didn’t go in for do-it-yourself sex changes. Amputation is a trivial surgery by comparison. Is it a case of “didn’t” or “couldn’t”?

    I think you’re right that biid doesn’t fit in with the bme community. As I said in my first post, I was directed this way by others and thought I might meet other people with biid here.
    I could add that I did have a nipple piercing back before I got married. Apparently my wife can deal with me losing a leg more easily than a small ring, so it went. Go figure.

  62. @Tegumai… You’ve done nothing wrong by submitting photos of your amputation. It’s up to BME as to how they use and portray the material you’ve submitted. And you don’t have to add in the fact that you had a nipple piercing before you were married as some form of currency as to why you might belong here, the simple fact is that no-one can tell you not to visit this site or submit pics. That’s solely your choice. BME isn’t about exclusion, it’s about inclusion. The dude a few posts above who was shitting on “newbs” and “retards” with “off the shelf” tattoos just makes himself look like an elitist fool who probably can’t form a cogent argument as to why his views shouldn’t be laughed at. Dude probably couldn’t define cogent without hitting up an online dictionary either.

    I repeat: From what I know of BME, having had involvement with IAM for a decent period of time a few years ago, I believe BME to be a place of inclusion, not exclusion. Healthy debate doesn’t mean people don’t belong. Shit, even if you just LIKE bod-mod, but have none yourself, I’d say you’re just as welcome as anyone.

  63. @72 I disagree on pretty much everything you have said so far.

    The individuals getting tattooed and pierced because they want to look like though guys are without any doubt harmful to the modified community, and I do not approve of their reason to do it. Why the hell do you think that “we” have a bad reputation? Because dedicated people puts a lot of time, effort and money into doing something fantastic with their body, or because a lot of lowlife, uneducated, criminal scumbags have adopted body modification and use it to scare, show gang relation and so on?

    And what the fuck is up with your Tyler Durden speach?
    I am an important and interesting person, just like everyone else is. That is not arrogance, that is self confidence. Even people I don’t find interesting because of how they have chosen to live their life will be interesting to someone else, and that goes for everyone of us.
    And when did I say that I want to have what SkullBoy has? I want the exact opposite! I don’t want to be treated different than everyone else, mods or no mods. All I said was, that I enjoy explaining why and how if I am approached by someone with genuine interest – just like I will approach someone with a nice car, bike or other things i find interesting.
    And again I have to point out that what I do is NOT about being a rebel, it is about being ME!

    “But what you need to realise is that the people who handle HR for corporations will probably look down on your modifications if you don’t have the requisite qualifications and experience for the job.” Unqualified = unqualified, mods or not.
    Hide and suck up to “the man” all that you want. You’ll be the one with ass-breath, not me.

  64. @74 I think that I have already explained in detail why I dislike “newbs” and “retards” getting mods for (in my opinion) the wrong reasons.

    And yes, I did have to look up “cogent” – English is my 4′th language and because of that there will naturally be holes in my vocabulary.

    On the other hand I gives me great pleasure to quote you: “Dude probably couldn’t define cogent without hitting up an online dictionary either.” and point out, that YOU just accused ME of being arrogant.

  65. Tegumai, I fully support what your doing and I hope you can find what your looking for. Sorry this community is full of a buncha whiny ass bitches who aren’t comfortable with themselves so they can’t even begin to conceive being comfortable with someone much more interesting like yourself. Keep on keepin on man.

  66. @X

    Your argument that “newbs” give other modified people a bad name doesn’t matter because as you said before, “Fuck acceptance”. What I think you really meant is “Fuck acceptance as long as it’s acceptable”. In which case, fuck you.

  67. @80 I don’t care about what others think about me or my mods, but I do care about idiots making body modification IN GENERAL look bad, dangerous and irresponsible.

    And fuck you too, fucking fucker!

  68. Dearest X,

    The simple fact is that everyone has the right to alter their body in whatever way they see fit. One may even be able to make quite a decent argument for gang tattoos being more similar to ancient tattooing practises than more artistic modern tattooing. In fact, it wouldn’t be hard.

    Gang tattooing shows an affiliation which is in many ways tribal, and as such numerous gang members in New Zealand, those of Maori ethnicity, treat their gang tattoos as they would treat ta moko, as a sign of affiliation and personal history. That’s not to say that gang tattoos hold objective cultural value in the say way as ta moko; I don’t believe that. But poo-pooing gang tattooing and saying that it brings our community down is bullshit. Tattoos originally came from that gritty, criminal element. It was always traditionally looked down upon and it was EMBRACED for those very reasons. Do you think Sailor Jerry would have liked tattoo conventions full of pretty buff boys with their picture-perfect tattoos? The rebellious, non-conformist attitude that tattpoing originally came from is still one of the very reasons why people get tattooed in this day and age. Those gang members you’re shit-talking are probably truer to the origins of tattoo than you with your grandoise dreams of a community that is embraced b y the mainstream.

    And what’s the deal with you talking about your individuality, your FTW stance on conformity, and then moaning about others bringing our community down? Why do you care? You’re so rebellious and non-conformist you’re jst a community unto yourself.

  69. Go big or go home. If you wanna cut your leg off, by all means. I salute your craftiness and success. Congrats.

  70. Quoting Wob, “you took up scarce medical resources that would have been better used caring for someone who didn’t deliberately harm themselves”. I also disapprove of resources being used in ways I disapprove of. Why, just think about all the expensive autoclaves being squandered by piercing studios, when so many medical clinics in rural and poor areas could use those machines for legitimate purposes!

  71. I, like many others, saw no point at all in amputation, and I saw it as mutilation. However, I had tried to understand. I looked through pictures of castrations, scarification, nullification in general, and other things I founnd upsetting and odd.

    And then I read the man’s comment. I still don’t understand, but getting a personality to the name and face really helps. If it brings him joy, who am I to judge? My mother has constantly looked at my piercings and muttered under her breath the question on everyone’s mind “Why?”

    My response to her is always the same. Because it makes me happy; because it brings me bliss.

    I expect her to take this answer, and yet, I never saw to accept that answer to these kinds of things. I always saw it as abnormal, strange, and honestly, it disturbed me! I too, was disgusted by the blogs acceptance and I even thought that BME LIKED and was in awe of things that I deemed monster-worthy. I thought that BME wanted more people to do things like this. It frustrated me.

    I never really bothered to think about the person; only their body. How could they mutilate it this way? But, I see it now as a different plain.

    BME does not want more people to do such drastic things to themselves unless it would truly, and genuinely make them swell up in happiness. Instead, they ACCEPT these people, and accept their versions of modifications. It’s really a beautiful community.

    Honestly, I kind of feel ashamed. I’ve wanted piercings and tattoos since I was 12 and people would look disgusted when I mentioned it. I would always be severely hurt by this. And now, I’ve judged as they’ve judged, and I feel sorry.

    I know that I would never do something like this, but I do have a lot of respect for people willing to push boundaries and do what makes them happy. This is what he’s (she’s? my apologies either way) chosen, and no one has a right to judge. This person has expressed his (her) happiness about the modification.

    And all I wish them is luck! I salute you!

  72. Tegumai, thanks for your input!!
    I’d definitely love to hear more from you.
    :)
    Congrats on the stump.

  73. I’m still trying to find some logic beyond my “its a leg, not a choice” opinion. In this matter I am very “PRO-Leg” I fear that I am either too sane or too close minded to get beyond that, even when taking into consideration all you have had too say, I think a person who has suffered the debilitating amputation would like to punch you in the throat.

    I remain disgusted by you modification, even taking all your input and trying desperately to MAKE IT MAKE ANY SENSE…..

    I am bewildered that anyone on here is able to say with a straight face that you had done the right thing or that what you did is even acceptable.

    The Emperor
    Has
    No
    Clothes!!!

    This should not be condoned, not even here.

  74. if you are interested in voluntary self-amputation you could read the book “Limbo” by Bernard Wolfe.
    it was written in the 50s and is about a post-apocalyptic society where Zen and Body Optimization are the ideals.
    Basically the story goes that they’ve developed these nuclear powered super precision limbs that can replace your human limbs and make the average person a superman, and people flock to get their limbs sawed off and replaced.
    other people just get their limbs sawed off so they can become what are referred to as “basket cases,” and sit in a basket all day legless and armless, just meditating, which is thought of as the final solution to human aggressiveness.
    there’s a conflict in the book between these two motivations, but yeah everyone’s just getting their limbs chopped off.
    it actually kind of reminded me of the effect of the internet.

  75. I know this is an old post… But I’ve always had a very strong fear of losing a limb, so I find amputation stories pretty fascinating. I am glad that tegumaib shared his reasons for wanting the amputation. I Think everyone should be able to modify their bodies in whatever way they want. It’s all in the perception, yeah, I can’t imagine cutting off a viable limb, but I also can’t imagine damaging my skin through scarification, or really doing any hard mod. Should anyone here be judging anyone else’s “state of mind” because really, it is purely subjective.

    As far as the insurance issue goes, people participate in risky behavior all the time, a lot of which ends in huge insurance payouts. No one would dare tell an obese person that their over eating is unethical, and that they need to pay oop for all their medical expenses directly relating to being obese.

    Anyway, I can’t imagine doing something like this, but more power to him for doing something that makes him feel happy and complete!

  76. I’m appalled at some of the ignorant bullshit being spewed here. I know this comes up with every amputation story, but Geez, people, get a fucking clue.

    Like Tegumai I forced amputation of my lower leg (mine is the right side). After living with one leg for over ten years I can absolutely tell you that my life is better this way. I can cite more than a dozen people I know who would say the same.

    The need to become an amputee, while different for every person with BIID, can encompass every facet of our lives. Yes, it can include sexual desire, but it may also be based on body image, identifying with amputees, the desireability of being “bionic”, and many others.

    There are many arguments (most refuted by others) that I would not mind so much if they were presented as questions for discussion instead of arrogant pronouncements. I find nothing so tedious on this site as the knee-jerk “you’re sick and you need professional help”. Lighten up, Francis.

    Point of fact: THERE. IS. NO. VIABLE THERAPY FOR BIID, short of amputation. NONE. Like many others, I wasted years and thousands of dollars in therapy and probably tens of thousands of anguished hours to no point. I still needed to be an amputee.

    Now I’m an amputee and it’s the best thing that ever happened to me. To the person invoking non-voluntary amputees wanting to punch me in the throat, I would counter that I have amputee friends who know my story and (to varying degrees) accept it. The prevailing opinion is “I have no dog in this fight”. I doubt this is representative of most non-vol amputees, but it is significant, nonetheless.

    I have one BIID friend with an above-knee amputation whose mother-in-law was herself a BK amp. She knew he was lying about how he lost his leg so he finally told her the truth. Her response was “Oh, is that all.” She was only mad that he didn’t feel he could tell her the truth.

    Finally, I would offer the parallel of the MTF person who transitions. Should a soldier returning from Iraq/Afghan who got his balls and/or dick blown off (and there are over 1800 of them so far) go and punch her in the throat? The point is that they are not comparable, just as my voluntary amputation is not comparable to my friend losing his leg in a motorcycle accident.

    Thanks to everyone who has contributed thoughtful, earnest questions and comments. To all the usual sanctimonious, hypocritical hand-wringers and hankie-wavers, all y’all can go fuck yourselves. I’m so sick of playing the game of “who is the least mainstream freak we can throw overboard so all the rest of us freaks can be more acceptable”. Fuck that fucking shit.

  77. Whoever said something along the lines of, ‘Why should piercing and tattoo studios have expensive autoclaves when hospitals in poor communities need them?’
    My reply, ‘Why should people getting modified be put at risk of infection, like it’s not a ‘worthy’ use of resources.
    Also, I was born with a slightly ‘crooked’ pinkie finger and I had the one on the other hand surgically modified to match.(After an accidentaq injury)
    I’m totally happy with my hands now.

  78. It’s disappointing that so many of these comments are so reactionary and closed minded.

    First, as far as mental illness goes, there is a condition that can cause people to want to become an amputee, as well as fetishes that can play a part. However, in essence this is still just a body mod, at the extreme end of the scale that includes piercings, tattoos, scarification, implants, bifurcation etc. My desire to have my leg amputated comes from there primarily, it is a step towards becoming my ideal vision of myself and I daydream about it the same way I daydream about other more accepted body mods. I do have a strong attraction to amputees, however many devotees have no desire to become amputees themselves in the same way most straight men would not want to become women.

    Secondly, the concern about insurance and the NHS. I don’t know about insurance but the NHS covers people for self harm, suicide attempts, and injuries/illness caused by high risk behaviour (cancer caused by smoking, injuries from extreme sports or drunk driving, etc). The NHS will also cover breast enlargements if you can sit through counselling claiming your flat chest is giving you depression. But the people taking advantage are the minuscule number of voluntary amputees? We all pay for the NHS through our taxes and we all pay for people’s choices we might not agree with. That’s just how the system works, suck it up.

    Final point, the concern about BMI covering something this dangerous. The fact is, people who want this badly enough will do it. I have been considering options for my amputation since childhood. Coverage of both successful and failed attempts will ultimately be what keeps me safe (or at least, safer) when i finally do it – and there is no if. What do you think would happen if no one talked about this, the desire wouldn’t go away, people like me would just experiment blind.

  79. this was done out of selfishness. if i was a person that legitimitly had to have a leg etc. removed, i would take a gun and shoot him just because of his ignorance. how many people out there would love to have their limbs back? what is it….he saw the sympathy and help that amputees get and wanted the same thing? hope i never run into someone like that because i would just punch them in the face.

  80. And my mother, who due to various medical issues has been stuck with hundreds of needles and biopsy punches and had to be tattooed as part of radiotherapy, struggles to understand why I’d pay people to do similar things to me for aesthetics. I used to have a shaved head and encountered a very small number of people who thought it was offensive that I’d do that from choice when some women lose their hair to chemotherapy. Is cosmetic surgery inherently offensive to people who have needed reconstructive plastic surgery? If we police what people do to their bodies by those standards we will be left with few options for body modification at all. The fact that BIID is a known disorder that causes people to need to become amputees – yes, need, often to the point of physical pain – which many psychiatrists recommend be treated by amputation of a physically healthy body part means that this is more a case of medical ethics not being up to date with recommended treatment plans than it is ‘selfishness’.

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