Amputation Interview Posted

When I posted his amputation photos last month, it raised quite a lot of conversation, so I’ve followed that up with an interview — click through to read that now and come back here to comment!

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About Shannon Larratt

Shannon Larratt is the founder of BME (1994) and its former editor and publisher. After a four year hiatus between 2008 and 2012, Shannon is back adding his commentary to ModBlog. It should be noted that any comments in these entries are the opinion of Shannon Larratt and may or may not be shared by BMEzine.com LLC or the other staff or members of BME. Entry text Copyright © Shannon Larratt. Reproduced under license by BMEzine.com LLC. Pictures may be copyright to their respective owners. You can also find Shannon at Zentastic or on Facebook.

236 thoughts on “Amputation Interview Posted

  1. Et dire que les amputés involontaires donneraient tout pour retrouver un membre…

    Cet exemple n’est pas blamable mais reflète à quel point on peut ne pas être satisfait de ce que l’on possède.

    Les bodymodifications à l’etrême frolent l’univers du glauque à ce stade…Tout est une question de méditation,n’est-il pas?

    Ainsi soit-il!

  2. This is beautyful… I’m sure, that’s better now then ever :S
    I don’t understand what people thinking while do these stupid things.

  3. Wow, a very interesting read. Not something i’d ever think of doing but if that’s what he wants to do, good on him.
    One thing that shocked me though was that his wife does not know.

  4. well what i think it pretty wrong is the fact he’s got a family and they have no clue of his personal motives. if you’re ballsy enough to chop off your own parts (which i dont’ think a lot of people are), then have some more courage to expose yourself to your wife and kids and then do it. seriously, i would be so humiliated if my husband (i’m not married btw) partook in something like this, and all the while had me worried shitless with “unlucky” accidents. do what pleases you but not at the expense of others. that’s fucking shameful to hide such a big thing like that from a family for self pleasure.

  5. There is something seriously wrong with this. Although he is not hurting anyone, it goes beyond the limits of my comprehension why anyone would want to cut parts of himself off to be ‘different.’ I really do think he should seek counselling. I am not be facetious. It’s just crosses the line of sanity. Just my opinion.

  6. well just because it good for the goose doesnt mean it is good for the gander, it is his thing he likes it, just because i dont understand it doesnt mean it isnt a real addition to who he is…

  7. It really blows me away that people think amputation is weird. Drastic, yes, but I would have thought that it would be obvious why people would be interested in it on a sensation/fetish level… And really, independent of sexual/fetish reasons, if one wants a REAL body modification experience, changing the fundamental structure of ones body is a great path to gaining new insights.

    I’d argue that, say, heavy facial piercing or tattooing is a lot “weirder” and harder to justify, both on an objective and a subjective level…?

  8. im interested in his subincision and penectomy attempts, are there any pictures of this in the galleries?

  9. the first thing I recognized in the picture was the state of his nails, they look like he has some nail fungal.
    I’ve been visitng modblog on a regulary base for approximately a half year and it’s surprising how “normal” pictures like this have become to me. If you had shown me this one a year ago I would have freaked out about the amputated toes, now I freak out about unhealthy looking nails. I think this is a good change :-)

  10. Great interview, I was shocked his wife doesn’t know, I wonder if she even suspects anything, the ‘hoof’ thing is a cool look though.

  11. I’m shocked that so many people are appaled by this gentlemans actions. If this makes him feel complete, whole and happy what right does anyone else have to say “here is the line” do not cross it. I wish him the best of luck. I admire his courage to share his modifications with the rest of the world.

  12. I absolutely love any articles/interviews about amputation on here, that’s actually the main reason that I have first checked BME. Thank you for keeping up posting on the subject.

  13. If he really feels a better/more complete/happier person with his body missing some parts – all the power to him!
    I`m not going to condemn him for his ‘kink’ but this is crossing MY “line of acceptability” here.
    And he’s definitely downplaying the risks associated with these DIY procedures. That there hasn`t gone anything wrong with what he calls “controlled infections” IMHO is a combination of good monitoring by himself as well as healthcare professionals – and sheer luck. While it may be as unsuspicious as possible under the circumstances, it certainly is not a method anybody would label as “safe”.
    I just hope he`s using his own health care money for his treatment and doesn’t rely on the chronically underfunded SA public system that is struggling to give basic care to those who really need it as it is.
    Oh, and thanks for the interview – topics like this make this site what it is!

  14. Shannon, I get exactly where you’re coming from. I think the reason alot of people find voluntary amputation hard to deal with is that a good deal of us retain our hard wired ‘shun’ reflex when it comes to ‘damaged’ group members.

    Anthropologists have postulated that because disabled or less able members of a highly mobile hunter/gatherer aboriginal group would slow down the group as a whole our ancesters would abandon or kill them. Such hardwiring can be seen when people are shown pictures of things that are distateful – worm infestations, severely broken limbs etc: as a rule we pull a rictus face, baring our teeth and drawing back. This instinctive reaction is linked to a primal horror of physical damage to an individual that might in turn slow the group down or indeed expose them to predator attack due to lack of mobility.

    I think that people’s instinctive reaction to such issues is doubled when they discover that the person in question has performed these ‘disabling procedures’ on themselves – in a way they have deliberately sabotaged the success of the group.

    Just a theory, feel free to disagree, props to the guy for sharing his story and for trying to be responsible in his amputations. Although I do find it slightly uncomfortable thinking that his family does not know about his interests…

  15. i agree with #20 about taking care of it himself. i can understand why people are so quick to persecute…what they don’t understand they immediately rebuke, isn’t that how it goes? but it seems what he is doing is something he wants. he understands the repercussions, and he understands the pain, and when it all comes down to it, it’s his decision.

    life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. if in that pursuit he wants to take a few limbs off, more (or less) power to him!

  16. What if someone grew a third arm? would that be weird?
    Or grow a second dick, I think I’d personally like that, 2 dicks. awesome. Or maybe if my girlfriend had 4 tits, cool.
    Lets even go more extreme, what if I wanted a tail? or scales, hmm scales could be fun… I’d personally like to have a little bit of fur.

    But hey, science isn’t quite there yet, so that’s not an option, so instead of changing, adding, they cut.
    Instead of changing in one direction, you change into another, because the first option isn’t available.
    I don’t think this guy would be very interested in growing a 6th toe, but that’s just him, he feels he wants to cut off stuff, great for him!
    Why is that so weird? I can’t get a hang of it.

    People aren’t usually attracted to amputations, it isn’t very aesthetic for one thing, and there is also the direct negative reaction, but that doesn’t mean that wanting is weird.
    I think I’d very much like to have an intimate relationship with a woman that has no feet/hands.
    I like my body parts, but not to perfection, I can imagine having different body parts instead, probably ones I would like better, but if that is not an option, sometimes it’s a good solution to just have them off.

  17. Here’s my problem with the whole thing. Personal freedoms not withstanding, pursuing an above-the-knee amputation (AKA) makes this man into a burden to society. This is one of those rare areas when society’s interest might really should be taken into consideration.

    Is he going to want a prosthesis so that he can walk? Will he be planning to take advantage of handicapped access? Will he begrudge places that are handicapped inaccessible?

    This goes beyond appearance or immediate infection risk, this is life long and not just stigmatizing but also a significant burden on others. This is a man who is electing to never be able to run with his kids, ever. He’s opting to place himself into a highly stigmatized group that suffers from many disadvantages throughout life. AKA will make everything more difficult. He won’t be able to drive even with a prosthetic without a significantly modified automobile, for instance. Stairs are extremely difficult for AKA amputees. Below-the-knee makes life more challenging, AKA is an order of magnitude further along the difficulty scale in terms of interacting with the non-amputated world.

    So what’s the answer? I’m not sure, but this gentleman likely crosses beyond the realm of what’s a reasonable personal freedom or body modification.

  18. For his wife not knowing about it, I’m with tinks.

    His wife is probably worried sick about his diabetes causing him non-healing infections which lead to amputations. It is cruel to not let her know. So he can give interviews to strangers and show off his stumps online but he does not dare to tell his wife about such an integral part of his personality? There must be far more “internal struggle” then he is comfortable to admit to.

    I’m still trying to make up my mind about the “voluntary amputation is an insult to amputees” question. What about using the logic of this statement elsewhere, like “suicide is an insult to everyone who ever died”? Me thinks that attempting suicide is the end result of a long and hard process when in the mind of the involved person are no other options and no doubt about the decision left. It is not disrespectful, it is the one possible solution for the individuum. Isn’t that the same with voluntary amputees, of course with the big difference that they are in a far better place, trying to make their lives better, not ending it? Or am I totally off with this train of thought?

  19. moddoctor – It doesn’t make him any more of a burden to society than someone who, say, requires state-sponsored psychiatric treatment for depression. He’s had a couple of short visits for clean-up surgery; that’s far less of a toll on the system than someone who goes in for counseling every week or two because they have trouble dealing with their lives.

    He’s also said (and I believe him) that he wants to be an ACTIVE amputee and that doing stuff is part of the fun. So I don’t think it’s at all fair to label him as a “burden”.

  20. Great interview, thanks both to Shannon and the interviewee.

    It’s reasonably clear that he’s not some desperately tortured soul, although I would have liked the question asked (‘Are you a chronic depressive? No really, are you an emotional wreck half the time?’), just bringing an explicit answer to the doubters.

    The issue of duplicity raised by Tinks is a real moral question; perhaps he shouldn’t be putting his wife through the pain. However, perhaps he’s causing less heartache (and maintaining a happy relationship) by keeping quiet; we don’t know the full story. Anyway, I believe that some ‘normal’ middle-aged men keep secrets from their wives… If I may venture a suggestion, I suspect that many people ‘feel’ something is wrong with this but know it’s not the amputation per se.

    But what does ‘wrong’ mean?

    Overall, amputation for many people seems one of those cases where it is important to observe the distiction between that which is ‘disgusting’ and that which is immoral. Those who consider themselves liberal cannot condemn victimless actions. However, people automatically react negatively on a visceral level to things that seriously contradict their own world-view, and shouldn’t feel bad about it (coprophillia anyone?).

    When we grow up, associations about the world develop in our minds that stay with us forever. Some grow up one way, some another, but most in any culture grow up roughly the same. This affects everything from sexuality to food (and is not in any way ‘hardwired’, incidentally). I personally have a passionate dislike of Hawaiian pizza (cooked fruit is wrong), and heinz baked beans (sweet legumes are also just wrong). While they may seem trivial, these associations grow out of the same symbolic complex that defines my gender, spirituality, attitude to various forms of danger, and so on. This psychological process is very different from the philosophical question of morality.

    All of the people who look at voluntary amputations, don’t like them, and complain about health service resorces, sanitary conditions, aesthetics, letting the side down in front of the ‘straight community’, or suggest that the guy is mentally ill need to give themselves a break. Either you are authoritarians (unlikely on Modblog), or you just think this is disgusting, and that’s OK because we all identify some perfectly acceptable things or concepts that are disgusting to us.

    To paraphrase Voltaire, ‘I do not agree with your self-amptation/shit-eating/gay-sex/pink-suit/pineapple-pizza/etc. but I will defend to the death your right to chop/eat/shag/wear/cook it’.

    Good luck to the guy, I say.

  21. I’ve been a BME reader for years. Shannon knows, I was there at the beginning. I’m sitting here, reading this interview and eating lunch. And I’m not the least bit queasy. I’m used to these sorts of things now. Thanks, Shannon.

  22. Shannon,

    There are significant distinctions between the activity level that a BKA and AKA can maintain. I’m quite serious at these being major distinguishing points on their own.

    Further, there’s not a level of clarity from the interview of how once he achieves these goals he intends to function. Does he plan to obtain a prosthetic leg? Who is paying for that?

    As a doctor, I live much of my life in the space where resource decisions are made. Amputees generally come to the front of the line for certain orthopedic support services that other injuries might not get priority for since walking is considered to be a significant life advantage.

    This guy is absolutely within his rights to amputate his own leg, as far as I am concerned but I want to know how he will mitigate the impact on those around him, from immediate family to all of society.

  23. amputation. at least its not crack…
    FlamingFist
    this way is better ha! “crack. at least is not amputation…. ” and the crack high is delicious !!!! i bet is much better then the high that he fells with his amputations.

  24. It’s wrong for him to be dishonest about this with his wife. They’re an intimate partnership; she has a right to know. And if he’s practicing deception with his wife, I strongly suspect there’s an element of self-deception in his mind as well regarding his reasons for doing this.

  25. Itai, I’ve got a sixth toe. Actually, I’ve got two of them – Twelve in total. At one point I even had eleven fingers.

    Digit amputations were what initially drew me to BME. Pure curiosity about people who turned “normal” feet and fingers abnormal when I spent a good part of my early life coveting the normals. The other part trying to keep pesky doctors knives away from them!

    (By the way, if anyone out there is a shoemaker. Please, take pity – it would be so nice to have pretty, girly shoes that come close to fitting!)

  26. This unfortunatly is something I really struggle with.

    I’ve always maintained that a distinguishing line between “modification” and “mutilation” is the fact that your mods do NOT impede your ability to funtion as a human being.

    I can understand at a base level why someone would be interested in amputation. you could say it’s really not much different from the fact that mods of a permanent nature are extremelly attractive to me. (very large stretched piercings, cartilage removal etc.) but for some reason i am finding it hard to hold the same attittude towards this.

    In my opinion it just seems that the negatives outweigh the rewards. Obviously this person understands the pro and cons, and feels differently then I do, because he continues to do this…

    but i can’t get over how… random it all seems. It comes across as a very unplanned and random series of procedures. I realize he has an end goal of a AKA.. but you would just think that a person would put more thought into something so important and durastic? I guess if the leg is going to be gone eventually, it won’t really matter.

    I don’t know.. I’m just blabbering.

    in the end: personally i just couldnt justify doing something to my body that would hinder my functionality is such a major way.

  27. If someone grew a third arm? Hells yeah that’d be seriously weird. More like miraculous.

    It’d be weird enough everyone would research it to find out how to let all of us grow spare parts, I’m certain! It’s the holy grail of a lot of medicine now.

  28. my only issue with this, is, as others have said, that he’s lying to his wife about it. that, imo, is far more “wrong” than the amputations themselves. i can’t help but assume they don’t have a very good relationship. because either a) she’s not worried about him or b) she is and he doesn’t give a damn that he’s putting her through all the grief of worrying herself sick over her constantly injured husband.

  29. I never really know how to respond when I see things like this. I know it is something that a grow adult of sound mind and body wants to do, just like those of us who want to pierce, tattoo, and scar our bodies..

    But, sometimes I think people do go a bit far. I know I am not the person to say to someone else thats not right, because they are not doing it to me, or anyone else. They are doing it to themselves, and harming no one else. I have actually always been a bit scared of those who are amputees let alone one who are amputees by there own hands…

    I have NEVER wanted to remove a part of my body…

    Until I started my menses. I have Endometriosis, and am starting to show signs of being allergic, to the birth control I am on to control my Endo. Without the birth control, I will menstruate, the Endo will grow, and I will be in so much pain I will be unable to move. Since I started mine, I have wanted my ovaries and uterus removed.

    I know that some will see me then as less of a women because of this, but to me it is what has to be done for me to be able to survive and be me. I guess is some ways that is the way people who choose to be amputees feel as well.

  30. The response to extreme posts are always the same. It’s so predictable. We’ve got:

    Poster type 1: “I like body modification, but THIS is just DISGUSTING and he OBVIOUSLY needs psychiatric help.” Can’t the fascists just go away and leave us in peace?

    Poster type 2: “Check me out, I looked at all the pictures and never winced once. I’m a proper hardcore Modblog reader, me, I’m so jaded and unshockable.” What is that supposed to add to the discussion? Nobody is impressed.

  31. The only thing about it that I find odd is that it’s not symmetrical. If my feet weren’t symmetrical it would annoy me.

  32. Dear #39, I really can’t think of changing my opinion just to please you.
    If that’s enough to make me a fascist, well, tomorrow I’ll race through my towncenter with a swastika drawn on my ass with a sharpie.

    That said, I won’t do anything to stop this guy from doing whatever he wants, but I still firmly believe that the whole thing is crap.
    The difference between modification and amputation is the same that divides decorating a wooden box with dremel, tools and colors and smashing it with a 3-ton hammer.

    Although they both employ cutting and poking holes and whatever, they have nothing else in common.

  33. haha @39
    i totally agree, but you missed one.
    poster type 3: whatever floats your boat but I wouldn’t do it!!!!1one

  34. I don’t understand how anyone could condemn what someone does to their own body. It does not effect you in the lest, why worry about it? Epically on a body mod website, as I’m sure quite a few of us have had to deal with similar comments, I know I have.

    And about him being a “burden on society” There are millions of amputated and “disabled” people who live very productive lives.

  35. Thanks for the interview Shannon. I thought it was very interesting and I can understand more why someone would do that. Once again I feel like i should respond to a few things that were said.

    Moddoctor said the following and it almost makes me wonder what kind of doctor he is cause he doesnt seem to know a lot about amputees or the issues we really face.

    “Here’s my problem with the whole thing. Personal freedoms not withstanding, pursuing an above-the-knee amputation (AKA) makes this man into a burden to society.”

    How exactly does having one leg make him a burden to society? Having been born without both legs does that make me even more of a burden? I know more people who are burdens to society and they are able bodied. Please if you make a comment like this back it up because this is total bs.

    “Is he going to want a prosthesis so that he can walk? Will he be planning to take advantage of handicapped access? ”

    So what if he gets a prosthetic. he is allowed to, its in his rights. Prosthetics get put on ebay, should we not allow able-bodied people buy them from there for the novelty? Why does it matter how they lost a limb if they are going to pay for a limb. Take advantage of handicapped access? are you kidding me? I’m sure you walk through automatic doors. Your abled bodied so why are you taking advantage of handicapped access. That is a rediculous arguement.

    ” This is a man who is electing to never be able to run with his kids, ever. He’s opting to place himself into a highly stigmatized group that suffers from many disadvantages throughout life.”

    If i can run competitively in races with 2 AK prosthetics why wouldnt he be able to run using one with his kids? The only disadvantages I tend to go though are when people underestimate me, think i cant do things. Sure things are harder to do but i wouldnt really consider them disadvantages, just part of life. Everyone faces some sort of this in their lives. And the only reason we are a “highly stigmatized group” are because of people like you who dont think we can do anything and consider us a burden. I can guarentee that i can do anything you can do and maybe even better.

    “AKA will make everything more difficult. He won’t be able to drive even with a prosthetic without a significantly modified automobile, for instance. Stairs are extremely difficult for AKA amputees.”

    I drive with 2 prosthetics and my car isnt modified. I dont need hand controls. and with his left leg being gone, he wont even have to have the break and gas pedals moved over since you use your right foot for those things. Stairs aren’t extremely difficult. I have no problems with them, then again i have had my whole life to adjust. Friends of mine who have become amps laer in life say that it was hard at first but like anything, with a lot of work and adjustment it gets easier and they get better at it.

    ” Below-the-knee makes life more challenging, AKA is an order of magnitude further along the difficulty scale in terms of interacting with the non-amputated world.”

    I find this comment the funniest. Most of my friends are able-bodied. I have no problems interacting with the non-amputated world, i dont know any amputees that do. That is th most rediculous thing i have ever heard.

    I am suprised a “doctor” would say this stuff. The people who have had the biggest faith in me and my abillities have been my doctors and they have always encouraged me. Never said I would be stigmatized my whole life, not be able to run or walk or drive a car or interact with non-amputees. Just like last time. If there is anything people have questions about or want to talk about anything said here feel free to e-mail me at leglessshane@yahoo.com.

  36. “The difference between modification and amputation is the same that divides decorating a wooden box with dremel, tools and colors and smashing it with a 3-ton hammer.”

    this is exactly what i think. thank you for finding the words that i had been looking for all this time

  37. I can deal with certain aspects of self amputees. What I can not deal with is hiding things the way that he is. His poor wife has no idea what is going on, yet he says he doesn’t care if people know? He is selfish and sick to keep these kinds of things from his wife, something that has such a profound impact on her, yet he is so selfish that he apparently can’t see it. Additionally to use his health insurance in such a way, well I call that being a theif. Do you know one of the reasons your health insurance premiums go up, because of the cost of the plan. I have no respect for someone that would for their own kicks and jollies lie to their wife and basically steal healthcare.

  38. I’m glas his last amputation healed up well! I was wondering what it would look like after the healing bits were over with.

    More power to you, if this is your gratification.

  39. The only problem I have with this is the fact that his wife does not know. Other than that, more power to him. It’s his body and he should be allowed to do whatever he wants with it. People get plastic surgery all the time to make themselves ‘feel whole’, to make the outside look like the inside, yet people disagree with this. Why? Because it isn’t as mainstream as breast implants and liposuction?? Because he’s removing something instead of implanting something? Because it isn’t a piece of pretty ink or shiny metal? People should be allowed to modify their body in way they want. It should be our right and our right alone to do whatever we want to with our bodies.

    As a sidenote: Does anyone watch Nip/Tuck? There was a rerun on the other night that dealt with a man in his 40′s who was seeking a leg amputation. No one would do it for him, though he offered ridiculous amounts of money. In the end, he opted for shooting himself in the thigh so that it could be removed due to damage. Wouldn’t it be so much easier if people could just get the procedure done instead of causing more damage to themselves?

  40. In response to Shannon, aside from the various views regarding the beauty or ugliness of amputations, I think people think amputation is weird because it inhibits the ability of the body to function normally in a way that piercings and tattoos generally do not: if you remove your leg, you must rely on some type of equipment to enable you to move around, whether it’s crutches, a wheelchair or a prosthesis. Even removing fingers or toes inhibits normal functioning.

    This interview really just leaves the same questions unanswered. How is this man not going to be a burden on the medical system? Even if he pays medical insurance premiums, it’s highly unlikely those paymens are sufficient to cover the treatment he requires when he induces infections to get doctors to amputate his various bits (in some ways, isn’t that a bit like committing suicide by cop?). Will he be paying for his prostheses and the other devices he’ll need to be able to function normally despite his disabilities? And how does he justify taking scarce resources away from those who become disabled unwillingly?

    This interview disturbed me a lot more than any of the actual amputations he’s undergone. This is a person who seems not to have clearly thought through at least some of his amputations. He hasn’t told his partner about what he’s doing, letting her believe he’s worryingly accident prone or ill instead. And if he’s thought carefully about the care and devices he’ll need in the future to enable him to live normally, it doesn’t come across.

  41. Shannon and Shane,

    “Having been born without both legs does that make me even more of a burden? ”

    “It doesn’t make him any more of a burden to society than someone who, say, requires state-sponsored psychiatric treatment for depression.”

    It is his CHOICE to do this. If he was born without legs or had depression it is hardly the same, as they are not self inflicted. He is chosing to make himself a burden to society and that is what I personally have a problem with. Why should my taxes pay for him to modify himself in this way, when there are people out there who have no choice in whether they have limbs or not? Personally I think he is being very selfish by taking money and resources away from these people, no matter how little the amount may be. I would much rather see my hard earned cash go on supporting people who deserve it.

  42. The guy in the interview says: “Disability is all in the mind.” Horseshit. That’s an insulting thing to say for a lot of people with disabilities, particularly high quadriplegics. Tell that to Christopher Reeve… oh, wait, you can’t; he died due to complications from his disability. This guy won’t amputate any fingers because, in my opinion based on the things he said in the interview, he knows that losing hand function is a disability that’s not “fun.” I doubt he’d proclaim that disability is all in the mind if he had no hands.

    Later he says: “I don’t really care if people find out they were all voluntary. They will get over it — there are more important things to worry about.” Horseshit again. If he didn’t care who knew, his wife would know. This, to me, shows that he knows something is wrong with what he’s doing. Addicts and other whos are involved in things that they know are wrong or self-destructive on some level exhibit this type of dishonesty all the time.

    I believe he has every right to amputate or mutilate or do whatever he wants to his body, as long as he’s prepared to take ownership of it and pay the consequences. The fact that he lies to doctors is bad enough; the fact that he lies to his wife shows that he is not prepared to accept true responsibility for his actions.

    I believe in the idea that a mentally competent human being has a right to live as they chose, as long as it doesn’t hurt others, and I even believe in the right to die on our own terms, if we can. Self expression can be a beautiful thing, be it tattoos or body mods or just coloring one’s hair, and if someone wants to pursue elective amputation as a form of self-expression, fine. But I think most of us know this is not really “okay” and that the desire to have elective amputations is rooted in something psychological that is off in some way.

    We don’t necessarily have to condemn this behavior–though I do condemn his cowardice in being dishonest with his wife about it–but by the same token, we don’t have to celebrate it either. Having an open mind does not mean we have to think “anything goes” or that anything anyone chooses to do to themselves is completely natural and good.

    Speaking of dishonesty, this guy is lying to himself in his thinking that his life is not at risk when he gets infections, introduces infections or lets infections grow. One can become septic and die very quickly from infections, which is exactly why the doctors are amputating parts of his body.

    Finally, about the idea of someone with an AKA being a burden on society: A disability can sometimes place a burden on family, friends and society, but there is not always a burden on society, depending on the level of one’s disability and the means by which they can afford to deal with that disability financially. I would argue, however, that there is always some burden on family and loves ones, if only emotionally and psychologically.

  43. “Yeuch, dyeing your hair is OK, piercing your lip isn’t.”
    “Yeuch, piercing your lip is fine, piercing your cock isn’t.”
    “Yeuch, piercing your cock is fine, hanging from hooks isn’t.”
    “Yeuch, hanging from hooks is fine, amputating your foot isn’t.”

    The last people think they’re different from the first, and that cracks me up.

    Odd that he’s a construction worker, though. I guess if he goes ahead with more amputation he’ll have to get a desk job – but that’s not a problem in an industrialised society. Why the hell would it make him a burden?

  44. I can’t say DIY amputations aren’t beyond my comfort zone (because they are) but it just really isn’t right he’s lying to his wife. If this guy doesn’t have BIID (body integrity image disorder) then I don’t think the disorder exists. This guy needs help, he just doesn’t know it, which is common among those with psychological disorders.

  45. “Why the hell would it make him a burden?”

    Because even if he works til he’s 65 and pays his taxes and pays for medical insurance, it won’t cover all the medical procedures and devices required by his voluntary amputations.

  46. amber, that nip/tuck episode saddened me greatly, as i was watching with two friends who viewed voluntary amputation as mutilation wheras i try to be tolerant and understand everyone and their choices for their bodies. its very frustrating to try to change the mind of two pierced people and make them understand that loss of a limb is the equivalent of a piercing for some. i feel normal with my nostril piercings and feel ‘wrong’ when i remove them. if someone feels ‘wrong’ with a leg, let them remove it.

  47. The pictures were hard to look at. This coming from someone healing a medium size skin removal with scabs stuck to the inside of thier pants. But I liked the way he described watching his toe die. How liberating to see that the body is just that. A part of it can die and you can walk (or hobble) away still you. That said I don’t like the deception of his wife.

  48. I struggle with friends and family asking me why I associate myself (As a “Body modification enthusiast and practitioner”) with the likes of people who “mutilate” their body by means of amputation and other seriously debilitating practices.
    I, myself, don’t really care what other people do to themselves, but I do resent being lumped into the same category as people who amputate digits and limbs and carve their genitals off.
    I think this quote:
    “The difference between modification and amputation is the same that divides decorating a wooden box with dremel, tools and colors and smashing it with a 3-ton hammer.”
    Articulates EXACTLY how I feel about it.
    VERY well said.

  49. > “Yeuch, dyeing your hair is OK, piercing your lip isn’t.”
    > “Yeuch, piercing your lip is fine, piercing your cock isn’t.”
    > “Yeuch, piercing your cock is fine, hanging from hooks isn’t.”
    > “Yeuch, hanging from hooks is fine, amputating your foot isn’t.”
    > The last people think they’re different from the first, and that cracks me up.

    I’m one of the last people, and I’m in no way afraid to admit it.
    I never really thought about being different from your average “mainstream guy” (I have extremely liberal opinions on certain subjects and almost-nazi thoughts about other ones), I really don’t care.
    But still, I think that there’s a giant wall that divides what I see as creative from what I see as simply destructive.
    Dyeing, piercing, tattoing, implanting an inordinate amount of crap under your skin is something I see as creative and able to produce beautiful results (though not necessarily), but I can’t really see the point in chopping your leg off, and I really think you can rationally think of *any* benefit in doing it.
    I think it’s sane as jumping in the fire to check if it’s really hot.
    I’ve always been totally in love with “freaky” people of any sort, as I child I kept wondering if there was a way of growing a tail (!) and was totally in love with Wednesday Addams, but frankly this is way reallyenormouslyquiteactuallyincredibly waaaaay too much.

    I believe he’s quite frustrated anyway.

  50. …More power to you!!! If this is what makes you happy, by all means then; be happy!!! I have nothing negative to say in my response to reading the “interview.” Stay up!!!

  51. I can’t really enter the above intellectual debate about what is too much and where the line between mutilation and modification is. All I know is that I can barely look at the pictures. They just hit a real reptilian part of my brain and “do not compute.” I cannot get my brain around them.

    The not telling his wife this is very weird as well. I can’t see how she doesn’t, on some level, know that something is up.

  52. I agree with #50, 53 and 55.
    “Body Modification”, as I see it, is about enhancing your body, making it look nicer i guess and more how you want it. However, if he wants his body to look non-human, which to be honest his feet do, then that does seem like some sort of BDD or BIID to me.

  53. Personally this is not for me, theres just something about modifying yourself in such a way that it could truelly affect your day to day life, theres such a permenance to it, even tattoos can be removed but this is pretty much it, no going back.

  54. I’m with the people who are upset that he’s lying to his wife. What kind of relationship can he have with her if he can’t be honest about such a vital part of his life? I guess voluntary amputations are okay to a point. If he were to amputate his arms and legs, that’s the point where he’d really become a burden on society/his family/whatever. I love having two feet, two legs, two arms, and two hands, but I guess there are people who would rather function differently. I don’t really understand how he could stand having such a nasty infection, even if it was important to his goal, though. Eeeeeee.

    And hooray, Shane. Thank you for telling off moddoctor. I doubt s/he’s a medical doctor anyway. :P

  55. Something that I find interesting is that the more “mainstream” body modification gets, the more the body modification community attacks those who are on the fringes. It’s kind of sad that much of heavy body modification is far less accepted in 2007 than it was in 1997… and that these days, many of the attacks come from inside the community. Very sad…

  56. …And I think it’s because these days people are “into” body modification as “fashion” most of the time, rather than because they are drawn to it on some low level…

  57. Somebody might want those toes, too bad he got them infected and ruined. I got a small piece of my thumb cut off in a woodworking accident. It would have been nice to have a selection of parts at the hospital from people who didn’t want them to replace it. I don’t mean to sound judging if I do, I’m just saying. I guess no one would cooperate with someone who wanted to donate their parts. If I had to go through it again I would want I piece of my toe on my thumb. It would be much more useful there.

  58. It seems to me he’s just lucky he hasn’t gone septic with any of these DIY amputations/infections.

    It’s interesting that doctors will do gender reassignment surgery on people, including breast tissue removal and penectomy (sp?), but not voluntary amputation.

    I wonder if the amputations would hold less attraction to him if done in a medical setting. It seems he enjoys the DIY aspect of this quite a bit.

  59. Very Interesting. I’d never do it myself but when i was reading this article, my feet litterally started to hurt. Freaky :P.

  60. What an amazing , interesting interview! Thankx Shannon.

    I agree with those who say it’s wrong to hide this from his wife. I’m sure she is guite worried when he gets “sick” and has to have surgery. But then, how do you bring up the subject?
    Concerning a finger or toe…perhaps…but this quite catastrophic mid-foot with plans for an above-knee?
    It’s almost as if he’s in too deep to tell her.

    At least he’s paying for this himself thru insurance and is taking on the responsibilities of the limitations of his “handicap”, and tho I would never consider amputation myself…I find his story fascinating. I DO think inducing infection especially with diabetes, is unpredictable and foolhardy. But I think he did it out of desperation. It’s not like he can just go in and electively have an amputation. You can change your sex surgically (yes, I know there is MUCH more involved than the mere surgery) but you cannot get your leg cut off no matter how much pre-surgical analysis and councelling you are willing to do beforehand.

    The toe proceedure he is going to do with his right foot to get the proportion correct…I can somehow see that as a well thought-out modification where there is a visual appeal.
    The mid-foot looks bad (to me) and I hope he gets his above-the-knee and has a tidy stump and is happy.

  61. Excellent interview. I think it is a little odd that his wife doesn’t know, you’d think there’d be some clues or something, but he’s doing it for himself, not others, so kudos to him for living his life how he wants. Thanks for posting this Shannon, I’ve been looking forward to it since you said you were doing it, when there were all the pictures posted. :)

  62. @#66: That is because “the community” is A LOT larger and has grown to include those “fashion conscious” members who weren’t here in 1997. That’s part of the price to pay with everything that suddenly gets to be “in”. I don’t really consider myself part of it although I enjoy to engage in activities that most would label as ‘fringe’, too.
    Im actually enjoying reading this discussion – there seems to be far less ‘kindergarten’ than with some other “modification or mutilation”- themed entries you published here in the past. Is that real or just due to more stringent moderation of comments?

  63. I’m all for “live and let live”…but how about he gouge out his eyes then lets all talk about the disabled. [and my husband is blind...] To me this guy talks in circles..but that is “cool”…geeshhhh

  64. Re: his wife / keeping it a secret

    I think he’s on the edge of telling her; he wants to come out. I see it sort of like coming out of the closet — people hide it from those closest to them for a long time… Longer than they should, but at the same time, it’s not an easy thing to reveal.

    I’m sure he agrees it’s wrong to hide it, but it’s easier said than done to admit it, I’m sure. Hell, how many guys hide even minor stuff like the porn they download from their wives? (And as much as major is more important, I’m sure you agree that major is HARDER to tell).

  65. Bastian – The only comments I don’t put through moderation are first time posters that are overly hateful (ie. “this guy deserves to die”, etc.)… Other than that there’s no moderation.

  66. You know what, I read this article a few hours ago and have been digesting it ever since and all I could say is…if that’s what rocks your socks more power to you Leen.

    Just come clean with the wife and hope she understands. That was one of the many things that stood out

    Its not my kink or my thing but who the fuck am I to judge?

  67. The thing I find most interesting about amputation of any sort (and it seems like the subject might agree) is seeing how the amputee adapts to life without that particular body part. If I were to ever amputate a part of my body, it would be just to see how it would change day-to-day function.

    So I wish the interview had a bit more of that. But perhaps losing half of one’s foot doesn’t have as big an impact as I’d think it would.

    As far as the loaded “voluntary” question goes, do people who were forcibly tattooed consider it insulting that people would choose to have their bodies marked? And does that mean people with non-voluntary amputations are feeling insulted, or people with no amputations whatsoever feel that amputees might feel insulted?…

  68. I really enjoyed the interview. The guy seems very bright and knows exactly what he wants. If my tax dollars are helping him achieve his body mod goals then I’m all for it.

  69. Well, enough people have reiterated my feeling on voluntary amputation that I don’t feel like repeating myself, but…

    YOU ARE LYING TO YOUR WIFE, LYING TO THE DOCTORS and most importantly LYING TO YOURSELF if you think (not what) but the WAY you are doing this is okay. Its a fetish, that’s obvious from several of the comments made in the interview-which is well and good. Sure, you have insurance-lucky you btw-but premiums are already high-higher still for people with chronic illnesses like diabetes. So thanks for doing your little part(or should I say doing away with little parts) to drive up the overall cost for the rest of us-its the attitude towards the insurance companies, not country/country/corporations sensitive-which is not cool. This is a selfish, dangerous act with real consequences for others, namely his wife and family. So he’s willing to deal with using prosthetics? Great! Is everyone ELSE in his life willing to deal with it? And inducing infection? Sorry but that is the height of stupidity in my mind. Sure it helps him along towards his goal but what if he doesn’t catch the infection before it advances towards septicemia? Antibiotics don’t always work well, especially in people with the poor circulation often present with diabetes AND any doctor will tell you you can build up immunity to them, even in one prescription. just foolish. Now lets get the real issue-you have a wife and children. If something else does go wrong who will provide for them if one of your elective procedures becomes deadly? Your pension and death benefits? Again that is a system set up for unforseen death not a protective clause for yahoos with a amputation fetish/fixation. its not about what people think about those with amputations, voluntary or otherwise-I know several people who fall into both sides of that equation but in all cases they take personal responsibility for what they need to do and most importantly THEY TELL THEIR PARTNERS THE TRUTH. I have no respect for someone who is willing to lie at this level about something as important as this just so they can get what they want-not that he cares about what others think. Its just not cool. Thanks for the interview Shannon. Even though I don’t find his methods acceptable I still enjoy learning more about this type of body modification.

  70. I find all of this very, very interesting.

    I have always known what my body should/will look like. Scarification, tattooing, piercing and implanting are my modes of meeting that self-image. I can not deny my self-image, weather future or now a part of my skin, any more than I can deny the need to breathe.

    When Leen speaks about his amputations, his words are familiar. It is wrong that he has not told his wife, but like Shannon, I think that he is on the verge. Remember, he has to first come to terms with what he has done and why, before he can help anyone else understand. From what I have read, he seems to have hit that last lock, before the windows open and the truth streams out.

    Good luck to him.

  71. Yeah, amputations, beyond my comfort zone. His life, his body. He can have his fun. Here’s what gets me the absolute most:

    A partial penectomy without consulting his wife? That gets me more than the not telling the wife it’s all voluntary–consulting her before attempting that. I don’t know about their personal life, but I’d have a thing or two to say if my SO wanted one.

    Beyond that, it’s very Freudian. (I’ve been at university too long.)

  72. I’m really quite fine with his self-amputations, really. I find it pretty disgusting that he’s not being honest with his wife, and I’m very mildly bothered that he’s using his health care provider (and therefore everyone else’s higher insurance premiums) to do this. To me that smacks of the same sort of cultural sense of entitlement that shoplifting for non-essentials has.

    But mainly, I just can’t imagine doing this, or needing or wanting to do this, without being honest with the woman I’ve pledged to spend my life with. That’s just wrong.

  73. I’ve thought about amputation a couple of times. It really doesn’t scare me as much as it used to. It’s pretty fascinating, but the infections are just GROSS!

  74. Re:His medical costs are far less then those with mental disabilities.

    People with mental disabilities have absolutely no control over what they are going through. Society should be available to help them, considering it is a ‘disease’.

    This man chooses to do this. I don’t think that anyone should help him in any cost’s that go towards his amputations.It is purely choice..and society shouldn’t have to pay for such choices. They don’t pay for piercings, tattoos, ect.!

    I mean, to each their own. I personally don’t support this, but if this makes him happy, then go for it. As long as others aren’t brought into it. He should be fully responsible for everything.

    Also Shannon, I don’t think that people in the mod world should be pressured to view this as ‘okay’ or ‘right’. Yes, they should learn to deal with it, but they should still be able to speak their opinions without fearing people will look at them differently..or see them as being judgmental.

  75. You know Shannon, you’re right. I thought I had read it in the interview but after pages and pages of comment my mind probably scrambled the facts. Apologies. still, I stand by everything else I said, kids or no kids.

  76. I find it surprising that people have trouble understanding why he’s not out to his wife… it’s VERY common for people to hide things like this. Right or wrong, it’s quite normal, and I don’t think that outrage about the sanctity of marriage is particularly productive…

  77. starspring – Surely you must know guys that spent years hiding their sexuality from their family, friends, and spouses… They’re not bad people for it. It’s not easy coming out. You know this.

    Is it right that people stay in the closet? No. But it doesn’t make them bad people. It just makes them people who are going through something difficult to reveal to those closest to them…

  78. Shannon-what I did wonder about was what SHE thinks of her husband being so “accident prone”. Then again marriage means nothing to me-of course I can’t legally get married. Maybe I should move to Africa-you seem to be able to do just about anything there. ;)

  79. I can’t say the general reactions have surprised me, but I did hope that a community constantly bemoaning their lack of acceptance in ‘mainstream’ society would be less judgmental towards someone on the fringes of their own community.

    I don’t see a difference between the average person judging someone with piercings and tattoos, and someone with piercings and tattoos judging this person.

  80. #79 LotN says “As far as the loaded “voluntary” question goes, do people who were forcibly tattooed consider it insulting that people would choose to have their bodies marked? And does that mean people with non-voluntary amputations are feeling insulted, or people with no amputations whatsoever feel that amputees might feel insulted?…”

    Well, I found it interesting that in the interview with the other voluntary amputee that was before this one (the guy who invented a lot of prosthetics, and had an above the knee amputation, as well as missing a hand IIRC), even that guy, who was very involved in the amputee community, mentioned that he “just didn’t tell them how he lost his limbs” or something to that effect. So apparently even he didn’t feel that all of the more mainstream amputee community would be exactly welcoming to find out.

    As for the forced tattoos question – I’d bet you would find a lot of resistance if you had a tattoo that was the same as a recognizable forced tattoo. Say, a tattoo that was concentration-camp style ID numbers. You might have a good reason for it (tribute, etc come to mind pretty quick) but I wouldn’t be too surprised if there was some resistance, and particularly if you were of a similar age as survivors.

    There are occasionally posts that complain of people getting certain cultural motifs without going through the usually accompanying ceremonies, etc, too.

    Heck, if you go read through the posts on that “trans-abled” site linked from the other amputation article, there were some letters posted from people with congenital disabilities who were not welcoming at all.

    Speaking of people who get sex-reassignment surgery, absolutely there are reactions that they “aren’t real women” when it comes to M-to-F. Remember the dust-up when some M-to-F wanted to attend the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival?

    It’s not only voluntary amputees who get the reaction. Reading around all these things, it seems to me that there’s an element of someone trying to join a group that is viewed by society as disadvantaged. Those who are born into it or become members involuntarily, who have always been members, often DO resent people who had the choice not to bear the disadvantage, who are “horning in” on the support group, trying to become insiders. In the very mildest form, some of the reaction toward “hippies” as people playing with voluntary poverty are similar.

    I can’t say that’s what happens with the reaction to voluntary amputations, but some of it does seem similar to me.

  81. as for comparing him not telling his wife to a gay person “coming out of the closet:” i don’t see it that way. if someone i care about is gay and he doesn’t tell me about it, no harm done. if someone i care about is constantly getting infections and having accidents and losing more and more body parts, harm is indeed done as that would cause me to worry myself crazy over this person. i mean, i fully understand why he’s hiding it and i understand how hard it must be for him to stand up and tell his wife about it, but that doesn’t change the fact that she’s probably out of her mind with constant worry. sometimes you just have to suck it up and tell the truth. keeping this a secret shouldn’t be more important than his wife’s feelings, even if telling her would make things more difficult for him. i’m glad that he’s finally considering telling her and i hope he has the strength to stand up and do so.

  82. crystallinectar – So you’re saying it’s harder on a woman in a marriage to be married to an amputee than a gay man? :P I’m not saying either should be hidden, but I think it’s a fair comparison.

  83. For those who have felt it necessary to call me out for not venerating all modifications as responsible exercises of personal freedoms, that’s your right. I’m definitely a licensed physician and I’ve always viewed my role here as being one of pointing out areas of concerns. This particular individual is the flash point for numerous concerns from his desired mods to his level of secrecy from his loved ones. This are areas worthy of discussion and concern. I really think that, but apparently that’s not a valid position.

    I haven’t accused anyone who claims to be an amputee of lying. I haven’t accused anyone who endorses this behavior and modification of being anything less than someone who endorses these behaviors. The lack of decorum that anything other than abject support for those featured on modblog generates is disconcerting to me.

    The issues of having AKAs are complicated. We apparently cannot discuss those things here. People who end up with AKAs in my practice career have never once been glad to lose their leg. From a functionality standpoint orthopedic surgeons work very hard to preserve the knee joint because it makes huge differences in the functionality of prosthetics. But I clearly am not entitled to know this.

    I cannot and will not venerate dangerous and self destructive behavior. Period. Modification for it’s own sake has limits in my worldview and I admit that freely here. Can you others accept your own limitations?

  84. I dunno, Shannon. You seem to take a default position that any “modification” of any body for any reason is acceptable, good, and defensible. You’ve defended the decorative tattooing of dogs, the voluntary removal of body parts including major limbs, body modification artists performing surgery, and various other practices that could at the very least be considered borderline. People have raised what I consider very valid points regarding all these, yet you haven’t taken any position, and I haven’t seen many of these points raised in your interviews.

    Several voluntary amputees themselves have indicated that their desires are disordered; so is anorexia nervosa, yet you don’t feature it on BME. In fact, I haven’t seen any images or discussion of people who’ve drastically modified their bodies through such means as extreme dieting or extreme body building. Why not? Is it because you recognise that such behaviours have a basis in pathology?

  85. Exploding Boy… Um, I haven’t defended tattooing dogs or anything/anyone else that can’t give consent, so please do NOT suggest that I have.

    I have posted about body building and both fasting and gainer culture as well. I don’t think that body building is a sickness, nor do I think weight control has to be either — both absolutely CAN be valid forms of body modification. As long as it’s consensual and the person understands what they’re getting themselves into, I support it.

    I do not feel that it is my place to put limits on other people’s freedom of expression, and while I enjoy interviewing people about their interests, I do not feel particularly motivated to structure an interview over old and tired insults that reflect a shallow understanding of what they’re about, even if that is the first thing that crosses the mind of the mainstream reader.

  86. I guess I am just feeling empathy for the wife. It actually seems less serious to me than hiding a secret sex life and possibly giving her a disease or virus though. This all has me thinking of that scene in the Stephen King movie Cats Eye where the women is holding a champagne glass and the tip of her little finger is gone…I would never do that(I think) but if I did I would cut it off clean and bloody. I didn’t like the”in progress” photos of all that infection. But maybe thats part of it for him? Controlled infection…I get into that with my healing scarifications.

  87. I do agree that he’s probably “in too deep” to want to tell his wife now, which is really sad. It’s going to be harder for him now that he’s come all this way, but I guess he can’t change the mistakes he’s already made (i.e., not telling his wife before he started all this). I hope it works out all right for him and for his family.

    moddoctor – Sorry for being a jerk. I had a strong reaction to some of your assertions, particularly that losing one leg will make this guy a “burden on society” and that he can’t drive a car with only one leg. Maybe these were your own strong reactions to the initial post. I found it upsetting that a doctor would be so negative about an amputee, even if the amputation was voluntary.

    Personally, I’m a little curious about phantom limbs, but I would never actually do it. I love my body parts where they are. :)

  88. I think ‘akibare’(#97) raised an interesting point, about the stigma on people who choose to join a group generally seen as disadvantaged.
    A few have touched on the issue of voluntary amputees being somehow hoarders of pity rightfully deserved to involuntary amputees, and the response of an amputee here, ‘Shane’(#44), being “What makes you think we want your pity?”(paraphrased but seems accurate)
    In life, there will always be people who tell you that the way you live is wrong. The decisions you make, your favorite brand of peanut butter, or the way you look, there’s always someone who will disagree. At the end of the day, it’s you who has to live with yourself, so do the best you can to make that possible.
    I’m glad things like this get posted and discussed, because it’s informative and it makes you think(well, at least some of the comments do). I think that someone somewhere at any given time, will be wanting to amputate their limbs or fingers or toes or whatever. Perhaps they’d be doing it even without the information and suchlike; indeed I’d bet that people HAVE. And at least this is a venue where they will know a. they are not alone, b. perhaps there is a NAME and PLACE for what they feel and who they ARE, and c. there is at least some information and maybe even options in existence.

  89. “Um, I haven’t defended tattooing dogs or anything/anyone else that can’t give consent, so please do NOT suggest that I have.”

    Yes, you have. Here: http://modblog.bmezine.com/2007/05/24/lost-and-tattooed-dog/ you say (among other things) “A [decorative] tattoo on the dog of a loving (misguided or not) owner is really a complete non-issue.”

    But you’re still not really giving a response. I didn’t say that body building was pathological, but that in some cases extreme body building can be, as can extreme weight loss. When a skeletal appearance results from an eating disorder, it’s an illness, not a body modification. Just to be clear, are you claiming this type of dieting is a form of body modification that should be supported?

    I think it’s disingenous to simply dismiss people’s thoughtful points as “old and tired insults” or “shallow understanding.” Some people participating here are attempting to engage in thoughtful discussion about issues (such as, where’s the line between “body modification” and “self mutilation”) for which there are few easy answers and many reasonable concerns.

  90. “crystallinectar – So you’re saying it’s harder on a woman in a marriage to be married to an amputee than a gay man? :P I’m not saying either should be hidden, but I think it’s a fair comparison.”

    Typically, the wives tend to be oblivious (or damn near) to the fact their husbands are gay. The men go out of their way to make their marriage seem as normal as possible. If my husband were diabetic and was always getting infections and losing body parts, I would be worried out of my mind. Whereas, if my husband were secretly gay, it would would be pretty hard for me to be worried since there wouldn’t be anything obvious for me to notice.

    Every time this guy has to go to the hospital for an infection or amputation, he’s putting his life on the line. This would have to be incredibly hard on his wife. For all she knows, she’s watching her husband die little by little, piece by piece. Due to the fact that she believes this is brought on by bad luck/diabetes, I’m guessing she feels pretty helpless.

  91. Shannon-yes, I agree. Although, honestly, I see this as more along the lines of a gay guy married to a woman who is cheating on her with guys. Not simply a gay man married to a woman who is trying to come to terms with his sexuality and/or trying to figure out how to tell her. I don’t know if that makes sense or not…

    In the first case, the guy is actively pursuing something that is directly harmful to his wife. In the second, he’s contemplating and attempting to come to terms with something before telling his wife. I see a difference there.

    But like I said, I do understand why he’s kept it hidden, and I’m glad he’s trying to figure out how to tell his wife. I just think it would have been nice if he had discussed these desires before he acted on them, though I know that’s not always a realistic option. Either way, I hope it goes well for him, and doesn’t cause any long-term problems with his marriage. Hopefully she’ll be understanding of his choices and things will work out ok.

  92. Although I understand sympathy for his in-the-dark wife, I don’t think anyone is really giving consideration to just how hard it will be for him to reveal this secret. Just look at the reactions of this community. Here we have a group of people who are accepting of hanging from hooks, implanting objects, cutting, etc. and even some of you are completely appalled by these acts. The fear of having someone you love react in the same way, well it’s absolutely terrifying. To be an outsider in a community such as this (which I would definitely consider myself as) is a struggle. When the outsiders judge you as an outsider, it’s hard to be open and honest with all of your feelings…So give the guy some credit…This isn’t just hiding a belly button piercing from your parents. It’s seeking the complete acceptance of a loved one regarding a subject that is shunned by most of society.

    Also, I understand this feeling that he is putting a strain on the health care system by pursuing this. What about when piercings/other modifications become infected? When these people flee to a hospital for medical care, I never seen anyone complaining, saying that they should have never got that piercing knowing that they had the chance of using up already stretched thin medical care. I know amputation is a much more extreme case, but any form of body modification has the risk of medical intervention.

  93. I think the points made about how so many insults come from within the body modification commnunity are valid. Maybe I’ve just lived in a very rude and conservative town, but I lost track long ago of how many times people made comments that basically amounted to saying that I was self-mutilating myself — and I have FAR less extreme mods than Leen, Shannon and probably half of the people who’ve posted here.

    As with many things, society has been conditioned as to what’s acceptable and what isn’t. Amputation has definitely fallen into the category of always being a tragic circumstance and therefore why would anyone want to do something like that voluntarily. It doesn’t necessarily have to be tragic or negative…so why must we echo what someone has probably said to any of you with facial piercings or even tattoos: “how can you do that to yourself?” to someone who just has a different view of themselves?

    When I first started coming to BME, I was shocked by voluntary amputation. I was also a bit shocked by tongue splitting, subincisions and just about anything else that went beyond piercings, tattoos and less extreme scarifications. But keeping an opened mind and talking to people who had heavier modifications made me realize that they’re no different than me. They just have different aesthetic tastes that are no more wrong than mine.

    There is definitely a mental health aspect, but in my opinion it only has to do with not rushing into things. This is something that requires commitment and a person who seems sane and logical, as Leen does, understands what he is getting himself into long term. Going into it on a whim would be where I’d have issue with it.

    I also have to agree with Shannon and some others about Leen’s wife not knowing — it must be hard to worry about her reaction. I would definitely have liked to see more of an in-depth exploration into this aspect within the interview, but it probably is a sensitive subject for him. It just amazes me the things people think they must keep from their spouse — internet porn was a good example — in order to be loved. I do feel lucky that I am in love with a woman who doesn’t necessarily share my deep interest in body modification but accepts me and knows my feelings on the topic (my acceptance of the more extreme forms of modification included). I’ve told her before that if she and I ever separated I think I’d have a hard time finding someone as accepting of me even within the body modification community — and that’s just for my opinions and acceptance of the extreme.

  94. and to Exploding Boy: I don’t think Shannon was saying with that comment that he supported the tattooing of the dog at all. It seemed to me that he was merely trying to make a point. If you don’t speak out against docking tails and ears, against eating meat, against identification chips and tattoos, etc., then you have no right to speak out against a decorative tattoo on a dog. Honestly, as against it as I am, it was done under anesthesia, which I can assure is far less painful for the dog than it is for the chickens on chicken farms that people gobble up everyday.

    As for mental illness vs. body modification, We have no evidence at all that this guy is doing these amputations due to some psychological problem. From reading the interview, it sounds to me like he was curious and liked the way it looks. He says there was no internal struggle. That to me, doesn’t sound like a mental problem. It’s no more crazy than me doing a suspension because I was curious about how it would feel, or me getting a piercing because I like the way it looks.

    I do agree that there is a difference between wanting to do something and needing to do it. In some cases, voluntary amputation is driven by a psychological problem. But this doesn’t seem to be one of them to me.

    And even when it is psychologically driven, there is most often an end goal, and when that’s reached, they’re done. There’s been quite a bit of research to support this. Unlike anoretics, where there is never a real end goal and they keep going indefinitely, most voluntary amputees reach a set goal and stop. I’m not saying it’s healthy or that I would recommend for those with a psychological need for amputations to pursue it in all cases, but as long as they have an end goal and actually stop there and it solves the problem (and it usually does), then who am I to tell them not to do it?

  95. “I don’t think Shannon was saying with that comment that he supported the tattooing of the dog at all.”

    Well, the contexts of all his posts on that subject read as a defence to me.

    “As for mental illness vs. body modification, We have no evidence at all that this guy is doing these amputations due to some psychological problem.”

    On the contrary, I think it could be argued that certain features of his practices point exactly that way, such as the apparent lack of forethought given to at least some of his amputations, and the fact that he’s hiding it from his wife. I’m not necessarily making that argument.

    “And even when it is psychologically driven, there is most often an end goal, and when that’s reached, they’re done.”

    Well sure, but that doesn’t make it any less pathological, does it?

  96. I’m sorry but that is hot as hot can be. I’m still trying to find a way to amputate the tip of my left ring finger without my husband knowing I did it myself. He already is hiding the cigar cutters from me. :)

  97. Well, he did say “Personally, I wouldn’t tattoo a dog”…

    And I do think some of his procedures were, well, idiotic, but it sounds to me like they were pretty planned out, even if they didn’t go as planned (just one reason I’m not a big fan of DIY). As for him hiding it from his wife, I hide the fact that I smoke from my in-laws as does my husband. Does that mean we have psychological problems? No, it means my mother-in-law would lecture me for a month straight if she knew I smoked. People hide things for many reasons. It seems the reason here is apparent. Whether he’s crazy or not, his wife very well may think he is. She may not accept him. It’s the same reason gay people hid their sexuality.

    And no, it doesn’t make it any less pathological. I’m 100% for those with psychological problems of any sort seeking therapy to deal with the issues rather than taking them into their own hands. It’s not always an easy step for someone to admit their problems to someone else. I’m not condoning his actions if they are due to some mental problem. But it’s not my body. I don’t know what’s going on here, so I’m going to reserve judgment. It’s his body, his right. Do I agree with it? No, not in the least. I would never do this myself, nor do I support his choices. But I do support his right to make those choices. I personally believe that anyone with some psychological need should seek amputation as a last-ditch option and attempt therapy first. But unfortunately that doesn’t always happen. And I’m not saying that just because there’s a set end-goal, that somehow makes it more ok than other illnesses like anorexia, but most often, it’s nowhere near as devastating. I know a guy who removed his own testicles. He was unhappy before and now he’s happy. I wish he could have been happy without having to go through with it, but if doing it made his life better for him, what right do I have to judge his decision?

    Shannon’s amputation posts always bring up conversations like these, and it always turns into a debate. I tend to be of the “it’s their body…” mindset. I don’t always agree with things but, well, it is his body. I can’t say he’s wrong without feeling just as shitty and judgmental as my grandmother who thinks I’ve mutilated my body by getting genital piercings.

  98. Some valid points.

    But what this post really leaves me wondering is, how on earth does your grandmother know about your genital piercings?

  99. The interview did not change my opinion of people who self-amputate, or create infections to force doctors to amputate. His poor wife, she was probably beside herself with worry…

  100. I’m glad he’s happy, but in some ways I wish he’d tell his wife. However, it is his body and his life, so he may do as he pleases.

  101. “I see this as more along the lines of a gay guy married to a woman who is cheating on her with guys. Not simply a gay man married to a woman who is trying to come to terms with his sexuality and/or trying to figure out how to tell her. I don’t know if that makes sense or not…
    In the first case, the guy is actively pursuing something that is directly harmful to his wife. In the second, he’s contemplating and attempting to come to terms with something before telling his wife. I see a difference there.

    And I do think some of his procedures were, well, idiotic, but it sounds to me like they were pretty planned out, even if they didn’t go as planned

    As for him hiding it from his wife, I hide the fact that I smoke from my in-laws as does my husband. Does that mean we have psychological problems? No, it means my mother-in-law would lecture me for a month straight if she knew I smoked. People hide things for many reasons. It seems the reason here is apparent. Whether he’s crazy or not, his wife very well may think he is. She may not accept him. It’s the same reason gay people hid their sexuality.”
    —crystallinectar—

    i agree with the first bit

    they werent all planned out
    “On one toe I was just “playing” with an old chisel I found… I put it on my toe and pushed too hard and it went right through the bone — I then just had to push harder until the toe was amputated. Of course, an infection set in because the chisel was dirty and I had to go to hospital where they did a ray amputation” -from the interview

    you arent married to your in-laws, hideing something from your SO is very different than hideing it from anyone else, you’re chooseing to spend your life with him, the in-laws are just part of the package

    i dont understand why hes hideing from his wife, why would he want to be with someone who doesnt accept him?
    only good can come of telling her -she accepts it and they have a better relationship or -they divorce and find better relationships
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    this whole situation is just unfair to his wife
    hes making her worry about his accidents and hes spending a lot of their money every month on this
    even more if he goes threw with the above the knee amputation

    “a prosthetic arm or a leg above the knee usually costs between $10,000 and $15,000. Some are as much as $35,000.”
    -http://www.boston.com/business/globe/articles/2005/07/05/cost_of_prosthetics_stirs_debate/
    add onto the cost of the actual prosthetic -surgery -increased insurance -fittings -repairs over the years -physical therapy -possibly a wheel chair

    the whole money thing would be different if she knew what was going on and agreed to it
    when your married or even living together such big decisions need to be made together
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~
    to me amputation is very real, i know 2, and i almost was one
    *my uncle has 1/2 a left foot just like this guy, it even has the hoof look, it was from a helicopter accident when he was in the navy (before i was born)
    *granddad had both legs amputated below the knee due to infection and denying the serious-ness out of fear, it was not intentional though (when i was around 10)
    *as a newborn i almost lost my whole left leg due to blood being put in too fast, i still have pain and weakness in it

    i remeber the recovery my granddad went threw, the phantom pains, being rubbed sore by prosthetics, all the fittings he had to go threw, learning to walk (physical therapy), getting a car modified and learning to drive it… thankfully the VA covered a good bit of it
    it still hurt the family a lot financially

  102. in response to “m”:

    i meant that things he planned to be amputations were well thought out. he didn’t initially mean for that to be an amputation. there’s a difference. hence why i said some of the stuff he did was idiotic.

    as for not telling his wife–i never said i agreed with that decision. i was merely pointing out that not telling his wife in no way implies that he has a psychological problem. he most certainly should tell his wife, but not doing so doesn’t provide evidence that he’s crazy. yes, she should be informed, yes she should know why the money’s being spent.

    as for prosthetics, i think cost is a big issue. if he wants one after his leg amputation, i can only hope he can afford to pay for it out of pocket and not go through insurance. that i have an issue with. then again, i would also be pissed if he used a handicapped parking space. maybe i’m weird in thinking that, but eh.

  103. While this is beyond my own personal limits, I’m interested to know more about amputation. One thing that I didn’t like, though, was how he induced the infection in order to get the amputation. I just believe its one thing to be taking responsiblity for yourself, and another to be putting it into someone elses hands, and to be quite honest, to someone in the medical profession it makes me feel he has not got a lot of respect for what we do. What about the patients who genuinely need care? I hope I’m not being terribly offensive or obnoxious, and I admit that I don’t have much of an understanding of this, but I just wanted to put my view out there.

  104. hey, nowadays middle aged women are getting their toes reduced or entirely taken off just to wear a fucking pair of heals. what kind of fucking reason is that? *for those who don’t know me, i hate yuppy right wing assholes* they declare that it is for fashion. what kind of fashion is getting your toes cut off to wear heals? me myself, i brand myself for personal reasons, and amputating your toes or fingers is a personal reason for them. that’s a good reason to do something to yourself physically. i support any type of body modification regardless of whether i would do it or not, but if i see these “fashion sufferers” getting their toes reduced and the media and all the fucking public say “aw, poor woman. she is having parts of her body cut off to fit in.” i say bullshit. there’s no fucking pitty for them. but if someone such as this person amputates their own fucking toe by themself, they are considered an outcast and should be shunned away from society. i started branding myself when i was 16 as a way to deal with my depression. the pain took my mind off of the bad thoughts. and i’m not disrespecting people who cut themselves for mod purposes, but i hate those emo motherfucking bitches who cry and say life sucks, why bother living? i say fuck them. grow a pair. i’m sorry if anybody here has ever had someone they knew commit suicide, but that’s bullshit. cutting for fun i understand, but emo people cut for attention and once again, the media eats that shit up. my father has diabetic neuropothy *sorry for the spelling* and his feet are constantly both numb and in pain. he can barely walk *if you want to call it that* and has random pains in his feet. i’m not talking “ow i stubbed my toe” i’m talking about people call 911 when they see my dad in pain because he’s leaning so far back and can barely breath and grits his teeth. his fingers are also part of it. they too are going numb. he has a good way of hiding it from my mom, but he has cigarette burns on his fingers because he can’t feel the burn. what kind of life is that? and he has to take anti-

  105. seizure pills that make him a vegetable on the couch, so he has a choice between that or smoking pot. so he’s a legal med patient in the state of california. he has his nipples pierced by the way. which is why i had mine done. it was a a kind of a fathers day present which ended up with the piercings being rejected by my body. but i’m tired of people who do shit for attention getting felt sorry for when people do it all the time for personal reasons regardless of for show or for making themselves themselves. i started to understand that when i first read johnny tattoos interview in tattoo magazine back in my senior year of high school. he said he felt something was missing every time he looked in the mirror. that’s when i support body modification. the people who cut off their toes for themselves i can respect. i’ll respect them more than any family member because they did it for their own fucking reasons. so support the mods, not the fucking yuppy bitches who do it so they can fit into a fucking pair of shoes.

  106. I fail to see what “insight” cutting off your toes might bring. I also agree that I find it akin to cheating to have these particular disorders and hide them from your wife. I really don’t think it sounds… possible that no one would ever suspect anything. It’s self-injury just like some teenager hacking away at his forearms, and I’m not entirely convinced that it should be glorified as “modifying your body.” He must have some bad doctors in his area, to not even consider that his “bad luck” might not be.

    Basically, I don’t believe the entire interview is entirely… truthful. Who the hell could say “I don’t care who knows why my feet are missing parts” and then “No, my wife and no one else knows!” in the space of a couple minutes? If it’s so important to him, and it’s so not a mental problem, one would think he’d explain it to people who are close to him.

  107. because he may not care, but i’m pretty fucking sure if he told his wife, she’d leave his ass. no joke. how many people do body mods and if they went to work and talked about them or even showed a glimpse of the, they would get fired? like for example, if ed norton from american history x ever took off his shirt in front of a girl he was interested in or wore a shirt a little too thin to work, he’s get dumped and fired. certain body mods are meant for the person that it deals with only. i’m sure there will be a time when the wife will see it, and she might be okay with it, or she will do the second one and leave him.

  108. I think it’s a fascinating modification, I’d never be able to do it to myself, the feeling of loss I think to me would overcome a sense of pleasure or fulfillment, but for people like Leen and their interests, it’s got to the the most incredible self assurance and pleasing I’ve ever encountered. It is unfortunate I think about his wife not knowing, but honestly, if she’s happy to be with you and you’re by all means happy without her knowing of the induced amputation, then good for you both, it’s so hard to be mutually happy with someone for so long these days anyway, and if she is just as happy with him, if she knew, who knows maybe she would come to understand, or maybe she’d scream and throw an iron at him or something.

  109. Looking at some of the comments on this post I can understand why he doesn’t tell his wife. I don’t wish to accuse anybody of anything but it’s quite clear by some of the comments that there are people who just don’t think this type of behaviour is normal, and I can understand why those people would think that way because it’s outside of what those people class as body modifications, it’s definitely outside the mainstream, and obviously outside of what society would deem as normal!

    I agree with something Shannon wrote saying “…And I think it’s because these days people are “into” body modification as “fashion” most of the time, rather than because they are drawn to it on some low level…”. I think most people consider body modification to be tattoos, piercings, scarification, and brandings, anything else is crossing the line and gets considerable criticism by lots of people – even by those people with tattoos and piercings etc.

    I think body modification exists within the individual from birth, yeah I know once you get tattoos and piercings etc. you can be classed as modified but unless you are one of those people with a built-in desire to modify yourself then you will never understand where other people with heavy mods or a desire for heavy mods are coming from!

    I don’t think telling his wife would be in his best interests, unless she is heavily modified, or has a desire to be heavily modified herself…then I don’t think she will ever understand. Personally I have never had the desire to chop off a limb, but I can fully understand where this guy is coming from, for me it’s about completion.

    I think at the end of the day it boils down to what people see as right and wrong, I don’t think anyone is at fault or anyone is to blame…its all about acceptance and understanding. No offence intended, just my opinion that is all!

    P.S. Just something else I would like to add, unlike people who have lots of facial piercings (which attract attention) all this guys mods are hidden, so who is he trying to impress?

  110. I’m thinking about amputating my whole body.

    Or my head. Whichever is gonna be easier…

  111. After reading this article it answered a lot of questions for me about why an indivdual would want to and feel the need to remove important parts from their body, though I would never want to remove my limbs, it makes the individual happy. I do have to agree with other commenters that it is unfair that he doesn’t tell his wife about what he is doing though theres probably a reason why he hasn’t. I did find this very interesting.

  112. Haha

    =/ I was eating my bacon sandwich and when I opened the interview I have to admit I did feel a little bit sick… I can’t understand why any body would feel complete if they chop a leg or foot off… but hey ho. Each to their own, you’ve got some guts guy. Keep it up!

  113. Exploding-Boy – You’ve quoted me by removing the context where I say that tattooing a dog is no worse than eating meat, etc… that it’s disingenuous to complain about a dog being tattooed under anesthesia while still killing animals and eating them.

    And yes, if someone chooses with full consent and understanding the issues to modify their body by gaining or loosing weight (fat or muscle), of course I support them in doing that. Why wouldn’t I?

    Kelli – Regarding insight, I’m a little confused as to why that’s a stretch to understand… In the simplest terms, an amputation changes the form of the body and the way you experience being in that body.

    …And re:telling his wife
    I totally agree with the people who’ve commented along the line of “Looking at some of the comments on this post I can understand why he doesn’t tell his wife.” (#111, #112, #130)

  114. I think the people putting a strain on the healthcare system and raising premiums are smokers and overweight people. They are the ones costing millions and millions. Now I dont nessesarily agree with what Leen is doing but after reading this interview and the last article I can understand why he feels he has to.

    M- you are right about prices of prosthetic legs. Some are even more. And to those that have brought it up. Insurance companies rarely pay for all of a prosthetic limb. And when they do it is usually the most primitive prosthetic that is useless.

    Moddoctor- I’m sorry about how I came across. I just get annoyed when people doubt my abillities just because of what i dont have, and I thought it was a wierd attitude you had for a doctor who helps amputees. Yea I’m sure new amputees you see arent happy about being an amp. I wouldnt be if i lost an arm or more than I was born with out. I know people who had very hard time after becoming an amp, but over time most adjust and get on with their life, and dont dwell on it always being unhappy. Most of the amputees I know joke about it as do i. I even have photos of me joking around with friends about it.

    What I was saying before was that I hate when people think that just because you are missing a limb you are helpless, handicapped or a burden. I’m neither of those. I believe disabillity in away is all in your head. It is all about attitude and how you think of yourself. I dont think I am disabled, and I dont let that stop me from doing everything.

    And I agree lying to a wife is bad, but isnt there some issue or secret everyone has to some degree that if certain people found out you could loose a relationship or friendship because of it?

    i don’t want to keep ranting so I will stop here haha.

  115. Re: voluntary

    I think it’s all part of a larger cultural viewpoint. We just don’t like people who choose to make themselves different, be it the tattooed guy or the woman with the botoxed lips. Even bottle blondes and people with breast implants get snide remarks. But as more people do it, less people are “different” in doing it, so it becomes more accepted…

  116. “You’ve quoted me by removing the context where I say that tattooing a dog is no worse than eating meat, etc… that it’s disingenuous to complain about a dog being tattooed under anesthesia while still killing animals and eating them.”

    Yes, I quoted you out of context here, but in the context of that discussion, you are defending the application of a decorative tattoo to that dog. It’s not a question of degees, as you seem to be suggesting: either it’s unacceptable to place a decorative tattoo on a living animal, or it isn’t.

    “And yes, if someone chooses with full consent and understanding the issues to modify their body by gaining or loosing weight (fat or muscle), of course I support them in doing that. Why wouldn’t I?”

    Well, that wasn’t quite the question. Ultimately, can a person who has an illness (in this case anorexia) really “consent” to its results (in this case extreme weight loss)?

    Similarly with voluntary amputation, either it’s a normal, healthy thing to do (ie: a body modification) or it’s pathological. If the former, then all well and good and that raises a whole bunch of other issues regarding responsibility. But if it’s the latter, then by definition it’s not a body modification, it’s an illness, and like other results of illness (due to involuntary amputations, anorexia, cancer, flesh eating disease, whatever) it doesn’t really belong on a body modification website.

  117. Exploding Boy – There are very few things that are black and white like that.

    I’m sure that there are cases of voluntary amputation on both sides of your argument, as well as some that are somewhere in the middle.

  118. I believe that he is doing his wife a disservice by not letting her choose what she is and isn’t comfortable with. Choosing to be married to someone and then finding out that a huge part of their life philosophy or desires, or identity has been kept from you is a horrible feeling. It seems that he must care, unlike he states, whether or not people find out about it. That he does not tell his wife and mother of his children about his voluntary amputations and desire for more seems to me to point to either his problems with his wife or problems with honesty. She should have the ability to decide whether or not she wants to be with someone who is an amputee fetishist or voluntary amputee. It seems that something that big in a person’s life would need to be discussed.

  119. Ive not yet read the interview but i enjoyed Shannons comments on his page i tend to aggree body modification has to an extent become far to fashion and cool an arsehole with lots of piercing is still an arsehole. We are all in charge of our own lifes and we can modify our lives as we see fit whether that means changing ones thinking or ones environment or lifestyle it is still modification. Changing our appearance does not make us different people the things that change us the most are what goes on in the brain.

  120. Shane – Very good point… A person who CHOOSES to smoke or otherwise abuse their health puts far more strain on the healthcare system than an otherwise healthy person who CHOOSES to amputate body parts and manage their own recovery.

    Exploding Boy – It’s unacceptable to kill and eat an animal, and it’s also (but less) unacceptable to tattoo it, in my opinion, in an ideal world. If someone chooses to kill and eat animals, it’s certainly a lesser sin to tattoo them. I mean, to keep an animal as a pet in the first place, you’re imprisoning an animal for your own amusement, while having many other animals killed to feed it… All for your own personal pleasure. So really, it’s the pot calling the kettle black. You can keep on saying that I support animal tattooing, but I think it’s fairly obvious that I don’t and never have.

    And in terms of the “pathology” issue, give me a break… you really think it’s my job to assess everyone for whatever you define as “pure motives”? I mean, should I not have posted skull boy because he might be mentally unhealthy? Certainly skullboy’s modifications will have a more profound and arguably negative impact on his life than a guy who cuts off his toes, and having interviewed the toe cutter, I think it’s fairly obvious that other than this quirk he’s a very normal guy.

    I’m a LOT more worried about the “pathology” of people under 30 who get major permanent modifications to their face and other public skin than I am about older men with successful lives that choose to do unusual primarily private modifications… and I’m not particularly worried about EITHER, because really, I’m not about babysitting people or telling them what to do with their own bodies.

  121. well in my opinion this guy has some kind of mental disorder or somenthing, please note that iam not Judging the guy, but on the interview he said that he never visit a therapist, maybe if he pay a visit to one hes probably gonna find a better way to fell happy without chop body parts.
    And also in MY OPINION the amputation of a leg below the knee will make things a lot harder for him, he says that is part of the fun…. aim sure that for his wife this will be no fun at all.
    Well that is my opnion, as shannon said he is too old to babysit.

  122. maybe im missing something …. “is amputation a valid form of body modification” loads of people have put no…. huh? it looks pretty fucking modified to me …..

  123. hello
    this is a rare “disorder”. everything below the left knee is the most common part of the body for people with this mentality to want to remove. or wish that it were amputated. They feel like it’s a foreign limb, and always has been, and are usually made aware of it when at some point in their early life they meet an amputee. It’s unusual. I read about it in psychology today. just thought that would be interesting to you people who are trying to justify this in the context of your own life.

  124. “Certainly skullboy’s modifications will have a more profound and arguably negative impact on his life than a guy who cuts off his toes”

    Interesting point Shannon. Any chance that Skullboy interview is forthcoming, by the way?

  125. #148 Kate – I too would love to see a skullboy interview.

    I recall reading all 600+ posts in there, and at the TIME there was certainly a lot of “how could you possibly question his motives” “of course he’s perfectly well adjusted, why wouldn’t he be” “oh, you’re just close minded, that’s all!” “why would you think people around him would necessarily find the skull motif disturbing?” “Me, I have NO limits!!” posts on that thread too.

    As for this guy not telling his wife, I can kinda see how he’d want to hide it, but the cruel part is that he can’t 100% hide it, she knows he has infections. What it LOOKS like is arguably worse (in some ways) than the truth. The truth is “OMG he cuts off his toes that’s crazy” (if she doesn’t sympathize on knowing) but with no info it looks like “OMG he keeps getting these crazy infections am I going to lose him??” so it’s hard either way. Of course, knowing might also be said to be “OMG he’s irresponsibly flirting with death” so it’s just tough any way you, uh, slice it.

  126. How long have you been married? And how does your wife not know these things about you? My husband and I are very close. We share everything. I can’t imagine being nieve enough to assume he was just unlucky when he’s lost parts of his body (not just once, but many times).

  127. I don’t understand why he doesn’t seem to have examined his own motivations at all. I am on an endless quest to understand EVERYTHING about myself, so just accepting a desire like that without any internal probing (any desire really) is anathematic to me.

    I love that word.

    Maybe he’s just come to terms with it without agonising – if so, good for him.

    As to people who moan about him doing this to himself when other amputees haven’t had the choice – that’s an invalid argument, pure and simple.
    If some people don’t have a certain choice makes it all the more important that those who do have the choice don’t squander it.
    If they gave the matter conscious consideration, mearly everyone would choose not to remove their limbs or digits. Those who confront the opportunity have blatantly put a lot more thought into it than the rest of us.

  128. 147, if you’re being serious, that raises a question beyond that of sound mind (which I think only came up once or twice.) If that’s the case, how is it any different from someone changing their sex (not gender, sex)? It’s changing your body to be how you feel it should have been from birth. Correcting a biological mistake.

  129. I disagree with the concept “amputation = sex change” since most transgendered people DO feel different from birth. Amputees don’t feel that way until they meet someone with an amputated limb, although, yes it may be at a young age. It’s a question of genetics versus imprinting young minds.

  130. #152

    Well, for starters the general view is that male and female are both functional wholes. You can be born male, or female, with roughly 50% odds and “normal” genetics.

    With amputation, no matter how functional someone is while missing limbs, it’s still viewed as missing something from the standard template. Either something was removed later (accident, illness, etc) or something was “miscoded” from the start so the limbs never extended, but at VERY low odds.

  131. Shannon: re: animal tattooing, fine. You don’t support it. Ok, good.

    But when it comes to issues of pathology, I think you’re being deliberately obtuse. I suppose this is a private website and you have no more obligation to respond to my questions than you do to asses the mental state of those you interview, but when you feature those people’s stories and images here, on a body modification website, it strikes me that you do have some responsibility.

    So what is your position? Are you simply interested in (and want to feature here) anything that changes the appearance of the human body, whether entirely voluntary or pathological? Or is the approach largely aesthetic? Where is the line? What’s too extreme, and why?

  132. exploding boy: i’m not speaking for shannon here, but i think quite simply, you shouldn’t draw the line for anyone but yourself. it is ultimately this guy’s body, not mine, not yours, not shannon’s. i would never amputate anything, and there are a hell of a lot of other things i would never do to my own body that plenty of other people do on a regular basis. but what they do to their body, which is theirs to do with what they wish, is their responsibility, not mine. shannon in’t a psychologist. it isn’t his job to assess someone’s mental state, and even if he did attempt to, how could he know if he was right or not?

  133. Jessica, there are plenty that feel that the path to gender reassignment is riddled with social/cultural influences (Bryan Tully wrote a excellent, if excruciatingly written, book on the subject). Just because they may ‘only’ be social/cultural influences that guide a person to a particular path or choice in life, doesn’t make this any less strong of an influence than a biological determinant – if you only account for the strength by recognizing that the person involved treats it like a biological determinant. So, just because Leen appears to have manifested his interests after birth doesn’t mean that these have less pull than a person who decides to go through gender reassignment. He simply does not have the psychiatric field on his side giving him guidance, which is somewhat of a mixed blessing. If he were required to go speak to a mental health professional before receiving amputation, as people seeking gender reassignment must, he could end up with rhetoric that would justify his choices to the outside world (i.e. My disassociation from my leg stems from sexual abuse, or divorce or [insert traumatic childhood event here]) and that wouldn’t necessarily be true to his own personal reasons that he holds now. So, not so good. However, he would also be required to tell his nearest and dearest about his choice before going in for surgery and this would solve problems for a lot of people here who have difficulties with the fact that he isn’t ‘out’. It would also, however, necessarily change the way others identify him – as mentally ill/somebody with a disorder. And this would change his relationship with others and most likely affect his quality of life.

  134. Shannon and Shane-

    The argument that smokers and overweight people put more strain on the healthcare system is a poor one. Firstly, I personally think that if you smoke and later have health problems related to it you should fund your care and treatment yourself. Smokers know the dangers, if they choose to carry on and do it they should have to deal with the consequences. Same goes with overweight people.

    Secondly, it seems to me that over the years this sort of modification is becoming more and more common. Therefore putting more and more strain on not only the healthcare system, but the whole infrustructure (for example people who chooe more extreme amputation so they can no longer work have to rely on benefits). And surely no matter how small the strain on the healthcare system every little counts? Do you know the exact figures? What about sick pay at work while this guy was in hospital for example? For more extreme amputees things like wheelchairs and other aids have to be considered?

    If you add up the cost there is no way his (and most other voluntary amputees, depending on the extent on the amputation reflection on the cost to us the tax payer), private medical aid would cover it if you look at the bigger picture.

    Once again, I think this man is very selfish and Id rather my money spent on people who did not choose to make themselves a burden, and have no choice in the health problems they have.

  135. On one side i wonder if this has anything to do with body modification but if this makes this person feel better by doing this i wish him the best, it goes a bit too far for my taste but hey this is what bme is all about, being free to do what makes you feel good with your own body.

  136. to anonymous- You said the arguement is invalid because smokers should cover their own medical bills later in life. But the thing is they dont. they use the healthcare system and insurance to pay. There are Millions of people who smoke. You want statistics of how many people die or health statistics for smokers? Just watch the Truth public service commercials on TV. And about half of this country is overwieght. There are maybe a few hundred voluntary amps if that. (and let me say, like i have said before, I dont nessesarily agree with what he is doing, but i can see why he feels he has too. back to what I was saying). Speaking from experience, Insurance only covers basic/primitive aids for amputees. Very basic wheelchairs, very primitive prosthetics. To get the better, more useful aids you have to spend money pretty much out of your own pocket for them. Incomparison, insurance pays out a lot more money and covers a lot more for people have smoked than people who have become amputees. I think smokers are a lot more selfish. Smoking is harmful to others. Also taxpayers dont pay sickpay, the company he works for would pay that.

    and no, i dont know exact figures, but I know from experience, insurance doesnt cover much for amputees. I could have bought a luxury car for the amount of money me and my parents have spent on prosthetics, wheelchairs, and other supplies. I wish insurance covered as much as you think it does. I would love to be driving a sports car or a Hummer, haha. You tell me and shannon we dont have exact figures but you dont either, so how can you say our arguements are invalid/poor because of that? I am using personal experience as basis for my points. what are you using? e-mail me at leglessshane@yahoo.com and I will send you accurate figures of how much we have spent because insurance barely covered it, and I can show you how little insurance covers.

  137. my friend Bill has a $30,000 Otto bock(?) leg with an internal self-correcting computer inside it. and no insurance other than medicare. and that was JUST the leg itself, his 4th one.

    Anyone know how much a hummer costs?

  138. erm. i smoke and i have yet to pay a single cent in medical bills because of it. and beyond that, you can’t lump an entire group of people together. even if the total cost of all problems due from smoking is higher than the total cost of all problems due from self-amputations, what does that prove? i’m fairly certain it proves there are more smokers than amputees and nothing else. break it down by average cost per person and then get back to me on that.

    i’m not trying to invalidate amputation as body mod as i think i’ve made clear from my other posts, but attacking one thing to defend another is not the right way to do it.

    and as for those Truth commercials. don’t make me vomit. those things are horrible. it is not “big tobacco’s” fault i smoke and i know damn well i could get cancer and i do it anyway. imo, just as valid a choice as someone chopping off their own toes.

  139. crystallinectar- I’m not attacking smokers, hell i’ve smoked on occasion. I just brought that up because someone said that amputees put a strain on the healthcare system and that amps by choice cost even more, and being an amputee (from birth) I felt i had to respond. I was just pointing out there are other reasons healthcare premiums go up, and other things that put a strain on the healthcare system. I agree that it is your choice to smoke, and i’m not saying you shouldnt. You misunderstood my meaning. I was just saying health insurance covers things like treatment, home resperatory treatment, oxygen tanks and other stuff for smokers, but doesnt cover much for amputees.

    Yea Starspring, I have a C-leg made by Hanger and it costs $40,000 per leg (i am missing both). Plus all the different legs I have had growing up, not to mention the running legs i used when i did track. Then there are little supplies for prosthetics that you need. It all adds up quickly. He doing well with the leg?

  140. Jessica and Akibear,

    I don’t think we can say “from birth” since most people don’t have concepts of sex and gender till they reach a certain age and then we can’t consult with a baby about their views on sex.

    And my statement was working off of the previous one that some people have a disorder where they feel like their lower limbs are “wrong” and need to be gotten rid of.

    If we’re taking into account that sex is considered “whole,” we have to also understand that any concept of a “whole” person is a socially constructed concept. Some people say that another person makes them feel “whole,” does that mean that they are a burden to society till that happens? Some people say that they don’t feel “whole” in the body they came with. While some have no problems functioning in a “normal” manner before they begin their transitions, many do have problems.

  141. Just to be clear, I never said THIS guy was pathological, although I think that argument could probably be convincingly made. But some assessment surely needs to be made in larger terms: is voluntary amputation “body modification” or pathology. Many who’ve responded here aren’t quite sure.

  142. #165

    When I say “whole,” I mean the standard template that the vast vast majority of humans have, encoded by standard genetics. As a species, we generally have two arms, two legs, each appendage with five digits on it. I’m saying nothing at all about the brain or the soul or identity feelings on the matter.

    50% of us (more or less, of course there are variations) have a penis, 50% don’t. Standard.

    To switch from male to female (or the reverse) you’re changing from one standard form to the other standard form. It’s still a very common form, one of the “normal” forms (by odds). And, some things are removed, and some things are added.

    Lacking a limb is far more rare, and generally means something isn’t the standard template. Either you cut it off, or it never formed, either situation is pretty rare and outside “the norm.”

    Something that is on the standard checklist for parts is missing. In that sense, it’s a negative (whitespace, whatever) change.

    So, it doesn’t surprise me that people find that different or harder to understand than sex reassignment (although to be sure, you will find people very squicked out at the idea of losing parts involved in that too).

    Having a body image that is missing some of the standard parts (if that’s what’s going on) is itself a fairly rare thing, it would seem – certainly as a percentage of the population. So, it’s not so surprising that people find it odd. In a strict odds sense, it’s not “normal.” (So, of course, it’s interesting, hence I read these threads…)

    But, I mean “whole” in the sense of “possessing all of the standard parts that come with the species definition, and exist in the vast majority of standard cases.” Nothing more.

  143. It’s an interesting related question though, some people ask if they have a baby born with more than the normal number of parts (usually fingers/toes, in polydactyly, which is a pretty common “error”), should they remove the extras?

    There too, the “checklist” is off, only there are extra bits.

    Personally I think I’d keep ‘em, particularly if they’re fully functional. But, I suppose it depends on the case.

  144. Shane and crystallinectar -

    I think you have misunderstood me! I said that i believe if you smoke and later have health problems from it you SHOULD be made to pay for the treatment. I understand that they dont and I feel this is wrong, for the same reason I feel using taxpayers money for a voluntary amputation is wrong. The way I see it is its all about choice. If people choose to have amputatuions or choose to smoke, for example, then fine that is their choice, but why should my money go on their treatment? Whereas if it was someone who had no choice in their amputation or condition, I would gladly have money spent on them as they have not chosen to end up needing treatment.

    I dont see anyone paying for my tattoos or piercings, why should I pay for this guy to modify himself? If he wants to do it whatever, its his body I have no problem with that. I just have a problem with paying for it.

    Regarding costs and exact figures, I was not accussing you and shannon of not having them. I just asked if you did because I am interested to know just how much of my taxpayers money would be likely to be spent on this guy. My point was that even if the cost was not a huge amount it all adds up. No matter how small a cost, its still money which im sure someone like yourself would benefit from by having improved prostetics, or even a hummer!

  145. shannon, thank you for posting this. I used to have a bias against people who voluntarily amputated limbs/digits, I used to think they were “weird”. the interview gave me a better understanding of why people would choose to do amputation and yeah, I don’t think they’re horribly weird anymore. it is still unusual to me, but I suppose the general unmodded public feels the same way about tattoos/piercings. who are we to judge and discount other people’s personal preferrences and choices?

  146. I’m a disabled man (I use a wheelchair) and I would never do something that cripples me more, I wouldn’t even amputate a toe even if I were a tetraplegic and wouldn’t be able to move them, but hey, that’s me, I’m someone who has gone to great lenghts to conserve a damaged tooth so I can have my 32 teeth. If he wants less parts and feels better with less he should be able to do whatever he pleases to his own body, the personal freedom is more important thing, a lot of people mutilate other persons bodies (parents giving circumcisions to their babies, for example) and they receive no backlash. I don’t think what he does is healthy, but that’s his business, not mine, although I think he should not hide his interest to his wife with the “accident” excuse.

  147. shane: my misunderstanding–i apologize. i haven’t slept in 3 days so you’ll have to forgive my incoherent rambling :)

    anonymous: i agree to an extent, but i have to wonder–if you ever got a serious infection because of a piercing or tattoo, would you pay your medical bills out of pocket? what if you had if so, then good for you. if not, then i don’t think you have a leg to stand on (so to speak) with your claims.

  148. Okay first off an above knee amputation is properly called nowaday as a “transfemural amputation” it used to becalled an AKA for “above kinee amputation”. I know this first hand as I am a Left transfemoural amputee myself.
    First off a transfemural amputation is a major life threatening procedure as the femural femural artery is cut you can bleed out in literaly seconds from this. Same applies for the Vena cava vien that returns the blod to the heart. Blodd clots area major risk after this surgery as the wound heals. Pahntom limb is a real thing and not a fun thing at all try sleeping with your nerves telling you your gone foot and leg is tucked under you and cramped up. Pahntom Pain and chronic pain are real issues with this as millions of nerves are cut and now are short circuted. I am on a chronic pain managment regeim to keep this under control. Uncontrolable muscle spams are all an issue where the stump due to nerves short cicuted flailes around with full one muscle contractions that you cannot stop until you are totally exhausted. Learning to walk again ona prosthetic is not an easy thing dedicate roughly one year just to therapy to learn again so you can function semi normaly again. Be prepared that even a simple task such as going to the bathroom is at best an akward thing using crutches to hoping you do not foul the brim where it rests in your perianal area with the leg on. Be prepared to get embaressed at airport check points where they have you remove your leg for inspection. Be prepared for other health problems such as reduced endurence and resitance to colds and infection. Be prepared for skin tissue breakdowns from friction and sweat in the socket.
    Running FORGET IT, Swimming with ease FORGET IT, CLimbing over rough terrain FORGET IT, Hang gliding FORGET IT, Bike riding yes with a hand crank bile but be prepared to spend 4 grand on a bike, Dancing in clubs FORGET IT, these and many many more things you do now with ease are going to be gone forever with a Transfemural amputation.
    Prosthetic limbs are not cheap mine a hydralic unit cost 37,000 dollars! I am lucky I have two good insurence plans so I only had to shell out 4 grand still a big chunk of cash for an item that you need replaced or modified on a regular basis sometimes twice in one year.
    I doubt very much any carrier will cover you given you are doing this for non meidcal reasons and if you tell them otherwise this is fraud and subject to major jail time and or fines.
    Becoming an amputee is not to be taken lightly on a whim for body modification. There is no going back EVER once it is done.
    I wish the hell i had not had to have my leg removed life is hell without a reaL leg but for me it was my life or my leg.

  149. Oh yeah no offense Shane there is a big difference between you and I. You were born without your legs and for you using a prosthetic is almost second nature you have had all your life using them so to you running is instictual where as someone like me who in their 40′s loses a leg it is major challemge relearning things that you have been doing all your life.

  150. crystallinectar -

    if i did not pay my medical bills out of pocket because of an infection, id say that was okay as i had not purposely gone out and chosen to get an infection. thats like saying you shouldnt offer to treatment to someone who fell over and broke a leg! however, if i had gone out of my way and rubbed my new piercing/tattoo to purposely get an infection (god knows why but hey, its an example!) then that would be wrong. i guess it all comes down to whether or not you make a concious decision or not.

  151. 173 – Not all voluntary amputees are trying to get infections, either. Infection is a risk of any body modification. So to say that voluntary amputees should pay all of their own medical bills (even those that arise unintentionally) is just like saying that all people who partake in ANY form of body modification should have to pay their own medical bills as well, whether they intentionally caused the problem or not.

  152. #174 – Sure, but THIS guy clearly states he nurses along infections on purpose to force the doctors to amputate. It’s not hypothetical, here.

    Even the people who choose cutting, if you’re talking above the knee amputation, the actual “mod” IS the cutting off of the leg, and that, in every case I’ve heard of, has involved actual qualified medical intervention – usually the person injures the leg to the point it needs amputation. Freezing, shotgun, whatever.

    There are the few cases who paid foreign doctors to do the amputations outright (presumably out of pocket), granted. But I’ve not heard of anyone using a homemade guillotine for the big ones (fingers/toes, sure, but the real controversy I think is over the larger amputations).

    Of course currently there isn’t (as far as I know) anywhere that will let you just pony up a cool $50K and they take your leg off from healthy scratch without you needing to shoot/freeze it first, so it’s not quite the same market situation.

  153. YOU HAVE GOT TO BE SHITTING ME i have snakeeyes and a pa nipple and tats it takes all kinds to make the world go round but he is lying to the old lady and himself the man needs psy help

  154. Corky -

    I think you need to read all the previous posts to understand what i was saying.

    And basically akibare put very well what my reply would be!

  155. I’ve been planning two amputations (that would not interfere with my work, all you “burden on society” whiners) and I have to say that I’m fascinated by his method. I think I’d be too frightened to play around with infections; it seems too uncontrolled.

    I’m wondering if there is a difference in ease of procedure between chisel/hammer vs. cut and stitch. He says the healing on a cut and stitch is faster- it seems like it would leave a cleaner result also.

    I’m hoping to amp my pinkies at the base knuckles, without leaving any of the finger. I’d be too afraid of an infection spreading further in my hand for that to be any kind of choice for me- but I guess being diabetic makes it easier to explain away the foot work.

    I can see why, too, he’d hide it from his wife. She might be a bit overwhelmed or repulsed. I’m lucky to have people in my own life who are supportive and are also involved in heavier mods, that won’t judge my decisions.

    Thanks Shannon for the great article

  156. I have to say that I am really surprised at the amount of people who think it is okay for him to lie to his wife. I am happy that he is doing something that makes him happy, that he is living the life he wants, that he is doing something that obviously makes us all think and pushes the boundaries of what makes us “whole”. But just because it is going to be difficult or she may reject him, doesn’t mean he gets to lie to her. She think his diabetes is eating away at him, so he can continue lying to her, but it is her choice to live with his desire or not, and he is taking that choice away from her. The argument that he is somehow mentally ill is subjective because what is considered mentally ill has been changing for years and decades. Part of modern body modification is to go outside the system to feel good and mutilation can be defined as anything that is done and shown here on this website. Yet again, lying to his wife, seems to me, that he is being true to himself at the expense of not being true to his wife.

  157. Anonymous – Fine, so we’re only talking about those who intentionally go out and try to get infections (or otherwise intentionally put themselves in a position that would require professional medical aid). But how do you determine that? There isn’t really a way to determine if the infection was caused intentionally, happened randomly, or is related to an illness/condition that the amputee has (at least, not that I know of)..

  158. #185 Corky – Sure, there’s no way to tell. I don’t think anyone here is saying that the hospital should determine someone made their own infection and then leave them in the street. Of course they will (and should) be treated.

    However, the guy doing it knows, and he’s admitted what he’s doing (nursing along infections) so we here on the list are discussing his actual confessed behavior. He’s inducing injuries that require someone to help fix (or if you like, “finish”). That impacts other people. And so, some are looking askance at that, and not just saying “hey, that’s great!”

    With any activity or resulting change, reactions to it will differ knowing the motives and history behind it. As I posted wayyyy upthread, even the guy in the last amputation story before this one, the guy who was very active in the amputee community and worked at developing prosthetics etc, admitted in his interview that he didn’t tell people how his amputations happened. I suspect he too realized that the reaction might not be entirely welcoming.

    Heck, we do see a similar thing in the visible tattoo threads (mainly face tattoos, and not only here) that live long enough to generate the “how do you find a job?” discussion. One contingent will say “I should be free to express myself, it’s discrimination to not hire me[1]” and always there are people (even tattooed people) who point out that “what you did is voluntary, so you can’t expect protection for it, you made your bed so lie in it.” If you had some huge birthmark, that’s one thing, but if you tattooed one on, even some identical looking thing, the reaction becomes VERY different.

    [1] not to say, of course, that people with facial tattoos don’t have jobs, but I think it’s a bit naive to think that the tattoos don’t make the job search harder in some areas, particularly for people just starting out. Hence the inevitable discussion.

  159. I don’t like the looks of it, personally, but to each their own.
    And about the whole “burden to society” thing, I don’t know about everyone else, but as someone with (not even a lot of) tattoos and visible piercings, I’ve been judged and presumed to be just the same; a lot of people assume that because I’m tattooed, pierced, whatever, that I’m probably a deadbeat who can’t support herself and relies on welfare or whatever which is completely untrue. I think it’s pretty wack to say that this guy is going to become a burden just because of his modification decisions. They make him happy, and I think that is a good start to becoming a more productive citizen, “disabled” or not, fuck. So whatever, I don’t really dig amputation aesthetically but who the fuck am I to say what people should or shouldn’t do to themselves?

  160. Shannon, sometimes I feel like you are the only sane one among us! At least you are often the most logical. Perhaps you should be a therapist or counsellor. Thanks for keeping us on track.

  161. chillinvillain (and others), the “burden to society” issue is not (only) about people rendering themselves unable to support themselves. In terms of self-amputation, it’s also about people choosing to cause themselves to have to rely on the larger society and the medical system, even in part, because of their voluntary amputations. While this may not happen in all cases — if someone removes a single toe, for example, it’s unlikely to render them either unable to work or much of a drain on the medical system — but when people begin removing major limbs, who’s going to pay for the prostheses and other devices they’ll then need to function normally? In this guy’s case, who pays for the medical treatment he needs when he induces infection in order to get his bits amputated? Should voluntary amputees be allowed to access limited resources intended for the disabled? In some places, handicapped people are eligible for free parking, free camping, support from various organizations, and so on; should voluntary amputees also be eligible for these scant resources?

  162. Exploding boy- I have said this before in this chain of comments. you asked “who’s going to pay for he prosthesis..” As an amputee (from birth) i know this answer from experience. Unless he has amazing insurance, he will be paying for them. Like i said before I cant beguin to add up how much money me and my parents have spent on prosthetics. Insurance barely covers prosthetics. Free parking and Free camping? thats really going to cost taxpayers money. You know handicapped parking permits dont give you free parking, just give you a closer spot right?

  163. exploding bitch- how fucking dare you? the guy doesn’t give a flying fuck about bullshit parking spaces. i said it before when i said my father has diabetic neuropothy, in most cases with that, people get their toes, fingers, and even their feet amputated. the guy who does it for fun doesn’t always want the fucking parking spot you asshole. he does it to make himself feel more complete. is that so fucking wrong with you? what kind of fucking mods do you have? huh? you ever cause yourself severe pain just because it makes you feel better? so what if he wants to cut off his fucking toes, feet or a fucking leg. let the son of a bitch do it. let him cut off his nuts if he wants to. that doesn’t mean he wants all that bullshit that comes along with being disabled? do you know what he does for a living? does that mean he wouldn’t enjoy life that much more? drop the fucking “burden to society” bullshit and worry about your own god damn pathetic existance like we all do and be happy that there are people in this world brave enough to make a difference of some sort to make them happy, while the rest of us struggle just to try and find who the real “me” is.

  164. Noah Mattedson -

    Er if he is making himself feel “more complete” at my expense then yeah i personally do have a problem with that. I dont see anyone paying for my tattoos or piercings to make me feel better about myself and make myself happy. And that is me worrying about my own “god damn pathetic existance.”

    Why go into a rant whenever someone makes a perfectly intelligent contribution to a discussion, just because they are not saying “yeah thats great!” God “how fucking dare they” have an alternative opinion. Whatever happened to freedom of speech eh? I dont see how being insulting is particuarly helpful, and it sure as hell doesnt help your argument.

  165. OK, I totally realized that by burden to society that was what you and many others were suggesting, but my point remains, seriously!
    I don’t know what country you live in but in a lot of countries “extras” like prostheses and camps, and whatever are NOT covered by taxes and government funding, as Shane wrote, and I’m sure that he’d probably know. Not only that but from the article, it seems that a large part of the appeal is to have a part-leg hangin’ out and dangling so I personally would doubt that he would end up wearing a prosthesis… I would guess that that would defeat the purpose!
    Besides there are TONS, and TONS and TONS of diseases and medical conditions that are brought on by behaviour, are we to start denying basic medical services to people who smoke, drink, do drugs, participate in extreme sports, etc., etc., etc.? Where can the line be drawn on “self-induced” injuries if that is your beef?

  166. Shane: your viewpoint seems strictly American. I can assure you that in other places the types of resources I’ve described most certainly do exist. Where you are you may have to pay for all your equipment out of pocket; in other places people do not. While what government medical plans provide is often not great equipment, it’s equipment nonetheless. And yes, in some places a handicapped placard (or plates) means free parking. And my point with these and other other resources is not only the cost to the larger society, although there IS a cost, but the scarcity.

    chillinvillain, I wouldn’t exactly say it’s a beef, but it is interesting to me, and I think it’s a concern. It’s all wrapped up in the question of whether amputation is to be considered body modification. If it IS, then it hardly seems reasonable to ask anyone else to pay for it. And if self-amputation is pathological, then by all means, people need treatment and resources. But at that point we’re no longer talking about voluntary body modification, but about illness.

  167. I definitely think it’s an interesting topic as well..
    The thing is, though, that I don’t really think that a lot of voluntary amputees have a choice about just doing it themselves and/or inducing infection etc., so that a doctor will chop it off for them because as was mentioned before you can’t just walk into a doctor’s office with a healthy leg and be like, hey can you get rid of this for me?, no matter what kind of money you have. I’m sure if the option was there, that some people (who have the means, of course) would prefer to take a strictly medical route in that they’d be putting their life at far, far less risk. But the option isn’t there. So… body mod or pathology, if someone wants to amputate to the point that they DO IT, it’s not as if there is a way for them to pay out of pocket or choose to not “burden society”, to use other people’s terminology.
    I also realize after more reading that the point was already made about other ‘self-induced’ things that are covered and I really agree with that stuff, I mean the decision is still there and it’s much more widespread than voluntary amputees are, let’s be realistic. But does that mean that smokers and alcoholics and the obese should be fucked over? I don’t think so, because you know, they’re people. And this dude is a person. I don’t mind paying taxes for people to have access to health and life. I know that a lot of the money goes towards people who did bad stuff to themselves and whatever, if you value human life (if you don’t, i don’t know what to tell you hah) then all human life should have equal value regardless of how that human chooses to treat themselves? That’s how I look at it anyways.

  168. as long as he documents everything, its an interesting contribution to both biological and psychological, not to mention sociological knowledge.

  169. Exploding Boy- even in countries that have universal healthcare, dont cover top models of prosthetics, just the basic. So if he wanted on that was comfortable and useful chances are he would be paying out of pocket. Trust me, there is a reason you dont see every amputee in canada or europe wearing $40,000 prosthetic legs, like the model C-Leg. For the most part the healthcare and coverage is the same as in the US. If countries did that, trust me we wouldnt be living in the US. Trust me, there is a reason you see amputees on crutches in places that have universal healthcare. Just because they provide it doesnt make it useful. In some cases no prosthetic is better than one. Basic/cheap prosthetics can do a lot of damage to a stump. The comparative cost between free parking and free camping is nothing compared to other costs caused by things you do every day, money you cost the city when you drop a piece of trash, pollution from driving a car, etc.

    And you say my view is strictly American, but if i’m not mistaken, this guy is from South Africa and they have a private healthcare system like they do in the US.

  170. Yes, Shane, that’s what I said.

    But you’re missing the point. Why should someone who is (as some people are stating) engaging in body modification be entitled to ANY of the scant resources most countries allocate for people who are disabled?

    I take chillinvillain’s point above about voluntary amputees often having no other choice since even those who are willing to pay for their amputations don’t generally have the option of going the medical route. But they DO have the option of not amputating, just like people have the option of not tattooing or piercing themselves. If it’s a body modification, that is.

    Think about how many thousands of dollars a finger or toe amputation costs. Or a major limb. Not to mention the cost of treating a serious infection. Is it possible that resources (ambulances; doctors’ time; medication; equipment) that have gone to treating people who’ve intentionally induced life-threatening conditions in themselves in order to get a desired “modification” have then not been available to someone who needed them for real health reasons?

    The flip side of the “it’s my body and I’ll do with it what I want” coin is “and I’ll take full responsibility for what I do.”

    Finally, it would be very difficult to argue that someone who would purposely endanger their life by inducing a serious infection to acheive a certain look isn’t suffering from some pathology.

  171. Exploding Boy – I hate to sound bigoted by saying this, but if you think that voluntary amputees who intentionally cause a serious infection should have to pay for their own medical bills, then how do you feel about homeless people? There are plenty of them (especially here in Los Angeles) who could certainly get a job, but there are those that simply don’t want to. Should they not be treated unless they get a job? They are surely far larger a “burden” to society than the relatively small number of voluntary amputees who intentionally induce infection to receive an amputation. Furthermore, what about prison inmates who are locked up because they intentionally hurt/killed someone else? Should they not be treated because they CAUSED a burden on society by harming someone else (who then likely had to go to the hospital and use those resources you mention)? Drug addicts or alcoholics? Should military personnel who voluntarily joined the service not be available for state-funded (read: funded from taxes) therapy programs because they VOLUNTARILY put themselves in a psychologically taxing situation? What about firemen? Police? The list of people who are INTENTIONALLY putting themselves in harms way EVERY DAY could go on forever. They have generally accepted the risks, and agree that it’s something they have to live with. But a lot of their support programs and treatment is paid for by tax payers money. How’s that for a “burden on society”?

    I’m curious find out what (if any) of the actual procedure/treatment for an amputation as a result of a serious infection is typically covered by medical insurance (for those in countries with private health care systems). My insurance company says that, depending on the circumstances, they would cover between 90% and %100 of the cost of the procedure/treatment (including physical therapy, medication, and therapy), and will pay for ONE prosthesis up to $8,500. Alternatively, they will put up to $8,500 towards the cost of a prosthesis. The rest would have to come out of my pocket. Now, I have pretty decent insurance, so I’d like to get the “average”.

  172. I’m kind of curious as to whether dude would even want a prothesis? Everyone is kind of assuming he does but the way he was speaking it sounded like a dangling half-leg is part of the appeal? Wouldn’t it defeat the purpose..?

  173. “Should military personnel who voluntarily joined the service not be available for state-funded (read: funded from taxes) therapy programs because they VOLUNTARILY put themselves in a psychologically taxing situation? What about firemen? Police? ”

    They are all helping people (although in some cases the military could be excluded!) and are not putting themselves in danger for entirely selfless reasons. These are all sort of jobs that need to be done, he doesnt need to amputate anything.

    The point about criminals is a very interesting one though,

  174. Noah Matteson – It’s clear that you’re barely literate, but would you PLEASE learn how to use capital letters and paragraph breaks? It would make your ill-reasoned rants soooo much easier to read. Thanks.

  175. Corky, I take your point, but I’d prefer not to muddy the waters by trying to draw false analogies. Approaching voluntary amputation strictly as a body modification it seems reasonable to require people who desire such modifications to assume all the accompanying costs, doesn’t it? I mean, however much you may love tattoos, would want to pay for someone else’s?

    But beyond that, it’s interesting that many people are making a parallel between voluntary amputation and pathology, even while meaning not to: smokers and alcoholics suffer from addiction; homeless people are often mentally ill; obese people are often trying unsuccessfully to fight their genes. If we’re comparing voluntary amputees with these people, aren’t we really saying that they’re exhibiting symptoms of pathology as well?

    Similarly I’d argue that comparisons with prison inmates and military personnel are also invalid. When we incarcerate a criminal we assume near-total responsibility for that person. If we didn’t, we’d really be no better as a society than the criminals we’re jailing.

    Military personell are a whole other thing. Many, many convincing arguments could be made in support of providing treatment for them, which I’m not going to clutter this page with. Ditto firefighters and police.

  176. “Noah Matteson – It’s clear that you’re barely literate, but would you PLEASE learn how to use capital letters and paragraph breaks? It would make your ill-reasoned rants soooo much easier to read. Thanks.” fist off, i’m too fucking tired every time i rant, because that’s when i’m able to use the fucking computer. second, this is not an english class. this is a blog website for people to discuss, debate, and enjoy pieces of artwork. when artists can use a fucking symbol as a name, i can go without using capitals or fucking using paragraph breaks.

    BITCH!!!!!!!!!!! there’s your capitals.

  177. Noah Matteson English is quite useful in discussing and debating. Maybe you should try it out sometime, then you wont sound like so much of an undeducated, whinging, knob :)

  178. wow, and what does posting comments like that last one add to the debate other than reminding me of a playground for children? How very brave of you to post anonymously. Whether you agree with him or not at least Noah has enough balls to post his name. Shame we can’t say the same for everyone here.

  179. That argument about being a “burden to society” is falacious at best. As a disabled man (some people think that we are a burden to society) I can tell you that I’d rather pay taxes so people can have voluntary amputations than to pay so my government can train people to kill other persons, i.e. soldiers. Some of you say that he shouldn’t be entitled to the “rights” of the disabled. In case you don’t know in most places in the world life is not peachy for a disabled person, so fuck that! you wanna deny him the right to do whatever he pleses to his own body and then deny him the right to function in a society because he’s not entitled to those “rights” in your minds? That’s bullshit!. Some of you say that he caused it, well, what about the people who got disabled in accidents? One could argue that when they were in those cars or motorcycles they put themselves at risk, so they caused it and they shouldn’t be entitled to disabled rights. I don’t know where you live, but if you live in a place where being disabled is an advantage because of those “rights”, tell me where it is, I’d love to go to that utopic place. Sorry if I don’t write correctly but english is not my first language and it’s kinda rusty because I haven’t spoken and written it in some time.

  180. I think you’re missing the point like several others. It’s less about the degree of burden than about the appropriateness of passing any of one’s own personal body modification costs on to other people. Also, it’s not about some magical benefit to being disabled, it’s about the few resources that are available.

  181. When we are in a crowd or on the subway, when we are missing fingers toes or more people often stare. I like it when people stare at my missing fingers or toes. We are all different – some people feel uncomfortable when people stare. I would not mind if I was missing more parts.

  182. I have mixed emotions to this. I believe everyone has the right to make personal choices as long as those choices don’t infringe on the lives or livelyhood of others. But my heart aches for this man who can’t see he was perfectly created, and feels he needs to “modify” his body in order to reach a state that he is already in, perfection. I don’t mean perfect as in without flaw, I mean as he was intended. These issues and practices are exactly the concerns that people need to be discussing, because they do affect us all be it directly or indirectly.

  183. *two cents coming right up*

    His wife? None of our chuffing business! When did BME become “Dear [insert female name]“?

    I am fascinated with his amputations and totally intrigued by them – I would love to toouch them and explore his sensations. Personally, I want to lose my little toes (not nearly as extreme) and find this interview inspirational – thank you both. I wish him all the best in his quest for AKA and look forward to reading more – and I don’t a flying fuck whether he tells his wife because it’s got nothing to do with me!

  184. It’s repulsive that this man is married and obviously has no consideration for his wife’s feelings, both emotional and sexual. If he wants modify his body, safely, then that is his choice, but he has a commitment to his partner to be honest because of how much this impacts her. I’m sure she’s worried sick every time he has an infection or an amputation, and the fact that he wants to achieve a penectomy without consulting her is totally selfish. He is putting his sexual needs completely over hers, he may think its would be exciting to have sex with a penectomy, but he has no idea how she will feel about spending the rest of her life having non-vaginal intercourse, short of using a strap on. He needs to discuss this with her! He says he “doesn’t care” if people find out this is voluntary, but with his lack of consideration and compassion towards his wife, her finding our has the potential to wreck their marriage, and rightfully so!
    I also think he sounds very unintelligent in assuring himself he can control an infection with diabetic medication. He is a construction worker, not a doctor.

  185. Alas, woe me.
    Where have we gone to?
    The comments on this thread and this person’s actions are the culmination of the era of (mostly western, well- fed and never missed-anything in their lives idiots, spoiled, humanoid-lived morons) relativistic and pluralistic thought. Essentially, everything goes.
    I must point out that my understanding is that having, believing and standing for ideals not based on severe logic, which is the mere thing that differentiates our existence from other entities of this world, and instead doing so for ideals based on emotions in general, and emotional highs of any kind specifically, or addictions to these for that matter to say the least, is like confusing the concepts of price and value, morality and law, or faith and trust by analogy, and justifying the end and the means without discretion on any level and without any point of reference to reality. Yet everyone is so self-absorbed with their BM kink(s) and fetishes that they have taken for granted that this may also be the case for this dude. I was struck by the fact that hardly any one of the two-hundred plus comments hypothesized that this person may be severely mentally ill and, or, depressed. I am not certain where the line for BM ought to be for it not to be considered treading into paths driven by serious mental illness, but what is clear is that for some people, there is obviously lack of clarity of mind, and some screws are missing, something’s wrong inside their scull. BDSM people do sewing and all sorts of painful things with the intent to enter the trance-like feeling induced by the state of pain, fine I don’t like that sick painful foolishness either, but apart from really toiling and stressing their body, at least they still have it, more or less intact, save for a few scars. This dude however is absolutely sick and perverse. His actions and the way some people in the forum accept them, consist a travesty of logic, pleasure, sexuality and coherent, sane reasoning.
    The brain cannot always differentiate with clarity what consists pain and what pleasure, as the parts in the brain responsible for this are cross-linked, and to many people’s advantage, this has been a source of great pleasure and experimenting. Nonetheless, no other sane animal save for a human in exceptional situations -under normal circumstances – would mutilate, amputate, or otherwise damage the self, or let alone commit suicide, or find any of these offering any kind of pleasure. It is beyond doubt that these perversions are the products of a sick mind. Behind all this, perhaps the force driving such sick actions is to be found somewhere inside the brain’s constitution which has obviously for whatever reason been damaged, and specifically it must be a para-natural error, either inflicted by socialization, psychology, genetics, or medication. You all must admit that at least to some extent his addiction to pleasure induced by pain plays a role in his liking such extreme, perverse sadomasochism. Nonetheless, the voice of the many insists that such bullshit is ok, and ought to be accepted, lest we be seen as close-minded and infringing upon this person’s freedoms, or pursuit for pleasure and happiness. Ah, come on, this is bullshit and you all know it. Nonetheless, what people believe in their majority is irrelevant to the truth, and even if often their opinion might coincide with that of the truth, there still remains the chance that equally often the majority’s rule of opinion may be wrong. If i vote that a dog is a female and three million for whatever reason vote he is male, there might be the chance when we check him that I’m right or they are, or none of us, since the dog might be a hermaphrodite. Likewise, this clown of a man, unworthy of his existence, is thought by others as sane and having a right to such perverse happiness, when I would insist he has a right to severe medical attention, as do many other weirdos with extremely perverse fetishes and kinks that damage their health and body irreversibly.
    But that’s what our society does today; our society is pluralistic to the bone and everything is accepted to a so-said maintain freedom and freedom of speech. Yet, it supports anything but the very core of these ideas, since we have gone from ‘you are permitted to talk about anything as you please’, to ‘you can do and say everything since anything goes’. Everyone is free to speak and do their nonsense today, and may even be praised for it. Even further, someone is free to say “good for him”, but not free to say “what a schizofrenic freak is this clown” for he would be deemed ‘close-minded’… Dudes, let’s face the truth: this person needs medical help. He’s a mess. Let’s not look at the tree, more specifically the blade of grass, and forget about the forest: this dude’s emotions are beyond the weight of impactful significance here; even more, who gives a hair of a rat’s tail about his wife’s feelings? This issue enters the spectrum of morality and existentialism by far and wide. It engulfs philosophies of nihilism, of relativism, of deconstructionalism and destructivism, as well as constitutes perhaps what I think would be the pinnacle of self-centered individualistic activity without any care for consequences whatsoever to others and above all, to the self. This is a crime and an ungrateful disgrace to say the least to the very gift of life and the healthy body this man has been bestowed with by nature. And for those that might dare accuse me or even try to pin my arguments as religious or fanatically political, by ascribing these to Jesus, Buddha, Allah, Satan, or Hitler and any other asshole, I say fuck all of these too. Surely, this man is not bothering me with his body clown-play, I don’t even give a fuck about this ‘taxpayers money’ bullshit people say, or him using the medical system by pivoting on his diabetes to take on his kink. That’s nonsense. What we’re dealing with here, is a total lack of respect for life itself. And if you don’t get it, you are so fucking deeply confused my friend. That’s where it all comes down to, not his right to pleasure, whatever way he may find it possible to get pleasure.
    If you got a light kink, fine, if you do scary shit, just stop, shut the fuck up and go see a shrink, likewise if you have a friend or know anyone who is in this situation. Further, as a hypothesis, fucker is a butcher, and no one can guarantee me, after he’s reduced himself to just one arm and one leg attached to a sac of a belly, that he may not – frustrated by the restriction to do more to himself and his now perhaps boring (for him) or frustrating experience as a disabled person – go on and start chopping off little kids’ toes or mine and yours or your own friends’, with or without their consent. Anyway, this is plain babble, as most people will disregard every single word I’ve said, shut off as they are into their own mental way of seeing life through the lens of their kinks and absurd sexual behaviour. We ought to use the gift of life and sexual pleasure wisely, lest we engage in a game where more of what we initially strayed off with as a perversion is constantly required in a game of insatiable recurrence to keep us into the “high” and “thrill” that we initially sought, with catastrophic consequences for us and others. Most of you, who have started into such nonsense, not just amputation, may find it unsatisfying to merely have simple sex as nature intended it. You can argue otherwise. Deep inside, you may all know the truth, but perhaps cannot help but follow this different path, given the wiring of your brain, your socialization, or even the circumstances and your experiences based on the previous two, which act thus as a vicious cycle feeding and enstrengthening this perversion and thereby solidifying your possible perverted condition even more as right and justified. You may never be able to free yourselves from such a burden or turn around from such a path, since the lens which you have chosen to wear, paints the world with the logic and reasoning produced by your sexual preferences. As I said, what we’re dealing with here, is a total lack of respect for life itself. Farewell.

  186. To Dp

    So, you’re somehow “enlightened” by something more than “severe logic” and you know what happens to everyone and you decided to honour us with your words of wisdom and advice? fuck you! If you want to “use the gift of life and sexual pleasure wisely” that’s your business, stay the fuck away of the others’s business. Yoy also demonstrate your total lack of knowledge of the themes and your complete ignorace, when you theorize about what we can find and can not find satisfying. Who the fuck are you to know? you talk about “sex the way nature intended it”. Well, it would be good if you found a book about sexuality in nature and saw that sex in nature involves rape, kidnapping, murdering of competition and cubs of the female, cannibalism and all other things, so don’t give us that shit about “nature” and what makes us different to other animals, you obviously don’t know it, do whatever you please with your sexuality, body and life, and get away from ours.

  187. To the other persons reading, sorry about the typos and my errors, as I said before, my english is kinda rusty and my keyboard is not working properly.

  188. I personally don’t care what he or other people do with their bodies.

    What I think this comes down to for me is the fact that this man is lying to all the people around him, aside from those that share the same interests.

    This demonstrates, maybe on a subconscious level that he feels something is wrong with what he is doing or he would not lie about it.

    It also has nothing to do with what society thinks or feels, because he stated that he doesn’t care what they think, or that they look at him.

    If that was honestly the case here, would he lie about how he lost these limbs or other various parts of his body? I think not.

  189. Well, I have to say I really envy you, you are doing what you want to…I would love to be an aka and wear a c leg and have it protruding from a pair of white footy shorts, I realise I would have to either have to smash my leg so badly it would have to be amped or simply lay on a railway line, although there is always the dry ice solution, learning to walk and put on my pros would take time… I am surpsied that when your foot was tidied up it wasn’t amped properly to wear a pros symes type amps are awkward and ugly too., I wait with intrepidation to see what the next cut is… sincerely the best of luck, weare supposed to hve a freedom of choice well, we have made ours ..

  190. I feel utterly sick. I can’t help that. That’s my reaction to hearing this story and seeing the pictures. I feel very sick in my stomach even thinking of cutting off my toe. But here’s my point: I think that if he wants to do it, thats great. No one’s saying he shouldn’t do it and I’m thankful for that. I respect this mans individuality. I’m sure he is a very interesting person to know.

  191. This guy has some real guts, you’ve gotta respect people who are willing to go the extra mile that most people wouldn’t trek to make themselves look just the way they want.
    The only thing about this that I found utterly appalling was that his wife doesn’t know. It’s sad that a person can’t tell their own spouse about their interest in modification, it’s like they don’t know the person at all.

  192. wooohh..this is totaly awesome!!this guy defied pain and achieved personal satisfaction from it..ive done a lot of things to defy my limits but this guy Leene is the master when it comes to this art!

  193. This guy is fucking lame .If u have to make up lies to evryone about what ur doing and his shoddy style of work sucks , And besides that he didnt defy pain he used ice to numb the area .And a diabetic letting infection set in is carzy dumb ~_=

  194. I am interested in removing a toe myself. I have been interested for years… I can’t explain it, I just have a very strong urge to do it.

    I suppose the fact I love pain, and love to be challenged by it helps, and I like seeing my own blood.

    If you saw me, you would never guess, I don’t have any piercings, and I am not covered in ink… Yes, that is the typical stereotype I guess. :D

    If anyone could email me a step by step, with tips on how long to leave tourniquets on, how often to change bandage, best way to control the flow of blood, best way to minimize shock, etc, it would be greatly appreciated.

    Also, does the skin just simply grow completely back over the gaping wound at the end of your toe? Just like that?

  195. Ha ha,, u guys crack me up,, If you wanna amp yer toes just fuckin do it, same as your leg, or even your fuckin head for that matter, the only thing which I found shocking here is the fact that you lie with your woman as well as lying to her, this kind of lifestyle is very selfish because you put your wife, who you do not respect! through a lot of pain, so you are not doing this to “Yourself” you are taking pieces of her along for the ride, I assume you both took some sort of vow to honour and respect each other yet you do not respect or honour her, you lie to her and you decieve her, and as so, she lives with a stranger, How do you feel when you repeatedly knowingly decieve the woman who has swore an oath to stay with you for the rest of her life,,caring for you, trying to help you through your “difficult misfortune”, you should feel low, you should feel very low. I dont think you have any respect for anything, including yourself.

  196. The thing that bothered me the most about this article is how he cut off part of his penis or will cut off part of his penis because he doesn’t want to have penetrating sex….umm how do you think his wife feels about this? if she isn’t gonna get penetrating sex from him then she sure as hell will get it from somebody else and I don’t know how he feels about that!

  197. sorry to be blunt but i feel that whatever this guy has done is completely insane. if he chooses to mutilate himself this way, it definitly should not be in the expense of others, especially his loved ones. Not only is he wasting taxpayers money on his crazy fetishes, he is hurting his wife who i suspect is sick with worry at all his ‘accidents’ and even expressed interest in exploring it with other women who are into this. reading articles like these depresses individuals like me who believe that we should all do something productive and beneficial to society with our lives. This doesnt count. i would like to know what a person with true disabilities feels about this. He is totally insensitive and ignorant to their feelings. Instead of looking at disabled members of society with compassion and harbouring thoughts of helping them, he instead is fascinated with their disabilities. There is something seriously wrong with this world if there are individuals like these in existence. my recommendation is that he should try visiting a shrink and come clean with his wife and his loved ones about his ‘hobby’. if he has the guts to do these things and share it with the rest of the world this way, he should have the responsibility to open up to his family who care about him. Reapetedly engaging in such experimentation with his family in oblivion is highly irresponsible and a tad immature of him. Although i am against what he has done and his personal interests, i do hope he makes peace with himself and his family. I sincerely wish him well.

  198. Thank you for posting this I found it a really interesting article and discussion. Thinking about it though I’m not sure how to feel. I did have a kind of cringe reaction, but it also bothered me on a more basic level. The basic desire seems to me to come from a different place then the desire for other body mods.

    Other body Mods seem to be most about change even the most extreme. Even if the Mod in question deeply grosses me out on a visceral level, I strongly believe that everyone has the right to seek to alter themselves as they see fit.

    This seems to come from a self-destructive place. He is not altering or adding to his body he is cutting pieces off. Everyone has self-destructive impulses, but following them to amputation or suicide or any other dangerously self-destructive place is not very healthy. And when someone is in that frame of mind there point of view is so skewed that they can’t rationally consider the future consequence of your actions.

    That being said I know there are some people who lose the mental representation of a body part or parts. If someone has a persistent feeling that part of there body is wrong and does not belong to them I think there is no problem with deciding to amputate it. His motive for amputation just seemed more unhealthy and disturbing.

  199. DP-
    It’s been a long enough time since your posting, but your comment annoyed me enough that I wanted to rebut it even if you never read this.

    First off, I agree that in this particular case the man’s actions seemed more self-destructive then self-actualizing. But the way you expressed this with your talk of perversions, your insistence that anyone who desires to more radically change their body is mentally ill and that all decisions made based on an person’s emotional truths rather then “severe logic” was of course offensive.

    *”severe logic, which is the mere thing that differentiates our existence from other entities of this world”

    Actually, our limbic system, and the way in which our brain processes emotion has evolved almost as much as our cerebral cortex. Neurologically, the changes that most separate us from the other animals are our ability for abstract reasoning and the complexity of our emotions.

    2. You say in the rest of the sentence I’ve quoted from before that “having, standing and believing” ideals based mainly on one’s emotions is “like…justifying the end and the means without discretion on any level and without any point of reference to reality”. But our more complex emotions and emotional desires are as key a part of interpreting and understanding our reality as our abstract reasoning abilities. After all a psychopath is someone lacking in emotion and empathy(an emotion). Is there view of reality more valid then the rest of ours? I am sure as well that the opposite state of being, that in which someone has the emotional capability but not the ability to reason through the consequences of their actions is equally dangerous. But clearly allowing one’s emotions to guide one’s desires is necessary and not the negative thing you claim it is. All of us do have a right and a need to pursue what makes us happy. And deciding what makes us happy based on our emotions in no way gives one a skewed representation of reality.

    3. Your point that other animals don’t gain pleasure from pain or commit suicide or otherwise perform self-destructive acts.
    Pleasure from pain…um yes they do. Especially animals that determine reproductive potential by who wins the fights and animals that hunt for food. The pleasure pain crossover is not unique to humans. It’s not product of a sick and damaged perverse mind either. Like everything else people have different likes and dislikes and different degrees to which they enjoy something. I don’t understand why people enjoy watching golf for example, but I understand they are not mentally ill to enjoy it.
    Suicide…I don’t know about other animals, but I agree with you in that someone not in the most extreme of circumstances who is considering it should seek help.

    Also for the whole ‘nature tells us what is good and right, doing things that you don’t see in the natural world is sick and wrong’ argument, I am really tired of it. I don’t expect my cat to talk. People’s motives and desires are so much deeper and more nuanced then animals with the possible exception of some primates and dolphins. No deer ever risked its life trying to fly or fell in love with an idea. Just because people have desires that animals don’t have does not mean that they are unnatural.

    4. “But that’s what our society does today; our society is pluralistic to the bone and everything is accepted to a so-said maintain freedom and freedom of speech…you can do and say everything since anything goes’. Everyone is free to speak and do their nonsense today, and may even be praised for it. Even further, someone is free to say “good for him”, but not free to say “what a schizofrenic freak is this clown” for he would be deemed ‘close-minded”

    You seem to be confusing freedom of speech and freedom to have your views listened to and not challenged. Of course you have the freedom to say “what a schizofrenic freak is this clown.” as you so clearly did. Choosing not to state your views for fear of being “deemed ‘close-minded” has nothing to do with freedom of speech. People always have and always will be judged on what comes out of their mouths. That views you disagree with are praised and your views receive negative responses is not at all related to your freedom to speak without fearing you will be thrown in jail for holding a minority viewpoint. Also, I no one really believes you can do things that harm others without consequences.

    For the rest of your comment…You seem to think that acting on desires that are unpopular or outside the realm of anything seen in the natural realm or anything you can understand is sick and perverse. I think it is part of what makes us human. Our complex desires and emotions are part of what make us who we are. After all what other animal ever looked at the moon and desperately wanted to go there. Or decided to set out across the ocean in a wooden boat not knowing what they would find. (clearly a somewhat self-destructive act) The desire to drastically modify one’s body is not that different then all the other weird desires people have and has as much right to be accepted and pursued.

  200. Yeah very interesting but i think its to far, it puts a lid on certain things and limits you to what you can do. Personally i don’t understand it, yet everyone has there own reasons for there actions and commitments, very risky business i must say because its not accepted and even i find it hard to accept, your body and your choice, none of my business or anyone else’s so if your happy nothing else matters.

  201. Are all you all out of you f*ing mind? People who actually suffer from amputations would kill to have their original body back. This is the most disrespectfull and disgusting thing I have ever seen or heard. Guys like that should be beaten to death with a lead pipe. Not to mention the lifetime of lies to a woman who’s probably very unlucky to have a mutilated handicapped husband, but ruins her life because of guilt and afraid of what other people would think if she would divorce an amputee. You don’t think people will mind? Go hang yourself you sick nutsack

  202. I totally agree with #24, and possibly #25. I did not read the article or see any picture. I am getting the idea of what this is about. I cannot understandwhy someone would want to intentionally amputate parts of their body. If it is in anticipation of what MAY happen in the future due to family disease or that the person is in the beginning stages of some disease, such as diabetes, I still cannot understand why they would want to put the “cart before the horse”.

    But then, all of my comments come from ignorance on my part. I do not know the article, or what have you, and I do not have diabetes, or any other disease that I’m aware of, where I would lose my limbs. So, forgive me for this ignorance, but I still would let whatever is going to happen, happen naturally, then deal with it as it comes.

    JUST MY TWO CENTS WORTH.

  203. Wow, I have to say, looking at the pictures did make me stare open-mouthed for a while, as I’m not used to seeing such things, but also, wow, good on him!
    @234 – those who kill to have their body back to what you call ‘normal’, don’t you think amputation in what makes him feel ‘normal’? He can do whatever he likes to his body, it’s no skin off your nose.
    This has helped me understand why people would do DIY amputations, and I can totally see why he wouldn’t want to tell his wife, although it may not be the right thing to keep it from her…to me, it’s the same as a cross-dresser keeping it from his wife, something you love to do, and are not sure others would understand.
    It’s ignorance that makes people react so badly, I find it quite single-minded.

    I don’t think I’d ever be keen on an amputation, but I think if that’s what he wants to do, nobody should stop him or tell him it’s wrong, because it’s not. It’s body modification, which is what BMEzine is all about isn’t it?
    In my opinion, it’s just like getting a tattoo, or a piercing, only on a different scale. It’s something you can’t cover up or remove if you change your mind.

    Also, to whoever said it, I don’t think he will be getting a prosthetic leg, as he likes his amputation. So don’t worry about your tax money going on that, just remember it’s probably going to fund alcoholics and people on welfare, or something like that ;)

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