My top 6 (ish) updates in 2018

Life has been eye-opening, beautiful and ever-changing. So, these are my top 6 (or approx) life events thus far, in the past 145-ish days of 2018.

#1 I recovered from surgery!

This one was a doozy. Out of the other 16, this one has probably been the hardest recovery to date. Nerve surgery is no joke. I now do have perfect mobility, thanks to physical therapy and yoga, but this pain is just something I hope that I’ll eventually get used to.
#2 Taught classes regularly at the studio & Took a workshop on adaptive yoga

Though, my 4:30 Tuesday classes may have ended for the season but they have taught me so much in becoming a teacher. With the help of both the students and teachers who have taken my class and who have given me feedback, I’ve learned so much more about myself–as a leader.
*Sub-highlight: took one acro-workshop, now I’m a professional. (See more on adaptive yoga below)

#3 I travelled a BUNCH

We visited my mom’s family in Puerto Rico, my brother graduated from college in Tempe, Arizona, we ended up in the Grand Canyon, and I was probably a few other places, too.  but the name doesn’t lie, kids– your girl is whereswaldman, for a reason 😉

#4 I was chosen to work at 2 summer camps for kids with limb differences

This summer I am #blessed to have been chosen to work as a counselor for both the Amputee Coalition’s Paddy Rossbach camp in Ohio and for Nubability’s summer camp in Illinois.  I cannot wait to be able to meet these kids and to serve as both a role model (as a counselor) and as a (HEAD COACH) yogi, respectively. I hope to share all that I’ve learned in my own yoga practice and from my adaptive yoga training with my campers/athletes and I am so excited for everything to come with each of the experiences, too!

#5 Participated in the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge

Easterseals. Whoa! This was our second year participating and our FIRST year as finalists for Best Film. In 55 hours our team wrote, filmed and edited our 5 min short film. So, to see the final product, click here!

(Now is the time that I’ll take a second  to mention that the month of May is Lupus Awareness Month.) I have Lupus SLE and during filming for this year’s film challenge, I was in the middle of a very bad flare-up– which isn’t very unusual in my case. My lupus does seem to be getting a little bit more intense and my flare-ups do seem to be getting more frequent. So, I am hoping to see another rheumatologist in the near future, but for now yoga, rest, ice, and patience are my best help in getting by.

Anyway, so I although I had to miss filming this year I could not be more proud my cast and crew! I am especially grateful to my co-producer, Rachel friend literally doing everything that I was unable to do during this time.. and if you weren’t aware, Rachel is a limb different-leg amputee. So she’s already an incredible partner to begin with.(All it takes is an arm and a leg!)

#6 My new socket was refitted and I just got her back!


** See instagram post for the boomerang**

Basically my old socket was too big on me, and hasn’t fit me properly in almost a year. The other downside to make first myoelectric arm was that even though I was able to grasp things and pick them up, anything that weighed more than a feather would cause my arm to fall off of my nub and elbow. So a simple fix was that we took a gel lines compression sleeve and now when I place my prosthetic on I use the sleeve to lock my prosthetic in place!

The hustle is real, my friends. But staying busy and maintaining focus, keeps me away from feeling like I’m the one behind the wheel of the infamous “struggle bus”.

There are so many beautiful and exciting things to come in the next upcoming month, so keep your eyes peeled so some awesome updates in the v near future. Much exciting, many cool!!

***Plz excuse any typos, I’m off to yoga class for the evening!  Thanks for reading, enjoy the rest of your MDW (and to my non-American friends, have a happy Sunday fun day!)


My interview with adaPTed yoga

Hi there! Be sure to check out my interview with adaPTed yoga to learn more about how I got into my yoga practice, or about how I learned to adapt my toga poses, (gush about how much I love & appreciate my yoga studio) and much more!!

More posts to come, in the future!

Q&A with Amputee Yoga Student and Teacher Melanie Waldman

4 years STRONG

IMG_20170517_124547-02Just now getting back to my regular yoga practice has me feeling like ☝️ This is my #modifiedflyingcrow (and bc I was without a block on the Thai beach, I trusted my instincts and truly found inspiration in nature🤗)

**Today marks my FOURTH year since the creation of my #whereswaldman #blog and #vlog, you guys!! What a crazy, beautiful MESS it has been and I wouldn’t trade it for a minute! (I know this hasn’t been updated in a little while, BUT the significance it holds in commemorating this journey is what really gives it so much meaning, to me👌😉) Thank you all very much for your kind words of encouragement and for supporting me all along the way. It truly means more to me than you’ll ever know.
Thus ends my sappy tuesday post, enjoy the rest of your week homies!!!**

Goodbye,”Sweet” Surgery #16.

Through it all, I’m very happy to say that made it out on top. Even through the fear and the worry, I came to find the sweetness from my support systems, my doctors, and ultimately in myself.


Yeah, last night I had a good cry, I’ll admit that.

Just about every other surgical procedure I’ve ever endeavored, has ultimately resulted in me having some sort of surgical complication, or another.  

If you’ve gotten to know me by now, this is no secret in any way.

So as I began to mentally prepare myself for what the following day might hold– while still staying as openly optimistic as possible–  I physically felt like I needed to prepare for the worst case scenario.

The worst cases being, of course, either me being readmitted to the hospital for more observation, OR even worse.. A potential extra surgical procedure.

This was my worry.  I knew that it was a cruel and intentional torture I had tasked upon myself. Still, almost superstitiously I felt like if I hadn’t physically prepared myself for the next day, I wouldn’t be able to tolerate whatever news my doctor had for me, on either a physical or even an emotional level.

I barely slept.

My anxiety was also partially attributed to the fact that I could barely handle the pain of riding in the car down the road, let alone an hour away to the hospital.  I was a mess.

Luckily, once we hit the expressway I was able to catch a few Z’s in the car; with a bag of ice basically glued to my wrapped up and bandaged arm.


We finally made it to my Dr’s office, and I am beyond pleased to share that all of my worry was completely for naught.

I met with my surgeon and he took off my bandages for the first time since the procedure.


To my surprise(s), not only were my stitches the dissolvable kind, but I was also–thankfully–fully healed.

He then gave me the full clearance to move on ahead!

  • Thus meaning the following: I could start bearing weight on my arm/prepare to start doing yoga again, get my arm wet/ shower, and eventually get the hell off my stupidly-addictive and only-moderately-necessary painkillers. (don’t even get me STARTED on how much I LOATHED my portable nerve block -_-).

So yes, I may still be in a lot of pain, but I know that with physical therapy, that this all should either slowly begin to dissipate or I’ll eventually return to my usual rate of chronic/phantom-limb pain, in time.

I do now have a new badass scar where he removed a third large neuroma, which was causing pain on the radial side of my arm. Yet thankfully, that is now the section of my arm with the least amount of total pain, so I am definitely going to consider that to be a big win, right there!

The hope is that the fancy new neurocaps that my surgeon placed on the ends of my revised nerves could potentially prevent me from needing any further neuroma revisions in the future.  Still, I’ll say it right here and right now. Although this surgery was meant to be an outpatient procedure, do not let yourself be fooled, nerve surgery is NO JOKE, painful af.

Anyway, for now only time will tell. I’ve still got quite a bit of work to do and a long road ahead of me. HOWEVER, for now I’m just really happy to hear that, with time, life can start to return back to “normal” ..well whatever that may even mean in my book, anyway.

Deep breaths. Strength and Ease.  I’ve got this in the bag.

#16, parting has never been sweeter!

Surgery #16, The neurocap

3 neuromas extracted, 3 neurocaps set in place. I’m finally back home and all that’s left to do is reset, relax, and heal!

My •positivity• is my power, and my •spirit• is my strength. 💖 This part is never easy but I can already feel that a big change is coming my way 🤗 .

I am so fully grateful for your love and support, friends! Thank you as always for reaching out through your kind words and even for the occasional giggles, too! .

#16, we got this. ————

“Do what you have to do until you can do what you wanna do.” – Oprah Winfrey

  Everything I have ever done and have chosen to do for myself has lead me exactly to this present moment. I am so beyond grateful for the many blessings that these past 4 years have brought me: new friendships, experiences, and learning opportunities. I’ve changed my perspective on my hardships and I’ve used them to feed the fire and motivate me to further my knowledge as a yoga teacher…. and there are so many more gifts this is only just the tip of the iceberg for what the future holds for me.
Today may have been my last day of my physical yoga practice for the unforeseeable future, due to my #neurocap surgery, tomorrow. BUT I’m making the choice to make a change. This procedure is still in its early stages, but the hope is that it will help to alleviate the same chronic nerve pain in my right arm, which I have been living with for the past 1,500+ days of my life. 

I’m setting my intention to have a peaceful and mindful recovery process. Simply because of bringing the practice of yoga into my life, I now have right tools to help me breathe through whatever stands in my way. I can now choose to respond to hard times rather than react to them, listen essentially to the best of my ability, and be able to acknowledge any negative thoughts for exactly what they are and make the choice to simply let them go. 

Thank you to EVERYONE @growyoga for everything you’ve ALL taught me and presented me with. I already know I’m going to carry every bit of good advice I’ve gained from knowing all of you with me, along the journey. 

 I also want to acknowledge my parents, already, for taking care of me through all of this and for dealing with everything else that comes along with the process of recovering. … alright. I’ve procrastinated packing my hospital bag long enough. Goodnight everyone 😘 and happy #MahaloMonday / #MeaningfulMonday to you! 

Hi my name is Mel, and I love ASMR. [hi mel.]

If you happen to be new here and haven’t gathered yet that I’m generally a uniquely strange human-being, then welcome!

My name is Mel, I am obsessed with watching ASMR videos. There are certain people who I would rather watch over others, but it’s pretty safe to say that at this point, I’m addicted.

My mind was blown after watching this video. I’ve been watching ASMR for maybe 6 months now, mostly before bed. Typically, when I start to get ready for bed, my nerve pain is at its highest point throughout the day. The same goes for when I wake up, too.

And now that YouTube has so graciously taught me, & seeing  ASMR having a positive effect on chronic nerve pain, I can’t stop and I won’t.

The weirdest connection I have with ASMR? You guessed it I also have synesthesia.

I thoroughly enjoyed this video. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I dead and that truly you allow yourself to have your mind blown!



This picture was taken after my 11th surgery, a year after my 10 surgeries, in Gainesville, FL–including my right arm amputation, on September 18, 2013.

That was 4 years ago, to the day.

It isn’t uncommon in the world of people who have suffered from limb loss to acknowledge their “nub-day” (or my favorite) “nub-iversarry”, each year as it comes around. Yet, in my case that doesn’t make it any easier to bring up.

Still, there are so many beautiful things that are in the works for me, that it makes sharing my story, another year ’round all the more worth it for me. Not to show anyone else but myself that the path that I’ve chosen has been nothing short of strength and absolute bad ass-ness.

Although I can’t remember all that much about the time, I can still however, remember exactly how I felt, and exactly how fortunate I was that exact moment. I was told a little less than a week ahead of time what the plan was after it was decided that my hand had lost all motor function. I had my family by my side, both physically and at heart. I was blessed to be in the right place at the right time, with the right doctors and nurses to care for me. (As hopped up on trauma-related pain medication as I was) I knew that I was going to be okay.

It’s incredible how quickly 4 years can go by, but with everything that’s in the works for me, as of right now, I can only look forward to adding another year’s tally to my nub-iversarries for every year that’s to come.


“The great courageous act that we must all do, is to have the courage to step out of our history and past so that we can live our dreams.” -Oprah Winfrey.

Thailand and a Summer Update!

Oh, how I’ve missed making vlogs for you!  If you’ve been following along with my latest news update, well then you already know the spoiler alert to come.. but if you’ve just stumbled upon this blog or happen to live under a rock, well then.. I’VE GOT SOME BIG NEWS TO TELL YOU!!!

Not only that but I finallyyy had the time to finish piecing together clips from Thailand trip and I cannot wait for you to see it! ..and who knows, on a rainy day, maybe I’ll even find the time to share a few more pictures here, too!

However, it seems as though I’m going to be a very very busy lady for the upcoming summer.  You’ll just have to watch to find out why!

Please don’t forget to subscribe on youtube or follow me on instagram, trust me, you’re not going to want to miss this!

Wait for it…

Before I get to talking a little bit more about my trip to Thailand*, I have something that I wanted to share with you, that coincidentally happens to be pretty relevant to that announcement I’ve been teasing here and there on my instagram.

So, the other day I had a pretty bad interaction with some young kids at the mall. “Where’s your arm?” The little girl asked me. They might’ve been about 6 but they basically had me cornered in the back of the store me about my physical disability, where their mom was shopping, too. They were pointing, staring and asking if they could touch my arm, even after I calmly gave them a,”no sweetie, I’m sorry” as I tried to end the conversation there, by physically removing myself from the situation. I quickly bolted my way out of the store, as one of the kids followed and almost fully followed out after me. That was what finally made her mom disconnect from her own shopping endeavor, she needed to pay attention to her child.

I’m not here to rant about the mother’s actions. I surely didn’t appreciate being berated with questions–especially because they were very much unwelcomed questions. 
But from the kids’ perspectives, I get it. They really were probably curious and even concerned. Maybe they’d never had any type of interactions with PWD’s (people with disabilities) before. Maybe they really thought that I really did lose my arm and wanted to help me look for it. MAYBE were so bored at the mall because their mom was too busy shopping in a store that doesn’t sell clothes for 6 year olds.. but hey, who knows. 

My interaction had me blindsided pretty badly– I’ve always loved working with and kids and that’s really no secret. I’m okay with talking openly about myself with any one of any age…  but I most importantly know the sad truth: that these things happen. What’s more important is that I know this, the only real way to change these types of situations is by starting to open up the conversation about PWD’s even more.

And I plan to do just that, in every way that I physically and possibly can.

[Edit: Hopefully in the future I’ll feel more comfortable in handling these kinds of situations, but it wasn’t okay and in the moment I was uncomfortable. But I’m okay with that.  In retrospect, I handled it in the only way I was prepared to handle it– mindfully.]

The only thing that I can do to help myself overcome this situation is to reflect on my interraction to find what really matters: which were kindness, patience, and self reliance. Mindfulness matters most, people. I promise, it really REALLY works.

…is this a good time to mention that I’m officially going to be certified as a yoga teacher before the end of the summer, yet? Because that’s actually, really a thing! ❤️

I’m so so so SOOO excited to get to share my abilities–both physically and mindfully— with all of you in the very near future. I’ll be Namaste-ing at Grow Yoga in Galloway, NJ–thank you from the very bottom of my heart for sending me on this fantistic, epic journey! I CAN’T WAIT!!!

*So yes, Thailand! I have some videos and pictures that I’m going to be putting together and ill be posting that.. uh, tbd. 

As always thank you, thank you ENDLESSLY for your support. I know that I don’t get to write here very much, but please believe me when I say that I really do love what I do. Best of all, at this point in time, there truly ain’t no stopping me now! 

Pictured above: What I like to call, my modified version of a “flying crow” pose.