I was born without forearms and a shortened femur. The handicap came as a real shock to my parents. Prenatal diagnostic, which is commonplace today and would have unsettled and then prepared my parents for the unexpected, was still science fiction back then. The initial feeling of shame faded as daily life with me settled in. I, of course, was blissfully unaware of my own handicap. My playmates who grew up with me knew nothing else and the adults took it in their stride, which gave me a good platform for dealing with the situation.

The Reason for my handicap was a mystery for a long time. The explanations ranged from “restriction of the umbilical cord” to „amniotic band syndrome“ (where a part of the inner membrane of the uterus = Amnion, sticks to the embryo and hinders the growth of the extremities). I came to regard the cause as the Femur-Fibula-Ulna Syndrome. 

Wikipedia states: “(FFU Syndrome) or Femur-Fibula-Ulna Complex is a very rare syndrome characterized by abnormalities of the femur (thigh bone), fibula (calf bone) and the ulna (forearm bone). The breadth of the abnormality and number of limbs involved is considered sporadic although upper limbs are more affected than lower limbs and right side malformation is more prevalent than the left. No specific prenatal reasons, geographical or chronological causes have been established. People worldwide are afflicted by this disability.