At 32 years of age I became a below the knee amputee. My story is not like most. I don’t have a disease that results in limb loss, nor was I in an accident. My amputation is a result of a high school basketball injury.
I broke my right ankle when I was a freshman. The break was hidden behind another bone in my leg, and without today’s technology it went unnoticed. I was told that I did a great deal of tendon damage, which would take a long time to heal. My ankle was put in a cast.
I was young, competitive and looking for an athletic scholarship. I didn’t listen to my body and played even though I was in pain. If I only knew then, what I know now. Within a year of the injury I had my ankle reconstructed. I did exactly what the doctors told me, but the reconstruction failed, and I was faced with another surgery in less than a year. In fact, I went through the trauma of 17 surgeries over 17 years.
On January 31, 2003, I was given the news that I needed yet another operation to repair my ankle replacement, but that the odds of achieving a satisfactory recovery were not good. My other option was to have my leg amputated.
I was devastated. All of these long, painful years were a result of a high school sports injury. I remember thinking, “This was not supposed to turn out like this.”
I researched and weighed my options very carefully and decided I would go with the amputation. This was a life changing and difficult decision for my family and for me, but I have no regrets! I believed in God, myself, my husband, my children, my family and friends. I knew I would get through this, and I would make something positive come from all of it.
I had the surgery on February 12, 2003. My husband and I met Jonas Seeberg at Real Life Prosthetics™ the following month. We were greeted as if we were old friends. Everyone there was wonderful to us. By March 27, I was standing with my first prosthetic leg. What an emotional time! I honestly don’t know who was more excited— me, my husband or Jonas!
I returned to my job teaching second grade on April 21, 2003. I used a crutch for about a week. I was amazed, along with my family, friends, colleagues and students, at the progress that I had made. When I had made my decision to have an amputation, I was just hoping to be out of the tremendous pain that I had been in for so many years. I never really thought I would be able to be pain free and walking normally.
Later, when I mentioned that I had been a runner in high school, Jonas asked me, “If we build you a running leg would you run?” I thought it was too good to be true, but I am happy to report that I am now running around seven miles a week!
My life has been restored by Real Life Prosthetics™ . Everyone there encouraged and supported me. They were there to help me with any problems that I had, and they were there to share in my success. I’m a happy wife, mother of three, teacher, runner and amputee. I participate in my family’s active lives! I teach science to 200 students. I walk proud!
I can’t take credit for my success. I am the active, healthy, happy person I am because of my faith in God, my belief in myself, and all of the support from my family, friends and even perfect strangers. Life is what you make it. You can choose to sit around and feel sorry for yourself, or you can become an active participant. My choice is obvious.