I had always viewed an amputation as an end to my active lifestyle. I loved all kind of sports as a kid and was especially good at running. In the 2nd grade, every morning my twin brother and I used to get up early before school and run a mile to train for track and field. As a kid, I also dreamed about being on the high school's basketball team. However, my young sports career came to a fast halt after being diagnosed with bone cancer at the young age of 12 years old.
After battling the bone cancer, I had to go through radiation as well as 12 surgeries in attempt to get rid of the cancer in my body and save my lower right leg. An infection finally forced the doctors to amputate below my knee. Three years after I was diagnosed with bone cancer, at the age of 15, I began going to Real Life Prosthetics™ .
Up until that time, I had a very hard time adjusting to my prosthesis due to the many scars I had from the surgeries, a poor fitting prosthesis which caused many blisters, and an ongoing battle with a staff infection. The staff at Real Life Prosthetics™ was able to make a prosthesis that allowed me to get back to a more active lifestyle. I started to run every day again, and even made it on the basketball team during my junior year in high school. I even became the leading scorer in one of our games with a game-high of 14 points. I am not going to paint a perfect picture and everything went smoothly from there because it did not.
I still got blisters from basketball practice and trying to meet the team's requirements of running a mile every day. It was very hard at times and I had many days where I just wanted to quit. I never liked being just average at anything and wanted to be great. I was one of the hardest working players on the court, but lacking the quickness and agility that I used to have definitely limited me.
Realizing I was probably never going to have the athletic success that I used to have prior to my amputation was a tough pill to swallow. The one thing that helped me get through those dark times as a teenager was my faith in Jesus Christ. Though losing my leg had been hard to deal with, realizing that God has a purpose for this had helped me gain perspective on life. I know that this life is not my final destination and if this limitation can be used to bring glory to my Creator, than this is what I want. There are still times where I wonder what could have been if I had two normal legs, but I hold on to the promise from Romans 8:28, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." I am excited about what the Lord has in store for my life.
I am now 23 years old and currently still going to Real Life Prosthetics™ . The staff is always kind and helpful, and uses the most advanced technology available to design the best prosthesis for your situation. They design the leg that I use today and it is very lightweight. The lightest prosthesis helps you have a more active lifestyle, helps reduce friction, and decreases the wear-and-tear on your skin.
I play on an (able-bodied) softball team during the spring and summer. Last year, we played close to 50 games and won the A league championship for the last two years in a row! I also enjoy basketball, running, and bench-pressing with some of my buddies. My goal is to run a 5k with some of my friends as soon as school is out.
I am in my senior year at Salisbury University reaching for my Bachelor's Degree in Science of Nursing. I can tell you that living with a prosthesis does not mean you have to give up your active lifestyle and even though it may be a little harder, with some determination and motivation you can overcome your supposed "limitations."