Thursday, February 24, 2011

Leslie, Our First Everyday-Amputee Hero

We continue to be inspired by the strength, determination and fortitude of our patients. Although every amputee comes to us with a different set of circumstances and needs, we are honored to help them with their prosthetic needs so that they can achieve their personal best. This blog was conceived, in part, to so that we could profile our "everyday amputee heroes" so that others can gain motivation and inspiration from each unique story.

Leslie came to OPC after seeking prosthetic care at another facility. Unhappy with her prosthetic and frustrated that she wasn't being heard, she contacted Elliot at the urging of a friend. Because she lives three states away, she was initially uneasy, but her first visit affirmed her hope that she had found the right facility for her.

"I contacted Elliot because I had a very good friend that "raved" about him. He made no promises, but he agreed to see me the next day. After meeting with Elliot, I knew that I was supposed to be with him all along. Elliot, never made promises that he couldn't keep, but most importantly, he listened to every word that I said. He was sort of like the old EF Hutton commercial-- when I spoke, he was silent and listened to everything I had to say.

Elliot didn't bash my old prosthetist, which he could have, but he made suggestions as to how he could help me get walking again, most importantly, pain free. Elliot asked me what I wanted out of life, both personally and activity wise, and then he offered suggestions as to how he could help me meet my goals.

Elliot not only became my prosthetist, he became my friend and one of my biggest cheerleaders. I know that if I have a question or concern, Elliot is there to speak with me no matter how trivial the concern or question may seem. He has given me the courage and tools to know that I can accomplish whatever I set out to do, and if my prosthetic needs to be adjusted to accomplish something new, well, he is there to make those adjustments as well."

Leslie currently uses the Echelon foot by Endolite. She credits the foot with much of her success.
"I have, walked, run and biked with my foot without having to have any adjustments made. To be honest, when I was rock climbing, I had more confidence in my Echelon foot then I did in my real foot! I hear amputees talking about the difficulty in climbing and descending stairs or stubbing their "toes." I have NEVER had any problems at all. I walk my campus everyday of the week and have yet to stub my "toe."

During the past year, Leslie recalls two major milestones that, for her, highlight the progress she has made.

"The first being able to walk a mile, relatively pain free, less than 1 month after I received my first socket and 3 months from my amputation. The second milestone was rock climbing in Las Vegas, NV this past November. I felt that if I could make it to the top on my own, then there was nothing that could hold me back. I was correct, as I did another solo rock climb the same week, and in January I went zip lining through the canopy in Mexico. The feeling of accomplishment was overwhelming. I didn't expect the tears to flow, but I guess after being inactive for over 2 years I finally knew that I was "back."

After her amputation Leslie resolved to "turn lemons into lemonade." She quit her job and enrolled as a student at Towson University. We asked Leslie what she would like to accomplish in the future, and to describe her goals.

"Well I would like to lose 50 pounds and continue my adventure lifestyle, one that I had prior to my accident in 2007. I am currently a student at Towson University in MD and have recently been accepted into the Delta Alpha Pi Honor Society for disabled students. I have been asked to be a member of the Ambassador panel so that I can spread the word that being an amputee doesn't mean that you give up your life or dreams. I am living proof that life does go on, a little differently, but that you can live a happy, active life."

Tomorrow, Leslie marks her one year anniversary of becoming an amputee. She has made great strides in a mere 12 months. Using the amputation as an opportunity to redefine her goals and to gain a fresh start, she embodies making the best of a bad situation. Thank you for choosing OPC to be part of your journey.

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