“I feel like Mike gave me my life back! " I was diagnosed with a rare malignant tumor on the top of my right foot. It was a long process getting the diagnosis and with this type of cancer, an amputation was the best option for success. I was amputated below the knee and sent home in a wheelchair without a lot of direction. I was in this wheelchair for 6 weeks which was very hard for an active person. At that time the internet wasn’t as much of a resource as it is now so I did some investigation on my own for prosthetics and was told about Mike Mattingly with The Center for Orthotic and Prosthetic Care. Mike always treated me with such respect at a time when I was so very vulnerable. The team at COPC worked with me to give me the leg and ankle to fit my active lifestyle. With the ankle that moves, I am allowed more freedom in shoe choice, which again can be very important for a woman as well as accommodate the various activities I enjoy.
Once I attended an amputee convention in Boston and a comment was made that to this day remains with me; “I didn’t realize you were an amputee.” I really do like the looks I get when people realize that I am an amputee. I do not walk with a limp and I attribute that to the dedication that Mike has in listening to what I want to do in my life. Dancing was always very important to me and I know this is what has helped me to be able to walk without a limp. I am also an artist and enjoy painting while standing. I could sit but the freedom I feel in being able to paint the way I have always done is possible. Bowling and water activities are something our family enjoys and I can still do these things. Of course when I am in the water I remove my prosthetic but otherwise I rarely take it off during the day. But most of all I just appreciate being able to walk. I went 6 weeks without walking after my surgery and I now do not take that for granted. I am able to do housework, keep up with my grandchildren and drive a car! It’s the smallest things that make you happy.
I am proud of what Mike has helped me to accomplish. It has been a process learning to live with a prosthesis but it is a small price to pay to live life my way. Everyone has their normal. Mike gives people their life back with such kindness and a smile.
When you loose 2 limbs it could devastate your life. I was diagnosed at 16 years of age with diabetes and I feel that I mismanaged my own healthcare and eventually the diabetes took its toll on my body. I lost my first limb in 2003 and the other one a year or so later. After my initial grieving I decided to work with what I had. I found the Center for Orthotic and Prosthetic Care and began working with Mike Mattingly and his team. Mike’s encouragement and guidance helped me to realize what I could accomplish. He introduced me to a bilateral amputee who was extremely active and that’s when I decided I would never give up. I am now just happy to do “everyday things”. I cut my grass, play with my grandchildren and walk for my health. I have participated in a Breast Cancer Walk and now planning to raise money to walk in our local Kidney Disease Walk. I do need dialysis now 3 days a week and continue walking and working part time to stay active.
I thank God for bringing Mike into my life and I recommend the team at COPC to anyone I see who faces the challenges that I have faced. Mike works with you like a friend or family would and that is so important to me.
My story unfortunately is all too common. I was a smoker for years and eventually developed circulation problems. In 2010 while babysitting my grandchildren, a great joy in my life, I experienced severe leg pain that sent me to the hospital emergency room. I was diagnosed with a blood clot and for 3 weeks the physicians tried to treat the clot medically, to save my leg but ultimately an amputation above the knee was required. The severe pain was finally relieved but not without the "phantom pain" that you hear about with amputee patients. I can still to this day have those "phantom" feelings where my leg used to be but as for the pain in the remaining stump, there was none. After the surgery I was discharged to the Southern Indiana Rehabilitation Hospital and was fortunate enough to work with some wonderful therapists and medical staff who helped me in recovery. While here I was introduced to the team at The Center for Orthotic and Prosthetic Care and began the process of learning to walk with a prosthetic leg.
Golfing is one of the activities that I am so thankful to still be able to enjoy. When I am out on the course all of life's problems are put out of my mind and I am able to focus only on the game. I also walk regularly on the treadmill as well as outdoors for exercise. I have always done the family grocery shopping while my wife does the cooking and am glad to be doing that again. Returning to normal family activities is important to recovery Our entire family recently went on a beach vacation with our children and grandchildren and I was able to navigate the sand with the help of a cane with a shoe attached to the bottom for balance. I was so thankful to be able to be on the beach enjoying this time with the family.
I am retired from a career with WHAS in sales and now I am a sales person for God. This keeps me very busy and I also speak to young people any chance I can about the effects of smoking and what can happen with their bodies. I feel that my life and my freedom were restored with the prosthesis and I want to say that the team at Center for Orthotic and Prosthetic Care has been very good to me.
How I became an amputee:
I was born with a rare birth defect and bone deformity called MELORHEOSTOSIS with severe contractures of the right knee, no knee cap, malformed foot including toes and a leg that was not growing at the same rate as my left which consequently did not permit me to walk.
How I first learned about COPC and came in contact with COPC:
My first amputation was unsuccessful. I remained confined to crutches whist being on a prosthesis that was made to accommodate the severe knee contracture. My parents sought a second opinion at Duke Hospital. After a corrective trial procedure in March 2007, the consensus was that a knee disarticulation would be the only way for me - which surgery was performed in February 2008.
My experience with COPC:
Mike at COPC came highly recommended. Almost 8 weeks after recovery from surgery and amputation, I was able to walk for the first time (at the age of 18) with the aid of a heavy-duty hydraulic knee and prosthesis. Mike has been a remarkable support system. Four years later, he continues to be my prosthetist and friend whom I can count on at any time when I am confronted with a prosthetic issue. He is both patient and accommodating to my ever changing prosthetic needs.
I have had a passion for water sports from my childhood and have participated in swim team events for the City of Raleigh from elementary through my high school years. Today, not only am I chasing my athletic dreams competing in aquatic sports, but am training to participate in triathlons as a future contender.
Thank you for allowing me to share my story
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