During the summer of 2018, Steve Molnar scraped his left ankle on a beach chair in Florida. He didn’t think much of it at the time but, soon, it would become infected. He could never have anticipated that a much-awaited trip with his church group to the Middle East would have life-changing health ramifications. In October 2018, while walking along dusty paths in the Holy Land, Steve stepped on a rock in an odd way. His foot broke without him realizing it – and he continued to walk on it for 12 more days.
By November 2018, Steve found himself in the hospital with sepsis. Steve was able to fight off the sepsis, but the bones in his foot had collapsed. His medical team gave him two options. The first option entailed extensive repair and physical therapy that would have him non-weight bearing for at least a year. The second option was amputation and the use of a prosthetic device.
What you quickly learn when speaking to Steve is that not only that he is a big Nashville Predators fan, but that he also is an optimist and doesn’t dwell too much on the hand life has dealt him.
When asked about the year-long journey from the beach to stepping on a rock and having his left leg amputated below the knee he responds with, “There have been bumps in the road, but nothing I haven’t been able to handle.”
He admits that his first thoughts about the possible amputation were much more negative. He worried whether he would be able to do anything he used to enjoy. But with the help of his wife Kim, his doctor, an above-the-knee amputee himself, and an Amputee Coalition info package courtesy of Hanger Clinic Nashville, Steve moved forward.
“Hearing the stories of my fellow limb loss and limb difference community members, hearing their successes, it really builds you up,” shares Steve. “It’s not always easy, but let’s just get on with it. Maybe God wants me to be an amputee and be a support for other people.”
And Steve was doing just that a mere two months after his amputation. When his birthday rolled around in October 2019, Steve held a fundraiser on his Facebook page for the Amputee Coalition to benefit his fellow amputees. An avid social media user, Steve leveraged his network to raise $2,600 for our mission.
Every limb loss and limb difference journey is different. And Steve’s journey continues to be a winding one that he tackles every day with his unique blend of humor and positivity. After his initial amputation, his leg was slow to heal because of venostasis, which is an abnormal slowing of blood flow in a vein. He had to take a “prosthetic holiday” for 3 months, not wearing any at all to allow time for the incision to heal. Then, COVID-19 slowed down the fitting for his permanent leg.
But he wants everyone to know, he is okay. “Amputation is not a curse, and the more awareness we can bring to it as a community, the more change can happen,” he says.
Steve is already making a change within in his local community. In addition to fundraising support for the Amputee Coalition, Steve also has mentored an 81-year-old amputee at his church. He already has his one-year amputation anniversary marked on his calendar. Why? Because Steve is ready to submit his application to become a Certified Peer Visitor for the Amputee Coalition once he meets the one-year criteria.
“I feel privileged to have gotten answers, support, and resources when I needed them,” concludes Steve. “And I will use my experience to help others, set an example, and show people there is light at the end of this journey.”