In honor of #LLAM here is my journey!
October 15, 2012 I was involved in an accident that resulted in the amputation of my left leg below the knee. I was riding my bicycle to work when I was hit head-on by a truck when he tried to pass another vehicle and didn’t see me. In all honesty, I’m lucky to be alive! I spent the next 18 months going through multiple revision surgeries, 15 to be exact, due to infections, poor blood flow, and non-healing wounds. I also had a few other injuries, but those have all returned to pre-accident state.
I underwent a vascular transplant and a free flap transplant procedure. We took a vein from my right leg and connected it to a large portion of skin and fatty tissue from my upper left thigh to cover an open wound on the lower part of my left leg about the size of a softball or large grapefruit. Only 20% of that remains due to complications.
After 13 months of surgeries and no progress, I spent nine weeks going through Hyperbaric Chamber treatments to promote blood flow and help heal a very slow healing wound.
On March 22, 2014 I was released by my Doctors to start the process of getting measured and fitted for a prosthesis. I spent several months in therapy before getting my prosthesis, only to be a guinea pig for several therapists.
It was a huge struggle for me to then trust therapy, and I sought to train myself. Looking back, that was a mistake as I created some bad habits. I have since pursued therapist’s advice and corrected those habits and made several great relationships with many physical and occupational therapists.
During that time we also moved twice, had our first daughter, and went on multiple trips to many areas of the country. We didn’t slow down.
Depression was very real and getting out of the house, while hard to do sometimes, was very important to keep that from setting in or getting worse. I spent many days cooking and cleaning the house, as that was part of my anti-depressant. I eventually joined a gym and started working out to help with the anxiety and depression. Physical fitness worked very well to keep me positive and wanting to progress.
My wife and I got married 3 months before my accident, so life literally got flipped upside down right out the gate for us. But we are making it! Growing closer and stronger every day! We now have 2 beautiful daughters and enjoy participating in 5K’s, sprint triathlons, cycling events, and other athletic events. Currently training for some summer competitions!
Forgiveness was a difficult thing to come to terms with. I spent many weeks and months with a lot of anger and bitterness toward the driver, the insurance company, and the bottled upstate legal system. I wanted the driver to suffer the consequences for his actions! But that wasn’t going to happen. It took time, along with many nights of prayer, to honestly forgive the driver and accept my new life. I knew he wasn’t intentional in his actions. Shoot, I have worn those shoes before! Running late, speeding, making irrational decision, and not paying full attention to what I was doing. Who hasn’t? Honestly, I hope and pray that someday I can meet the gentleman face to face to let him know that I forgive him. The peace and love that I have experienced far outweighs the hatred that I once held inside.
The amputee community is near and dear to my heart and I’m always looking for ways to give back!