On November 7, 2013, I was scheduled for a Gastric Sleeve procedure for weight loss. I woke up November 23 with a huge dialysis machine next to my bed and a bunch of other medical devices connected to me. At this moment, I learned that my surgery was unsuccessful and I had just woken up from a 15-day induced coma. The doctor explains that my legs had been amputated due to complications with the procedure. During the surgery, a surgeon had punctured my aorta and I lost 4 liters of blood. My legs had died at this point and were amputated above the knee.
I went back to my hometown on Jan. 1, 2014, but reality started to sink in, and I knew nothing from now on was going to be easy. After a few therapy sessions, I regained strength in my upper body and received my first set of traditional sockets around June. I could not even take a step without falling. However, I had to get my mobility back no matter what, even if it was on a wheelchair. I work 40+ hours a week and have two toddlers (Charlie 5 and Sofia 3) and I had to do this for them. They deserved their Dad, to be taken out to the park, play games, and have a father to look up to as a role model.
A few months later, I was fortunate enough to get hand controls installed in my truck. My Kids and I went everywhere together; life started to feel normal again, but, I was still not walking. I started gaining weight, which was a huge deal because that was what got me here in the first place. I attended a few therapy sessions a month, but it was not enough for me to learn to walk again as my sockets would hurt so much. I started packing socks for comfort and I finally started walking with one hand on the rail. In early February 2015, I started to let go of the parallel bars and finally started walking unassisted, though I spent 90% of my day in the wheelchair.
I attended a Bilateral above the Knee Amputee Bootcamp and met other amputees who encouraged and taught me so much in regards to dealing with my amputation. I was so inspired that in July 2015 I hung my wheelchair to collect dust in the garage and haven’t touched it to this day. During all this time, my legs had reduced dramatically and I was wearing four to five socks in each socket. They were so large, that I was able to fit most of my arm on the sides of the sockets. I was casted for another two pairs of sockets later and I could not walk on them at all.
I kept seeing pictures and videos on Facebook of this company called LIM Innovations. So I began to research what this adjustable socket was all about. Since I fluctuate in volume so much from my leg, I was very interested in this technology, which I hoped would put the end to my use of socks.
In December 2015, I received my Infinite Sockets, and although it took a while for my sockets to fit properly, the tweaks and fittings that my Prosthetist was able to make with the clinical specialist from LIM present, it really proved a worthwhile experience.
They’ve been the most comfortable socket I’ve had; I am able to walk all day with no pain in my groin area nor in my stump area. My old socket pegged me into walking one particular way and it has nearly ruined my whole body in the process. The Infinite Socket, feels as if it is allowing me to reclaim a fair amount of meaningful space for control. Today, I put my sockets on at 7am and take them off at 11pm, Monday through Sunday. I am able to work like I used to and take care of my family. I love the confidence that I have with them; I am able to be a drummer playing live gigs again.
My Fiancé Tracy and I got engaged recently. She’s been by my side since I was on wheels, through watching me fall face first on the floor when trying my stubbies even to this day. We’ve been through thick and thin for sure. I know that there’s so many challenges ahead for us, but with each other’s support, we get through anything. We are crazy in love and will be getting married in August in Laredo, Texas. I love life and I’m so happy that I get to share moments with my loved ones! We only have this one life, and I’m grateful for this second chance. It’s made me stronger than I’ve ever been.