Here at LIM Innovations™ we deeply value feedback from our users. With such a diverse group, we invite you to join us for an in-depth look at their story. Melissa Tabke’s tale is epic, as she chose not to let her amputation get her down, and instead continues to work on developing Ghana’s agricultural scene. With the help of her amazing prosthetist and the comfort of the Infinite Socket, Melissa feels there is nothing she can’t do when in Ghana. Here’s her story:
When I lost my leg above the knee after graduating from high school, I knew I would be able to keep traveling and working abroad but it would be more difficult as I would have to depend on a prosthetic leg to live my daily life. Luckily, I found a prosthetist who is innovative and passionate about finding working solutions for his patients that allow them to live their lives as optimally as possible. I moved 1,000 miles away to attend the university of my dreams four weeks after being discharged from the hospital, and one week after learning how to walk again with an enormous amount of help from my family, friends, and most notably, my prosthetist. Being a college freshman and having to learn how to navigate a massive campus, new social environment, and 8am general chemistry class was a challenge in itself. Add residual limb change, learning how to walk up stairs, hills, and even on flat ground without tripping, battling blisters in places blisters should never be, learning how to ride my horse again, all while coming to terms with the fact that you’re an 18-year-old girl who has just had a quarter of your body removed, and it made life seemed a bit overwhelming sometimes. While my prosthetist found incredible solutions for most of my issues, I would still get off my horse some evenings with giant gashes in my thigh from my prosthetic and blood all over my jeans and saddle. How could something that was so natural for me now become so painfully difficult?
I rolled right in to my master’s program where I was at school for fourteen hours a day regularly, in the lab, on the farm working with my cattle, and in class. Additionally, I started doing CrossFit to keep my sanity, which means 5am workouts. Life was definitely starting to take a toll on my limb. I had blisters that wouldn’t heal for weeks and my socket was even more uncomfortable and unyielding than before. Taking time out of my life was not an option I considered; finding a solution was.
After grad school I began working in Ghana, and for a year and a half I climbed mountains, walked 3-5 miles a day and travelled on public transportation on a daily basis. The developing world is not “handicapped” accessible. During my first year in Ghana while doing some browsing on the internet for new prosthetic stuff, an ad for the Infinite Socket popped up. I watched a few YouTube videos and sent an email asking about some more information and letting them know I when I would be back in the States. A day after I hit American soil, I got a call from Robert Geshlider at LIM giving me more information and chatting with me about how I could test it out. I called my prosthetist and he contacted the LIM guys. Three weeks and a couple of casts later, Jon Smith and a supporting prosthetist from Detroit were standing in my prosthetist’s office in Iowa with one of their sockets. I don’t think I’ve ever had a fitting quite like that before.
This is the most natural fitting socket I have ever worn. It feels like part of me and spending hours in it, whether at the office or in the field, is easy. The best part, I can adjust it myself when I need to throughout the day or when something needs to be replaced. The LIM team has been awesome to work with from the other side of the globe. It is an incredible alternative to conventional sockets and LIM is constantly working to improve their design. I am thrilled to be a part of that process. Trekking through jungles and savannah in 100 degree weather has never been more comfortable or functional before. I love my job. I love traveling. I love not having blisters and skin breakdown. This socket is a phenomenal improvement to my daily life and I am so thankful for the team at LIM and my prosthetist at home for making my life easier and more comfortable so I can spend more time focusing on my real life and less time figuring out the “mechanics” that allow me to continue it. Keep it up guys!