We are blessed to be able to share Lesley's
story with her, written in her own words for this site. She is an
inspirational young woman to many of the people who know her. Always
ready with a kind word of encouragement for anyone, she has been
a blessing to me in the short time I have known her. Lesley also
has Dandy Walker Syndrome, which affects perhaps one in 25,000 babies.
Lesley was 17 years old when she chose amputation instead of being
wheelchair bound for life.
Thanks, Lesley, for sharing your personal
experience with us.
I am Lesley. I am 19 years old, and I am living in the USA. I have
been a right below knee amputee since May 28, 2003.
I had a lot of surgeries, and my
left foot turned out great. We went to another doctor for my right
one, and they moved tendons around to the other side of my foot.
They didn’t tell us what they were doing, so when they took
the cast off, our jaws dropped. I managed for a long time, but really,
I was crippled. I couldn’t even get out of bed. That was my
life. I would go to sleep as soon as I got home. I wouldn’t
get up until I had to, and even taking a shower was hard. I eventually
had special shoes made. During that part of my life, my self-esteem
went to zero. I did not feel pretty.
I was at a local church function
and we were eating out. I sat down wrong and dislocated my good
knee. I couldn’t breathe and I was in so much pain. They called
my dad and then the ambulance. They had a hard time getting me on
the stretcher, but they finally got me into the ambulance and gave
me a shot. I don’t remember much after they got me to a room.
I fell asleep while they popped the knee back in. My knee was so
sore, and it took a while to heal.
We were then faced
with the difficult decision of losing my leg, or me having to spend
my life in a wheelchair. My parents came and gave me the option
of amputation. I didn’t want to at first, but then I said
yes, not knowing what I was in for. Getting up for my surgery was
very eerie. I had a very calm feeling. I was very nervous, and I
woke up and in a lot of pain. It was to be expected.
I had a lot of people come to visit
me in the hospital. The only thing that stuck out in my mind was
when they had to take out the drain pump and change my dressing.
It made me so mad. I was so drugged out that I told my sister to
move my leg on the pillow and I screamed at her!!!! But I had to
get up and learn to walk on crutches and into the hallway. Which
I got to go home after that and
didn’t know what to expect. I was in bed for the longest time
in my life, and I cried and cried and cried, because I was so alone.
I didn’t know where to turn. People would come over and bring
gifts. And then they would leave. And I would hurt some more.
But I had to get a grip on life,
and since my parents both worked, I had to learn things on my own.
Like how to take a shower, and get food, and start moving around,
and exercising my stump. I finally found the energy to get onto
the internet and online. My parents helped me by getting me in touch
with a site called the HMM forum and it changed my life. But I still
felt down for a long time.
After about 3 months of recuperating,
I finally got my stitches out and got to get my shrinker sock and
a test leg. The first man I went to was a quack. After a long time
of messing with our minds and taking our money and not listening
to us, he said I needed discipline. He made my socket bigger when
I was shrinking! So we went to a new doc, and he is so great. He
did measurements and talked to me, and asked me what I wanted, and
took the time to care. I was so relieved about this.
About the time we found him, we
had to make an appointment because my prosthetic foot fell off of
my leg while I was sitting down. I was crying so much and I just
After that, I wrote to the doctor
who messed me up, and he wrote back and said “I am really
sorry this has happened, I hope you are getting better”. It
hurt. But I eventually forgave him. I was just so blessed to get
a leg and to be able to walk again.
I remember the time I took my first
steps. I was using a walker and didn’t want to let go. And
then I stepped out. I walked around the house and went to the grocery
store for the first time. I was worn out when I got home, but it
felt so good.
I also was looking for another amputee
to talk to. We got a call one day from a woman named Frieda. She
was one of the first people who let me know that everything would
be all right, and I wasn’t alone in this. That people all
over the world were going through this too.
Here and now, life is great. I am
just blessed to be here and walking. I went to school walking and
everyone was just so happy for me. I graduated from high school,
and am in another year of training.
My motto is to practice what you
preach and be the best person you can be. This coming May (2006)
it will be 3 years since my amputation and I bought my first pair
of skates since the amputation. I used to skate before and it feels
great. My extended family is the best support system I have. It
has only been 3 days since I started skating again. I am using an
aide, and I only fell once. I just feel so incredible.
for new amputees and loved ones, and just people in general: Life
is a roller coaster and you will go through bumpy situations, but
it’s all worth it in the end. Do not take things for granted.
Love who you are inside and out, because GOD made you who you are.
In His eyes you are beautiful. Go for your dreams. When you’re
an amputee you’re missing limbs, not your ability to think
I hope you all learned something
I am hoping I did.
Lesley has promised us a picture of her being absolute
fabulous on her new roller skates. I won't let her forget....so
come back and check in a little while :)