Walking Instead of Amputation


I usually don't share such personal information to my HUG Your Baby world, but this story is too good to miss!

I had a foot injury as I child but walked, danced, hiked, etc., for decades. About eight years ago I developed severe arthritis in my right ankle and gradually became unable to walk at work, to walk around my house, to stand to cook a meal, or to make home visits with patients. Unwilling to be totally stopped in my tracks, many of you met me over the past few years sharing HUG Your Baby in fourteen countries--on my electric scooter.

After Jim and I returned to the USA, I sought medical advice. Three local physicians here in Durham, North Carolina ("The City of Medicine"), recommended a below-the-knee amputation of my right leg as the best course of action for me. These doctors explained that I would walk better with a prosthesis than I ever could do otherwise. Over the past year I was scheduled for an amputation three different times, but I could not find peace with the decision. After my third cancellation, Jim Googled "alternative to amputation" and discovered the IDEO brace. This brace was invented by Ryan Blanck, an American prosthetist, who had worked with veterans wounded in Afghanistan and Iraq.



The IDEO program was recently opened to civilians. So, this autumn, Jim and I went to the Hanger Clinic in Gig Harbor, Washington, so that I could be fitted for one of these innovative, carbon fiber braces. Within 24 hours I was measured, my custom brace was fabricated, and I went outside to give it a try. Miraculously (it seemed to us) I walked--a 1/2 mile around the building, up a hill, on gravel, down stairs--all pain-free.


Indeed, it has been a miracle.  Every day I wake up feeling grateful and am growing stronger. I enjoy cooking again, shopping for Christmas, and building up my private, home-visiting, lactation/parenting business. I go to the gym regularly and can now comfortably walk 1.5 miles. Jim and I are eager now to make further plans to carry HUG Your Baby out into the world. The IDEO is truly a brilliant idea. It has given me back the life I used to lead!

Here is a link (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGfIMk8BFvw) to the IDEO song that Jim and I wrote to celebrate this amazing brace. My sons, Jonathan (on bass) and Dave (second vocalist), along with Jim (in chorus and production) and other musical friends, made this professional recording of "Our IDEO Song". I asked fellow IDEO wearers to contribute their IDEO photos to create this music video. This song captures the heart-felt joy of this life-changing, and life-enriching experience!

Share "Our IDEO Song" with friends, colleagues and family
to get the word out to those who might benefit!