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Real Life Stories // 

 

Real Life Prosthetics™ is honored to be a part of the incredible journeys of our inspiring patients, who graciously share their experiences with all of us.  These Real Life stories are a testament to the resilience, courage, and triumph of remarkable individuals who live life to the fullest every day, empowered by advanced prosthetic solutions.

 

Dive into their personal narratives of strength and perseverance that define our patients' unique paths. These stories reflect the transformative impact of our collaborative efforts in providing custom prosthetic solutions.

Every journey begins with a single step, and each step tells a story of resilience and triumph!

For additional narratives and firsthand accounts, explore our YouTube Channel.

"(Jonas has) been a blessing to me. Not only with his wisdom.  His knowledge."

By offering you the respect, caring support and physical resources you need to overcome your challenges, Real Life Prosthetics is with you every step of the way.

 

 "With very few exceptions, there is nothing you will be prevented from doing. You may not do it the same as everyone else does, but if you want to do something, you'll find a way to do it."

"They (Real Life Prosthetic) got me to walk again."

"Thanks to Real Life Prosthetics, I once again have the option - the choice - to stand upright and walk with ease.  WOW!"

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Jeannie B.// 
Hip Disarticulation

"In 2013, I got a severe infection in my right TKR (Total Knee Replacement) and after 15 surgeries nothing more could be done.  I wasn't able to put weight on my right leg because my femur was rotten and it would shatter; plus my right let was 5 1/2" shorter than my left leg.

 

In October 2016, I got another infection and the decision was made to amputate my right leg.  On November 8, 2016, I had a hip disarticulation.  After surgery I developed a seroma (a sterile collection of fluid under the skin) and infection.  A total of 8 more trips to the OR to change the wound, V.A.C.® (Vacuum-Assisted Closure) dressing and do cultures.  After rehab, I was discharged home.  No one said anything about a prosthesis.  So I got on with my new life with a wheelchair. 

 

In 2019, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  After all my treatment, I started physical therapy to help get my strength and endurance back.  After 2 weeks of therapy, my physical therapist talked to me about the possibility of getting a prosthesis. 

 

On January 8, 2021, I went to a prosthetic and orthotic clinic, where I go to physical therapy, and met Steven Lattanzi, CP, COA, LPO from Real Life Prosthetics.  Steven told me that a prosthesis was in my future.  The rest is history.

 

Real Life Prosthetics is awesome!  The entire staff is very professional.  They explain everything.  I was treated like a person and made to feel apart of the team.  I've never had to make follow-up calls to find out whats going on.  Today May 14, 2021, I had my first fitting and was able to take my prosthesis home.  It has been an amazing journey.  I would recommend Real Life Prosthetics to anyone, whether you are a new amputee or just need a new socket.  You won't be disappointed!"

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Jeannie B.

Real Life Prosthetics Patient since 2021

#RestoringRealLifeAbility

From attending a clinic in January 2021, Jeannie has seen significant progress!  She received her 3rd custom socket due to anatomical change which is contributed to her not being wheel chair bound and walking.  In addition, she has shown significant progress in her K-function level which now has her going from an endoskeleton prosthesis to a microprocessor knee and more advance hip componentry. WAY TO GO JEANNIE!

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Jessica L. // 
Bilateral Transtibial Amputee

 

"I was born in Russia --- Irkutsk, Siberia actually --- without proper bone structure in my lower legs.  I didn't have fibulas, ankles, heels or most of the other bones in my feet.  I lived in an orphanage until my parents adopted me and brought me to the U.S. When I was 18 months old, both of my legs were amputated below the knees.  I was fitted with prosthetic legs and my parents tell me I learned to walk within a few weeks.

I always liked swimming, but for 6 years, I did gymnastics.  I really didn’t want to use prosthetics to compete, but my parents were afraid I’d injure my knees without them.  I looked into other sports and decided on swimming because I didn’t have to wear prosthetics to compete.

When I began swimming competitively, I was the only disabled swimmer on the team, but I really didn’t care what anyone thought.  Most people didn’t even notice my legs were missing until I got out of the pool.

Swimming was really hard at first, but now I’m used to it.  When I first started breaking records, I thought, “Wow, I’m good.”  Now I hold 21 American Records, 8 Pan-American Records, 2 Paralympic Records and 2 World Records.  I’ve earned 7 national gold medals and 1 national silver medal.

I competed at the Paralympic Games in Athens, Greece in 2004.  The Paralympics is for disabled athletes at the highest level.  Over 4,000 athletes from over 140 countries participated.  At age 12, I was the youngest member of the U.S. Team and the youngest Paralympian to win gold --- 2 individual gold medals and 1 gold as part of a relay.  I was really happy to win the gold.  I knew I was representing my country, but then to get on the podium... that was my flag, that was my anthem.  It was amazing.  My whole family was there and Jonas Seeberg, my prosthetist at Real Life Prosthetics, even went to cheer me on.

I feel very thankful to have come all the way to America from a Russian orphanage.  God has given me many opportunities and I know He still has more planned for me in the future.  I hope those plans include me going to Beijing in 2008 for the Paralympics.  I want to compete in 6 events and bring home 6 more gold medals."

Jessica L.

Real Life Prosthetics Patient from 2004 - 2009

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Matt M. // 
Unilateral Transtibial Amputee

 

My name is Matt, and I was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. I was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a malignant cancerous bone tumor that affects children, at the young age of 14 years old. The diagnosis resulted in a left leg below-knee amputation. The doctors wanted me to go through a year of chemotherapy after the amputation “just in case”. 

As time passed, I enjoyed my high school years and went off to college.  I got married to the love of my life Allison, and we now have two children together, Molly and Keller.  In 2008, I moved to the mid-Atlantic to work for a company located in Elkton, Maryland.  That same year I needed a new cycling-specific leg since the one I had been wearing was overused and didn’t fit anymore, so I did my research for a new prosthetist since I was new in the region and came across Real Life Prosthetics.  I met with Jonas and described to him what I wanted and what new things we should do.  As I have been an amputee for over 20 years, I knew what I wanted, what worked, and what did not.  Jonas was really good at making what I needed for cycling, a leg that would work for me both for road cycling and mountain bike riding/racing.  After another year of riding on the leg, Jonas wanted to build another, more aerodynamic cycling leg that would stand out and get attention.  After six months of trial sockets and test rides, I had another riding leg that did get attention and comments, such as “cool” and “awesome”, while I was on the road and trail.  After 13 years of using an “everyday leg”, Jonas and the team at Real Life Prosthetics did a great job setting me up with another great prosthetic that was more comfortable.

Today, I reside in Cochranville, Pennsylvania, and continue to ride all the time.  I bike-commute to work a lot, exceeding 4,000 miles in 2011.  I usually try to ride around 50-75 miles on Sundays, either road or mountain, along with group rides during the week after work. I have done some big mountain bike rides like the Shenandoah 100 MTB (SM100) race in 2010 and 2011, and The Baker’s Dozen 13-hour Endurance race in Virginia in 2009, 2010, and winning 1st place in 2012.  This year, I am on track to pass my all-time annual mileage of 5,300 miles in 2011, to almost 7,000 in 2012.

 

If it wasn’t for Jonas and his team at Real Life Prosthetics, I would not be able to continue riding and live a comfortable life with my family.

Matt M.

Real Life Prosthetics' Patient since 2008

#RestoringRealLifeAbility

Even though we do not have current stats on Matt's annual mileage he regularly bike-commutes to work and continues to cycle on the weekends.  Just recently Matt shared a 100-mile day trip that he took with a group of riding friends through Pennsylvania!

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Alisa W. // 
Unilateral Transtibial Amputee

 

At 32 years of age, I became a below-the-knee amputee.  My story is not like most.  I didn't have a disease that results in limb loss, nor was I in an accident.  My amputation was a result of a high school basketball injury.

 

I broke my right ankle when I was a freshman.  The break was hidden behind another bone in my leg, and without today’s technology it went unnoticed.  I was told that I did a great deal of tendon damage, which would take a long time to heal.  My ankle was put in a cast.

I was young, competitive, and looking for an athletic scholarship.  I didn’t listen to my body and played even though I was in pain.  If I only knew then, what I know now.  Within a year of the injury, I had my ankle reconstructed.  I did exactly what the doctors told me, but the reconstruction failed, and I was faced with another surgery in less than a year.  In fact, I went through the trauma of 17 surgeries over 17 years.

On January 31, 2003, I was given the news that I needed yet another operation to repair my ankle replacement, but that the odds of achieving a satisfactory recovery were not good.  My other option was to have my leg amputated. 

 

I was devastated.  All of these long, painful years were a result of a high school sports injury.  I remember thinking, “This was not supposed to turn out like this.” 

 

I researched and weighed my options very carefully and decided that I was tired of the relentless pain and depression I had been in for so many years.  I was confident that I had done everything I could possibly do to save my leg and it was now time to move forward.  I decided to have the amputation.  This was a life changing and difficult decision, but I have no regrets!  Because of my strong faith in God and my positive attitude I was confident that I would not only get through this, but I would make something positive come from all of it as well.

My amputation was on February 12, 2003.  My husband and I met Jonas Seeberg at Real Life Prosthetics the following month.  We were greeted as if we were old friends.  Everyone there was wonderful to us.  By March 27, I was standing with my first prosthetic leg.  What an emotional time!  I honestly don’t know who was more excited --- me, my husband or Jonas!

I returned to my job teaching second grade on April 21 10-weeks after my surgery date.  I used a crutch for about a week and that was it!  I had an entire school cheering me on every day and I walked with my head held high through those hallways, getting stronger each day.  I was amazed, along with my family, friends, colleagues, and students at the progress I had made.  When I made my decision to have an amputation, I was just hoping to be out of the tremendous pain that I had been in for so many years.  I never really thought I would be able to be pain free or able to walk "normally."

At one of my visits to Real Life Prosthetics I mentioned that I had been a runner in high school.  Jonas asked me, "If we build you a running leg would you run?"  I thought it was too good to be true... I was wrong!  Less than a year later, Jonas had not only built me a running leg but also ran with me and my husband in my first 5K Race!  I can not put into words the freedom I felt running again.  It was very emotional, and I will never forget that indescribable feeling.

My life has been restored by Real Life Prosthetics.  Everyone there encouraged and supported me.  They were there to help me with any problems or hurdles that I faced, and they were there to share in my successes, no matter how big or small.  On February 12, 2023, it will be my 20-year amputation anniversary.  I don't know where the time has gone, but I am proud to say that since then, I have been able to live my life to the fullest.  I'm a happy wife of 30-years, mother of 3 grown and married children, a Nana to 2 grandsons, a retired teacher of 28-years, currently I am the Executive Director for Cecil Land Trust, and an amputee.  I walk proud and never pass up an opportunity to educate, mentor or inspire others.

I can’t take credit for my success.  I am the active, healthy, happy person I am because of my faith in God, my belief in myself, and all of the support from my family, friends and even perfect strangers.  I live a life where I define my limitations, not my leg.  Jonas has become a lifelong friend and I will forever be grateful to him and my Real Life Prosthetics family for allowing me to live my life without limitations.  Life is what you make of it.  You can choose to sit around and feel sorry for yourself, or you can become an active participant.  My choice is obvious.

Alisa W.

Real Life Prosthetics' Patient since 2003