Real Life Stories //
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.
Real Life Prosthetics' Patient since 2003