It’s common for people who have gone through physical trauma to have a long road to recovery with many bumps along the way. It is my job to help provide them with the best tools to achieve their mobility goals throughout their journey. This month I wanted to share the story of one of our patients who has had a long road to recovery. Her name is Katie, and this is her story.
Katie Moreno’s life was changed forever when, a drunk driver came across the interstate in Gray, TN and hit her head on. The date was 11.10.09 and her fight to live had begun.
She sustained multiple injuries including severe trauma to both knees and ankles. Katie also lost her vision for almost 48 hours. The night of the accident they were unsure if she would ever be able to walk again.
After a 6-hour long surgery, and still not being able to see or move, Katie’s best friend broke the news as Katie that she may not walk again. In true Katie style, her response was an optimistic: “They are legs. They can be fixed.”
The first year was filled with a lot of work. She did physical therapy 3-5 times a day working hard to regain her mobility. It was 8 months before she was able to walk.
She started working again in attempt to live a normal life. Despite the 21 surgeries and Katie’s drive to work toward recovery, the pain kept getting worse. A bone in her right ankle had lost blood supply and her ankle joint was severely arthritic.
Katie first came to Victory in 2013, when her orthopedist sent her in for a brace for her ankle, an AFO. Katie could immediately feel relief when she walked with it. She wore constantly. As time went by Katie’s injury got worse and the bone in her ankle partially collapsed.
In 2014, she started to search for a life without severe pain. She inquired about ankle replacements and fusions. She would read stories about how amputees had a less pain and more mobility.
In 2015 her orthopedist sent her back to Victory discuss the options of amputation. One of the prosthetist at Victory, took time to talk about amputations and life as an amputee. Katie said, “my favorite part was that they arranged for me to meet an amputee mom who had been on a similar journey.” This patient was able to provide Katie with valuable insight about living with an amputation.
Katie realized that the injury to her right ankle was severely limiting her life personally and professionally. She has a son that is 5. She loved to be active. Katie said, “I was done with my foot, the pain, and not enjoying life.”
In 2017, Katie came to Victory to discuss one more time the details of amputation and the importance of having a leg that looked like Ironman. This was important to her because she was preparing her son to understand. Mommy was going to become IronWoman and would be able to play with him more. On 10.5.17, Katie choose to have an amputation to regain her life. The procedure was successful; however, she did have infection and neuromas that delayed her getting her prosthesis until May.
Katie now walks 3 miles a day, has completed several 5k races and is living an independent and mobile life. Katie said “I can’t explain how much it means to play soccer with my son outside or go for walk and not be in so much pain that I have to go home and put my feet up. I have literally gained my life back. The victory is mine.”
We at Victory know the journey is different with each patient. Knowing firsthand the difference that support from a fellow amputee can make for a new amputee, Katie became a certified peer visitor for the Amputee Coalition. This, along with being Victory’s Patient Liaison allows Katie to help other new amputees along their personal journey.
We are available to answer any questions about your orthotic or prosthetic journey. We will be there every step of the way. Please give us a call.
For more information, or to schedule an appointment, please contact the Victory O&P office nearest you.