Many of those who lost limbs in the Boston Marathon bombing have a rough road ahead. One young Horry County woman knows exactly what they’re going through.
Karen Stevenson lost part of a leg to cancer seven years ago. When she found out she would lose her right foot, she says she cried and nearly passed out. “My main worry was just how was I going to live every day and how was I going to get up and do my normal everyday routine,” said Stevenson.
Physical Therapy and Residual Limb Phantom Pain
Stevenson was just 22 years old and had a two-year-old son when she lost her foot. She worried that she’d never be able to play baseball with her son or teach him how to ride a bike.
And then there was the phantom sensations, the feeling that not only did she still have a foot, but it hurt. The phantom pains continue to this day. “Sometimes I’ll trip because I’ll feel like I can actually be able to move my ankle, which I don’t even have. ”It took years of physical therapy and hard work with her prosthetist to get her to a better place.
“When I first started working with her, she didn’t want anybody to touch her residual limb, didn’t want anybody to look at it, she definitely didn’t want to look at it herself,” said Alex Lyons, Certified Prosthetist/Orthotist.
Lyons says post-amputation life has been a roller coaster for Stevenson, but she’s reached a point where she now helps counsel other amputees. After being told she wouldn’t be able to have more children, she’s given birth twice since her amputation and is a stay-at-home mother of three. “We’re just trying to match the technology to keep her active and do what she needs to do to be a mom,” said Lyons.
Stevenson’s advice for the victims from the Boston bombing is to stay positive, seek out the support of other amputees and know that they’re lucky to be alive. “You have to stay focused and know that God had this happen for a reason, and you can also be an inspiration to other people, whether they’re an amputee or not.”