Following the surgery to amputate my left leg, I found myself in totally uncharted waters. The need for the amputation had arisen unexpectedly and had to be addressed rapidly. This left little time beforehand for very little besides locating a good vascular surgeon and booking the surgery.
After my release from the hospital, I went directly to an excellent rehab facility; and the wonderful staff there was doing everything possible to help me. I was the only amputee in residence at the time, however; and there were questions about everyday living and coping that could only be answered by someone who had actually experienced and come through the situation his or herself.
This fact was emphasized when my wife and I drove over to Miami for the first follow-up visit with my surgeon, two weeks after the surgery had been performed. It was a long morning; and on the return trip, we decided to take a break and stop for lunch. Before the meal was even served, I began experiencing severe pain. Making this stop had definitely been a poor decision. Later, we went to a rest stop, and realized for the first time just how inassessable some of these facilities actually are for those using wheelchairs or walkers. It was quite an eye-opener.
I returned to Naples feeling isolated and somewhat hopeless. The trip had left no doubt regarding just how much my life had changed. My wife was disheartened by the trip as well and concerned about my mental outlook. I am normally an easy-going, positive person; and the change was very evident.
When she returned home, she began making calls. First, she contacted the people at In Motion, the publication of Amputees Coalition of America and told them she was looking for a support group here in Naples. The person she spoke with said they had no information about a group here. In fact the closest one she was familiar with at the time was located in Port Charlotte, and she provided a contact number for the president of the group there. The person at ACA went on to offer to find a peer counselor for me; however, the closest one she had was located in Tampa.
My wife's next call was to Susan Moore, the president of the support group in Port Charlotte. Susan spent quite a while talking with my her, providing reassurance, giving her helpful suggestions and information and inviting the two of us up to attend their south of Port Charlotte. Later during the conversation, however, she remembered that she had received an e-mail from someone in Naples several months earlier, who was in the process of establishing a group. She promised to look for the e-mail and call back with the address, if she found it.
Within a day, my wife received a call from Bob Ayres at Miracle Limbs. Susan had been in touch with him, and he immediately followed-up with a call to my wife. Their conversation spanned more than an hour, during which he listened to her concerns regarding my condition and her frustrations at not being find answers to our many questions. Before the conversation ended, Bob promised to contact me the next day. True to his word, he did.
In fact, Bob did a whole lot more than just call me. He came to see me at my rehab center bringing with him not only hope and reassurance but books and pamphlets as well. These provided information that filled-in many of the gaps in my knowledge regarding what I was now experiencing and could expect in the future.
The days following the amputation of one's limb are indeed difficult ones. Having Bob so willingly provide the support he gave and continues to give has made the journey far less difficult for me. His enthusiasm for life, upbeat personality and dedication to helping fellow amputees through his foundation, Miracle Limbs-Courage in Motion, all serve as an inspiration to me. He is a wonderful resource and example, and I will always be thankful that God brought him into my life.
On May 2009, 68 year old Denny Huston discovered a small wound on his right foot. Thinking it was
just a splinter Denny went on a scheduled vacation to Texas. Within two weeks the wound began to bother Denny and he
experienced pain in his foot, at which time he and his wife Debby went to the emergency room where it was confirmed that he
had an infection and was prescribed with antibiotics and pain medication. Upon his return to Naples, Florida, Denny went to a
podiatrist. Following many treatments, Denny's foot continued to get worse.
Denny's journey was compounded with the fact that he had one major and two minor heart attacks and was given a twenty five
percent chance of surviving.
Denny did survive and was on his way to recovery; However, he had developed skin sores and heel ulcers and he was taken back
to NCH downtown Naples where he went through extensive tests to find out that Denny had vascular neuropathy, a condition that
affects the nerves controlling the blood vessels.
In Denny's case the only remedy was to amputate his leg above the knee. Denny now faced the most difficult decision he would
have to make. His life was going to change and challenge his soul to the core.
As fate would have it, Bob Ayres, an amputee and founder of Miracle Limbs-Courage in Motion was on his way into NCH to visit
with an amputee when Debby Huston saw Bob and asked him if he would visit with Denny in his hospital room.
In Denny's words:
"Bob came into my hospital room and answered all my questions and assure me that all would be good. Upon returning home from
the hospital, feeling a loss of identity and feeling sorry for myself, I received a call from Bob and then he came over to my
home and we spent time talking. It must have been fate that my wife ran into Bob at the time I needed someone that could
understand what I was going through.
I began physical therapy and prosthetic fittings for my new leg at Hanger Prosthetics and was attended by Anthony and Loi who
are a one on one team and gave me the feeling that I would actually be okay.
After my first walk with my new prostheses, I got emotional and said" look I walked". What a day that was.
I am on my way to a good life with the help of my loving wife, Debbie, who has been here for me and believes in me. I do feel
that God has spared me, maybe to help someone with the same attitude. I know that through this journey I will be an
inspiration to others and show them that with a friend like Bob, and a therapist like Anthony and Loi, I can accomplish
It is true that impossible is an option, not a fact.
My name is Corina. My three year old daughter, Itzel, was
diagnosed with Myofibromatosis, a rare type of tumor on her left
arm. Many treatments such as chemotherapy were performed on Itzel
to no avail. In order to save her life, the heart breaking
decision was made to amputate her arm above the elbow.
Now Itzel is progressing although she has a lot of work ahead
of her learning to use a prosthetic arm. I am thankful that
Miracle Limbs-Courage in Motion is available to assist with her
prosthetic arm and is providing support and encouragement in many
ways both financial and emotional. We are happy that Miracle
Limbs-Courage in Motion exists and are grateful for all the
assistance we have received. Words cannot describe our feelings
for all the help we have received. It means a lot to my daughter
and our family.
Thank you Bob!!
I wanted to give an update on my Mom's condition and also to send you this note that she wrote for you and your wife.
Her attitude has really taken a complete turn around; she is now very positive and works very hard at her therapy sessions. All the attending therapists are very impressed with her strength and desire and hopeful that she may surprise us all as to how far she will
be able to go.
Recently she was fitted with the first test prosthetic by Pete from Hanger. He brought over his initial socket for her to try on and he took additional notes and measurements for the next devise which he will bring next week. We are delighted with her and in some way attribute her success to your influence and example. My niece Toni, whom you met, has put it very nicely when she says,
"I can't help but think of Bob, and remember his words ... That the only barrier in situations like these are mental, and if one can believe it's possible, and work toward it that it WILL happen. I know that counts not just for her beliefs, but ours too. The only things that could hold her back now would be a negative outlook, fear, or believing that it's impossible. I know that our faith in her ability, and our daily positive encouragement to do this helps every step of the way."
So here is her note to you and your wife, and from all of us Bob, thanks for your help and thanks for caring. She wants to very much cheer on your bicycle marathon to Tampa so let us know when it is.
Querida Pareja tan linda.
Gracias por venir a verme aquel dia, no lo olvido. Fue muy lindo por
parte de ustedes.
Ya probe caminar con la primera pierna de prueba y lo hice bien, espero
No los olvido, los quiero,
Dear Bob and Diana.
Thank you for visiting me the other day, I will not forget, It was nice on your part.
I tried to walk with my new leg for a test and I did very well, I expect to continue with this progress.
I will not forget you, I like you.