Magazine article Policy & Practice

The Spirit of Life

Magazine article Policy & Practice

The Spirit of Life

Article excerpt

I see couples, every day, walking and holding hands. People will never realize how this simple act has changed my life.

When I met my future husband in 2000, I was unable to walk without crutches. I suffered a severe injury to my foot, leaving me with constant pain and fragile bones. I wasn't looking for a relationship, resigned to the fact that nobody would want to become involved with somebody carrying such significant medical baggage.

Scott and I were both special education teachers, and struck up an immediate friendship. As the relationship began, I informed him about my injury. I was facing years of painful, difficult surgeries and would, quite probably, deal with issues for the rest of my life. At 24 years old, this was a daunting reality for me to face. Undeterred, we fell in love.

Shortly after our romance began to blossom, I was diagnosed with cancer. He remained steadfast in his love and support. He held my hand through surgeries and treatment. With his support, I regained my health.

After enduring 17 surgeries on my foot, I was faced with a difficult choice. We wanted to get married and start a family. I didn't want to get married until I could walk down the aisle, unassisted. Starting a family was going to be difficult because I am a cancer survivor, compounded by the issues surrounding my foot. I chose to amputate my left leg. This was, by far, the hardest decision of my life. I was terrified.

On July 3, 2003, Scott drove me to the hospital for the amputation. …

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