Below the Knee Prosthetic Success Story
Raised in a Military family, Ashtan “Five Toes” Wallace joined the Army in 2006, becoming an engineer. On December 12, 2009, he went to the doctor to have a cyst removed from his leg. When the biopsy came back, it was discovered that he had Ewing Sarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer. After months of chemotherapy, his doctor broke the news to him that he was going to lose part of his foot where the cancer was located.
“It was very scary”, says Ashtan. “I had never met an amputee up to that point, let alone know if I could ever life a normal life again”.
Upon hearing the news, Ashtan called his mother, and she immediately told him that he would get through this. Ashtan remembers responding, “God thought I was going too fast. This was His way of slowing me down”.
However, the term “slowing down” isn’t exactly synonymous with Ashtan’s personality. He worked very hard to remain in Active Duty in the Military and was deployed to Afghanistan in 2010. Wallace served as a liaison for his unit, helping soldiers who were heading home to arrange flights and accommodations. He brought four partial prosthetics to Afghanistan that, unfortunately, did not hold up; breaking all of them within the first 32 days. He asked the military to send more prosthetics so that he could get back to deployment, but it was not meant to be, and he was shipped home. When he returned to the United States, a combination of pain and the physical limitations of the partial foot prosthesis forced Ashtan with a difficult decision to make. At the age of 24, he made the decision to electively amputate his leg below the knee.
According to Ashtan, the toughest part of his recovery was watching the extra load his wife, Amanda, had to carry. He used this as motivation to work harder so that he could help out more around the house and spend quality time with his son, Tatum, and daughter, Haedyn.
“Sharing my story to dozens of people every day is not a burden to me. I love telling my story. I never let it get me down, because I have nothing to be sour about”.
Ashtan Wallace served as SRT’s first Patient Advocate, and now proudly serves at the Fort Wayne Veteran’s Hospital. We wish him the best of luck!