SRT is proud to highlight Greg Thurman of Franklin, Indiana, as he tells his inspiring story of recovery:
“To start with, I won my battle over my diabetic ulsers that I suffered with for over 2 and a half years. Like many battles, there are casualties. My casualty was the loss of my right lower leg. The war with Diabetes, unfortunately, never ends, but the individual battles can be won. I feel that the quality of my life increased exponentially after my amputation. The day after my surgery, I felt physically so much better as my body was no longer fighting the infections that had plagued me for years. I also felt better emotionally. I knew in my heart that I was going to be able to face my future with a lot more hope. The idea of being able to walk around in less pain was more than I could imagine”.
“After I got home, I struggled a little with regret as this was a decision that I made myself, unlike others who had no choice in the matter. The uncertainties of stepping into a new leg, the sensations that I would feel, and could I really do it myself? My wife, Carrie, and my family were always there to support me and help me to keep my spirits up. They kept me looking forward when I had doubts. Without their love, I know that I would not have been able to do as well as I did”.
“I remember John Arnold (SRT Prosthetist) showing up in the hospital, giving me my brace and shrinkers, and letting me know he was going to be there to help me with all of this. John, being an amputee himself, gave me the confidence that what he was saying wasn’t just “lip service” but a genuine caring in my success. My orthopedic surgeon, Dr Julian, recommended SRT because of John. Dr Julian had heard about John and SRT and really felt they had a reputation for caring and success with many of his patients”.
“I attended my first Amputee Walking School a week after getting my leg in July of 2015. I was there early in the morning for the whole day session. I wanted to learn how I was going to walk again, and I didn’t want to waste a minute. What I learned, though, more that anything, is not that I was going to master walking overnight, but that there were people, just like me, who struggled just like me. Sure, we didn’t all lose our legs the same way, but we all had one thing in common: we all cared about each other. Many people feel isolated and alone because we don’t see others on a daily basis with missing limbs. But we do feel the stares from people when we go the store or the restaurant. What you don’t get is the feeling you are alone. Dennis Oehler, Todd Schaffhauser (the instructors), John Arnold, and Uriah Steffen (SRT’s Patient Advocate) all make you feel like you belong. And you can always count on Dennis to make you laugh with his jokes… many of which are just BAD! What you find after you have gone a couple times is that it is not just Dennis and Todd or the PT’s who are helping you learn the exercises, it is the other amputees who want you to succeed themselves like they have. The greatest thing is knowing that there are others in that room who are just like you, who have the same struggles every day that you do”.
“I work for the Le Meridien and Spoke & Steele Restaurant in downtown Indianapolis as the Facilities Director, which is a fancy way of saying I am in charge of all the maintenance of the building. My job requires me to climb ladders, crawl out onto roofs, climb stairs, and kneel down on the floor to move or repair things. I also am a busy with my wife Carrie and our kids and grandkids. Having a leg that fits well and allows me to do the things I do every day is critical. Knowing that the time was taken to really understand what I needed for my life at work and at home when fitting me my leg and foot, makes me even more confident that I chose the right prosthetic company”.
“I think that the one thing that I would tell any amputee or someone facing amputation, is that you are not alone. We are a family. Sure we may only see each other on our “Holiday” (the Walking School), but the one thing I can tell you is that everyone in the room loves and cares about you when you are there and misses you when you are not. It is not the “end of the world” losing a limb. In many cases, it is the beginning of a new and better life. There’s always ups and downs, but isn’t that what makes roller coasters so much fun? If anyone would like to talk more, please feel free to get in touch with me, or come to the next Walking School on the south side – I’ll be there”!
SRT congratulates Greg for persevering on his road to recovery, and we thank him for all of the time he devotes to encouraging and mentoring new amputees at the Walking School.