I am Mike
Gender: Male / Amputation: Quadramembral: Left arm BE, right elbow disartic, Bilateral BKA
Foot: Soleus / Shell color: Caucasian
This is my story
In January of 2000 at the age of 35, I contracted pneumococcal pneumonia. This led to systemic gangrene resulting in amputation of all four limbs. I spent five months in four different hospitals, the first two months in a drug-induced coma. I spent another nine months as an outpatient in rehabilitation.
After my amputations and once my skin grafts were healed, it was time to learn how to walk and expand my level of independence. My first prosthetic foot was a SAFE (solid ankle-flexible-endoskeletal) foot. Being a bilateral below knee amputee, I was given this rudimentary foot first because it provided stability while learning to walk again. As my ability and endurance grew, I tried many different feet (at least ten in all) with different levels of success but there was always a detraction about each foot I wore - maintenance issues, breakage, lack of ground compliance, or leaving grease behind. I was just not 100% happy with the prosthetic feet on the market.
Finally, I discovered the Soleus by College Park. This foot incorporated all of the things I was looking for: vertical compression, excellent ground compliance on all terrain, no hyperextension of my knee, a dynamic response, a smooth gait, no maintenance and no grease! The highest compliment I can give this foot is “I DON’T THINK ABOUT IT!” It gives me the confidence and endurance to do what I want, for as long as I want. I have old legs with other feet on them that I’ll wear every now and then, but every time I can’t wait to get out of them and back into my Soleus’ - like an “old pair of shoes”, they are that comfortable.
For me, life boiled down to two questions… do I want to be alive (Yes), and do I want to be happy (Yes). There are plenty of hard times and everyday can be a struggle. But now that I’m here, I choose to stay here and make the best of it. I’ve gone skiing, skydiving, surfing, snorkeling in Hawaii, and climbed Mayan pyramids in Mexico. I also swim in my pool, mow the lawn/run the weed whacker, climb an extension ladder to get on my roof, drive with no adaptive equipment, go horseback riding, practically anything and everything I really want to do.