My first blog!

Michelle's Blog May 04, 2011 4 Comments
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So, most of you know me very well and some may not know me at all!  I’ve never “blogged” before! So hopefully this won’t be terrible. If it is…well, sorry!

I’ve been told several times in the past few months that I should create a blog to tell my story, so here it is. I never thought that 10 years ago I would be writing this or be the founder of a non-profit organization. I moved to Nashville for School and Music, never did I know that I would face a challenge a few years back that would bring me to where I am today. At this point in my life, I honestly feel that I need to share my story about my life growing up as an amputee…. I’m hoping that it will help others know that perfection isn’t always everything!

I was born June 25, 1981 in Mission Viejo, California! Crap, I’m almost 30!! Anyways, I was born with 2 legs, however, my right leg did not fully develop. My right femur had only developed fifty percent and I was born with a very small ball and socket, this birth defect is known as Proximal Femoral Deficiency (PFD). PFD is very uncommon and the exact cause can be very complex and be combined with other congenital abnormalities. The news was a shock to my parents as technology was not like it is today. They were not forewarned or prepared for this situation (which wouldn’t have made a difference to them).  As most parents dream and want a healthy child, that doesn’t always happen. I was healthy just not perfect! Who is perfect anyway?? My parents accepted me just the way I was. They did not leave me at the hospital; say they couldn’t handle me or didn’t want me because I would grow up wearing a prosthetic leg. Resources to help my parents cope with a child with PFD like the internet, small groups or extensive research just wasn’t there. My parents took advice from my doctor’s on how they should raise me. They brought me home and surrounded me with love and treated me as I was no different than my brother or any other child.

At an early age, I wanted to walk so bad, I was fitted with a small prosthesis to help me walk until my leg was amputated. At 18 months I had my first surgery at UCLA and my right leg was amputated. I was then fitted with an above the knee (AK) prosthesis. Rudy Nunez, C.P. owner of Am-Pro Prosthetics in Anaheim, CA made me my first leg. You will get to know him as my “leg man”.  My leg man became my family as I saw him sometimes monthly or maybe once a year just depending on how I was growing.  I once read this quote when I was doing some research “a good prosthetist is worth his weight in gold”. Oh man, is that true! My leg man is best. Let me tell you, he is a “PRO” at fitting patients just like me!

I’ve gotta run! My baby is waking up! Will continue soon…..

4 Responses to “My first blog!”

  1. Reply jesse perez says:

    my name is jesse im from anahiem ca i am a prosthetic technician i been in this field for twenty two years .Rudy Nunez is a good friend of mine since i was 15tr old im 41 now i have so much respect for him and his work

    • Reply Michelle says:

      Hi Jesse- How are you???? I know Rudy is such a great man and has an incredible talent for helping/fitting amputees prosthetics. Hope you’re doing well

  2. Reply Melissa Myers says:

    Good evening Michelle. Thank you for sharing your story and for doing so in such an inspiring and humble way. The work you do is so beneficial to your community. And I gotta say your website design is awesome.

    We have just recently formed non-profit in Houston, TX to bring useful resources in the form or education/information, personal guidance and gardianship to our underserved amputee community here in Houston and the surrounding areas. We find too many amputees that are sent home uneducated, uninformed, about life and rights as an amputee. In some cases I find patients who have never been told they could physically qualify for prosthesis or that their insurance benefits include prosthetic coverage.

    Most of our patients are Medicare and Medicaid patients and beside their amputation have additional issues on multiple levels that make life without amputation difficult. We have been fighting, appealing, pleading and sometimes even begging insurance companies for fair coverage benefits for our patients in the prosthetic industry for years. I helped start and co-owned an O&P company about 14 years ago. I loved helping those patients and was happy to come back to the industry a few years ago working with my family’s O&P company now in their 6th year. My two cousins are our “leg guy and gal” and my aunt & uncle are the directors. I am very passionate about finding solutions for patients needs and find great peace in knowing that our family grows larger with every patient we meet/treat. I must tell you that most of patient’s stories are very sad and we deal with a lot of BS out there. We want to raise awareness in our underserved amputee communities on living with limb loss, their patient rights, their freedom to choose the best “leg guys/gals” that are the right fit for them and not feeling pressured/hard sold/bribed or lead to a provider that simply has deep marketing pockets but little regard for bringing compassion, valuable resources, and life long quality care by professional prosthetic providers. We want paitents to clearly understand their existing insurance benefits and coverage options, unconventional funding options (fundraising where needed), and to feel a sense of empowerment through proper education/information to be able to make good decisions regarding their care.

    Do you know of anyone in the Houston area? Do you have any plans to come out this way? If so I would like to meet you. Please let me know if you have any thoughts or suggestions in our beginning stages of launching H.E.L.P. Help Elevate Lives of Patients with Limb Loss.

    Equally, if we can assist you in anyway, please let us know.

    Thank you for your time and your beautiful work! Your baby girl is adorable! Congrast on the new position! You are an inspiration!

    A BIG Texas Good night! : )

  3. Reply Clayton says:

    Comments are now open.

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