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Rebecca M. | From Illness to Independence

Rebecca Case StudyMeet Rebecca:

At the age of twelve Rebecca was diagnosed with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT), a common inherited neurological disorder affecting approximately 1 in 2,500 people in the United States. The neuropathy of CMT affects motor and sensory nerves.  Because of CMT Rebecca experienced weakness in her arms, feet and lower leg muscles, resulting in foot drop.  That didn’t slow Rebecca down though, she found satisfying activities that she was able to engage in with her family and friends.

Over the years Rebecca maintained a high activity level, working in various forms of childcare.  The active lifestyle placed a lot of demands on her body, and in 2011 Rebecca required a total knee replacement in her right leg.

Post-surgery Issues:

The knee replacement surgery was a success, but in 2012 Rebecca began experiencing a lot of redness, pain and swelling caused by infection. For the next three years Rebecca had a total of four knee replacements on her right leg, each time resulting in the removal of additional femoral bone.

Even with the aid of a walker Rebecca could barely walk and was in constant pain.  Over the next three years Rebecca developed MRSA and a blood clot in her leg. The infections continued to return and worsened to the point of becoming septic.  After consultations with several physicians, including experts from University of Virginia, and Duke, it was recommended that Rebecca have an above the knee amputation.  Further surgeries to try to resolve the infection would require the loss of additional femoral bone, compromising her ability to wear a prosthesis in the future.

Improved Health through Amputation:

In April 2015, Rebecca decided to proceed with amputation; her surgeon referred her to Reach Orthotics & Prosthetic Services for her prosthetic care.  Reach clinicians John Robb and Matt Zydron worked with her in the hospital and continued throughout the healing and fitting process.  Matt also fit Rebecca with a custom ankle foot orthosis (AFO) to stabilize her left foot.

Better Days for Rebecca:

Based on Rebecca’s activity level, along with the rehab team’s goals to achieve the best possible outcomes, John fit Rebecca with the Plie 3 by Freedom Innovations.  The Plie 3 microprocessor knee, with its responsive stumble and fall protection, allows Rebecca to instinctively move at her own pace in any direction.

Rebecca Testimonial

Rebecca’s health has greatly improved.  The infection and pain is gone, and with her new prosthesis she is active again.  She is less dependent on a walker, is able to drive, and regularly plays with her grandchildren.  She even went down a slide with her granddaughter!

Rebecca is happy to be back in life! When her brother unexpectedly passed away in 2014, Rebecca was motived to honor him by making the best of her life and works hard to “make him proud.” She says “God brought the right people to me at the right time to help me”.   Her positive attitude was a huge factor in her success, “I kept thinking of the little engine that could….repeating, ‘I think I can, I think I can…’”.    We couldn’t be happier to help Rebecca get back in the game!