When you sit down to talk to James (Jim) and his wife Amber, you will notice right away: their smiles. The love they have for one another and their impeccable sense of humor are the trademarks of their relationship. They were going to need every bit of both of these when Jim learned early this year that he was going to have to have his foot amputated. It was a scary and difficult decision for them both, but after over 3 years of surgeries trying to fight a MRSA infection, they finally reached the decision that it was time for amputation.
The hardest part of the journey for Jim was facing the fact that he would have to lose his limb. Sorting through the various emotions of anger, grief, and depression was not easy, but he came to accept that, if he wanted to have any hope of walking normally again, he was going to have to walk down this path. He credits his wife, Amber, as well as friends and family for helping to keep him grounded and staying positive. He also was grateful for the support and encouragement he got from the staff at Optimus.
"If you guys [Optimus] weren't around, I don't know what I would have done. I remember Lyndsey came in [while I was in the hospital] and told me everything would be ok." This reassurance helped Jim to paint a new picture of what could be possible now. He knew he wanted to walk again and be active, and it was then that he set his mind to do just that. His wife, Amber, shared, "I was afraid I would lose him [Jim] mentally, but he has proved me wrong in so many ways. When he sets his mind to do something, he will do it!"
The biggest piece of advice that Jim and Amber have for families who are going down the same journey that they did, "It's ok to be scared, but you have to realize that it is sometimes better to lose your foot and get a prosthesis than to keep fighting a losing battle. With a prosthesis, you have a chance to get up and walk again. It will be tough at first, but you can do it! It's all about will power. If you are all strong individually, then you will also be strong together. You can make it. You CAN do it!
Jim has accomplished his goal and continues to amaze us all. He is not only standing again, he is walking unassisted less than 6 months after surgery, which is far sooner than the average. We are so proud of him. "I am so glad to be up on 2 feet again and out of a wheelchair!"
The journey has not been an easy one, and it has been difficult for both Jim and Amber. However, in Jim's own words, "I am so glad I picked you [Optimus]! You have been the shoulder to cry on and the hand to help guide us through this process."
We are truly honored to work with Jim and his family, and look forward to helping him continue to meet his goals!