Over the waves of uncertainty - Becoming an amputee

Living mindfully and with a purpose - one step at a time (picture courtesy of Steven Medeiros).
Living mindfully and with a purpose - one step at a time (picture courtesy of Steven Medeiros).

A Moment, A Story, A Life Forever Changed

The medic shouts, “we’ll be landing shortly” or at least that is what I thought he said - his words muffled by the roaring of the helicopter propellers. The twenty-five mile flight to San Francisco with the uncertainty of death was all consuming. This uncertainty while confined to my hospital bed forced me to analyze my life up until that point. Had I been living up to my potential? If given a second chance what would I do differently? Often times with tragedy as such one may come to a cross road, either by taking the route of self-pity and giving up or realizing all the opportunities a second chance on life can afford, and using that as the fuel to move forward and do something great. For me self-pity was never an option.


Preparing For My Life As An Amputee

While in the hospital I was already devising solutions to what I believed were foreseeable obstacles I might face in the near future. I watched television solely to observe the biomechanics behind walking knowing that I would soon learn how to walk all over again. I spent most days preparing myself mentally and physically for my life as an amputee. A year after my surgeries and nearly fully healed I was fitted with a prosthesis. I was scheduled two weeks later for a physical therapy session to learn how to walk. However, I was eager and determined to walk at that moment. I spent the days leading up to my appointment practicing for hours a day the everyday movements that most take for granted. On my very first physical therapy session I was able to test out of therapy by completing an array of obstacles that are essential to an amputee’s independence. Surprisingly, I have never looked at the obstacles placed before me as a barrier that will prohibit my growth as a person or to achieving my goals. Instead, I have seen them as vital, even necessary, for the development and growth of my character and forward progression. My drive and resolve to walk again and move forward in life has in many ways become the prevailing undertone behind my current successes and future aspirations.



Aloha, I'm A Student Of Life

Aloha, I am a left leg through the knee amputee, student of life, food enthusiast, part-time adventurer, yoga & meditation practitioner, minimalist, community leader, activist & advocate - helping to create positive sustainable social, racial, & economic change. Living authentically and with purpose, literally, one step at a time. 👣



Guest post by Steven Medeiros. You can follow Steven on Instagram. Steven's story was originally published on yoocan. Yoocan and The Active Amputee collaborate to increase the reach of these amazing stories and present them to an even wider audience. 

Further Reading

Desire to have a child as an amputee

(amputee parenthood special I)


Today we start with another special. A series of articles dedicated to a one special topic, one specific challenge or one impressive person. And this week it’s all about being an amputee parent. Even without a limb difference, the idea of suddenly being responsible for a child can be daunting. Immense joy is regularly mixed with feelings of fear and being completely overwhelmed. Often even more so if you are an amputee. So throughout the course of this week we hear from four amputees, learning about their thoughts on parenthood. Jasmin, a young women from Germany with an above knee amputation - and a regular contributor to The Active Amputee - kicks-off our Spring Special. read more

Pregnancy after surviving an avalanche

(amputee parenthood special II)


Joanna lost her leg in a mountaineering accident. She has what is called a Chopart amputation. That means that she has retained a load- bearing heel bone and heel pad. However, due to a needed shortening her amputation presents as a Symes (which is an amputation through the heel bone). Joanna can walk short distances without a prosthesis. Only a few years after her accident, Joanna is expecting her first child. In this personal article she shares her experience of being pregnant while still getting used to her new life as an amputee. read more

Oh baby, we are going to have kids

(amputee parenthood special III)


Oh no! This can’t be right! I looked at the positive home pregnancy test again. Come on, make that color change some more. I sat still for a while and waited. Pregnancy was not on my list of things to do right now. Nine months earlier I’d lost both legs above the knee and my right arm just below the shoulder in a train vs car accident. I learned to walk with prostheses using a quad cane and was planning to move back to Los Angeles where I would live by myself and finish the last nine months of my Radiology residency. My thump-thud, toy-soldier walk was loud and looked funny but got me where I needed to go. Doing things with one hand was becoming easier. But am I ready for a pregnancy? read more