I Am Proud To Be Who I am!
Imagine having to take the decision to amputate your child’s foot. That is the decision Kendra's parents were faced with when she was born with a malformed foot. Years later Kendra puts her experiences into words, writes them down and publishes her memoirs. 'WHOLE: A Leg Up On Life' invites you to learn more about her journey. In her bookl Kendra is open about her stuggles but never gives in to stereotypes. Her biography is a life-affirming testimony to her inner strength and courage. And today Kendra tells us a bit about this new book and why she wrote it.
“There Is Only One Choice Left: Amputation!"
When I was two years old, my parents had to make the impossible decision to amputate my foot. Having been born with a birth deformity, my life took on a much different trajectory than my parents had hoped. Doctors told them I might never be able to run and tried to prepare them for what the future might look like when raising a child with special needs. Talk about deflating news!
Thankfully, though, my parents didn’t allow that to be my fate. They believed that God had a purpose for creating me this way and resolved to make the most of the situation. Their decision to raise me like a “normal” child made a world of difference and helped shape me into the person I am today.
With my parents’ encouragement, I began to play sports and tackle feats that no one thought were possible. My prosthesis couldn’t even keep up with my activity level and caused me unbearable pain at times, but I was somehow able to push through and thrive nonetheless.
“Because the strap was unable to keep my prosthesis tight against my skin, it would often move up and down on my stump while I ran. Friction was not a friend of mine. Despite the thick socks that I wore under my artificial leg, I was still inundated with blisters and other skin abrasions on a regular basis. The blisters would form mostly around my knee, my dimple, and the area where my heel was stitched on at the bottom of my stump. The continued friction would rub the skin raw and make it peel off.”
In addition to the physical pain, adolescence brought an entirely different set of problems—insecurity. I developed many coping mechanisms to hide my disability and did anything to take the focus off it. I wanted guys to see me as beautiful, and I hadn’t yet realized that beauty could be synonymous with being different.
Thankfully, as time has gone on, I have been able to find pride in who I am— an amputee, wife, mother, and teacher. I’ve continued to push myself out of my comfort zone to accomplish things that most people would think amputees incapable of doing.
That very premise is what inspired me to write WHOLE: A Leg Up On Life. How much easier would it have been for me if I had known what other amputees were going through? If I could have seen examples of amputees overcoming obstacles and being confident despite their differences, it likely would not have taken me so long to figure things out by myself.
My hope is that readers can learn from both my mistakes and achievements and can be empowered to reach their best version of themselves. What does that look like for me? Maybe a cross-state bike ride or trying jet-skiing for the first time. The sky's the limit!