Melody’s Choice

In September of 2017, Melody was diagnosed with Cauda Equina syndrome (CES), a rare and serious condition effecting the bundle of nerves at the end of the spinal cord. The condition resulted for Melody in feeling loss and movement loss in her left side below the waist. She had lost bladder and bowel control, was now living with constant pain and episodes of violent muscular spasms in that limb.

Melody had already endured multiple spinal surgeries, extensive stays in rehab and having to relearn to walk and all the while being told she would never walk again. Her mobility was limited to short walks aided by a frame, using crutches and a wheelchair to mobilise.

“I was not living life, I was simply existing.”

It was on a visit to her vascular surgeon with respect to a diabetic ulcer on her functional leg that she was first confronted with the notion of amputation as a solution.

Shock was an understatement for the conversation topic. Melody was not prepared for the possibility of such a profound and seemingly drastic remedy. No-one had ever suggested such an option and sitting alone in her Doctor’s office Melody was overwhelmed.

“How could I do this to my family, after everything they
had already endured these last 2 years?”

Melody left her Doctors office in disbelief of what was happening to her but over the following days, keeping the information to herself, she began to rationalise the idea and begin researching.

Over the next few months Melody reached out for support and experience from the amputee community including Amputees NSW
and continued to seek out professionals for second and third opinions.

“From day one
I knew it was the right
decision for me.”

Eventually Melody shared the possibility of the procedure with her family. She found the support and encouragement from her family was all that she could have hoped for. It was a journey they would be taking together as a family.

Melody’s surgery took place in July 2019 and from the very beginning she felt a sense of relief. Pain was dramatically reduced and within 3 weeks she was home with her loving family.

It was only a matter of a few more weeks that Melody was up and proudly walking on a new prosthetic lower limb. No longer burdened by excessive pain and an organic limb that simply couldn’t support her. Melody could suddenly play with her children again, walk unassisted and hold the hands of both her loving 4 year old twins as she did so. To play a simple game of tip with her young children was mind blowing, an impossible dream before now, a reality again.

There is very little is so profound for a parent as the vision of joy in the eyes of your children when they recognise you are pain free and have you mobility again. Something never forgotten.

“My life was finally mine again.”

“It was the best decision I have made still till this day.”

Life for Melody after amputation was, in her words “amazing”. Melody now enjoys the activity and participation with her family that she had only enjoyed decades earlier. She loves running freely, playing footy with her children and husband, attempting hopscotch, stand up paddle boarding, jumping on the trampoline and being independent again to shop on her own and with her family.

Yes, life has its new challenges, but nothing compared to the life she was living before amputation. No doubt you will see more of Melody as she looks to now support others in this journey as a volunteer in the community.

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