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My life has not turned out as expected; it has been even more amazing.
As a 19-year-old I was a massage therapist and snowboarding was my absolute passion. I had dreams of traveling the world and living a life full of adventure and then suddenly my life took a detour. I came home from work one day with what I thought was the flu and less than 24 hours later I was on life support and was given less than a two percent chance of living. It wasn't until days later while I lay in a coma, that doctors diagnosed me with bacterial meningitis. Over the course of two and a half months I ended up losing my spleen, my kidney function, the hearing in my left ear and both legs below the knee.
When my parents wheeled me out of the hospital, I felt that I had been pieced back together. I thought the worst was over, until weeks later when I saw my new legs for the first time. With my mom by my side, and tears streaming down both our faces, I strapped on my legs and I stood up. They were so painful all I could think of -- was how am I ever going to travel the world in these things? How was I ever going to live the life full of adventure that I always wanted? And how was I going to snowboard again?
That day I went home I crawled into bed, physically and emotionally drained I knew that in order to move forward, I had no choice but to let go of the old Amy and learn to embrace the new Amy. That's when I began to daydream. I imagined myself walking gracefully, somehow helping other people through my journey, and snowboarding again. I was so weak that It was challenging to do even the simplest of tasks even making myself breakfast was a challenge. I learned that this was more than a new chapter in my life; it was a great start to an amazing life story.
Just a few months after getting my new legs I was back up on a snowboard! In no time I went from walking to snowboarding to competing in World Cups where I eventually became the highest ranked female adaptive snowboarder in the World. Today, as the second highest ranked female snowboarder in the world and first in the U.S., I am now competing to win a spot at the 2014 Paralympic Games, where I get to not only represent my sport but my country and the amazing sponsors like Kellogg's that have helped me get to where I am today.
To tell you the truth, traveling the world, snowboarding and living the life of my dreams makes me forget at times just how unique my situation and legs are. I put on my legs the way most people put on their glasses, I get up and go! And as challenging as things have been at times I can say with full conviction that I would never want to take back the life that I was given. I may have lost the legs that I was born with but these legs with carbon fiber and steel, these legs have taken me to amazing places!
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