Bill says he's never been too conscious of his prosthesis. He doesn't really think about it anymore, except when his granddaughter calls it a robot leg. He likes when little kids are curious about his leg. When teenagers ask him about his prosthesis, he tells them that a shark ate it. But then he'll them the truth: he "lost his leg to bone cancer." He had it twice in his twenties, both times with broken bones. After the second fracture he had rods installed in his leg to hold the bones together. The pain was immense and eventually motivated him to pursue an amputation. At one point he was in so much pain he told the doctors to "cut the leg off and throw it in the trash." He was amputated above the knee.
Bill admits that staying mentally strong was the biggest challenge for him after the surgery. He encourages people who are struggling with their amputations to talk to someone else who has had a similar experience. He says it doesn't help for people to feel sorry for themselves.
Bill grew up in Los Angeles. Originally, he worked for a telephone company, but now he works in the auto dismantling business. He likes travel and to go on fishing trips with his wife. They've been to Alaska, Canada, and other places, but their favorite trips are traveling around California in their mobile home.
Robert experienced a below the knee after he developed an ulcer on his foot from a condition called Charcot foot. After living with pain for a year, he considered amputation. He was given the option to try a new kind of surgery, but he couldn't be sure it would work, and he worried about potential complications. He decided to have the leg amputated for a better quality of life. That certainty in a better life after amputation kept him from ever being depressed over his loss. He admits that recovery requires a lot of patience while you adjust to a different body and your prosthetic. But, he says, it's worth it. His life did improve. Robert grew up in Silverlake, Los Angeles. He's been a massage therapist for over a decade now.
After a motorcycle accident, Jake experienced a below knee amputation. Soon after the accident it was becoming clear that in order to save his leg he'd have to endure multiple surgeries and chronic pain. He started doing research into prosthetic options, and talked to a friend who'd lost a limb about his experiences. In the end, he decided to go ahead with the procedure in order to have a better lifestyle than he would have had otherwise. They amputated below the knee.
Life with a prosthesis was difficult at first. He had expected to master it quickly and go on with his life, he had expectations that when he received his first prosthesis he would be out of the gate and running. But he was quickly discouraged with the true difficulty of mobility with his first prosthesis. It was painful, and it felt physically awkward, and when he wasn't wearing it he would still have issues with phantom pains. But he adjusted with time. He searched the internet and asked his Prosthetist how to handle small daily issues like swelling or excessive sweating. Now he barely notices the prosthesis, although he thinks it's kind of cool when other people do. He likes that his prosthesis is a conversation starter. Jake is now mastering running with his new running prosthesis.
Jake is active now, rock climbing regularly and enjoying archery as well. He's become involved with organizations like the Amputee Coalition and Challenged Athletes foundation. A native of Los Angeles, he works as a counselor for troubled youth.
As a kid, Aaron was self-conscious about his prosthesis. He experienced an amputation below the knee to a congenital disease and began wearing a prosthesis early in life. Now, he says, it's not a big deal anymore. Now he doesn't care what other people think. His prosthesis had long been a part of his life, but it hasn't come to define him. Aaron grew up in LA, where he lives now. In his free time he likes finding new and interesting places to eat around town.