Rehab Cell

Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

AmputeeOT: Why I am getting an amputation, pre-amputation intro

AmputeeOT: Why I am getting an amputation, pre-amputation intro


*machinery and welding sounds* Hello. My name is Christina Stephens, and I am an occupational therapist living in St. Louis, Missouri. On January 17 2013 I was down in my garage. I was changing the brakes on my car. I had my car elevated by one jack stand and as I was pulling off the brake caliper the car fell off the jack stand and fell directly on to my foot It’s a good thing my husband was there because otherwise I would have been stuck there for a really long time. Next Tuesday, I will become a below-knee amputee. Now, you’re probably wondering why my surgeons and I decided to go with below-knee amputation for my foot injuries. Well, I will tell you. When I first went to the emergency room and got x-rays taken of my foot, the X-Rays showed two broken bones. A CT scan about a week later showed that I had broken a lot more bones than that. Actually, my foot is broken in about eight places. It’s broken in the fifth metatarsal, in the third metatarsal in two places, in the second metatarsal in one place, and in the Calcaneal bone, which is your heel bone, in one place, and also the cuneiform bones, which are the little bones inside of your foot kind of like the little bones in your wrist, have been separated, because I broke some of the– I tore some of the tendons in the cuneiform bones. Now this wouldn’t be a huge deal, usually the treatment for this kind of injury is to splint your foot or put you in a cast, and then later maybe do a fusion of the cuneiform bones so that that separation is no longer there. However, what happened to me was a little bit different. The problem with crush injuries which is what my injury was is that there’s a lot of soft tissue damage to the area that’s injured. Not only did I have a bunch of broken bones, but I also had damage to the vascular structures of my foot, those are the structures that supply the blood to the rest of your foot. I also have a lot of nerve damage and a lot of muscle and tendon damage to my foot. My foot is really disgusting. I’m not going to show you any pictures in this video. My foot is basically dying. I have two options for my foot. I can try to reconstruct it or I can amputate it and I’ve chosen to amputate my foot. And I’ll explain why in a later video this video is probably going to get too long if I try to explain why. What’s really interesting about this whole ordeal is that I’m an occupational therapist. I have done a lot of research and work with amputees and also with wheelchair users and so I think that I have a unique perspective going into this whole thing because I’ve been on both sides of the therapeutic relationship. I’ve both been an OT, helped give therapy to other people, and now I’m the one receiving the therapy and receiving the healthcare. So I think that puts me in a unique situation to perhaps offer some different insights for people who might be going through the same or similar things to me, that people might not otherwise get. So I hope you guys will join me on my path to rehabilitation, because in four days I’m going to be an amputee, and I’m going to try to document as much of my rehabilitation as possible.

100 thoughts on “AmputeeOT: Why I am getting an amputation, pre-amputation intro

  1. I am OTAS and doing an presentation on amputation mobilty and UE and making a stumb board your videos really helped me and give me good information . Thank you for theses videos

  2. What are the lateral pantar veins? You should shut your mouth you dirty troll, you have no idea what you are talking about.

  3. crap….i lost a bunch of stuff i wrote….Carli, the 12yo wonder kid, who thinks you rock….something about mashed potatoes

  4. anyway….may post often so i wont loose it….the comments…not "it". "It's" already gone….okay anyway…

  5. the Canadian guy is an idiot….reminds me of my "friends"who are to the right of me. My husband says, "You can't teach a Pig to sing. It frustrates you and annoys the Pig."

  6. I have pretty much just stayed off Fb …. these people don't want to confuse themselves with the facts.

  7. Wow I give you lots of credit for talking about. I wouldn't be able to do so. I work on cars myself and although I'm very careful when jacking cars up, this has definitely opened my eyes wider to the potential danger that always exists. Wish you lots of luck and health.

  8. I just discovered this series (with your Lego foot vid). I've got a rather amazing journey to catch up on. I imagine it helped having your perspective, because I think if I were amputation minus 4 days, any video I would create would likely involve me saying "oh shit oh shit oh SHIT" and not much else.

  9. i lost a friend to something like this.the jack gave in on him.3 years on and i still miss him every day

  10. Came across your vids through your video of the lego limb, and just wanted to send a ton of admiration over how you've dealt with your situation. This video series is something that will be very useful to many people. Thank-you for sharing this 🙂

  11. Strange, just last week I was teaching my nephew how to change breaks on my car. I was telling him to make sure any part of his body is under the car for as short an amount of time as possible.

    The first thing everybody wants to do when working in that area is sit on their butt with their legs under the car. It's the most comfortable way to do it, and I myself have done it on a few occasions, but it's very dangerous.

    Just wondering, is that how you were positioned when the accident happened?

  12. You are sending energy through the video. You shine bright! It must have been excruciating painful 🙁 I made a reply in the other video you posted. Again, all the best to you!

  13. cant imagine going through all that pain of that accident but go on with your bad self :D. i know breaking one bone hurts like hell but breaking 8 and tissue damage must hurt like a total mind [email protected]

  14. I am really amazed how you took all this journey, coming out from this accident and tragic event but being at the same time so pragmatic and realistic of the problem and how to solve it the best way you can. Greetings from Chile in Shouthamerica, you are a strong woman with so much will power and very possitive!

  15. I just left a comment on your other video, asking what happened. Well, I got my answer. I send my best wishes to you.

  16. Sorry, you lost your foot. May the LORD bless you and heal you quickly. Thanks for your courage to share your experience and showing your great attitude and willingness to help.

  17. This is a really interesting series to watch. I worked in Brain Injury rehab and ICU for years which of course both involved a lot of amputees and a lot of rehab (especially the brain injury). It's really interesting to see someone who has a medical perspective and more specifically a rehab preservative's take on going through this themselves. I think someone who has experience in these fields has more of a logical point of view than most who have more of an emotional pov. Thanks for sharing.

  18. Saw your Legoleg thing on Buzzfeed. Thanks for sharing your journey! Question: Do you think you would have made the same decision (amputation rather than reconstruction) if you weren't an OT and didn't know as clearly how well people can adjust to losing part of a limb?

  19. At least you have your husband there to help you through it all. And not to leg-hump, but you're pretty hot as well, so he's a lucky guy no matter what. A hot girl that works on cars, nice!

  20. I definitely would have killed the car.
    You're a strong woman being able to face that same vehicle while you drive!

  21. Wow, I didn't think the weight of a car could do so much damage. I swear people have been run over by car wheels before and walked away with no injuries. Maybe it was the sudden drop from a distance that caused the damage. It scares me to think that an injury so severe could happen within the confines of my own home…

  22. Also: brake rotors have a much smaller surface area for all of the pressure to go. and are made of metal which is not as forgiving as rubber.

    That and the bracket underneath had two bolts sticking out which punctured through my foot.

  23. I'm pretty sure Cuba Gooding Jr. still has all his limbs.

    – on a serious note, no? I wasn't on a boat ^.^

  24. it is said that it is MAGIC how our feet are constructed. with so many bones working so genius together. Like there are people who allways suffer from colon trouble there are also people always having foot problems, but that is not common knowledge as the people with their sensitive colon, their allergies etc.
    Imagen this. People having no hard boots and living in mountain area were stones could fall from everywere because once rolling how it would jump how it would end..on a feet.

  25. i agree, i wouldnt risk jack stands, as much as i can i use ramps to lift the car off the ground for everything that does not include removing the wheels, then the wheels are removed i use a pair of floor jacks to lift the car off the ground and have the wheels lying down under the car once they are removed in case it were to fall from the jacks

  26. Wow, I lost my foot due to a motorbike accident, my foot injuries were almost identical to yours, however instead of soft tissue damage I degloved my foot and a ton of dirt got into the tissues, my surgeon tried for a week to wash the dirt out, it had 4 surgeries in a week, obviously to no avail, the infection was just too bad so amputation was the only option 🙁

  27. Wow, what bad luck. I routinely work on my car up on axle stands but I tend to use 1 or even 2 'back ups', in the form of spare jacks, just slack but tight enough so that they 'should' take the cars weight.

    I can't weight until I start my career so I can buy a proper car lift.

    Hope this hasn't put u off servicing your own car!

  28. ALWAYS use at LEAST 2 jack stands and chock blocks. Dont let this deter you from working on your own car. Or let it die in a fiery blaze. Whichever suits your fancy

  29. You are pretty incredible. I don't think I could be as strong and calm as you were in this video. As someone else said, in your place I'd be pretty much swearing continuously…
    I've come late to your journey, but I've a lot of respect and admiration for the way you are sharing and encouraging others.
    I hope for many good things for you in the future, keep safe and keep going 🙂

  30. I was using a jack stand. Accidents happen. I hope you are never severely injured in an accident, but if you are, I hope someone says, "that's what you get".

  31. There is almost always a human reason for work related accidents. You were clearly not working safely and you payed the price. Never stick anything you don't want to lose under a rigged load. Were you even using the manufacturer's jacking points? Why don't women ever blame themselves for the crap they do?

  32. Yes, I was using the jacking points Women probably don't "ever blame themselves for the crap they do" for the exact same reasons that *men* don't "ever blame themselves for the crap they do."

    But thank you for your analysis of my situation and your lecture on car safety, it is very insightful and I have learned a great deal about car safety from you. I hope you lecture anyone who has been harmed by cars falling on them, as they could probably benefit from your valuable insight.

  33. wow Christina, this is my first time seeing your leg before amputation. it is certainly graphic but it sure does explain a lot and makes it very clear why you chose b.k.amputation as the best choice for you..

  34. these ignorant  assholes posting negative things,  im sure some where in there life one day they will regret what they say as none of us can see the futer, and  we all make misstakes or accidents happen, learn to post good things or just dont bother tryimg to upset people who have a lot to get thru and cearly have good possotive attitudes,sad gits,

  35. super good explanation.  NOT disgusting.  Not gross either, from the other videos.  It's just tissue. 

  36. See when i change my brakes i always put the tire under the car, so if the jack fails the car will fall on the rim of the tire, never trust those little jacks NEVER

  37. I love that you are doing this! Fascinating and so educational for people in all types of situations! Much love from Seattle! 

  38. I stumbled upon your videos and have been watching them. I am considering below the knee amputation. 8 years ago my foot was crushed, they did a full fusion but it has failed now 2 times. I live everyday in so much pain and can barely even walk. Watching your videos gives me hope that I can have a been life if I choose to amputate my foot.

  39. Good choice. I had a 'half-foot' amputatuon and then went through over a year and a half of operations and procedures before finally getting a BKA. Love your spirit!

  40. …and why are you changing the car brake? Your husband should be the one do it or at least guide you so your accident would not have occured.

  41. Chrissy–I always thought you were a special person, when I visited you in 2004, you blew me away in so many ways, and you are one hell of a car mechanic too! That type of thing can happen to ANYBODY working on a car! Jack stands aren't as good as claimed, I have seen many accidents with them, not the fault of the person using them. I ended up with severe foot damage myself, and this is after I end up paraplegic not too long after my visit to your place in '04! (Diagnosis of "MS induced incomplete paraplegia" circa March-April 2005) and every Dr I have now knows I am a para with severe sensitivity to touch, pain and certain stimuli, with propensity of going into Autonomic Disreflexia (AD), which happened in the office while Dr Bauer was debriding my foot, which I could NOT tolerate, and it was terrible—really bad! I almost passed out and fell out of my TiLite ZRA, and nearly had to be rushed to the ER–thankfully he stopped what he was doing and got me out of it before it went too far, but I wasn't "right" for at least a day or 2 after that ordeal! when paras and quads tell me of AD, I know EXACTLY what they mean now, and it's friggin' SCARY! OH–wait–I am a para LOL! I STILL can't change my own dressings, both due to leg spasms because of the awkward leg positions i need to work on my own foot, and the fact that I start going into AD, it is minor, but the hallmarks are there and I literally break into a cold sweat and feel like passing out, the nurses HAVE to do it, I did it a couple of times while my insurance was playing games with my nurse visits, and it took me up to THREE ADA A HALF HOURS to do what the nurse does in 30-45 minutes! Most of it spent sitting there trying not to pass out or waiting for spasms to stop–one day I took 3 of my oran baclofen to stop spasms—I had them in my room and that stuff made me so groggy in abiut 20 minutes, that i say crying because I couldn't use my hands to do the work! My mom had to help me, and it was hard explaining to her, under the influence of baclofen, which really knocks me out, so I take it mostly at night to prevent spasms and to help me sleep, how she has to change the gloves teice to prevent cross contamination between the old dressing and the new Hydrofera Blue and gauze, ABD pads, etc, which could cause an infection to start–it was awful and I was so upset that I was shaking, and the pain of an open would in the air only added to the problems! I came VERY close to a full foot amputation, due to massive necrotic tissue in my foot, and envenomation of my leg that could have spread! Somehow I got around that, and then nearly lost my big toe and the second and third toes, but, knock on wood, it looks like those are going to survive, too! 

     Chrissy–as an OT, please tell me the wisdom of a Dr, in this case Dr Bauer, who I love as much as life itself, and will have him for my podiatrist forever-good because I have trouble cutting my toenails and checking my feet anyway–important for a para, wanting to try to save the toes or foot of someone who will NEVER be able to walk again? He told me, if nothing else, I will look better in my chair with my foot still there, and I laughed, but he is probably right. I have a little function, and use this to play the pedal on my hi hats of my drumset, and my right heel for bass drum courtesy of a special pedal, so, I guess this alone makes it worthwhile? I agree being able to play the drums is important, but the pain I went through to get there makes me wonder if it was worth it many times! NEVER get bit by a Recluse! It is HELL! that was the sickest and most in pain I have ever been in my life, all because of a little spider! Like you, I am glad I already have and used a wheelchair, as the transition if I had had an amputation of my toes or foot would have been a piece of cake for me, although phantom pain kinda scares me. I'm sure in spite of sensation deficit, I'd still have it if I had to be an amputee! when I saw you in the first of your clips here, the one where you make a prosthetic leg from LEGOS, and was SHOCKED to see you as an amputee! You are unstoppable! You know I love you dearly, and always will, as one of the most amazing people to have graced my life with your friendship, and that will hold till the day I leave this planet. OK–tears coming on—man. Anybody who knows you knows how resilient you are, and this explains that to a tee! 

     Well–my checkup today with Dr Bauer went great–he is VERY happy with my progress, the most since this all started back last July, and I just hope it finally heals up, and my life in a wheelchair can resume as it was—I was happy, being a paraplegic was OK for me, and still is, and I think I will make it through the worst ordeal of my life. You are now way beyond this video, and doing fine as I see in newer clips, and I am just starting to get there. Also, You must also use your wheelchair as well as your prosthetic right? I would if it was me. Wheelchair mobility ROCKS once you get used to it—I've been fill time in a chair for nearly 11 years now, AFTER diagnosis, include before and it is nearly 12-15! There's no turning back now—life on wheels is OK with me. Cheers, and love and hugs! Sincerely your friend forever! Rick "C-6" Delair!

  42. You are REDICULOUSLY strong!!!!!  Have lots of babies 🙂 🙂 We need many more people like you around. Btw .. You ended up on Liveleak with the legoleg 🙂 I wish health and life for you and yours. Peace 🙂

  43. You are an amazing inspiration! I had my foot crushed ten years ago and have had five reconstruction surgeries. I now have screws backing out of my foot and will have to have them out soon. I have pain daily and know that at some point I will make the same decision you did. I've learned alot from your videos. thank you for your honesty, bravery and kick butt spirit!

  44. 1. Oh that's what OT stands for… lol2. I love that girls work on cars3. Are you scared to go under cars now? I might be…4. I have watched almost all of your videos- I LOVE YOU!!!

  45. Always put the tire under the car once you take it off. could save your life and limbs, woulda saved this girls here.

  46. I found a video of the amputation of a half foot on Youtube: "Transmetatarsal Amputation". Indeed, the patient would need more surgery and in many cases the foot will go anyway at a later stage. You were absolutely right to go straight to BKA. BTW: you are a real inspiration for all amputees.

  47. Hi Christina. Are you still replying to questions on this video? Im soon to become a BKA like yourself & I need someone to talk to. Regards – Duane

  48. On February 6th 2018, I had my own left foot amputated below the knee. After a couple of weeks of recovering, I started reaching out for inspiration to carry on. That's when I stumbled on your Channel. Thank you for doing what you do. Being able to witness your experiences has helped me as much as anything else and taking the steps toward regaining my Mobility. You are awesome!

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