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Patient Spotlight: Jeff K.

“It’s not the end of the world,” were the words Jeff K. remembers hearing after he became a below knee amputee two years ago.

“I really didn’t like people right then,” says Jeff when he recalls the days just after losing his leg below the knee.

An amputation was not something Jeff ever thought he would face but one day in 2012 he went to the ER with severe stomach pain and was diagnosed with a perforated stomach ulcer. This led to blood clotting which ultimately resulted in a below knee amputation. Now Jeff is one of many amputees who have words of encouragement for others facing a similar challenge.

“There’s no relaxing but you’ll walk again,” says Jeff, who, like anyone recovering from an amputation, experienced initial concern and frustration.

An amputation meant adjusting to a prosthesis in order to live without limited weight bearing mobility and pain. But with the required surgery happening so unexpectedly it wasn’t easy for Jeff to become accustomed to the notion of life as an amputee.

“It took me awhile to wrap my head around the idea at the time,” says Jeff, who is back on track now thanks to tremendous support from his family and from programs like the Step Up! clinic offered by Bremer Prosthetics. “Sometimes I quit doing the exercises from therapy but the Step Up! clinic helps me remember to continue. I always do the exercises again after Step Up!”

While certainly life changing, Jeff’s amputation hasn’t slowed him down. He laughs when he recalls his rehabilitation. “I learned to drive, walk and ride a bike in that order,” says Jeff. He returned to work recently and considers this one of his greatest accomplishments. “It’s one thing to do an hour-long exercise program but to be on your feet over 8 hours a day with a prosthesis can be challenging,” says Jeff.

According to Jeff, one of the activities that aided most in his recovery was mowing the lawn with a push mower. “You really have to practice balance when pushing the mower. Mowing the lawn gave me a sense of stability I was familiar with.” In addition to yard work Jeff, a former musician and band member, is also back to his hobbies which include restoring and selling vintage amplifiers.

Jeff has been a patient at Bremer Prosthetics for two years and says he couldn’t have been put in a better situation of care. “It’s a great team. They’ve been very supportive and they’re good friends.”