January 30, 2012

Positivity: Barstow woman walks for first time in 10 years

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 7:00 am

From Barstow, California:

Terri Medina lost both legs due to diabetes, but fought to walk with the help of prosthetics

January 29, 2012 9:04 AM

Before coming to Rimrock Villa Convalescent Hospital last summer, Terri Medina spent her days sitting idly in a wheelchair.

But today the 50-year-old former mortgage loan professional is doing something she hasn’t done in a decade: She’s taking life one step at a time, literally.

And for Medina, a double amputee who was overweight and with stage four kidney failure, the transformation the last five months has been more than a surprise.

“Oh man, try a miracle,” Medina said. “Not only has Rimrock saved my life, but I’m walking again.”

Her success is especially unexpected, she says, because some other health care professionals made her believe she would never get back on her feet.

“I was told I wouldn’t walk again. I hadn’t really given up hope, but I had resigned myself to a wheelchair.”

Ravages of diabetes

Ten years ago, Medina began feeling severe pain in her legs, but she hoped it would go away.

“I was quite ill and ignoring symptoms of diabetes,” she said. “My legs started to hurt, burn actually.”

But her pain increased, and one day in May of 2002 she couldn’t move her legs.

“I started screaming for help.”

An ambulance took her to Barstow Community Hospital where a doctor said she needed to see a vascular specialist. That’s when she knew she was in trouble. She had diabetes and Stage 4 kidney failure.

She was sent to Loma Linda University Medical Center, where she was told they might have to amputate both legs at the hip. Doctors did their best to save her legs, but eventually they amputated her right leg above the knee.

“Their efforts saved what she has,” said her mother Kathryn Reynolds, who Medina says was her biggest inspiration, next to her belief in God.

Medina spent five weeks at Loma Linda and another two years traveling back in forth between Barstow and Loma Linda for physical therapy. Unfortunately for Medina, the health care workers said she couldn’t be fitted with a prosthesis.

“So I opted for the wheelchair.”

Confined to a wheelchair, Medina didn’t leave her house “unless I was going to the doctor or church.”

During the next eight years, she tried to prevent the same fate for her left leg, but in spring of 2010 that leg too was amputated.

“I was told I wouldn’t walk again.”

The road to recovery

For the next year and a half, she struggled and her health declined. Finally, in August of last year, she was admitted to Rimrock with kidney failure and other life-threatening ailments.

“I got sick and landed here,” she said. “I found the answer in my own back yard. It’s changed my life. It’s saved my life.”

Mary Lou Miller, executive director of the care facility, credits Medina’s enthusiasm for helping to make progress.

“She’s young,” Miller said. “She’s worked hard.”

“She has the most beautiful attitude,” added family friend Liz Mauk. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

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