May 17, 1990

It was 13 years ago this month that I had my left leg amputated. Family and friends surrounded me in love, support and prayer during the battle that lasted three years. They did everything medically possible to save my leg, but when all was said and done, I couldn't take it anymore.

I'd gotten so depressed that I couldn't hide it from my family. I had always kept my chin up for them because from the bottom of my heart I believed that after all they had done for me, the least I could do for them was to be brave. Not even for them could I be strong.

The limb became necrotic and amputation was the best course of action. Hearing the doctor say the words was a shock at first as deep down inside I guess I was hoping for another answer. Lying in bed that night and thinking about it, however, I knew what was happening inside of my body and I knew what needed to be done. From that point on it was stand with me or get out of my way.

It's a defense mechanism. When something needs to be done that's particularly difficult, I don't allow myself tears or any other display of emotion. If I did, I wouldn't be able to do what I need to. Logic and reason take over and if I need to cry, I cry alone. I know it sounds cold and hard, but you do whatever it takes to survive, That's what it took for me. When it was over, I was relieved. The threat to my health was gone and I no longer had to stay in bed.

It was a decision that I haven't regretted for a single moment. It had to be done. In many ways, I think it was harder on my family than it was on me. I am blessed to have them.

The doctors warned me that I could lose my right leg to the same disease. I'm ready. As ready as I'll ever be. Amputate any body part that becomes a threat to my health or my life. My spirit. however, will remain intact until the day I die. That belongs to me. My spirit is my friend and my weapon. It's where I store my hopes and dreams. Nothing will ever take that away from me.