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news item News Thursday, May 16, 2019 Thursday, May 16, 2019 3:04 PM - Thursday, May 16, 2019 3:04 PM

Jamie’s family chooses Lexington Shriners Medical Center for Boyd amputation

After meeting with six doctors, Jamie and her parents walked into Shriners Hospitals for Children Medical Center — Lexington to receive a seventh opinion from Janet Walker, M.D., pediatric orthopaedic surgeon.

Jamie was born with fibular hemimelia, meaning she did not have a fibula, the outer leg bone that runs from the knee to the ankle.

During that first appointment with Dr. Walker, Jamie’s parents felt at peace and were confident that Lexington Shriners Medical Center had the best medical team to perform their daughter’s amputation. Dr. Walker recommended that Jamie undergo a Boyd amputation on her right leg within the next six months, and the surgery was scheduled that day.

Melissa, Jamie’s mom, reflected on her decision. “Do all you can to educate yourself until you feel a peace of mind in your decision. Do not let anyone judge the decision you end up making, no one knows your child better than you.”

Leading up to the surgery, Melissa spent a lot of time educating Jamie on what was going to happen to her leg. “My biggest fear was not knowing how Jamie was going to react when she woke from surgery without her little foot,” Melissa said.

One way Melissa worked to make Jamie comfortable with the upcoming amputation was by reading a book to her about a little girl who went through a similar process. Every night, Melissa would read the book to Jamie and explain that Dr. Walker was going to give her a new leg so she could run like the girl in the book.

Melissa also bought Jamie a doll with a prosthetic leg that was removable so she could visualize how the prosthesis worked. Melissa and Jamie would remove the doll’s prosthetic leg as they were getting into bed, and in the morning they would put the leg back on, just like Jamie would begin to do with her own prosthesis after the amputation.

“It was a goal of mine to educate Jamie to the best of my ability so that she would not be confused, but familiar with what was taking place,” said Melissa.

Jamie is a beautiful, strong, independent and fun 4-year-old girl, and the amputation did not slow her down from living life to the fullest! The recovery process for Jamie went smoothly. Three days after surgery she was asking to get out of bed to walk around, and six days post-surgery she was ready to go back to school.

For several weeks, Jamie wore a cast on the stump of the amputated leg to accelerate the healing process. She went to school and rode the bus while using a wheelchair for several weeks. She became very comfortable with the cast and the wheelchair, so when it was time to remove the cast it took her some time to get used to seeing the stump of her leg.

“Her dad, baby sister and I would always kiss the stump of the leg, tickle it and do whatever we could to help normalize it. We wanted her to be comfortable with her leg and not bring attention to the difference,” said Melissa.

Once Jamie received her new prosthetic leg, she never looked back and physically ran forward into all the adventures awaiting her. She put her new leg on the day it was received, and the next day she ran to the bus to show her new friends. She yelled from the window, “Bye mom, bye dad. I love you!”

“Everything we had done to get to this point was worth every cry and heartache,” Melissa said.

The amputation has not slowed Jamie down. Because of the wonderful education she received from her mom to prepare her for wearing a prosthetic leg, she has fully accepted her condition. Today, Jamie participates in all the activities of a typical 4-year-old girl. She loves being outside, going to the park, dancing and playing with her friends.

Her current dream is to become a doctor when she grows up. Jamie has recently taken a deeper interest in playing with her doctor toys and pretends to make adjustments to her dolls’ prosthetic legs.

Jamie on a swingJamie in wheelchair holding dollJamie in wheelchair wearing cast