Monday, May 2, 2011


My sister-in-law's sister goes to church with a boy in Colorado who had a rotationplasty six years ago. I talked to his mom at length the other day about their experience with cancer. Garrison was six years old when he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. It was very nice to talk to someone who has been in our shoes, and is having such success down the road a little. He is doing great. He plays soccer, basketball, is on his school's jump rope team, does the slip-and-slide and has no problem telling people about his amputation. Here is a picture I found of him on the internet. I love the look on the girl's face.

I don't know if I have the time or you have the interest for me to recount the entire conversation, but here are a few things she told me in no particular order:

  • We need to install a hand held shower head and get a bench for the shower (I bought one today, we're good)
  • On wet surfaces, it is easy to slip with a prosthetic foot
  • Getting a good prosthesist is essential
  • Garrison needs to get a new leg about every year
  • Garrison was fit for a prosthetic about four weeks or so after his surgery and a leg a month or two after that
  • The foot fits into the prosthestic leg in a ballerina point
  • Wearing the leg as often as possible is important to keep his body used to walking this way
  • Garrison still uses his crutches sometimes when his leg is off. At first, he crawled a lot, now he kind of walks with his other knee off the ground, bearing weight on both feet. Crawling might be easier, but they want him to preserve his other joint
  • Seeing his leg after the surgery was really hard for him. The foot on backwards bothered him less than the staples and swelling
  • His foot still grows
  • Clipping toenails is essential
  • He is considered an AKA (above the knee amputee) as far as the paralympics is concerned

    This family has no regrets about the rotationplasty and would do it again if he had cancer in his other leg. The whole cancer and amputation experience has taught them a lot and has given him opportunities to do things he never would have otherwise. Talking to her was really inspirational, to see how they have turned such a hard thing into something so positive.

    1. Love the picture and the information.

      Here are a few fictional books with cancer as one of the themes, in case you're interested:

      "Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie," by Jordan Sonnenblick

      "After Ever After", by Jordan Sonnenblick (sequel to the first one)

      "Just One Wish," by Janette Rallison

      I think they're all young adult novels. I haven't read any of them yet, but they were all highly reviewed on one of my favorite book blogs.

    2. I think connecting with other families in similar situations is so helpful. You can draw a lot of strength from them. I have no idea how I can help you over the next few weeks but know that I am praying my heart out for you...all of you!!

    3. I love when you can talk to someone who is going through the same thing and can give you hope for a bright future. I'm so glad you talked to this woman. Very good.

    4. It certainly helps to have someone to look to who has walked the path before you - true in life, true in rotation pasty

    5. I'm going to guess that Garrison needs a new leg every year because he's active enough to wear it out! (and he's a growing boy?) I'm so glad you are able to talk with a family that has been through this. Maybe you'll be able to meet them in person soon and Steven and Garrison will be lifelong friends. Did you put his mom on speed dial? :-)

    6. I know its the right and best thing, so why did I just start crying?!

    7. I'm so happy you made this connection, Sonja. I bet it makes you feel less isolated. I'm glad that Steven is doing to well. I have all my friends praying for him too and for the surgery on the 10th.

    8. Sonja, you and Rob, and especially Steven, are such great examples of faith and courage. Truly inspiring. "Noble and great" comes to mind. Steven has big things in his future.

    9. That's great!! It's always nice to know you're not alone and that there's someone else out there that understands what you're going through! Best of Luck!!