Life Without Legs: ‘I Will Overcome My Disability’

Rush patient Glenn Wheeler is chronicling his experience as a bilateral above-knee amputee on his blog, “Life Without Legs.” He shared this post with Rush InPerson.

Glenn Wheeler with his physical therapist, Christine Schauerte

By Glenn Wheeler

I have been a patient at Rush University Medical Center more times than I can count. I know all of the nurses and nursing assistants on eight north, all of the nurses and assistants at the Bowman Rehab Center (JRB), and most of the transporters who have been there any length of time, both at Rush and the Professional Building. Additionally, I know numerous physical therapists both at the inpatient and outpatient facilities and, last but certainly not least, everyone at the University Cardiovascular Surgeons offices.

My name is Glenn Wheeler, and I am 53 years old. I have been fighting the ravages of DVT coupled with a blood situation that has been described as hypercoagulabilty (my blood is inherently too thick). The result has manifested in many blood clots beginning in my right leg. Many of my trips to Rush involved dissolving these clots; sometimes it was successful, other times not. On those unsuccessful attempts at dissolving the clots, a bypass was the only answer. During the course of over 10 years I have had over 12 vein bypasses.

There is only so much that can be done. As the disease degenerates, eventually there is nowhere to bypass from or bypass to; such was my case.

In July 2008, I lost my right leg. I felt all the medical professionals involved in my case did their very best to save my leg. Unfortunately, this degenerative disease had run its course and nothing else could be done to save my leg.

In my opinion, I handled the loss of my right leg as well as anyone possibly could. I always strive to be optimistic in difficult situations, remaining positive and dealing with my life events head on. I was fitted with a prosthetic leg, and after much therapy and hard work, found my life back on track. Continue reading