€2,250.00raised of €22,500.00 goal goal
TL;DR After pushing my current prosthesis beyond breaking point, I need a new knee which comes in at a high price for some fantastic benefits that are well worth it.
Hi, I'm Cuan, Teacher Q, or just "Q" to some. I'm an amputee, and I need another knee (again). This time is a little different though and I need some help getting it, and I'll explain why below. This is my story.
Being born with a congenital deformity - a club foot and no fibula - my leg was amputated below the knee at the age of two and a half, which presented challenges and opportunities. My parents struggled with the decision and saw several specialists before that first operation (one of at least 13 surgeries). God's design for the human knee is something of a marvel, but mine, with the knee cap on the outside of the leg, with an outwardly rotational bending motion (you can see the angle in the image above) and a then pointy single shin bone, was a hinderance.
Yet as a child, I grew up resilient. I climbed the jungle-gym (climbing frame) even if I had to be rescued by my grandmother as I couldn't get down! I learned to ride a bike, even though I needed some adapted pedals that my dad made in his garage workshop. I played cricket until early retirement at the age of seven (lol!) as I had to undergo a bone trimming surgery, never to return, though I was offered a runner by the coach. I swam for the B squad in primary school, I headed the sporting house, became a peer-mediator and prefect. My nickname, used by teachers and students alike and of which I was very proud, was "Leg".
[Warning: potentially sensitive medical descriptions follow] In my first year of high school, I shattered my femur, ostensibly the strongest bone in the body, while on my way to a sports practice. The grass was wet. The leg bent under me. The steel joints and leather brace kept the thigh in place, while the screw-locked leg sleeve took my knee joint and pulled it away. My bone splintered as the prosthesis twisted out and pulled back in. My knee hung by the tendons. But because of the usually small size of my stump, the swelling made it appear to be like the size of my left leg and the school nurse thought it was just muscular.
My parents took me to the hospital the next day.
It was after removing the plate and screws in December of 2003 that we realised there were two large holes in the knee cartilage, resulting in bone wearing on bone. Were it not for the nerve damage, I'm sure this would have been quite painful. Two weeks later, I had no knee to worry about as my leg was amputated through the joint. This was the last leg surgery I had, and the start of needing prosthetic knees.
Prosthetic knees like the Otto Bock 3R80 I got are good, but don't replace the human knee very well. They also don't last forever. The extended warranty on these knees is 4 years if serviced regularly until their third year (needing to be sent to Germany for assessment and completion, ideally every year, at 1 000+ Euro a time). For the last 19 years, I've had 3 knees, multiple sockets and liners, feet and foot covers. Each item is quite costly, and medical aid covered the first only as a once-off grant, so we timed and stepped procurement of each component - one year a knee, the next a foot and sleeve, etc. My parents paid for this until I was able to, and then, even though I cleared my savings account on it in 2017 on a full rebuild, I still needed their help. This is a never ending cycle, with lifespans of :
- 6-18 months on sleeves & sealing rings
- 2-3 years on sockets, including valves, tensioners, linings, etc
- 2 years on foot covers
- 3-4 (maybe 5) years on knees
- 4-5 (maybe 7) years on feet
And after the 3,055 Euro service I had done in 2019, I've pushed this 3R80 knee six years to the point where I have been loaned a factory knee as mine is not safe to walk on, and the foot is creaking and groaning.
Now, I have to get a new leg, and I have the possibility to get one that is better than I've had before. One that will allow me to reach my physical potential, to reduce the constant bodily pain by changing the way I walk because of the way it assists in walking, one that would allow me to push my body to optimum fitness so that I can step in to serve better where needed, to help others out without worrying about if I am capable, to have the confidence to step up to any challenge!
I have tried and tested this leg, and it is lifechanging. In just a week, I re-learned how to walk, I was able to easily switch to bike mode for commuting (I love riding bikes, by my mechanical knee is stiff as it only has one setting - walking), and I learned how to use stairs one leg over the other - something impossible with a simple mechanical knee! Also, instead of a 4-5 years lifespan, it comes with a 6 year extended warranty, meaning I can go for longer without worrying!
So this is where I ask for help. I don't deserve to get this any more than everyone deserves a home and running water. I see so much need around me and feel guilty even asking. But I know that if I can get this leg, I can make a bigger difference in the lives of those around me. If I make my target and can attain this leg and have surplus, I will donate a portion to charity to help others in need. And if I don't make the full goal and have to settle for a lesser leg, then I donate a portion and will invest the rest for the next leg - I know I will need a new socket in two years and another knee in 4 - 6 years - this is a never ending cycle, and I don't have a choice.
I don't like to ask for anything and not offer something in return, and my time and expertise are the most valuable things I have to offer. So, besides a no-limit donation here or via the bank details below, you have a choice to claim a session and pick my brain, or give it as a gift to someone who can grow or be challenged in their personal development by selecting one of the rewards below.
However, if you've read this far and can't/don't want to give, I will ask you to help share my story in your network so that those who can give have an opportunity, so that I can live an active life and contribute as much as possible to those in need around me.
Either way, your support is invaluable, is cherished, and will be used wisely!
I've occasionally been asked if I ever wish I was normal, to which I reply, " No, I like being weird!" They usually shuffle a little and clarify, "you know what I mean, normal, like having two legs." My answer is the same - no. I am blessed to be as I am, for there is a purpose, to show God's perfect glory against my imperfect weakness.
Thanks for taking the time to read this!
Decision made, deposit paid!Update posted by Cuan Hundermark at 09:43 pm
This week was the time to make the final decision on the knee, and I have gone for the Genium! An advanced product that sees to most of my needs at a lower price. Because of this, I have adjusted the required funding from 35 000 Eur to 22 500. . . . .
One day to go before the decision is made...comparing knee optionsUpdate posted by Cuan Hundermark at 10:32 pm
In evaluating and weighing up the options at hand, I have not come across any thorough comparison of the Ottobock micro-processor knees. So my friend Vivien and I put one together (at the bottom of this post)! Here you can see all of the benefits that I'm considering (though of. . . . .
Deadline extended!Update posted by Cuan Hundermark at 09:04 pm
Today was the day to make my final decision, but we have been granted an extra week to decide the best path to take: whether it is financially viable for me to get the leg that is substantially better or to accept a good but somewhat limiting leg that I. . . . .
Instagram is live!Update posted by Cuan Hundermark at 10:22 pm
Even if I'm not up and running yet, my Instagram page is! Join me for stories and posts at https://bit.ly/GetMeANewKnee-Instagram
Join me on Facebook!Update posted by Cuan Hundermark at 11:55 pm
Thank you for all the donations so far!! With the help of some friends, I've set up a public Facebook page! Join me on my journey for updates, news, and posts to share; connect and ask questions; or simply support by liking and sharing my posts. I look forward to
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