It was the hardest decision we have ever made.
Callie’s doctors explained the options to us. We could try multiple intensive surgeries to try to lengthen her leg bone. Graft some sort of a stable ankle joint. Stretch and pull and tug and tear her leg into a semblance of a viable option.
Or we could amputate her leg below the knee. While she was young, so that walking with a prosthetic would be the only life she would know. The only leg she would know.
To say that it was an impossible decision is an understatement. How do you weigh the potential to have a real leg against the very real option of a prosthetic leg? Do you flip a coin? Heads you have a weak leg that might not work properly? Tails you have a prosthetic leg that would be the only leg she would ever know? How do you roll the dice that even with all of the surgeries, it still might not work and we would have to do an amputation anyway? How do you make that choice for your 18 month old–when she is too little to even weigh in on the decision? How would I explain it to Callie when she was old enough to understand why we took her foot and her leg? How would I explain it if we didn’t amputate and she spent her childhood in the hospital? Do you choose hope? Or do you choose peace?
How do you choose?
We chose peace. A prosthetic would give Callie a shot at a normal life. Her prosthetic would give her the opportunity to play, to run, and to stand. Her prosthetic would give her a childhood spent outside, finger painting and blowing bubbles. Her prosthetic would give her a stable foundation to grow. She would have two legs–one would just be a pink princess print. Or cheetah print. Or mermaid print. Or whatever her sweet little heart desired when we built them. She would grow up knowing that Mommy and Daddy made that very hard decision for her. That we lifted that burden off of her shoulders and placed it squarely on our own to carry. That we felt it was more important for her to have a “normal” life than a “normal” leg. That our family was strong and could handle the challenges that would come our way. That no matter what we would love every single beautiful piece of her–flesh and bone. Heart and soul. Carbon fiber and titanium. Always and forever.