Nanci Thompson's journey as an amputee started in September 2010, when she underwent surgery for the removal of a soft tissue sarcoma that had attached itself to her right groin. Doctors found a second sarcoma several years later, this time wrapped around her right knee area. After radiation and aggressive chemotherapy, surgeons told her the only thing that could be done was a hip disarticulation. A third one was found two years later, this time attached to the pelvic bone. This resulted in a hemi-pelvectomy on February 2, 2015.
Her biggest challenge so far has been not allowing herself to fall prey to the physical restrictions placed on her either by circumstances or people. "I have had to adapt to moving around in spaces that suddenly seemed very tiny, and I have learned to allow others to help me even when I want to do things for myself," she said.
What gets her though these hard times is her faith and the love of her mom and husband. "For many years I have talked the talk of not letting life's difficulties stop me from doing the work the Lord has called me to do," she said. "Now I try to walk the walk, showing people around me that we cannot stop living just because life changes."
She encourages other amputees to remember that others have been through what they're going through, and to seek out support. It's important to ask for help when you need it, she said, because things such as daily chores can be overwhelming at times. "Most importantly," she said, "people who are struggling need to keep moving and keep trying. Learning to walk with a prosthesis takes time and practice, but it is very much worth the thrill of taking each step."
Nanci's husband is also an amputee and works with Optimus Prosthetics. When Nanci needed a new prosthesis, she knew that this was the company for her. Glen Schober has fashioned a new leg for her three times, and each time she said it's been perfect. She also enjoys the programs Andrea Kinsinger and Jim Scharf have developed for her.
"During each physical therapy session, Jim's patience and his new ideas kept me motivated to want to do more. I really needed that!" she said.
Her friend Theresa recently started her journey as an amputee, and Nanci was happy to be able to recommend Optimus to her.
"I know that God put Optimus in my path to show me how to become a walking member of our society again. What a blessing you all are to me!" Nanci said.