Tammy Yost: Courage to Start Again

It was a typical spring Sunday afternoon in April of 2016. Tammy woke up after taking a nap, but she instantly knew something did not feel quite right. Her feet and legs felt like they were tingling and had that annoying "pins and needles" sensation. She thought it would just go away eventually, but after a few hours the pain had gotten so intense, she couldn't take it any more. She decided it was time to go to the ER and get checked out. 

When the doctors examined her they found out that an infection had taken hold and caused several blood clots to form. Doctors did their best to break up the clots, and they were successful on Tammy's left foot. Unfortunately, they were unable to break up the large clots that had formed in her right leg. 

Tammy was given a choice. She could either go through amputation surgery and lose her right leg above her knee or in less than 2 days, lose her kidneys and possibly still have to go through amputation. 

For Tammy, the answer was obvious. While she was in the process of healing from her amputation surgery, doctors feared that she may have had a stroke and she had to be intubated and transferred to another hospital for observation.

Tammy found herself dealing not only with the physical challenges of being a new amputee and having to learn how to do literally almost everything while still healing from her harrowing ordeal. 

She also dealt with the emotional impact of going through amputation as well, struggling  with depression and feeling like she was now different than everyone else. It was not easy. But her 25 years of experience as a preschool teacher came in handy. She used her problem solving skills and applied them to her new life. This was a new challenge, and she decided to make the best of it! 

Encouragement and support came from some of the most unexpected places, both from friends and senior citizens she came into contact with. They all told her that she was an inspiration to them and encouraged her not to give up. Tammy took their words to heart and made it her mission to show people she was going to be ok and that she could do more than anyone thought! 

The biggest lesson that Tammy learned along her journey was to have courage. It took a lot of courage to face each hurdle and not give up, but Tammy never lost sight of her goal. 

"If I can show someone else what is possible and inspire others to believe in themselves, that is what I want to do. I want to show them that I am normal! Amputees can do all kinds of things. I can hold a job. I can do lots of things. Yes, what happened to me was heartbreaking, but I want to show people 'Hey, I'm ok!'"

Tammy helps to educate her community and answers any questions people throw her way. However, one of the funniest questions she ever was asked was asked by a little child. They looked at Tammy's residual limb and asked, "Will you grow another leg???" Tammy still chuckles about that to this day.

"I love working with Optimus! They treat you like a person and you all cared about me as a person! I remember you all took your time to let me see, touch, and explore all kinds of different prosthetic parts and options and were so patient with me." 

We look forward to continuing to work with Tammy for many years to come. And we are all so proud and honored that we get to be part of this amazing journey with her.  

Dana Layne: Getting Up and Going

When Dana Layne first started experiencing extreme pain in her feet, she went to her podiatrist, who told her she had "cold feet." Within the next few months, the pain became so great that she was unable to eat or sleep.
Finally, it got so bad that she went to the emergency room. There, she learned that she had a blood clot and a "faint pulse." They tried a number of procedures to save her leg, including blood thinners. Doctors even spent five hours trying to clean the vein out with a laser. Eventually, they told her she was going to need to amputate her leg above the knee.
Since then, she has gradually learned how to resume normal activities, such as making food.
"I wanted to just get up and go, but wasn't able to because I no longer had two legs," she said.
She credits her positive attitude with helping her recover.
"Nothing will keep me down," she said. "I want to get up and go and the only way I will be able to do anything is to stay positive."
Dana advises other amputees to not quit.
" Get your life back, and get back to the way you were because that is what will be the best part," she said.
Her experience at Optimus has so far been "wonderful."
"From the way everyone's attitude was the minute I walk in the front door to how you are treated like you are family by everyone when you are here," she said. "It feels like we are all in this together."

Jim's Corner- 
Sound Limb Lifting up off the Platform
Optimus Prosthetics Jim Scharf
Jim Scharf, PTA
The goal of "Jim's Corner" is to provide helpfu l information and be  a resource for those helping patients fitted with prosthetics learn t o use them correctly in order to enjoy a better quality of life as an amputee.

In past columns I have discussed the importance of prosthetic weight shifting, prosthetic balance and prosthetic weight bearing. So this month we are going to discuss a more advanced type of exercise that is a combination of the all three. Equipment needed is a step stool, step platform, stairs or other solid object to place the sound foot on and a stable object for the patient to hold onto for safety.

To start this exercise the patient is to stand on their prosthesis and place their sound limb up on the platform with a stable object for assistance and safety. When the patient is comfortable, they are to lift the sound limb upward several inches off the platform in a controlled manner. Then in a controlled manner, they are to return their sound foot back down onto the platform. Sometimes the patient will need additional cueing to shift their weight over onto the prosthesis, to squeeze their glutes. As the patient masters this they can decrease their upper extremity assist to further challenge their balance.


  Jim Scharf, PTA, Prosthetic Assistant/Gait Specialist
Jim has been a Licensed Physical Therapist Assistant since 1988.  Jim has worked with lower extremity amputee patients throughout his career.  He serves as a Gait Specialist and Liaison when prosthetic patients are meeting with their therapists. Feel free to contact Jim if he can assist you in any way at:jscharf@optimusprosthetics.com.
In This Issue
Cincinnati Courses:

Course #3           
1/3/2017 12:00 PM
Chateau at Mountain Crest Nursing and Rehab Center  
Course #3
1/5/2017 12:00 PM         
Ivywoods Care Center  
Course #2           
1/10/2017 12:00 PM
Garden Manor
Course #2           
1/12/2017 12:00 PM       
Christ Hospital  
Course #6           
1/17/2017 12:00 PM       
Mercy Health    

Course #3
1/17/2017 12:00 PM
Jewish Hospital Acute Care Rehab           
Course #3           
1/19/2017 8:00 AM         
Achieve Rehab and Home Health
Course #3           
1/19/2017 12:00 PM       
Liberty Nursing Center of Colerain
Course #4           
1/31/2017 12:00 PM       
Health South Rehab Hospital at Drake    

Columbus Courses:

Course #3           
1/5/2017 12:00 PM         
Wexner Heritage Village

Course #1           
1/12/2017 12:00 PM       
Summit Trace

Course #7           
1/20/2017 12:00 PM       
Select Specialty South

Course #10        
1/26/2017 12:00 PM       
Scioto Pointe

Dayton Courses:

Courses #1 & 2 
1/18/2017 6:00 PM         
Optimus Prosthetics

Optimus Prosthetics, Dayton
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Dayton, Ohio 45414
(937) 454-1900

Optimus Prosthetics, Columbus
3132 Olentangy River Road
Columbus, Ohio 43202 
(614) 263-LIMB (5462)

Optimus Prosthetics, Cincinnati
4623 Wesley Avenue, Suite B
Cincinnati, OH 45212
(513) 918-2320
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