My name is Marina, and I was born with bilateral lower extremity abnormalities. Doctors informed my parents that I had to have an amputation within a certain amount of time. The other option was to keep my legs – but I would have to sit in a wheelchair all my life. My parents decided on surgery so I could have the chance to walk. I had an above-knee amputation when I was about fourteen months old. Ever since then, I have been wearing prosthetic legs. I also had another surgery when I was eleven years old to remove an extra bone growing out from my left leg. Furthermore, I was born with only seven fingers – four on my left hand and three on my right hand. However, I function normally with my hands, and I’m able to do everything with them.
Growing up, I was always stared at strangely. My mom always defended me and told them to stop staring. She also always reminded me that I was special, not different. My parents would also tell me that God loved me very much. They’re one of the main reasons that I am the confident, physically disabled person I am today.
I’m a senior in college, working on my undergraduate degree in psychology, and I plan on continuing school at the Master’s and/or PhD level. I have a 3.94 GPA and I am an extremely hard-working honors student. I am very active in school. I am a member of a few clubs and organizations, I spend a lot of time in the library at school, and I even go to the gym on campus. I’m a really active person and refuse to let anything bring me down.
Being an amputee is not easy at all. There are many obstacles and hardships I have to face daily. On the other hand, it has taught me so much in life! It has taught me to be a hard worker and to be persistent, no matter what obstacles come in the way. It’s taught me to not care what people think, because worrying about other people staring is what brings us down. I’ve learned to be really strong. It’s taught me to be thankful for the smallest things that people take for granted. I feel that being an amputee means that I have to work as twice as hard as anyone else.
Unfortunately, I do not have any amputee friends. I wish that I knew people with a similar situation growing up. On the other hand, my family helps me daily and always encourages me to go the extra mile. I am also thankful my best friends, who continue to care for and support me. All of them have been such an amazing support group – and a shoulder to cry on.
Although I do not know why I was created this way, I know God has a purpose for it.