I’m a “French-South African” lady, married with children. I was born in Toulon (France) in 1964 and still an infant when my father decides he would like to emigrate and the whole family went off to South Africa. I grew up in a suburb of Johannesburg and studied, worked and had 2 of my 3 children there. The youngest was born in France as we moved back to Toulon in 1993.
In 2004 I suffered 3rd degree burns to my leg, which led to many surgeries and during one of these I caught an infection. Finally, I didn’t really have a choice but to amputate as septicaemia set in and that was a life-threatening condition.
I’ve been an amputee for 15 years now. After the amputation I just wanted to get straight back to my family as my kids were young and needed to have their mom back in their lives. So, I decided that I would finish off the summer holidays with them and when their school year was about to start, I would then go to rehab and learn how to walk using a prosthetic leg.
By then I was so used to walking on crutches and without a prosthetic leg that the situation lasted 10 years. I finally got a prosthetic when in 2015 I came across a stand-up paddling race which takes place in Holland. The event is the “11 city SUP Tour”, a 220km race, going through 11 beautiful historical villages and over a five-day period. This was a real boost for me and since then I windsurf, snowboard, surf, play stand up tennis and of course walk in everyday life. Nowadays with prosthetics instead of crutches.
I’m a person who likes to challenge myself and being out of my comfort zone triggers me. Of course, an amputation is a life changing situation in many ways, but I’m lucky enough to have a good prosthetic leg and foot. The motto “Xtend your Life”, doesn’t mean I will have extra years ahead of me, but will enable me to live life to its fullest in a comfortable and easier way.
I like that motto and I could easily make it mine. I try to live my life in a healthy way, even if I tend to push my body to its limits. I just want to carry on with what I do for as long as I possibly can as that is very important both mentally and physically. Some say we should never look back, but I don’t agree.
Looking ahead and moving on is great but one must look back to see just how much they have done and where they have come from.