purple background, amputation story

A Son’s Perspective: My Mother’s Amputation Story

Articles may contain affiliate links. This means that if you purchase an item from my links, I may earn affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
All Scripture references come from the King James Version of the Holy Bible (KJV)."

For months I have been “encouraged” to describe my Mother’s sickness from a different perspective and although she faced heavy resistance, I am finally sitting down with the intention of sharing the viewpoint of the eldest son.  My name is Michael Jr.

The Wallace family has always been a tight knit group, especially among the children. From a young age my brother, sister and I have always had vivid imaginations. Combined with a goofy sense of humor we were able to overcome any of the trivial challenges that children face so early in life.

Prior to 2011 we were never really faced with any life altering situations that have become so common in families today. We were not the product of divorce or abusive parents. We never had to deal with the effects of various substances taking over the lives of our loved ones, placing us second on the totem pole, feeling the pain of neglect. No. Our family grew to love each other and God unconditionally.

We all enjoyed each other’s company and spent most of our time together cracking jokes and laughing at what might appear to be things of little consequence to those on the outside. We lived a comfortable lifestyle and enjoyed our time together. Then one afternoon, Mom came down with what appeared to be the flu.

At the time I was 18 years old.  My sister, Megan was 15 and my brother Matthew was 13. Technically an adult, with aspirations to head off to college in pursuit of a degree in computer engineering. With high school graduation soon approaching, I had a bad case of “senioritis” and was excited to be free of the confines of public school and out in the real world. I thought I was old enough to understand how the world worked and that nothing could catch me off guard, but most of all I thought that things couldn’t get much better as far as my family was concerned.

Click here to grab your free calendar
 

We were excelling in our studies and dead end, high school jobs when we finally realized it had all simply been the calm before the storm. When Mom got sick, we all were humbled as she was brought to death’s door, clinging to life and praying for more time.

We all piled into the car on the second or third day of mom’s being bed ridden. The beginning is a little fuzzy after all these years. I believe it was the Yukon that carried our family to the hospital 30 minutes away. Dad had taken Mom to the hospital the day before.  Upon our arrival, we as the children were simply excited to leave the house and expected that the doctor would take one look and prescribe some magic pill to cure our mother. In hindsight, my medical knowledge and understanding as an “adult” is laughable.

I don’t remember much of what happened at the hospital, only that we were all waiting in the car joking around and wondering when we would all be going home. The next thing we knew, there was a helicopter charged with transporting Mom to another hospital as we followed in the car. Suddenly, things didn’t seem so humorous and the gravity of the situation began to sink in.

The next three months tend to be somewhat of a blur. I suppose that over time my siblings and I have done our best to move on and forget the traumatic experience, however I do recall some of the key memories that have really stuck with me.

The first was when we first went in to visit after her kidneys had shut down. We were warned outside her room that we would not like what we saw, and that the outcome was looking grim at best. At this point she was in a coma and was unresponsive to anything. When my siblings and I entered the room, we were shocked, despite all prior warnings. An incision had been made in our Mothers’ trachea and filled by a tube to allow her to breathe. There were several other tubes and wires connecting her to machines and devices that we didn’t understand, and she was asleep. Unmoving. Unresponsive. The only sound in the room was that classic “beeping” of the heart monitor that you always see in movies and never expect to have to hear in real life.

I remember her looking relatively peaceful and wondering if she was dreaming as in a normal sleep or if she had slipped into nothingness, unaware of the dire situation she had found herself in. As we became accustomed to the sight, Dad slid the blanket to the side to reveal her hands and feet.

As if her current state were not difficult enough to bear, all four of her extremities had lost all color and begun to turn black. I likened it to a severe frostbite, and we were told that kidney failure had stopped all blood circulations to parts of the body not deemed critical for survival. i.e. her limbs. The youngest of us, Matt, burst into tears and was inconsolable. Meanwhile, Meg and I did our best to fight back sobs and managed to shed only tears as we looked on at our Mother’s dying body wondering what any of us had done to deserve this.

pink background, mother holding son, amputation story

Over the course of the next couple months, our Aunt Ellen stayed at our house and between her and our grandmother, we were taken care of.  Dad hardly ever left Mom’s side. Both sides of the family came together, and we spent a lot of time at the hospital between the waiting room and the intensive care unit.

After a while, Meg and I decided that the easiest way to deal with the situation was to laugh and joke around about everything. I remember sitting in the waiting room with our Aunt Debbie (Mom’s sister) and we would look out the window of the tall hospital building and try to figure out what people were doing in the rooms we could see into.

We would assign comical voices to these characters and we would laugh and ignore the situation. This seemed to be an effective way to fend off any sad thoughts until we received the news that mom’s limbs would never function again. We were told that they would be amputated.

I’ll never forget that heart sinking feeling and fresh outburst of tears from Matt. We used to get angry at Matt for being so loud and considered it weak to cry in public. We could be quite impatient with him, all in an attempt to hide our own sorrow and grief. He wanted nothing to do with our games and didn’t want to laugh it off as we did. All he wanted to do was cry. We may have hidden it on the outside, but at least for me, the situation was tearing me up. I spent a lot of time praying, begging and bargaining with God in an attempt to deal with the potential loss of my Mother.

grab your free checklist here
 

After a while, Meg and I found a new outlet. We decided that it would be a good idea to sing to our Mother in her comatose state in hopes that she would wake up. We would go into her room and sing the same song repeatedly and I remember thinking that if nothing else, she would wake up to tell us to stop or pick a different song. We clung to that hope as we sang together to no avail.

Eventually the day came where Mom woke up. I am ashamed to say that this joyful occasion is not the most prominent memory I have of this period. All I really remember is her face. She didn’t appear to be sad or distraught but instead confused. It made sense as she had been in a coma for three weeks, but it seemed deeper than just disorientation. She seemed confused as to why this all happened. We were all confused about that.

From that point on she remained in ICU slowly coming to terms with the situation and what it meant for the future. She continued to regain her strength and improve daily while we all spent as much time as possible at the hospital laughing and doing Bible studies and enjoying each other’s company. We were thankful that she was alive and that we all would eventually be able to put all this behind us.

I remember the doctor used to come in often to check in and I found it intriguing that he originally hailed from Iceland. He taught us several phrases in Icelandic, and we would learn some phrases from Google Translate and try them out any time he was around. We all had fun with this, and things were finally starting to get better.

Eventually, Mom was moved to a rehab center where she would be fitted with prosthetic legs and assigned a personal trainer to help get her moving again. In the early stages of regaining mobility, she spent most of the time transferring to and from this electric wheelchair that all of us kids were itching to test drive.

Sometimes when she was in bed, sore from her training, we would sit in the chair and drive it around the room. One time, we were in her room when another lady in her own wheelchair came to the door asking if we knew the code to the electronic door in the hallway. She said that she was busting out of the joint. We all told her that we didn’t know and later laughed at the ridiculousness of the question.

Mom was in the rehab center for one month. My senior prom had come around and the first place I took that poor girl was a hospital over an hour in the opposite direction to see my Mother. We took pictures and were able to go outside and enjoy the time together. Christine was a good sport about it, and she got along well with Mom. Honestly, I would have been just as happy skipping prom and hanging out there all night, but I knew that wasn’t an option.

For as long as I can remember, Mom has always been an avid goal setter. No matter what the situation, she would always set goals and strive to improve. She spent our entire childhood teaching us that “can’t” is a four-letter word that is forbidden in our house. From the instant she began her rehabilitation, she made sure everyone knew that despite any setbacks or issues that may arise, she would be there, in person, at my graduation.

This was a lofty goal for someone who had recently lost her limbs. However, being the dedicated person she is, she was able to accomplish this goal with the help of family, God and her ex-marine trainer. She was sitting there in her electric wheelchair in the handicapped section with the rest of my family watching me graduate. I walked across that stage glad to be done with high school but more than anything thankful and proud that my Mother had overcome such odds and was there to watch me achieve that milestone in my life.

Current picture of the Wallace family, Summer 2019.  I’m the one in the sunglasses.

blog owner with family, husband, 3 kids

Over the years, she has become more accustomed to life as an amputee and has grown by leaps and bounds. She can do so much on her own and has never stopped to look back. Meanwhile, we the children have grown up: all three have graduated and Matt is now married.

Although we have all moved on and are barely able to remember a time when our mother wasn’t an amputee, that tragic period has definitely left its mark on each of us in some way. However, unified in our love for one another, we are able to press on and live our lives to the fullest and pursue our goals and dreams with the backbone of our support structure to give us guidance and encouragement. Love you Mom.

I just wanted to say thank you to my oldest son, Michael for giving his perspective of my illness and amputation story.  This post was unexpected, and touches my heart emotionally every single time I read it.  I hope it blesses you as much as it has blessed me.

For more discussion about family, faith, amputation, overcoming challenges and positivity, head on over to my Facebook page and we can carry on the conversation.
Other posts you may enjoy include:
love wendy, logo signature

Similar Posts:

Similar Posts

42 Comments

  1. Today I was looking for Bible verses about how facing challenges strengthens us – and ran across your blog. I am so sorry that this happened to you, but so blessed to know that God has strengthened your spirit through it. I loved that your son wrote about it too. You are a woman who can do hard things, with God’s help, and I so admire that. Keep on. Will pray for you because God is always carrying out new and surprising, wonderful plans for those who love him.

    1. Thank you so much, Shirley. I could sure use your prayers. And I agree, God has some wonderful plans for His children. We just have to stay strong in the face of adversity, lean on Him and let Him lead us. And then….give all glory and praise to our Lord and Saviour.🙏

  2. Wendy, what a wonderful perspective from your son of your story. God is certainly doing a mighty work through you and your whole family. I am very aware of the miracle of your recovery. We just lost a friend who had kidney failure with one kidney. Praise God for you. I might add: I read every single word!! Tell Mike thank you!

    1. I appreciate that Ann and I thank you. I’ll pass your message onto Mike. I’m sorry for the loss of your friend. Thank God that He gives us the faith, courage and strength to endure our trials.

  3. What a wonderful gesture for your son, Michael, to share his perspective of your experience which also affected everyone in your family. Glad I saved this email until I had time to read it.

    1. Thank you, Melissa. I’m glad you got to read the post as well. I’m so proud of him for laying his heart and perspective out there for everyone to read.

  4. Wendy, your son’s story captivated my heart. God’s care and greater plan shone brilliantly with each paragraph and thought, and with every emotion – how God kept you all united, how He was deemed sovereign in the prayers, how He was building a greater story of deliverance and ministry and deepening the faith of His people. Just brilliant. Michael, Jr. is skilled at expressing himself with raw honesty and humble vulnerability. This must bless your heart. You have a wonderful family.

    1. Thank you so much, Stephen. Mike’s recap of that time absolutely blessed my heart, while it continues to break. I am saddened by what my family had to go through, all while I slept. At that time, I had the easy part.

  5. What a strong family you have Wendy – and what an inspiration you must be to all of your children. It must be both interesting and emotional to hear the thoughts and experiences of your son. Love to you all x

    1. Thanks so much, Shelley. Yes, to hear his thoughts were uplifting and heartbreaking. I still cannot read his thoughts without crying.

  6. This is such a beautiful post from your son, Wendy. Seeing how God worked behind the scenes and in your family’s hearts is such a powerful testimony. Yes, I cried, and I laughed as I read. It sounds like you guys have an amazing family!

    1. Thank you, Jeanne yes, we do have an amazing family and I’m so thankful for each one. I’m thankful also for God and His guiding hand.

  7. Your son did a beautiful job sharing about a time that was so harrowing for everyone who loves you. What a amazing woman you are with a very wonderful family. So inspiring.

    1. Thank you, Pam! I agree! He did a great job portraying the experience. What a wonderful blessing he was to his siblings and to all of us.

  8. What a sweet story. It reminded me of what we went through with my dad acquiring H1N1 — it was really hard. I am thankful God heard the prayers, and that you are okay and so is my dad! God bless you all!

    1. Hey Lily, I’m so glad to hear that your Dad is well. It’s certainly such a trying experience for the entire family. I’m so thankful for all of those answered prayers.

  9. Now your whole family are my heroes! You are amazing and have passed that on to your children and I’m sure your husband is too. This amputation story by your son is inspiring.

    1. I appreciate that, Fleda. My family members are my heroes too. It’s not just me going through the struggles of amputation, but each one has learned to glean the strength, faith and courage that only comes from God. Thank you!

  10. What a blessing your family must be to you Wendy! This is such a beautiful, raw, and honest post! I’m sure there are many, many family members of amputees who desperately need to read it and feel understood and encouraged! Thank your awesome son for his willingness to write it, and for his transparency. What a blessing!

    1. Thank you, Cherith! My family is a tremendous blessing to me, for sure. My prayer is that we can all be lighthouses to others who undergo similar struggles, that they know through Christ all things are possible.

  11. Wendy, I love you all the more reading about you and your experience through your wonderful son’s eyes! And I love seeing the beautiful overcoming spirit you and your family have through your faith in Christ. Awesome!

    1. Thanks so much, Jessica! Through the wonderful grace of God, my whole family has been able to overcome so many struggles. I’m so thankful for that overcoming spirit.

  12. Wendy, I so enjoyed reading Michael’s thoughts! He really took me on a journey with him, as seen from his eyes and memory, during the months of your illness and recovery. These are honest and gut-wrenching reflections of dealing with real-life trauma. And how sweet he took his prom date to visit with you before the prom. 🙂 Good job, Michael, and thank you!

  13. So beautiful Wendy. His love for you is so apparent. Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us and how God is continuing to work through you and your family ❤️

    1. Thanks so much, Brittany! I’m so blessed to be surrounded by such a wonderful family who I truly adore and I feel loves me right back

  14. Wendy, my hubby and I just read your amputation story and we were incredibly touched. I teared up several times with the honesty of your sweet son’s heart. Your faith and your heart are such an inspiration to me. ❤

  15. Very heartfelt. Thank you to your son for being brave and sharing his part in your journey. I know that it will encourage many others who are faced with similar circumstances. Blessings to your family.

  16. Wow, Michael. Thank you for sharing your experience. I often wonder what my children will think of our family’s struggles when they are old enough to process everything. It’s so encouraging to see that you’ve tackled your family’s challenges with faith.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Erin. I am so proud of my kids and thankful that they tap into their faith as they go through their struggles.

  17. Your son did such a nice job in telling his viewpoint of your story! I appreciate his honesty as well about dealing with the hospital visits and that the humor was hiding his feelings. I am so glad you got to go to his graduation too!

    1. Thank you, Cindy! I’m not sure why my older children used humor as a coping mechanism but I’m thankful that they had it in their coping toolbox. His graduation was awesome. I had plans to break out of rehab had they not let me out through the normal means. There was no way I was missing that event.it was beautiful!

  18. How touching of your son to write this guest post. I appreciate his honesty and courage in being willing to relive such a traumatic time by writing it all down.

    1. I appreciate that, Lisa! I agree. Most of us don’t want to relive that time but because I wanted to share his experience, my son took on the task. He did a great job!

  19. What a beautifully written tribute Wendy! You have an incredible family, how lovely that your son took the time to write out his personal story of your illness and amputations. Blessings to your family!

    1. Thank you AnnMarie! I was so very touched by his writing and the raw emotion of it all. I can’t read it without bawling my eyes out.

    1. Thank you so much, Jen. I am so very blessed by Mike and all my kids. I’m honored to call them my children.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *