SEARCH

Entries in Prosthetics (12)

Saturday
Jan192013

Community Rallies to Raise Money for Nine-Month-Old's Prosthetic Arms

Courtesy Davis Family(SPOKANE, Wash.) -- At 20 weeks pregnant, Brooke and Jim Davis of Spokane, Wash., knew their son, Jameson, would be born without arms months before he would come into this world.

"They basically said the ultrasound was inconclusive, that some things were inconclusive," said Jim."And they left the room and that was it. We didn't know for a week. Were his arms hiding? Were they in a funny position? Did he have any arms whatsoever?"

After a week, a geneticist expert explained to the Davis' that their son would be born a bilateral trans-radial congenital amputee or born without forearms or hands. After two miscarriages, Brooke was excited to finally be carrying for a third time--only to find her son would be born with difficulties.

"I have had a hard time coming to the realization that I will never ever get to hold my child's little hand in mine. I worry about how he will be able to pick up a spoon, a tooth brush, and someday ride a bike. The list goes on," said Brooke. "It was tough information to swallow when they told us he'd be missing the lower parts of his arm."

"He did have arms, he just didn't have any hands or fingers or digits," said Jim. "His arms stopped growing at the end of the humerus bones. He has a bit of soft tissue but no bones past the humorous."

As the first-time parents began to process the news, Jim says doctors wanted to send them to a place in Seattle to "look at their options" but Jim says abortion was "never, ever the answer."

"We turned that news into, 'This is our baby. This is what God gave us and we're going to raise him the best we can,'" said Jim. "For us, that's providing him with the best tools that are available for him to have the fullest life possible."

"We found out that they recommend starting prosthetics as soon as possible," said Brooke. "We decided to go that route and started pursuing prosthetic children's companies."

Throughout the rest of her pregnancy, Brooke and Jim began researching prosthetic options for their son. After a few failed options, Jim eventually found Advanced Arm Dynamics, a Texas clinic that specializes in upper limb prosthetic rehabilitation.

"They were wonderful and they specialize in upper extremity prosthetics," said Brooke. "It seemed like the perfect fit, so to speak."

Upper limb prosthetics for bilateral amputees can vary in price and cost between $10,000 and $25,000. In this instance, Jameson's prosthetics would cost the Davis' $25,000. Their insurance would only cover the cost up to 44 percent. To garner financial support and awareness, Brooke started a blog called, Davis Day 2 Day. The blog features updates on Jameson and a section called Hands for Jameson where visitors can donate to help purchase Jameson prosthetic arms.

"The first set of prosthetics will cost around $25,000. He will need a set every year until he is finished growing and each set will progressively get more expensive," said Brooke on a Nov. blog post. "We are unable to finance that kind of treatment, so we need to raise funds in order to complete our mission."

 

Brooke says that she and her husband are "on a very important mission to have Jameson fitted for both lower arm and hand prosthesis." She said they will be a "much-needed tool to help give him a better chance at a fuller, more normal life."

Brooke continued blogging and soon set up a donation section called "Hands for Jameson" where visitors can give money through a PayPal system. Once "Hands for Jameson" was posted on the site, the donations began pouring in.

"College friends I hadn't seen in 10 years sent us $200 and local people we've never met started sending money," said Jim. "We had a family mail us $100 and said they didn't need Christmas presents this year and wanted to give that money to Jameson instead of buying presents for each other. The stories go on."

Last year, baby Jameson was born on April 12, in Spokane, Wash. weighing six pounds 13 ounces. With her third prenancy, Brooke describes the beginning of this one as "a little rocky." Brooke bled daily throughout the first 13 weeks.

"Luckily, it was just one of those things and did not affect the baby. Thank goodness! After that it was smooth sailing," said Brooke. "When we hit 20 weeks our extreme excitement and happiness took an abrupt turn for the worst."

With enough money for a down payment on Jameson's first set of custom-made prosthetics, the Davis' drove seven hours with a teething toddler to Portland, Ore., to AAD's Northwest Center of Excellence. Over the course of three days, the Davis' met and eventually worked with certified prosthetist Mac Juilian Lang to fit baby Jameson who was only six months at the time.

"Jameson is the youngest patient I have personally worked with," said Lang. "I've worked with pediatric patients before but rarely do the parents have the foresight to search out care for their child that soon."

Lang said Jameson's passive arms prosthesis, which only move with the help of his parents, are comprised of three parts including a silicon liner, a socket and frame. Lang explains the liner takes up some of the excess room between Jameson's arm and the prosthetic. The other pieces are a socket and frame, which is the part that goes right up against the liner. "This creates the stability in the prosthetic and is the connection between his arm and the prosthetic." Lang says it's important for the prosthetic to be comfortable and stable "otherwise he won't use it."

"It's rare to have your child missing one hand, it's really rare to have them missing both," said Jim. "We're just giving him the options to do both--use prosthetics now or just his God-given arms later."

Now Jameson is 9-months-old and the Davis' say he's hitting all his regular milestones and "uses his short arms just like had fingers." As Jim and Brooke watch Jameson with his first set of prosthesis, they see he's able to hold his toys while exercising hand-eye coordination and balance all while strengthening his back muscles.

When Jameson is about a year and a half old, he will have outgrown his current set of prosthesis. The next set will feature at least one Myoelectric arm, which is a prosthetic that will be fully operated by Jameson himself. His current set are passive arms which must be manually adjusted for him by Jim and Brooke.

In the meantime, the Davis' are planning ahead and organizing fundraising efforts over the following months. Next month, the Davis' will hold an event called High 5's and a Thousand Hearts for Jameson.

"Jameson is beautiful, healthy and perfect in every way to us. We have to look at doing things a little bit differently," said Brooke. "We have to stay positive and be role models for him. I think kids and adults will look up to him and be inspired by him."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov072012

South Carolina Man Sells Doughnuts to Pay for Prosthetic Legs

joeyslegs.rog(NEW YORK) -- Joey Funderburk’s Christmas wish list is pretty basic: He just wants two new legs to stand on.

The problem is he can’t afford the $120,000 it costs to buy the prosthetic limbs, and his insurance, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, won’t pay for it.

So Funderburk, 20, with an assist from his mom, Chrystal, decided to take matters into his own hands and began selling Krispy Kreme doughnuts to try and raise enough money.

“We’re charging $7 dollars for a box of 12 glazed doughnuts, the most popular kind,” Funderburk said.  “And they’re good for you.”

The sweet idea came from his mom, who was racking her brain trying to figure out how to help her son, whom she adopted at age 6 from a Romanian orphanage.  

Funderburk was born with a birth defect that left him with only about a foot of leg.  Until he was 18, Shriners Hospitals for Children, in Greenville, S.C., sponsored his prosthetic limbs, which typically last anywhere from three to five years.  But after age 18, he was no longer eligible for Shriners, and was in desperate need of a new pair of legs.

“There’s a big difference between what a little boy can walk on and what a man can walk on,” his mother said, adding that her son falls almost daily.  “He just wants legs that won’t throw him down on his head all the time.”

A representative for Shriners Hospital was not available for comment.

Funderburk’s insurance company denied him.  “They said they won’t cover it because there hasn’t been a change in my medical condition, I’ve just gained weight,” Funderburk said.  “My doctor said, ‘I don’t know how they’re getting away with this.’”

The Funderburks have appealed the claims twice and been denied both times.  They are awaiting a third decision.  But even if his claims were accepted, his policy only covers $50,000, ”Not even enough for one leg,” his mom said.

Only 46 percent of private insurance plans cover artificial limbs, according to the Department of Labor.

Patti Embry-Tautenhan, a spokeswoman for BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, said the company has “policies and guidelines in place that meet accepted standards of medical care.”

She added that its medical experts were talking with Funderburk’s doctor and “gathering additional clinical information in order to make a final decision.”

In the meantime, Funderburk's mom desperately wanted him to get new limbs.  She recalled selling doughnuts to raise money for her church youth group when she was in high school, and she thought her son should give it a shot.  About two months ago, she ordered a hundred dozen donuts from Krispy Kreme and asked local businesses if they would let her son set up a stand in front of them.

The Starbucks in Charlotte, N.C., about an hour from the Funderburk’s home in Hickory Grove, S.C., agreed.  Funderburk stands out front and sells his treats three days a week from subsequent orders.

“They were so nice to me,” he said.  “Starbucks has been a huge trouper.  No other place would let me set up.”

So far, Funderburk has raised about $7,500.  He also has a website, JoeysLegs.org, which accepts online donations.  

His mom says she is in the process of registering a formal charity to help her son -- and other kids and adults -- get prosthetics, medical care and also adopt.

“We want to give back in the same way we’ve been given to,” she said.  “There are a lot more people out there like us.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Nov062012

Lauren Scruggs Reveals New Prosthetic Eye and Hand

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Nearly one year after model and fashion blogger Lauren Scruggs walked off an airplane and into a spinning propeller, she says she still can’t fully explain how it happened.

“I remember the sky was black; we were on the dark side of the plane,” Scruggs, 24, writes in her memoir to be released later this month.   “It was December 3, 2011, and after that split second, I remember absolutely nothing.”

Scruggs had just landed after viewing Christmas lights from above on Dec. 3 when she walked into a moving airplane propeller at a private airport north of Dallas.  The propeller sliced off her hand and doctors were forced to remove her left eye weeks later.  The pilot, Curt Richmond, left the propeller running while Scruggs left the plane.

Scruggs was conscious, breathing and “somewhat” responsive but bleeding badly, according to the 911 call.  She was rushed to the hospital, fighting for her life.  In an instant, Scruggs’ world, and her family’s, changed forever.

“I was able to hold her,” Scruggs’ mom, Cheryl Scruggs, told ABC's Good Morning America just days later about that harrowing night.  “That’s the toughest part of it all, just seeing her there waiting for the help.”

In the months after the accident, Scruggs underwent intensive physical therapy to relearn the basics -- how to walk, talk, use a stationary bike, even dress herself -- and pick up the pieces of her life.  She eventually resumed writing fashion commentary on her LoLo website, shared photos of a family ski vacation in Colorado last year and, this week, took to Twitter to show off her prosthetics to replace the left hand and left eye she lost.

“Doing some filming action. Long day,” she tweeted, along with a photo of herself and friend Shannon Yoachum.

Scruggs smiles now, but devotes one chapter of her memoir to her difficult recovery, including everything from the awkward painting and fitting of her fake eye to her own self-consciousness about her new prosthetic arm.

“I don’t know why this is so hard, I said,” she writes.  “Soldiers are dying in Afghanistan right now and I’m too chicken to do this one little thing.”

Scruggs reached a legal settlement with the insurance company for the pilot and the plane’s owner last March, a representative for her attorney told ABC News at the time.  Though he would not comment on details of the agreement, it is rumored to be more than $1 million.

Scruggs’ memoir, Still Lolo: The Inspiring True Story, goes on sale Nov. 15.  In the end, she says, she believes that her split-second encounter with the propeller blade may have made her a deeper, more introspective person.

“I came to see how there was so much more to my life than being worried about how I looked,” she writes.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct082012

Legless Marine Conquers Marathon

ABC News(CHICAGO) -- When more than 38,000 competitors set off Sunday at the Chicago marathon, few of them likely had a more incredible journey to the start line than Ben Maenza.

Maenza, a Marine lance corporal, lost both his legs two years ago when they were blown off by a bomb in Afghanistan, weeks after his deployment there had begun.

But instead of losing his competitive nature, Maenza was fueled by his injuries. Using a hand bike, he has now competed in multiple marathons and even ridden across the country from Florida to California.

“People think you can’t do stuff like that without your legs, so being out there and proving that you can and making it happen, it’s really gratifying,” Maenza, 24, said in a phone interview from his hometown of Nashville, Tenn.

That motivation to succeed on his bike came at a crucial time for Maenza.

After leaving Afghanistan, he spent a year and a half in rehabilitation at the Walter Reed Medical Center outside of Washington, D.C. It was there that he started talking to Achilles International, a group that helps athletes with disabilities.

“It was exactly what I needed at that point in my recovery,” he said. “I was at a crossroads. They came in and gave me a way to get a sense of accomplishment. It gives you something to work towards, the knowledge that you are capable and you can do it.”

“I never really was a runner or a cyclist before, but when Achilles approached me and asked me to do it, it kind of lit a fire in me and, quite frankly, I’m pretty good at it.”

During his races, Maenza feeds off the crowds, mentioning the motivation he gets from seeing fans waving U.S. flags.

“When people cheer for you, I get goose bumps,” he said. “It’s overwhelming.”

Maenza had to overcome some equipment problems Sunday in Chicago, but he still managed to finish the marathon in an hour and 48 minutes.

“Obviously, I was a little slower than I intended, but I’ve got a good excuse, my wheel was broken,” he said.

Maenza also has academic goals to go with his athletic ones. He hopes to earn a college degree, and do it with a 3.0 GPA to boot.

“As silly as it may sound, the only thing that’s intimidated me is school. I am terrified of it,” he said. “People think you’re a Marine, you’re tough. But I’m a human being, you know? I’m just a normal guy, just missing my legs. That’s it.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Sep292012

Doctor's Grow New Ear on Cancer Victim's Arm


Courtesy Johns Hopkins(NEW YORK) -- When Sherrie Walter lost her ear to cancer two years ago, she told herself she'd never be one of those survivors attaching a prosthetic ear every day.

"The concept of having to tape something to my skin every day didn't feel like that was who I was," the 42-year-old mother of two told ABC News.

But doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore offered Walter a chance at a new ear -- a permanent one built from her own tissue.

The groundbreaking procedure, described as one of the most complicated ear constructions in the U.S., involves removing cartilage from the rib cage to form a new ear, which is then placed under the skin of the forearm to grow.

"It was under my arm for about four months," Walter said. "I just thought I was something from science fiction."

This week, Walter received some of the finishing touches on her ear, with doctors sculpting and carving tissue to reposition it.

"Family and friends say it looks great," Walter said. "I'm not looking until the big reveal."

Walter's journey began in 2010, when a sore in her left ear was diagnosed as basal-cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer.

In October 2012, Walter was told the cancer had spread to her ear canal. She went through a 16-hour procedure to have the entire ear, neck glands, lymph nodes tissue and part of her skull removed.

That's when a team of doctors stepped in and told Walter she had options.

"I described to her how prosthetic ears have to be fixated somehow and sometimes fall off," said Dr. Patrick Byrne, an associate professor in otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. "Sherrie's skull bone had been removed, so the only way of attaching a prosthetic would be through tape and glue. We both agreed that wasn't an option."

Byrne, who pioneered the procedure, said most ear reconstruction uses facial and neck skin, but most of Walter's skin had been removed from those areas.

Doctors opted to place the ear under the forearm.

"We've talked for years about finding the right patient, in terms of age and health and a good support system. Sherrie had all that," Walter said.

In November 2011, Walter's new ear was inserted under the surface of her forearm skin.

"We implanted the ear near the wrist and just let it live there so all the skin could grow," Byrne said.

After four months, the ear was removed from her arm and re-attached to her head.

The entire process took 20 months.

Since the re-attachment in March, Byrne and his team have been working on the cosmetic aspect of the ear, fully matching it to her right ear.

"Her reveal will be in about a week, and that's going to really be an amazing," Byrne said.

For Walter, the reveal of her new ear is the opportunity to give other cancer survivors hope.

"I just want people to learn from the story and understand that they have options out there," Walter said. "Talking to your doctor and realizing you have options. Because honestly, anything is possible."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Apr062012

Prosthetic Limbs Get a Personal Makeover

Bespoke Innovations(NEW YORK) -- Three months after losing a leg to a rare type of bone cancer in November, Tony Phillips needed a prosthetic limb to get on with his recovery.

And while artificial limbs are seldom known for their aesthetic appeal, Phillips wanted to go in a different direction.

"I want the cast to be dark black chrome to look like the Terminator," he said.  "It's going to be great."

To make this sci-fi inspired limb a reality, the 46-year-old freelance writer consulted with Bespoke Innovations, a company founded by an industrial designer and orthopedic surgeon, which seeks to personalize prosthetic legs with custom designs, tailoring them to each customer's needs.

From tribal patterns to metallic designs made with synthetic materials, Bespoke Innovations creates "fairings" that surround an existing prosthesis.  The equipment, which costs between $4,000 and $6,000, fills out what would have been a leg to re-create the body form by using 3-D scanning to capture the unique leg shape.

The San Francisco company's co-founder, Scott Summit, told the Los Angeles Times, "The thought was, if it was beautifully sculpted and crafted, it would change … the way the person actually perceives their own body and, hopefully, it would then change the way society sees amputees."

Now, Phillips said he gets to think in a way that he didn't know was possible when he first found out about his impending amputation.

"These prosthetic limbs are pretty fancy technology that have really advanced in the last 10 years because of what is happening to so many servicemen and women," said Phillips.  "But they've never been a particularly aesthetic object.  I'm grateful to have a product produced that adds a sense of artistry along with anatomical completeness to the picture."

Bespoke's mission is to create an expression of personality and individuality that has never before been possible, according to its website.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Sep162011

Actor, Iraq Vet Lobby for Increased Biomedical Research Support

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Just as wounded soldiers are returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan with amputations, brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder, a new survey finds flagging public support for biomedical research needed to help them recover.

Two people who can testify to the importance of such research are CSI actor Robert David Hall, and Lt. Col. Tim Karcher of the U.S. Army.  Both men are double amputees.  On Thursday, they helped launch an education and media campaign to raise support and awareness for basic biomedical research to help wounded veterans and civilians.

“I have arguably $80,000 to $100,000 worth of legs on right now,” Karcher told ABC’s Top Line Thursday, showing off his new prosthetics beneath a pair of khaki shorts.

“It’s a little tougher if you’re a civilian,” quipped Hall, “I only have $30,000 worth of legs on me.”

It was a good-natured exchange with a serious message.  Karcher lost both his legs in Afghanistan in 2009.  Since then he says he has seen and experienced huge progress in the biomedical and prosthetics fields.

Karcher said he is not worried about declining support for soldiers like himself.

“There’s no other nation in the world that would put the kind of investment in their wounded soldiers like our nation does,” he said.

But Hall, a civilian, said a survey released last week found waning public opinion on basic biomedical research.  The survey, from Zogby International, reported support among Americans dropped to 55.7 percent, down from more than 70 percent during the Vietnam era.

“I can’t tell you how important it is to keep the ball rolling.  It’s one of the reasons Tim and I are here, is to make sure that funding is maintained,” said Hall.

The actor said while he realizes it is a tough time economically for Congress, the country must not let down service members.  Especially since military research for veterans often transfers over to civilians.

Karcher’s new legs are the latest prosthetic advancement -- they were approved for above-the-knee amputees less than four months ago, and Karcher was the first to receive them.  The legs have a five-day battery life -- a significant improvement from the 36 to 40 hours in the previous version.  Karcher also said they have running and stair-climbing functions, and have a more natural gait.

“I have the old version,” said Hall, pulling up his pant leg to give a side-by-side comparison of the prosthetic legs.  “And this is the cooler new one,” he added, patting Karcher on the knee.

Karcher said a joint project between the Department of Defense and a private company is working on “combat-capable” legs.  Karcher’s legs are one of the first generations of such prosthetics.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jul122011

Young Gymnast Tumbles on One Leg after Overcoming Cancer

Ryan McVay/Thinkstock(NORTHFIELD, Minn.) -- Adam Starr stepped into the Northfield Gymnastics Club last week; it had been two years since he last tumbled. Gymnastics skills aren't like riding a bike.

Any gymnast would be rusty after two years of no physical preparation. It takes enhanced muscle memory, daily practice and sheer mental strength to convince the mind to tumble.

It takes courage for any gymnast to jump into the air and flip the human body backward in unnatural ways, fully knowing the danger that waits on the ground if one small mistake is made.

But Starr's situation was different. This time he was attempting his first gymnastics trick with only his left leg.

Starr started gymnastics at the age of three and continued practicing as a teenager. His mother, Leslie Starr, said he was always a "monkey" climbing around their home. His father, Garrett Starr, said that his son was always an acrobat.

The 21-year-old senior at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn,. lost his leg to cancer in 2009. Being a lifelong gymnast, captain of his high school track team and an All-American diver, losing one a leg was devastating.

Starr was born with a rare condition called Lymphedema, which causes swelling in limbs. In this case, Starr always had swelling issues with his leg that would come and go, but he was still able to compete in athletics.

During his freshman year, Starr went to the doctor for swelling and a bruise on his foot that would not go away. The doctor called him on Valentine's Day in his college dorm room and told him he had a form of low-grade cancer, but it still required amputation of his leg.

The doctor gave Starr two choices for his surgery: either to have his below-the-knee amputation in just one month over spring break or to wait until his summer break. Starr chose to go ahead and have his surgery over spring break -- a decision his parents agreed with, but they were worried for their son.

Once the doctors did the surgery, they found that Starr actually had a very aggressive and rapidly growing cancer that had spread -- stage four angiosarcoma, which has a very high mortality rate.

His mother said they were shocked by the news, but her multi-talented son, who is also a guitarist, kept them grounded after the devastating diagnosis.

Two days later, Starr went through another amputation, this time above the knee to remove the aggressive cancer that had spread. He said it was odd to see where his leg should have been after the amputation.

Starr took the spring semester off from college and for the next seven months he endured a rigorous schedule of chemotherapy.

Starr was fitted with a prosthetic leg and learned to walk with his new body. He said the most difficult part was building up his endurance to walk long distances.

Starr said one thing that pulled him through his cancer was his desire to become a doctor. He is a pre-med student and will be applying to medical school after he graduates next year. He is considering the field of physical medicine and rehabilitation after going through his illness.

Starr spent the last two years rehabilitating, and just last week he decided to go back to the gym to see if he could still tumble.

Starr walked into the gym with a couple of friends and a camera, with a goal in mind of completing a back tuck.

To Starr's surprise, he could still land a back tuck and began attempting other gymnastics tricks that were also successful.

Starr posted the tumbling video online for his family and friends to see. The video became a viral sensation online with hundreds of thousands views. Messages came pouring into Starr's inbox from all over the country, some from amputees who were inspired by what Starr could do.

Starr says his return to the gym serves as an affirmation that he can achieve his goals and be successful.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jun232011

One-of-a-Kind Dog Walks with Four Prosthetic Paws

File photo. Ryan McVay/Thinkstock(DENVER) -- Naki'o has the rambunctious spirit of most dogs -- he loves to run, jump and play fetch -- but one thing is different about this red heeler cattle dog: his four bionic paws. OrthoPets, a Denver company that specializes in pet prosthetics, outfitted Naki'o, who lost his paws to frostbite after he was abandoned in the Nebraska winter.

When Naki'o was adopted, his legs had healed to rounded stumps, making mobility a struggle. He had to crawl on his stomach to move, but he was determined.

"Even though he was hobbling, he was still just trying to enjoy life," said Martin Kaufmann, the founder of OrthoPets, who outfitted Naki'o with his new paws. "Naki'o's personality was great."

And it was that spirit that captivated his owner, a veterinary technician, to adopt him from a shelter and raise money for him to get two prosthetics.

Two became four when Kaufmann heard about Naki'o's plight and completed the set, making him, Kaufmann said, the first dog in the world to have four prosthetic paws.

Veterinarian Marty Becker said prosthetics are becoming increasingly common on disabled pets.

One prosthetic can cost anywhere form $1,000 to $3,000.

"It's really heartwarming," said Becker. "Dogs just soldier on. They could be in incredible pain but still greet you with their tail wagging."

Naki'o can now play fetch to his heart's content and enjoy his newfound mobility.

Kaufmann said Naki'o's only challenge would be learning once again what the ground feels like to walk on -- and he has no doubt Naki'o's playful spirit will help him adjust to his new paws.

"We get to work with patients with drive and determination," he said. "They have a real willingness to thrive."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr212011

New Technologies Help Oregon Woman Accept Prosthesis

Advanced Arm Dynamics(PORTLAND, Ore.) -- When a severe infection caused Jan Schumacher, 58, of Portland Oregon, to lose her fingers, she preferred a functional prosthetic hand to a glossy silicone one that would look more natural.

"Jan came to us and told us she wanted something 'trick badass,'" said MacJulian Lang, a prosthetist and clinical director of Advanced Arm Dynamics in Portland.

Lang outfitted her with a prosthesis that looks more like a motorcycle glove than a prosthetic hand.  The fingers move with a slight flex of a muscle in Schumacher's palm.  Now, Schumacher is able to grab her coffee mug, lift weights, or even open a door.

And the glove-shaped prosthesis comes fully equipped with an iPod Nano -- not because it serves any prosthetic purpose, but because it helps the prosthesis look "badass," said Lang.

Two million amputees currently live in the U.S., according to the nonprofit Amputee Coalition, an advocacy group.  An estimated 570 people lose a limb each day.

Now, more of those patients say they couldn't care less about fitting in and hiding their amputations.  Instead, many say they are embracing their circumstances and finding ways to flaunt them.

"Long gone are the days of the wooden leg," said Lang.  "Much more often now people roll up their sleeves and show the prosthesis for what it is."

Before her amputation, Schumacher owned one of the largest bridal stores in Oregon.  Her store, "Tres Fabu Bridal," handled nearly 1,200 weddings a year.  But after her infection and subsequent amputation, Schumacher had to close her store.

"I went from owning a business, to not even being able to open a door on my own," she said.  "For many of us, the experience has been so debilitating."

Schumacher considered wearing a prosthesis while undergoing rehabilitation.  But she said she did not know what to expect.

"First you think of the hook, like Captain Hook.  But I was shown an articulated hand, so that gave me hope," she said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio