Breast Cancer Disabled Amputee Tracy Fallon Inspires With Awesome Attitude
A nearly legendary "never say die" person, Tracy adapts to whatever situation she faces. When she came home from the hospital with one leg she thought, "This is it?"
She promptly found a wonderful practice in Branford, CT: New England Orthotics and Prosthetics. Dave Mahler, a certified orthotist and prosthetist, created a working leg for her.
They then went on to build a "swim leg" for her so she could go to aqua therapy. After several tweaks they found a combination that worked.
The Near And Dear Of Tracy Fallon
Says Tracy, "As a result of this care, I've been able to get out and do more of the things I used to do. I'm still not quite able to dance... but that's OK!"
Is She Disability Oblivious?
Tracy has a number of health issues, most of which she just takes in stride. She's a former diabetic (yes, former). Since her transplants (kidney and pancreas), she's had several surgeries: gall bladder, hernia, and a double bypass with a Mitral valve replacement, and then the foot amputation.
As if that wasn't enough, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She elected to have the bilateral double mastectomy with reconstruction. Well, reconstruction failed, but she took it in stride and says, "Now I'm just back to taking control of my life once again."
Her husband built a larger back porch so she could enjoy the outside in her electric wheelchair. She's now working on getting some bathroom modifications made so she can wheel her chair in there too.
As an amputee, her challenges change daily depending on whatever the situation is. But, she simply says, "Bring 'em on. I'm ready for you!"
The Willy Wonka Blueberry Girl
Tracy has surprised her doctors by not rejecting the two transplants she's had. It's been more than 15 years since she received a kidney from her sister and a pancreas from a donor. According to her, "Family and friends, even in parts, feel right at home with me!"
She says, "They told me I would need new transplants after six or seven years... but I proved them wrong! And my body has NEVER shown signs of rejection! Even with several surgeries after the transplants I've had perfect blood work."
She's now working on losing the extra weight from all the additional steroids that came with having surgery. Says Tracy, "It's bad enough to have to take three different steroids I don't reject... but then to have what is called a stress dose of prednisone... well let's just say I look like the Blueberry Girl from Willy Wonka."
All Important Family And Friends
Family and friends have all been important in her recovery.
After her foot amputation, she was wheelchair-bound till the stump healed. Since she was homebound without a prosthetic, her husband would help her get into their vehicle and just take her out for a ride. And he'd do this after having driven 8-10 hours a day for work.
But that's not all says Tracy, "My sister Sarah saved my life... but I also saved hers. She had an embolism on the artery to the kidney that was being harvested for me. The vascular surgeon was able to remove it before I received the kidney. Had she not been my donor, she most likely would have died."
Tracy's Lifesaver Sister Sarah
Dave from New England Orthotics and Prosthetics has been a godsend according to Tracy. "He has built three legs for me so far. There's the original leg that I used to walk for the first time after amputation, the current leg I use now and in addition, a swim leg."
The swim leg has a jointed ankle that locks in the toes-down position, so she can wear flippers to swim. He also retrofitted one fin for her right foot, which has no toes. David made an orthotic for that foot with a product called "flex toe." It gives you the feeling of walking normally heel to toe.
Take Charge Of Your Own Life
Tracy says, "My advice to anyone with disabilities is... don't give up! Take charge of your life and do what you want to do!"
She says she has had "speed bumps" along the way. And occasionally she hits a "pot hole" and sometimes a "sink hole," but she keeps going.
Her recommendation is, "Don't forget that YOU have a say in your medical care. You have every right to see YOUR medical records and you DO NOT have to follow doctors' orders if you feel it's not called for. Watch, listen and learn! Be your own advocate. Take charge of your life! And live it!!!"