Amputee mom learns to cope with prosthetics

July 7, 2010 4:50:08 PM PDT
A Kingwood mother who lost her arms and legs days after giving birth has been home for over a month, trying to settle in to a new life with new limbs. Now, she hopes that life continues to get better. Katy Hayes kisses her baby. Her husband Al puts her earrings on. And now she's ready to talk about life after contracting a flesh eating disease and undergoing quadruple amputations.

"Every day, I do my exercises," she said.

She strengthens her shoulders for the heavy prosthetic arms.

"So I'm able to lift them and lift them; it's hard work," Katy said.

Then she wears the arms and works with them. Flesh eating disease led to the amputation of her arms and legs, and she still has wounds on her stomach.

"It was like someone drew a circle and went straight to the bowel," said Katy's husband, Al Hayes. "You could see the bowel, and now you're looking at something about that big."

When she is healed, Katy will get her first pair of prosthetic legs.

"Now I won't have knees to bend, but I'll be walking like this, but I'll be walking and that's the goal," Katy said.

But what she really wants is independence.

"I'm looking forward to driving," Katy said.

"Taking Jake to the zoo and Amber to the zoo," added Al.

"Yeah, zoo, you just would never think that would be a big deal," Katy responded.

Amber is pulling a lot of weight.

"I feed her and I make her tea, and we hang out," said Amber Botne, Katy's daughter. "It's hard sometimes. She's my best friend."

Katy missed Amber's 16th birthday. Amber turned the disappointment into an essay for her TAKS test.

"I wrote about my mom being in the hospital and how she inspired everybody," Amber said.

Amber keeps the baby at night so Katy and Al can sleep and watches her little brother Jake while friends plan a fundraiser for medical bills.

"I'm so proud of her," Al said. "She's still cracking jokes."

The love between Al and Katy keeps them going during the dark hours.

"He just keeps me balanced and happy. Whenever I cry, he lets me cry and talks me through it. He's right; I mean, I can't look back," Katy said.

They are a family living a life no one would have chosen. But they're living it with grace.

On Saturday, Katy's friends are throwing a fundraiser at the Museum of Natural Science. Click here to visit Katy Hayes' website.


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