Craig woman optimistic five weeks after having leg amputated
Complications from childhood osteosarcoma motivated Wooten to have leg removed to provide a better quality of life
Craig — The chronic physical pain, persistent infections and regular surgeries that she has borne for the last 17 years have ended for Amanda Wooten, who is back in Craig and healing well after her left leg was amputated five weeks ago.
“It’s the end of the pain, and I am able to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Wooten said. “There is so much out there ahead of me.”
Wooten survived osteosarcoma bone cancer that developed in her left leg as a child.
Various treatments allowed her to keep her leg, however persistent infections of the metal rod in her leg required eight surgeries in the past six years leading to chronic pain.
When Wooten fell in the long grass at Whittle the Wood earlier this year, instead of opting for more surgeries and risking further damage to her femur, which would have made it difficult for a prosthetic, Wooten decided to have her leg removed.
Now she is adjusting to a “new normal” and working to control the phantom pain she is experiencing, she said.
Recalling the first weeks after the surgery brought tears to Wooten’s eyes as she described weeks of feeling like someone was stabbing knives into the pads of a foot no longer attached to her body and the sensation of blades running along a calf removed days before.
“It was hard. It was so hard,” she said.
Medication that helps to block the nerves causing the phantom pain is now working and Wooten has begun learning how to move all over again.
Family and friends are also adjusting.
“It’s strange, it (her leg) is really not there, but Amanda has a way of making everyone really comfortable with it even through they aren’t going through it,” said best friend Brandi Sanchez.
Back in Craig, except for overnight trips to Denver every couple of weeks for treatment, Wooten will mark another milestone as she returns to work at the Craig Chamber of Commerce next week.
Wooten loves what she does as an informational specialist at the chamber, she said.
Resuming her work brings her one step closer to what her sister Alicia Baker calls “Amanda’s new normal.”
And, they are looking forward to having her back at work.
“She was one of several applicants. Her can-do attitude and her desire to be here floated her to the top and that hasn’t changed at all,” said Chamber Executive Director Christina Oxley. “She’s fantastic at what she does, and goes above and beyond and it makes it easy to stick with her through it.”
Resuming work will also help ease the financial stress Wooten faces in traveling to Denver every couple of weeks for care.
“The biggest stressor right now is financial,” said Sanchez who set-up a fundraising page to help Wooten. “We will increase the gofundme goal as the hospital bills are adding up.”
Eventually, Wooten will regain her independence and be able to do most everyday tasks, but for now she moves on crutches and when tired, on hands and knees. Some chores like cooking are too difficult to do while on crutches, so members of Wooten’s support team have been coming to her aid.
Friend Trevor Sloan takes care of her dog Zoey that Amanda hopes might be trained as a service dog. Sloan also drives Amanda to Denver for follow-up appointments.
“I’ve been staying with her at times to help her get through the day,” he said. “I think she’s doing awesome. She has a mindset of doing it right.”
Childhood friend Lauren Padon uses the website takethemameal.com to coordinate a meal program. Anyone in the community may message Padon on Facebook to learn how to make Amanda a meal.
When Wooten was first diagnosed with cancer her parents were there to support and guide her. The death of her father and her mother’s own health issues have meant that Wooten is facing this challenge without them.
In the days leading to her surgery, she wore her dad’s dog tags to keep his memory close. Having the support of the community, her sister and her friends has meant everything to Wooten.
“I don’t know if I would have made it without it,” Wooten said.
After four days of competition at Whittle the Wood Rendezvous, Lincoln, Nebraska’s Nate Hall can count himself a seasoned competitor in one of Northwest Colorado’s premier events as he embarks on an ongoing career in the field of wood sculpture.