A Rare Form of Cancer

DannaSix months after her son Cade was born, 25 year old Danna learned that she had osteosarcoma, a rare form of cancer, in her left leg. Suddenly the joys and challenges of being a new parent took on an entirely new meaning.

Danna's journey through University of Utah Health started at the Huntsman Cancer Institute, where she shared her fears and hopes with her support group. "I was so worried about being able to take care of my baby. A few months later my doctors and I made the decision to amputate my leg. I remember thinking: ‘I'm doing this so I can be here for my son.’"

After the amputation at University Hospital, Danna was referred to the Amputee Clinic in our rehabilitation services department. She worked with the physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians, physical therapists, and prosthetists to be fitted with a state of the art computer controlled leg.

Learning to Use Her Artificial Leg

Danna's next journey was to outpatient rehabilitation where she began learning to use her artificial leg. "I told my physical therapist, Randy, that I had always pictured myself as a 'down on the carpet mom'," she says. "Within seconds he had me laughing! By the end of our first session, I was doing exercises that I thought I would never be able to do again.

"He personalized my therapy to teach me the skills I needed to have the physical ability to be the active mom I always dreamed I would be. Today I take a brisk five mile walk every morning, play on carpets with Cade, and I even race him at the park."

All day long in the rehab gym, you see a high level of creativity among our therapists. These folks have an incredible ability to connect with patients and find out what makes them tick. With their very personalized approaches, they are able to inspire people and challenge them to go beyond what they thought was possible.