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Mark Rennell

Mark RennellNever Look Back – Only Forward

I was born with a deformed right foot and spent my first 16 years under the watchful care of Shriner’s Hospitals both in Montreal and Springfield, Mass. I had many surgeries and was given the name “Thumper” due to my clomping around in a cast when I was younger. By the time I reached high school my mobility was not unlike other kids my age. I ran cross-country and was a mainstay on the high school stage. Despite some embarrassment about my deformity I attend college for theater and continued to have a pretty normal existence. Then at age 35 I had my first wound on my right foot and would spend the next 20 plus years in and out of wound centers. At first the wounds would heal quickly but they soon became more frequent and took longer to heal. After three more surgeries and extensive wound care treatment I decided in 2016 to have my lower leg amputated. It was not an easy decision by any means but after some research and great deliberation on June 1st I had a RBKA.

Since that day I have never looked back. I vowed to myself that what happens now and in the future would be all that matters and it would be all up to me!

After five days in the hospital I spent 20 days at a rehabilitation facility. Yes, I was in excruciating pain, and yes, I fell. I learned to pick myself up and I fell again. I was determined, though, that I would return to riding my mountain bike, that I would swim again and do all the activities I had missed out on the last five years. I was fitted for my first prosthesis in the beginning of August and I’m happy to say I was on my mountain bike by the end of that month and swam in a local lake. This June, shortly after my one year ampuversary, I will be fitted for my third socket. I continue to ride my bike, walk and take an exercise class twice a week. I am more active now then I had been in the past 10 years!! I continue to look forward and press on with a determined attitude. I do not look back at my life before limb loss only forward to the things I can do now and the things I can learn to do in the future! Never look back-only forward!

Mark Rennell