Amputating a leg ends lifelong struggle, and brings joy to a woman's life

Who would believe that amputating a leg would actually bring joy to someone's  life.

Kristi Wimberly, who at age 6 was diagnosed with a rare spinal cord tumor called astrocytoma, spent most of her life covering up the fact that her right leg stopped growing at the same pace as her other. 

She suffered nerve damage during surgeries to remove the tumor, which meant the growth of her right leg was stunted, leaving it a full two inches shorter than the other and unable to walk without a brace.

A photo of Kristy's stunned leg before amputation. See SWNS story NYLEG; A woman who hid her “ugly” leg under trousers for two decades now has the confidence to wear dresses - after making the decision to amputate it. For years Kristy Wimberly, 32, was embarrassed by her right leg which had stopped growing at the same pace as her other when she was diagnosed with a rare spinal cord tumor, astrocytoma, at age six. The nerves connecting her spinal cord to her leg were damaged during surgeries to remove the tumor and further compromised during a surgery to insert titanium rods in her back to treat scoliosis. The damage to Kristy’s nerves meant the growth of her right leg was stunted, leaving it a full two inches shorter than the other and unable to walk without a brace. The executive assistant, who has undergone 19 surgeries to try and lengthen her leg, was called a “cripple” by high school classmates and became obsessed with concealing her disability, never wearing shorts or dresses even in the depths of summer. The mom-of-one, from St Louis in Missouri, was confined to a wheelchair and crutches for months after each surgery and was plagued with recurrent infections in wounds caused by the pressure of her brace. Kristy said her whole life was changed when she decided to have her leg amputated in July 2017 in St. Clare Hospital, and now proudly shows off her high-tech prosthetic limb with confidence.  Kristy said: “I have literally never worn shorts or a dress in 20 years.

After 19 surgeries to improve her "ugly" leg, Kristi Wimberly decided to amputate her limb after a life-long struggle with a rare tumor.  ( © Kristy Wimberly / SWNS.com)

The St. Louis resident, who is 32 today, told SWNS about her lifelong struggle of feeling embarrassed by her "ugly" leg.

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"People would make fun of my wheelchair and my crutches and I just desperately wanted to fit in so I would try and hide my disability in any way I could,” she said.

Kristy had 19 surgeries to try and lengthen her leg, and after every procedure she was confined to a wheelchair and crutches for months and plagued with recurrent infections in her wounds caused by the pressure of her brace.

Kristy decided to have her leg amputated in July 2017, in St Clare's Hospital in St Louis. See SWNS story NYLEG; A woman who hid her “ugly” leg under trousers for two decades now has the confidence to wear dresses - after making the decision to amputate it. For years Kristy Wimberly, 32, was embarrassed by her right leg which had stopped growing at the same pace as her other when she was diagnosed with a rare spinal cord tumor, astrocytoma, at age six. The nerves connecting her spinal cord to her leg were damaged during surgeries to remove the tumor and further compromised during a surgery to insert titanium rods in her back to treat scoliosis. The damage to Kristy’s nerves meant the growth of her right leg was stunted, leaving it a full two inches shorter than the other and unable to walk without a brace. The executive assistant, who has undergone 19 surgeries to try and lengthen her leg, was called a “cripple” by high school classmates and became obsessed with concealing her disability, never wearing shorts or dresses even in the depths of summer. The mom-of-one, from St Louis in Missouri, was confined to a wheelchair and crutches for months after each surgery and was plagued with recurrent infections in wounds caused by the pressure of her brace. Kristy said her whole life was changed when she decided to have her leg amputated in July 2017 in St. Clare Hospital, and now proudly shows off her high-tech prosthetic limb with confidence.  Kristy said: “I have literally never worn shorts or a dress in 20 years.

Kristy’s husband Don Wimberly says he sees a big change in his wife’s confidence after she decided to amputate her leg.  ( © Kristy Wimberly / SWNS.com)

But the wife and mother of one had finally had enough, and decided to get her leg amputated in July. “Finally making that decision to have my leg cut off was the best thing I ever did. It’s totally changed my confidence.”

Kristy now shows off her high-tech prosthetic limb with confidence, "I'm so proud of it, and thankful for the new life it's given me.”  She went on to say, "When I do wear pants I cut off one of the legs to show off my prosthesis.”

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Doctors fit her with a bionic knee, controlled by the weight and movement of her upper leg, which can be operated by her smart phone and can be switched into different modes for activities like running or tennis.

Ever since her surgery, her husband Don is happy to see a big shift in Kristy’s confidence. She’s started training to cycle and kayak 120 miles along the Florida coastline this fall.

"It's daunting because it's something I would never have been able to do before, but I'm determined. I want to make up for those years I missed out on now that I can," she said.