Meet Our Patients
We have developed life long relationships with our prosthetics and orthotics patients. We are honored to be a part of our their journey, and proud to have them as a key part of our story. Meet some of our heroes and hear their compelling, courageous stories.
My story begins on August 17, 2010 when I fell from a roof onto merciless concrete. I shattered the bones in my left leg just above the ankle. I have now had four surgeries and am walking with a prosthesis having been fitted by Jeff Boonstra.
A result of the second surgery was seven months of fighting infection on a daily diet of five IV’s. I believe the infection and the necessary antibiotics destroyed the healing process. It left me with a leg that was extremely painful with any pressure from walking, etc. I was told, after four opinions, that I had two choices: walking with pain and possibly be wheel chair confined in five years or having an amputation with prosthesis. Being from Jeff’s hometown, he came highly recommended. Of course, it must also be mentioned that Prosthetics are not as readily available as McDonalds.
I met with Jeff at least three or four times over many months for at least a year prior to my amputation in at attempt to clarify my indecisiveness. I also met with Dr. Volz for the same reason. It took me one and a half years to make the final decision to have an amputation and be fitted with a prosthesis…not a simple nor easy decision. I maintained hope for months that the pain would go away, but it only got worse. Eventually this seemed to be the most logical decision.
My leg was amputated on June 26. I woke up on June 27 without pain and have not had pain since, not even phantom pain. I was fitted with my prosthesis eight weeks to the day later and I am now in my fifth month walking. There has been many adjustments and much to learn but I have never questioned my decision .
Jeff is very professional and I love him. He knows what to do and how to do it and exudes great confidence in his ability. He has enabled me to attain that same sense of confidence and purpose. I am determined to walk “normally” and his coaching and support has been invaluable. That is the basis for the many times I now hear, “Don you walk so normally that I would never know.” One lady in church Sunday said, “Don you walk better than I do with my bum leg” to which I responded with “I can tell you how to fix that”. She was not ready for my remedy. I am learning to capitalize on my situation. It is now part of me, and I cannot hide that fact, so I may as well use it to my advantage. The good news is that I am pain free and have resumed my life of personal independence in an altered fashion. That is, of course, inevitable with a prosthesis, and I refer to these changes as my “new normal”. Faced with the same situation, I would make the same decision again. It gave “life” back to me. I am grateful to Jeff Boonstra for his expertise both personally and professionally.
I first learned of Advanced Prosthetics through their advertisement on television. I was at a point where I needed to replace my PTB socket and wanted to see if there was some newer technology that might benefit me. I spoke with Jeff Boonstra over the phone about some of the possibilities that were available for me. I am a 62 year old male with a left lower leg amputation due to a motorcycle accident in 1970. I lead a very active lifestyle and am on my feet for most of the day. I had visited another facility several years ago and had tried a test socket which had a shuttle pin attachment. We could not get the fit right and resorted to another PTB socket. I told Jeff of my experience and he assured me that there were other options available that might work for me and if that if I wasn’t happy with them that he could fit me into another PTB socket. He was very enthusiastic about me trying out a vacuum system with a built in electric pump and battery. I must admit I was very skeptical of it but decided to go with it. I had read numerous reports online where people said that with the vacuum operated system it felt as though they had their original limb back. Nothing will ever be as good as having your limb back but this as close as you are going to get with today’s technology. Jeff is very analytical and devoted to getting the right prosthesis for the individual involved. He was not satisfied with his work until I was completely satisfied. The comfort and fit are wonderful and my activity level has increased substantially. My energy level has increased as well. Jeff is passionate about his work and it his personal goal to see that all of his patients live their lives to their full potential. He is friendly and outgoing and is a pleasure to work with. He listened to me if there were issues that we needed to deal with in all aspects of the process. We have built a relationship and trust for one another that will ensure that he will always be “go to guy”.
In May 1969 I was diagnosed with a fibro sarcoma in my left knee. The orthopedic surgeon in Rapid City and Mayo Clinic gave me two options. Do nothing and it would show up in my lungs or amputate the leg. I was thirty- five years old with a wife, three children ages nine, six and ten months and coaching a little league baseball team. In reality the decision was easy. So on June 23, 1969 my left leg was amputated above the knee at the Ft. Meade VA Medical Center.
In August I was sent to the VA in Minneapolis to be fitted with my first prosthesis. The first two were wood with a metal bracket that was bent and shaped to my side and held on with a leather belt. Needless to say they were heavy and very unstable.
Over the forty-four years I have had twelve or more prosthetic legs made by at least six different prosthetists. Since I am not the easiest to fit because of the shape and length of my residual limb I have had some problems. I am very active and still play golf two to three times a week. When I had a new one made I always wanted to try the latest knees and sockets available. Sometimes the prosthetists thought they were fitting themselves and not me.
When I talked to Heather Dressler I was impressed with her knowledge and her willingness to listen. When I was having a problem but was not able to explain it to her she was always able to try different things and make the correct adjustments. I am using the latest microprocesser knee and require very few adjustments. I highly recommend Advanced Prosthetics in Rapid City and Dakota Dunes. They keep up with the latest technology and they work together to the benefit of the clients.