LYNBROOK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — It’s an inspiring story of perseverance on Long Island.
A nurse found herself on the other side of the hospital bed, when she discovered she would need a double-leg amputation.
Putting one foot in front of the other is something Patricia Lewis once took for granted. Until last summer, when she was gripped with mysterious leg pain.
“Excruciating pain, sometimes,” Lewis told CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff on Thursday.
The 54-year-old oncology nurse chalked it up to constantly being on her feet caring for cancer patients at Mercy Hospital. She barely noticed her own grave illness until it was nearly too late.
Undiagnosed diabetes was threatening her life and limbs. She would need a double amputation.
“It was devastating, but I’m grateful to be alive,” Lewis said.
And she’s grateful for the support of fellow nurses and the staff at Lynbrook Restorative Therapy & Nursing, where Lewis is the first patient in its amputee program. She lost her legs but gained a remarkable attitude along with her gratitude.
“We would walk in feeling badly and she would say, ‘I’m good. I’m here. I’m alive,'” said Patty Rowland of the Mercy Medical Center ICU.
“Having two prostheses, doesn’t mean that it’s the end of the world. Life goes on and I’m looking forward to going back to work,” Lewis said.
Patricia’s journey from nurse to patient and soon back to nurse again is a cautionary tale. She said to care for yourself and never overlook your own health.
Recovery is hard work, seven days a week, but Lewis said she looks forward to it.
“Doing everything, everything that I did before and then some,” she said. “I just want to dance on outta here and my song is, ‘Ain’t No Stopping Me Now,'” Lewis said.
She has new perspective.
“As they would say, don’t sweat the small stuff,” she said.
Being a double amputee, Lewis said, is not the end, but a new beginning.
Lewis will be dancing out the door Friday, two months after her amputations.