Double amputee reaches milestone in recovery
IN 2014, Shona Muckert walked for the first time in 10 years after undergoing osseointegration implant surgery.
Following a car crash in 2004 that had her pinned under her vehicle for 10 hours, Ms Muckert was left a double amputee when surgeons had to remove her legs.
This left just 4cm of femur on the left leg and the right amputated below the knee.
"The surgeon wasn't sure how it was going to go. It was a risky operation," she said.
"I've had physio to learn how to walk with a Genium (leg prosthesis), to get stronger, but it stopped after a while because it got too expensive.
"Then NDIS came in and now I have a PT, a physio, a psychologist, an OT and an exercise physiologist … (who) have been working towards my goals to get stronger and be able to actually walk better than I have done before."
And it's worked.
One year on from starting personal training with Amanda Upton Fitness, Ms Muckert is celebrating walking the furthest distance she ever has unassisted.
"The fear factor of falling is quite high for me. To be able to actually get up, walk and look straight ahead is a hard thing," Ms Muckert said.
"But I can do laps of the gym now. It's the first time I've been able to walk unaided basically, with the sticks in my hand as a security blanket.
"I have been an amputee for 16 years this year. For 10 of them, I was confined to the wheelchair full-time and could never walk.
"I've obviously been walking for the other six years in and out of the car and close proximity shops, but now I walk to appointments inside the building, walk around the car without holding on.
"It's still difficult to walk long distances for long periods of time, so that's still something I need to build up to."
Ms Muckert said she was more motivated, encouraged and supported in her goals than ever - though she's surprised she's reached this point of recovery this soon, particularly after coronavirus stumped her training for more than three weeks.
"To still be able to make progress even though I've had that time off is awesome."
Training with Ms Upton began in May last year with simple sit-to-stand exercises from a high shelf, and progressed to sit-to-stand without holding on.
"Now it's gone to a lower box, although I'm still working on it. I don't have the strength to do that yet because it's all glute muscles and tummy and back strength," she said.
"But I can now also hold a side plank with my arm in the air, come down to the floor and back up again and balance."
It wasn't until the National Disability Insurance Scheme came along that Ms Muckert was able to go full steam ahead with her recovery.
She said the next step in her journey was to be able to ride a bike beside her nine-year-old son to school.
* Osseointegration involves a surgical procedure that enables connection of a prosthesis (artificial limb) directly into the end of a residual limb.