FOR most people, having a leg amputated is devastating, but for Rebekah Lewis, it transformed her life.
The 39-year-old had problems with her legs and feet for 16 years and was confined to a wheelchair.
I have gone from being confined to a wheelchair to being able to take part in Zumba classes.Rebekah Lewis
After a series of operations and medication, nothing was helping and the option was made for Rebekah to have her leg amputated.
Six months after having her amputation below the knee, Rebekah says it was one of the best things to happen to her.
‘For most people, who can walk and move as usual, the thought of having a limb amputated is horrific,’ she said.
‘But having lived in awful pain and with very limited movement for 16 years, I can honestly say that having my below-the-knee amputation has been one of the best things to have ever happened to me.
‘I have gone from being confined to a wheelchair to being able to take part in Zumba classes.’
Rebekah, from Stubbington, was unable to walk before her amputation because of a variety of issues with her legs and feet, including a neuromuscular condition which caused her to walk on the outside of her foot.
She had undergone surgery on her foot and had received a variety of treatments, but nothing was helping the condition.
In February, after being referred to Portsmouth Enablement Centre, Rebekah was able to receive the amputation which transformed her life.
She said: ‘I’ve gone from needing 50-plus tablets a day to control the pain to just three.
‘I really wish I had done this years ago.
‘I’ve had so much amazing support from the staff at the Enablement Centre and I’ve made friends there.
‘I’ve had to forgo quite a lot of things- including having kids because of the medication I was on – but now I can look towards the future.’
In May Rebekah received a new leg and now uses a blade which means she can use the gym, play tennis and take part in Zumba classes.
Her speedy progress also means she no longer needs physiotherapy.
The Portsmouth Enablement Centre is part of the Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust.
Each year the centre, based at St Mary’s Hospital in Milton, provides artificial limbs for around 1,600 patients from the south of England.
It helps both children and adults with either upper or lower limb amputees or both.