A News Health — 19 February 2015

Diane Whitlock 1 Diane Whitlock of Rosedale, MD may be missing a leg, but she isn’t missing a stride.

Prior to her life as a wife and mother of three, Diane became an amputee over 39 years ago, when as a passenger on a motorcycle, she was hit head-on by a car that crossed the double yellow line. The driver of the motorcycle was killed and the car left the scene of the accident, after backing over the downed motorcycle, then speeding off again over the motorcycle and it’s driver.

While Diane has had 39 years to come to terms with the trauma of that day, she has had to live with the impact of losing her left leg above the knee, every day since.

As an extremely active 20-year-old, Diane was faced with not only the loss of her leg, but also of the activities she loved, dancing, cooking, and just walking.

“There was a big sense of loss and trauma at losing my leg at 20.” Diane explains, “One day I walked out of the house to visit someone, the next thing I know I wake up in a hospital. At the time, I didn’t drive, so I was really reliant on walking.”

That led Diane to the next logical step – a prosthetic leg.

“I spent 19 years using one of the large prosthetic companies. I didn’t know any better. I started with a free-swing leg, meaning that I had to swing my upper leg to get the lower leg to swing out to extend to the point I could put my weight on it. I never really learned to walk properly with my prosthetic, nor received the type of personalized service that I never knew existed. They were very passive, and unless I was physically in the office, I never received ANY service. I was still using the same antiquated free swing leg after 19 years. It was frustrating.”Diane Whitlock 2

“I can’t tell you how many times I flung that leg across the room.” said the 58-year-old nana of 13 children.

“I had never had any newer technology recommended to me, nor was I encouraged to try anything new. It wasn’t until my prosthetic leg broke, when I was on a vacation, that I had to visit a different office, where I was offered a different option.”

It had to change.

Diane now turns to Dennis Haun, a prosthetist at Metro Prosthetics, serving the Washington DC and Baltimore areas.

“Dennis is determined to get me to try new stuff that will be better for me. It may even be out of my comfort zone, but he knows it will be better for me.”

Dennis fitted Diane with a C-leg, a computerized prosthetic leg manufactured by Ottobock. The C-leg is then customized by Metro Prosthetics to fit Diane and programmed to best match her gait.”

“This leg is a much more natural leg. When the heal touches, it sends a message that bends the knee.” says Diane.

“I’m a nightmare customer too. My weight fluctuates up and down, but Dennis continuously makes sure that I have the most appropriate product and the best fit possible.”

Weight fluctuations and changes in lifestyle require proper fitting and ongoing tuning of prosthetic sockets, as well as reassessing the product being used – making sure that it is still the most appropriate prosthesis for the user.

“Dennis relentlessly works at getting me what I need. I came from a time when a doctor would call to see how you are. This is the type of very personalized service that Metro provides. I like the fact that Dennis is persistent. If I miss an appointment, or haven’t talked to Metro for awhile, Dennis will call me up and make sure that I’m doing well and will make sure that I’m coming to the office soon.”

“It’s personal for Dennis. He makes it a point to know me and my family, and it reflects in the way he treats me.”

Diane, has never slowed. She continues to be active.

“It’s not your life, it’s your leg. Live your life and don’t be scared of anything. I’ve danced many nights away. You can do anything that someone with two legs can do. You may have to do things differently, but you can do them.”

Click here to read more Metro Prosthetic customer stories.



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Geoff Sims

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