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Finding new life

An amputee's journey of resilience.

June 27, 2024

An amputee's journey of resilience

For some, the news of getting a prosthetic leg might be the end of the world. For Martinez, this was a chance to live life again, pain-free, and help others in the same situation.

Ralph Martinez, a 45-year-old salesman, had been suffering from Charcot foot, a rare and disabling disorder that results in nerve damage to the foot, after a toe-removal procedure. Martinez soon discovered that there was an ulcer under his foot, infecting not just his foot, but also, his leg. After a check-up, his podiatrist immediately sent him to the hospital. Before Martinez knew of the severity of the situation, he was going into sepsis, placed on an insulin drip, and admitted into the ICU. He was treated at Methodist Hospital Metropolitan with the discovery that he would need to have his leg amputated immediately. On September 25, 2023, Martinez’s leg was surgically removed.

“I had a premonition when all this started to begin and researched Charcot of what it means when it’s getting worse and how you live with it,” said Martinez. “My mother-in-law was a double amputee and we took care of her at home. Seeing how she chose not to take advantage of the prosthetics and getting back on her feet, made me sad. I didn’t want that for me.”

While in recovery at Methodist Hospital Metropolitan’s rehab center, he was informed they also offered prosthetic training. He agreed to the training and received his prosthetic. On December 26, Martinez received the best, late Christmas present – being able to walk again. “People who saw me after that day told me that I looked so happy, that I had life back in me,” said Martinez.

Martinez credits the Methodist Hospital Metropolitan rehab team for his supreme return to the world.

“At my training, not only did they help me learn how to walk again, but also helped me with my posture and core, said Martinez. “Once I could walk, I began training at home too, as I didn’t want to be in my chair anymore and not be active.”

Martinez states he had the ambition to get back to where he was before, but even stronger.  “My family was concerned for me falling, but I’d consider myself a risk taker. I’m thankful for the Methodist Hospital Metropolitan team as they helped me with my confidence and do things I hadn’t been able to do before. With the prosthetic, I was able to achieve even more than I could do before I lost my leg.”

Martinez knows he was placed in this spot for a purpose to not only make him stronger and live pain-free, but also help others in a similar situation. Currently, he’s working with the Methodist Hospital Rehab team to coordinate after work and help any others currently going through amputations/training in prosthetics.

“I had the opportunity to speak with other people who were in rehab and just had their legs amputated.” They were down and I told them, there’s no reason to be sad. We are the same age and even with my other health issues, I did it. If I can do it, you all can do it too!”

“I have a family and our only child graduates next year. I want him to see that anything is possible and things, even like this, won’t limit you. Anything is always possible if you put your mind and soul to it.”

June 27, 2024
Metropolitan Methodist Hospital

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