Paralympian Amy Purdy is speaking out amid her health crisis.
The 39-year-old snowboarding champion, who experienced bacterial meningitis and lost her legs below the knees when she was 19 years old, was diagnosed in February with a blood clot. The diagnosis left her stuck between keeping her transplanted kidney or the remainder of one of her legs.
After weeks of multiple surgeries to try to correct the problem without losing either body part, the snowboarding champion shared a photo of herself in the hopsital — sharing a photo of her “real” legs on social media for the first time.
“I don’t think I have ever shown my ‘real’ legs on social before but I figure this is going to be me for a while so here I am,” Purdy wrote on Monday. “The only difference from this photo & today is that today finally after 3 weeks I got to go home!”
“Also, see that scar on my leg? That’s from my surgery 19 years ago,” she revealed. “It usually looks like a smiley face but because of all the swelling from this weeks surgeries it has a frown.”
“The last 3 weeks have been some of the most challenging of my life emotionally & physically,” Purdy shared. “It’s tested me in every way possible & all I can do right now is allow my body to heal, meditate on the possibilities & take things day by day. I really am grateful for all of your love & support everyone. It’s meant the world to me & I want to be as authentic as I can with my journey in order to help someone else’s on theirs.”
“Life isn’t always easy & things don’t always make sense but I believe that we are on this earth to learn, grow & be of service,” she continued. “To leave this place better then we found it is something we all have the ability to do no matter what our circumstances. But for now… my job is to be in the moment, have patience & heal. Love you all.”
In February, after experiencing pain in her left leg, doctors discovered what Purdy thought was a problem with her prosthetic was actually a “massive” blood clot stretching from her hip to the bottom of her left leg.
“I went from snowboarding 6 hours a day, working out & traveling the world to what I thought was just a simple mechanical issue with my left leg,” she wrote in a Facebook post. “When I entered the hospital this weekend with my leg cramping we found out that it’s a much bigger problem [than] that.”
The clot likely developed due to how often she uses her prosthetics during the day, which can sometimes amount to 12 to 18 hours at a time.
“The diagnoses came yesterday & knocked my family & I to the floor physically, mentally & emotionally,” Purdy continued. “We believe the clot came from the pressure of my prosthetic pressing behind my knee where many arteries lie.”
According to Purdy, her previous kidney transplant and an allergy to shellfish initially kept doctors from going through with an operation to remove the clot. At the time, they said she would have to choose between keeping the transplanted kidney she received from her father or losing what remains of her left leg.
“That basically is the decision I have been given over this last day after entering the hospital with sudden pain in my calf,” wrote Purdy.
Then, on Feb. 26, Purdy revealed she had undergone surgery the day before and had kept the “powerhouse” kidney her father donated to her.
“Surgery took place yesterday and grateful that it went well! We are also checking my kidney this morning to make sure it handled everything well,” she wrote in a post on social media. “They had to use contrast but promised me it was a small amount so fingers crossed that my kidney powered through like the powerhouse it is. My dad reassured me that before he gave it to me he put it through much worse.”
On Feb. 27, Purdy confirmed that her kidney had made it through surgery, writing, “my kidney is perfectly healthy and a champion!”
A week later, however, Purdy posted an update, revealing that the surgery “didn’t go as well as planned & in fact, the recent ultrasound showed the blood flow to my lower leg is blocked.”
Purdy then underwent more surgery earlier this month before she was eventually cleared to leave the hospital on Monday, writing this week, “It’s actually amazing how much our bodies can handle.”
Outside of snowboarding, Purdy is involved with non-profits, does motivational speaking and has even appeared on Dancing with the Stars.
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