Henryville mother who lost legs stands for the first time - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Henryville mother who lost legs stands for the first time

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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- The Henryville mother who lost her legs protecting her children from deadly tornadoes stood Wednesday for the first time since the storm.

It is a big big day for me," Stephanie Decker said.  When the new normal is doctors' appointments almost every day and therapy in between, this was the moment Stephanie Decker needed most.

"It's part of my independence back that I miss, because I'm such an independent person so -- "  Decker paused to sob.  " -- It feels good."  It was two months to the day when Decker lost her legs while lying over her children to protect them from the EF 4 tornado in Henryville.

The walk up and down the support bar at Kentucky Prosthetics proved tougher than she thought it would be.  And there's much more to go -- in two weeks she receives a prosthetic for her left leg.  It's too swollen from last week's skin graft surgery to fit for now.

Decker used a specialized bionic knee which has a computer system similar to the navigation system in your car. It is the same type of technology that's getting wounded soldiers back to action in war.

Matthew Hayden of Kentucky Prosthetics explains, "She's able to slide into the prosthesis.  She creates a seal with a black liner for her limb and then each step she creates a pump or vacuum."

Dressed in a new pair of Nike's, with her husband and best friend at her side, Decker kept trying.  Hayden praises her: "Could not have had or anticipated a better outcome."

Motivation comes in the most unusual places, with Decker saying, "I don't mind sharing.  I don't feel insecure or threatened by not having my legs anymore.  I have an opportunity to help people who are struggling with probably the same things."

Right after the tornado, the Deckers say doctors told her it would be at least a year before she would walk on her own. 

On Wednesday, they said six months. 

And those first steps taken on Wednesday were on her husband Joe's birthday.

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