Henryville tornado hero back in hospital - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Henryville tornado hero back in hospital

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) --The woman who became the symbol of strength after surviving the Henryville tornado is back in the hospital.  In a story you'll see only on WDRB, Stephanie Decker reveals how this surgery gets her another step closer to getting back to her life before the storm.

She calls it another dip on the roller coaster ride that's been her life for the past 20 months.

On March 2nd 2012 Stephanie Decker became a double amputee. The tornado that barreled through Henryville, Indiana brought down her house on top of her.

She laid her body over her children as the walls came crumbling down.  When doctors performed amputations on both her legs, they were most concerned about saving Decker's life.

"And so he wasn't able to tie any of the muscles in and he wasn't able to do any work and repair on the leg at the moment," she explained. 

Her right leg causes her fewer problems because the amputation was performed below the knee.

Doctors had to take off a much larger portion of her left.

"My femur has been hitting inside the prosthetic and every time I would take a step it would hit and in doing so it caused bone growth," she said.

Doctors performed surgery on Decker Wednesday, removing the massive bone growth. They were able to reconnect her muscles in a way that will allow her more mobility.She will have to stay off her prosthetic legs for 6 weeks, and if you've followed Decker's story you know that will be hard for her to do. The last time we interviewed her, she told us to meet her at the gym.

Decker's accomplished what doctors said would be impossible.  This summer she went to Hawaii and surfed with her children. And if that weren't enough... running.

"And there I go, foot over foot and it wasn't the most graceful but it was a run," Decker said.  

Her new normal consists of motivational speaking engagements across the country, writing her book and fundraising for her own foundation. She calls this latest surgery a minor setback, but one that will make her even stronger.

"I should be, I should be unstoppable, hopefully, hopefully this opens up more doors and allows me to do more things that I'd like to do," said Decker.

One of Decker's primary hopes for the next year is to see the bill she's passionately lobbied for in the Kentucky legislature, become law. The bill will require insurance companies to pay for the most advanced prosthetics for people who lost limbs.  It will be reintroduced next session.

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