Nursing Student Back on her Feet after Tissue Transplant  |  September 11, 2014

While Madelyn was out on a nightly run, one wrong step changed her life in a big way. An uneven sidewalk hidden by a shadow caused her to step wrong and hyper-extend her leg, dislocate her knee and tear her anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments.

Doctors in the emergency room told her the damage was so severe they weren’t sure if she would be able to walk normally ever again.

Doctors told me I basically blew out my entire knee,” she said. “I was devastated. My doctors said I had a long road ahead of me.”

She endured two surgeries, several months apart, to repair her knee and doctors used donor tendons in both procedures to repair the damaged ligaments. Her intense recovery time included several months in a wheelchair and then adjusting to crutches.

Madelyn’s evening runs were just a piece of her active lifestyle. In addition to going to nursing school, she also worked at an animal hospital part-time and worked full-time at a dairy farm. Her jobs demanded lengthy time spent on her feet, and the injury made that difficult.

I was off work for three months, and I’m grateful that both of my employers let me ease back into work,” Madelyn said.

Though her injury and rehabilitation experience was not something she ever expected, Madelyn believes it will help her better connect with patients when she becomes a nurse.

Being able to put myself in a patient’s position will help me better understand their pain. People have also asked about my injury and healing time, so I’m able to share my story that way too.”

Madelyn emphasized how important it was for her to have a strong support system while she recovered from her injury.

I would like to thank my family and friends for all they’ve done for me since my accident. Without their support, my recovery would have been much more difficult.

She settled back into her busy routine and even started running again. Madelyn says she is more of an advocate for donation after seeing how much it improved her life.

When I was able to walk again after the first surgery, I thought about the donation a lot. It was very emotional – you never expect to need it, but then I was so grateful for it. I hope my story illustrates to others the importance of life and the ability to walk, and never taking either for granted.”

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