Bill Spiker lives in Wilmington, Delaware.
“My wife Carol was hurt in a car accident and became a paraplegic. Later, a complication involving a blood clot resulted in Carol being amputated at the thigh. Carol is an artist, and losing her leg made it impossible to get upright in the wheelchair so she needed a prosthetic to continue her painting. Carol went to several prosthetic providers in the area looking for help but nothing seemed to work for her.
Frustrated but determined, Carol called on an old friend of ours who knew the Surgeon General Eric Schoomaker. Mr. Schoomaker connected us with Colonel Paul Pasquina, the head of Orthopedics at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Col. Pasquina immediately recommended MCOP, telling us that MCOP were the most experienced and talented prosthetist group that he knew, and that Carol had to see them. Colonel Pasquina described what MCOP was able to offer to even the most severely wounded warriors at Walter Reed to help them accomplish their goals. Hearing this, I decided to drive Carol down to Maryland to meet MCOP. Mike Corcoran immediately fit her and had her back on her feet and back to painting shortly thereafter.
In 2008, as a result of complications from a bone marrow transplant, I lost both my legs below the knee due to sepsis. Only about 10 percent of people who get sepsis live to tell the story and almost all lose feet and hands if they survive. For a while after the infection the doctors tried to save my feet, but when it wasn’t getting any better, we decided to amputate.
In mid-February I was about to go into surgery to have the surgeons amputate my feet. My wife had reservations about the surgical strategy so we decided to call Mike. Mike immediately recommended that I get the amputations below the knee instead of further down by the ankle where the surgeon was proposing, and promised to have me walking in no time if I did. A couple days after speaking with Mike, Carol found someone who had had the amputation that the surgeon was recommending, and who was having a terrible time walking still 2 years after amputation. I asked my surgeon after speaking to Mike, and he said “Bill, my job is to save limbs”. This makes sense, but if it makes it harder for me to walk, why save more of my limb? I thought about it and went with Mike’s advice because of his experience at Walter Reed and because of what he had done for my wife.
I had my amputation in mid-February, and I was home before the end of the month. Mike wanted to see me two or three weeks later– and he had me in my prosthetics in April. I could only stay in them for a few minutes a day in the beginning because they were so painful, but he really sped up my recovery. He asked what sports I do and he didn’t blink when I said wind surfing. He was very positive about what happens next and I owe Mike a great debt of gratitude for getting my life all back together. People are amazed at the things I can do but really it’s all Mike and the team at MCOP.
MCOP is different than the other prosthetic shops out there due to their enormous experience at Walter Reed, their access to the latest and greatest technology, and the way they treat their patients. You just can’t get that kind of treatment anywhere else.
I think because of the Walter Reed work, they’ve seen so many complicated cases that they’re much better than the other options out there. I would recommend them to anyone because of how much of a difference they have made in our lives. We shopped around, and they are truly the best.
Mike keeps me abreast of the technology that is most appropriate for me. They’re on top of the latest technology and always seem to have enough time for me. It’s never like with the doctor or physical therapist where you’re on a short time leash and only get so much time. The guys at MCOP take the time to get it right. They look at every detail and take as much time as I give them. I just think they really care, they have the expertise, they work as a team, and they work really hard.
Bill’s Move Forward Goals:
I have a golf group that I go away with every June to some destination. We planned on Pinehurst last year and after the amputation, I said to the group, ‘I can’t go,’ and they said, ‘Yea you’re going.’ I told Mike and my physical therapists and they asked, ‘What are your goals?” But how do you answer that? You don’t know, you just lost your legs and want to figure out the next step. But I did have a goal. So I said, ‘I have to tee off at Pinehurst on June 22.’ So Mike put me on a pair of feet that do have the ability to turn with my golf swing. I can do just about anything in them. I had a specific goal, and it wasn’t pretty but I did it; I teed off at Pinehurst on June 22 with my group. `
Sculpting & Welding
I know a big goal personally that I didn’t tell many people about was my sculpting and welding. I was doing a lot in a wheelchair for a few months and it was really frustrating but I have hit two important goals: I’m back to shooting in the 90s playing golf and I’m not held back with the welding. I’m not limited by size; I can pick up tanks and load them in my truck. I mean, when this stuff first happens you try to be optimistic but keep it simple, focus on what you can do not what you can’t do. In my case I wanted a good cardio exercise program going which I have– walking hills once a day and riding bikes the next. I’m sailing again, I’m kayaking, I’m paying golf and I might try wind surfing again.