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August 26, 2013

Isaac is an upbeat 11-year-old boy with a wrist amputation. He lives in Warrenton, Virginia and has two older sisters, Kelcie and Miranda.

Isaac’s mother, Tiffanie, shared his story with us.

Isaac’s Story

In August of 2011, when Isaac was 9 years old, he was seriously injured by a plane propeller. My husband was in Afghanistan at the time, and Isaac had gone to visit his dad’s friend for a few weeks. My husband’s friend is a pilot, and at the end of the two-week stay, he flew Isaac home late at night in his 4-seater airplane. Although Isaac has always had a good grasp on plane safety, he was so excited to see friends and family waiting at the airport that he jumped out of the plane a bit too soon. The plane had landed, but when Isaac ran to greet me, the propeller was still running and he collided with it, injuring his head, face, arm, and hand. On the way to the hospital, he didn’t notice that his hand and wrist were attached by just two tendons. He was more concerned about whether or not he had lost his eye. The doctors were able to stitch up his face and eye, but they were unable to save his right hand and wrist. 

Meeting MCOP

It took us a couple of years to find MCOP. Isaac got his first arm prosthetic in Texas after the accident happened. It worked well for a while, but the hook on it became too small and he needed a bigger one. We decided to find a prosthetist closer to where we live. Isaac got a new prosthetic hand, but he had trouble using it the way he wanted to. He’s a very energetic kid, so he needed something that would better accommodate his active lifestyle. Fortunately, around this time, Isaac happened to meet an FBI agent with an amputated wrist. The FBI agent took him under his wing to help him adjust to the hand prosthetic. We relied on him for advice, and he explained to us that most prosthetists are leg prosthetists and they aren’t specialized to create upper body prosthetics. His guidance was invaluable. My husband and I finally had an idea of exactly what we should be looking for, and we decided to start searching for prosthetists that specialized in creating upper limbs. We came across MCOP on the internet and have been working with them since May of this year.

Working with MCOP

Everyone at MCOP is so friendly and helpful. I wasn’t sure how much they worked with children, but they were very welcoming and open to it. They gave us all sorts of suggestions about what might be good for Isaac and were willing to let him try a bunch of different options. They were especially understanding of his need for an adaptable prosthetic that would mesh with his active, everyday life. We just received an upper limb prosthetic two weeks ago, and our prosthetist, Mike, has been working closely with Isaac to make sure that fits well. Mike has been very open to making adjustments so that Isaac is comfortable wearing it. 

Challenges and Accomplishments

The biggest challenge for Isaac has been learning to do everything one-handed: tying his shoes, buttoning clothes, and doing all sorts of everyday activities that we take for granted. I think his biggest challenges have also been his greatest accomplishments. He has been able to overcome the difficulties that come with having an amputation. He has an incredible spirit and attitude, and his optimism helps him confront adversity head-on. 

Moving Forward

Isaac isn’t sure that a prosthetic will allow him do all the activities he wants to do. Now that we have a new prosthetic from MCOP, our main goal is to get him so comfortable with it that it truly feels like his hand. We never want him to feel like he can’t do something and excel at it because of his amputation. We want him to feel like the sky is the limit when it comes to setting and achieving his goals.

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