Cheerleader Opens Up About Rare Diagnosis And Struggle After Getting Prosthetic Legs

A cheerleader from Milwaukee, Wisconsin unexpectedly suffered from cardiac arrest two years ago and was rushed to the hospital. She was diagnosed with a rare condition, and as a result had to have both of her legs amputated.

Her life has changed drastically and she suffered from debilitating phantom limb pain, but now that she's started using prosthetic legs, things are turning around for her.

Nicole Grehn always considered herself healthy and athletic. She had been a cheerleader and a competitive swimmer, but in June of 2015, everything changed when her heart stopped.

Grehn's heart didn't stop just once, but 78 times. The then-25-year-old nursing student was diagnosed with Catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia (CPVT), a rare condition that is characterized by an abnormal heartbeat.

During her battle with the condition, she ended up waking up one day to discover that both of her legs had been amputated.

The condition is genetic due to a gene mutation, but it went undetected for 25 years. She was lucky to have collapsed right across the street from a hospital. She had to be shocked every time her heart stopped, and a medical team struggled to figure out the problem.

Grehn's legs began swelling and doctors cut them open initially to alleviate pressure. The patient soon developed sepsis, blood poisoning, and the legs had to be amputated entirely. Her heart function at the time was only at 10 percent, so they never thought she would survive.

Finally, though, Grehn began to recover. Miraculously, she had no brain damage and they were able to diagnose the problem. But she was devastated by the loss of her legs when she came out of sedation.

"When I realized my legs were gone I cried and cried and cried," she said. "I instantly thought that everything I had worked so hard for over my life was over. It was like I was being punished for anything I had ever done wrong. It felt like someone had cut a hole in the bed, my legs were dangling down and one person was trying to rip them off while someone else was throwing bricks on me."

It's been two years since the ordeal, and Grehn is now an inspiration. She's beat the depression and anxiety brought on by her situation. She's using prosthetic legs and back in action. She says she's happier than ever.

"I hated being in a wheelchair and felt like a prisoner in my own body, so when I began my prosthetics journey it changed everything," she said.

"I have really never been this happy in my entire life. I didn't really value the things the way I do now," she explains. "I wouldn't trade my legs back for anything."

Grehn is now working with other amputees. She works with the 'Hangar Clinic', which offers prosthetic care. She's also a mentor at 'Camp No Limits', a program that helps support kids who have lost limbs.

"I'm going to be able to help other amputees for the rest of my life, which is incredible," she said.

Source: Daily Mail
Photo: SWNS via Daily Mail, Inside Edition

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