As Lindsay Ess watched the events in Boston unfold last week, she wondered if she could help the victims of the Marathon bombing. When she found out that many had lost limbs in the explosion, she knew she could.
Ess is a quadruple amputee. In 2006, she was diagnosed with Crohn's disease. She underwent surgery for her condition, but it went terribly wrong. She developed septic shock, which lead to complete organ failure. She was in the intensive care unit for five months.
Finally, doctors told her that they had tried everything to clear the sepsis, but in order to save her life, they needed to amputate both of her hands and both of her feet.
Ess tells Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin about her journey, and how she plans to help the victims of the bombing.
On accepting Her amputations
"It didn't really sink in until I came home from the hospital and saw all of my pictures of my previous life ... and really understood that I needed to move forward. I couldn't just sit in my bed and cry anymore."
On life as an amputee
"You don't realize how much you use your hands until you don't have them anymore. And there was a lot of things I could not do ... almost everything, until I had a prosthesis, which were basically like hooks on my hands."
On the Boston Marathon bombing
"It put me back to the hopeless feeling ... Then after a little bit, it's like, 'I want to help.' I have been called upon a lot to go to hospitals to speak with new amputees around the area, and I've seen — there, in the hospital and in physical therapy, where I was wanting to walk again — I've seen in their eyes, a loss of hope. A look of just, 'How am I ever going to get my life back?'"
On wanting to help
"Even before Boston, I knew that I wanted to go back to school to get a rehabilitational counseling degree. But now that Boston is here, I feel an obligation and duty that God has entrusted me with, to give hope to these people. It helps to see other people that have embraced it and actually loved their life. And also, sometimes it takes somebody else that's been there and done that to say 'Wow, you're doing awesome.'"