In 2007, ten days after graduating high school, I joined the U.S. Navy to serve as a Corpsman. In 2011, I deployed to Helmand Province in Afghanistan with the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment. While running to render care to a Marine who had been injured by an improvised explosive device (IED), I also stepped on an IED, which severely injured my left leg. I was sent to Balboa Naval Hospital in San Diego with the expectation that I would have my left leg amputated.
On the day I arrived at Balboa, I was met by Lt. Valdez, my non-medical care manager with Navy Wounded Warrior – Safe Harbor, who advised me to delay my amputation a couple of months until I went off the pain medication to see what a non-medicated life would be like with an injured leg.
Lt.Valdez’s advice was the best I have received in my life, and I am very glad I listened to him. Doing so let me see the difficulties I would have had with my leg, and I made a decision to have my leg removed. By delaying my decision, though, I now know that amputation was the right course of action and have absolutely no regret or doubts about it.
I have gotten very involved in adaptive athletics and have competed in the Warrior Games. I enjoy spending time with my wonderful family.