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AMPNATION MAGAZINE

SEPTEMBER 2019

ONELEGGED SPARTAN DAVE GANAS

Amputee, Spartan Racer, Husband, Father and just one badass dude.

THE DECISION TO

AMPUTATE

A tough emotional decision

WHAT TO EXPECT

PART 1 Some of the basic things you need to know

AMPNATIONMAGAZINE.COM


AMPNATION SEPTEMBER 2019| ISSUE 3

GREETINGS AMPNATION! First, let me say thank you! To all of you who have made

IN THIS ISSUE

this possible by listening to

A MESSAGE FROM THE

the podcast and subscribing to

EDITOR/HOST

the newsletter which now has grown into AMPNATION

THE DECISION TO

Magazine. I am excited about what this can bring to the

AMPUTEE

amputee community, with that said I would like to take this opportunity to share my vision with you.

Message from the Host & Editor Sean Harrison

I would like to create a publication where amputees & their family members, caregivers and other medical professionals can gain insight and a perspective into the world of those living with limb-loss and limb difference

WHERE CAN I FIND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE? WHAT TO EXPECT? PART 1

effecting a positive change. AMPNATION Magazine wants to be your most trusted

PROSTHETIC INSURANCE

partner for amputee news, prosthetic information and expert content on issues relevant to our community.

LISTENER OF THE MONTH

You can depend on AMPNATION Magazine to provide expert information along with genuine caring and positivity. My ambition with podcast and this publication is to provide to advocacy, support, guidance and help you

THE ONELEGGED SPARTAN - DAVE GANAS

reach your best possible outcome. Every month our community grows, as those living with

BILL DUPES - R.I.P.

limb loss turn to Amp Life Talk Radio The Podcast & AMPNATION Magazine for information on topics relevant to those affected by amputation and limb difference. I am a real person, just like you, simply trying to make a difference for other real amputees like myself who are looking for help or answers. Your not alone. Join me and the other thousands of amputees lets make this something truly special. Knowledge is empowering and can make a difference in how you feel. subscribe@amplifetalkradio.com

AMPNATIONÂ PAGE 2


SEPTEMBER 2019| ISSUE 3

The Big Decision - The decision to amputate can

This is a tough emotional decision, and

either be medically necessary or a matter of

considering the probability that you either are in

improved function and quality of life.

discomfort or under heavy medication from

THE DECISION TO AMPUTEE by Sean Harrison

infection makes it all the more critical. Your decision to amputate may boil down to either medical necessity (i.e., to prevent the spread of an infection) or improving quality of

WHEN TO CONSIDER

life. Patients who are confronted with the former

A surgeon may consider amputating a limb that

often— along with their physicians—choose to

has sustained (1) a high-grade open fracture, (2)

amputate immediately. Their decision—driven by

severe vascular injury, or (3) significant nerve

the need to protect the rest of the body from the

damage, such as to the posterior tibial nerve in

infection—is usually swift. However, for those

injuries involving the lower extremities. Of

whom amputation is a matter of improving

course, the clearest indication for immediate

quality of life, the decision can drag on for

amputation is the inevitability of ultimate

years.

amputation after prolonged, but failed, salvage. Deciding whether to save or amputate a limb If you're reading this, there is a good chance you

comes with a flood of emotions and questions,

are about to become an amputee. Like you I was

and there is no doubt that some will be more

in the same position 8 years ago, after a

challenging than others. I recommend you speak

motorcycle accident left me in UCSF with a

with a certified amputee peer visit or contact me

mangled right foot. The docotrs, whom were all

seanharrison@amplifetalkradio.com, I would be

awesome! Tried to salvage my foot which suffered

happy to offer you some information and insight

damaged to the bones and arteries, crushing 2 of

from an amputee's perspective.

the 3 in the foot, leaving the 3rd. barely working. My foot was not getting enough blood, I had

You can also start your process by talking to

feeling and couldn't move my toes. I was faced

your prosthetist if you have one in mind. Ask

with a decision to keep a right foot that didn't

him or her to present the entire picture to you,

work, had very little function and very little blood

such as what level of functionality can you

flow. Or amputate it and take my chances with a

expect if you choose to save your limb, what

prosthetic device which I knew nothing about. I

level of pain can you expect after the surgery if

was scared. But I also was determined to not let

you decide to amputate, and what your "new

this beat me. I have a lot of life to still live, things

normal" will look like if you choose to save your

to do, places to go and people to meet.

limb vs. post-amputation.

THE CHOICE

Whether to salvage or amputate a severely

Keep a limb, my right foot which would not work

injured limb is one of the most difficult

properly, cause me extreme pain and at some

decisions an orthopaedic surgeon may face.

point I might be back here having it amputated

Since such a decision is rarely clear-cut, several

due to poor circulation. Or get a prosthesis which

factors must be considered, including objective

I knew nothing about but from what Matthew

factors related to the patient's injury and

Garibaldi, MS Director of the Orthotic and

physical condition and subjective factors related

Prosthetics of UCSF told me. I was ready to step

to the patient's psychologic, social, and

into the world of the "Six Million Dollar Man" and

economic status. This important for each patient

get me foot.

to know as it gives you perspective from the doctor's point of view.

AMPNATION | PAGE 3


SEPTEMBER 2019| ISSUE 3 Some of the questions most frequently asked by amputees relate to the payment and coverage for the costs of prosthetic fitting and associated services or durable medical equipment (DME), such as wheelchairs, ramps and other adaptive equipment.

WHERE CAN I FIND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE? by Sean Harrison This is probably one of the #1 questions I hear and see on social media by amputees. Certain nonprofit organizations provide grants that assist amputees in acquiring prosthetic devices or durable medical equipment. Success in securing funding frequently depends on the applicant’s ability to address each agency’s unique requirements. Sources of financial assistance range from Medicare and other insurance options to national and local nonprofit organizations. The following is an overview of some of the available resources. Ability Found 2324 S Constitution Blvd West Valley City, UT 84119 877/231-4567 abilityfound.org This organization does not provide assistance for prosthetics or orthotics, but they do assist with obtaining other types of medical equipment at little to no cost to the patient. Amputee Blade Runners 356 24th Avenue North, Suite 300 Nashville, TN 37203 615/752-1233 amputeebladerunners.com Amputee Blade Runners is a nonprofit organization that helps provide free running prosthetics for amputees. Heather Abbot Foundation 181 Belleview Ave #407 Newport, RI 02840

Life Nets The Wheelchair Project lifenets.org/wheelchair The Wheelchair Project takes donated wheelchairs and gives them to individuals in need. Limbs for Life Foundation 9604 N May Ave Oklahoma City, OK 73120 888/235-5462 limbsforlife.org admin@limbsforlife.org Limbs for Life provides assistance for lower-limb amputees. The applicant must be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident of the U.S. They must have no other means to pay for prosthetic care including Medicare. Limbs With Love Limbs With Love 9456 Cuyamaca St Suite 102 Santee, CA 92071 limbswithlove.org Limbs With Love is a nonprofit organization that seeks to provide prosthetic hands to children and adults in the U.S. and around the world free of cost through 3D printing technology. Mending Limbs Organization 214 Watson View Dr. Franklin, TN 37067 615/390-3450 mendinglimbs.org/ Mending Limbs is a nonprofit organization that provides assistance with funding for prosthetic costs that are not adequately covered by insurance. National Military Family Association militaryfamily.org/info-resources/efmp-specialneeds.html The Exceptional Family Member Program offers support to military families to help ensure that these families are not sent to areas where adequate services for medical, educational, or psychosocial needs cannot be met. The EFMP also provides information and support programs to families to help connect them to local services.

heatherabbottfoundation.org The Heather Abbot Foundation is committed to helping individuals who have lost limbs due to traumatic circumstances get specialized prosthetic devices.

AMPNATION | PAGE 4


SEPTEMBER 2019| ISSUE 3

WHAT TO EXPECT Part 1

Liner – a sleeve that you wear on the residual

Advocate Manager for a P&O company I come

your residual limb.

Working in the healthcare industry as a Patient across patients all the time who are about to become a new leg amputee or who have already

limb that will be used to connect to the socket. Socks – think layers of material that you wear on the residual limb to increase the thickness of Shrinker – a sock that you wear on your residual limb to shrink the leg down to natural size.

had the amputation and they have many questions about this path they now are on. Here I will attempt to answer some of the most common questions I typically get and try to provide or outline some of the basic things you need to know as a new leg amputee. Terminology You're going hear a lot of new terminology coming your way, mostly in the form of acronyms. Here’s a quick list of the most common: Below the knee (BK) – an amputation that occurs below the knee. Above the knee (AK) – an amputation that occurs above the knee. Bilateral – having both limbs amputated. You might see someone reference which leg was amputated, such as RBKA (right below knee amputation) or LAKA (left above knee amputation). Stump or Residual Limb – the remaining part of the leg or arm after the amputation. Sound-Side - The limb which is not amputated. Phantom pain/sensations – a feeling that occurs in your residual limb that feels like you still have a limb. This is often a tingling feeling that can vary in intensity. Prosthetic/Prosthesis – the device (fake leg or arm) that attaches to the amputated limb. Prosthetist – the clinician that works with an amputee to build a prosthetic limb. Socket – the part of the prosthesis that connects to the limb.Foot – the part of the prosthesis that connects to the socket that acts as a foot.

Right after the amputation Post-amputation the two main concerns that you’re going to have are pain management and wound care. The degree to each will largely depend on why the amputation occurred. In addition to bandages, you will likely be wearing a brace to avoid any harm to the residual limb. They are called various names such as Ampushield by Hanger Clinic. You’ll likely feel a series of emotions. Like your on an emotiona roller coaster. It’s tough to realize that you have lost one or more limbs. The good news is that life continues on and your quality of life will largely depend on your attitude about life. During this time it's going to be hard because you will won't to feel sorry for yourself but there is no time because your therapy begins immediately. You will have a PT (physical therapist) come into your room to start your PT. There job is to get you up and moving. I know this sounds this sound harsh but laying in bed feeling sorry for yourself won’t do you any good. It’s now time to look forward and determine how you can have the best quality of life possible. That begins with PT work. It will take some work, but you can do it. Start setting goals for yourself, like when you want to be able to walk again. Things you did before the amputation that you would like to continue to do, such as fishing, playing with your kids, hiking, working, going to the gym, Goals like this can help you to keep things in perspective and to move in the direction that you need to go.

AMPNATION | PAGE 5


SEPTEMBER 2019| ISSUE 3

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WHAT TO EXPECT

SEPTEMBER 2019

September 5 - 8 2019 - Adventure Team Challenge Colorado https://www.wtsevent.org/atccolorado/support/# Dave September 14 2019 - Sat 14 LLED Philadelphia, PA September 14, 2019 @ 8:00 am - 3:00 pm

Part 1 - The post-amputation process

ASAP! - Model Call - Corporate photo shoot.

Upon exiting your surgery you will have a

https://mediability.pro/current-

bandage and a soft brace on your residual limb.

calls/item/corporate-image-shoot

MossRehab Elkins Park PA

This will stay this way until your wound is healed enough that the risk of injury is not great. Around this time you may be contacted by a representative from a prosthetic company. This is

Have an event? Get it here by contacting: media@amplifetalkradio.com

normal, but remember this, "Patient's Rights" tp choose their provider. Don't a doctor or anyone else do this for you. Treat this as interviewing the best prosthestists or company for your needs as an amputee. Look at who offers the complete package; peer support, more than one prosthestists to choose from (this is very important as you may not connect with certain people, your looking for a good listener), solid reputation and are they a nationwide company (this is often overlooked but is so important if you travel) and are they covered with your provider. Often times hospitals will have a prosthetist or orthopedic clinic that they work with come in and speak with you. Remember you don't have use them. You interview as many as you have to to find a clinician and company that meets your needs and you are comfortable with. Don't be surprised if they discharged you out to a skilled nursing facility, I would highly

You maybe at a skilled nursing facility by now and if so you probably have been doing some PT & OT (Physical and Occupational therapy). As you continue to heal you will be placed in shrinker to start the shaping process of your residual limb for the prosthesis. This helps with having your limb shaped back to normal as much as possible for your socket. The goal of PT & OT will to strengthen your body and to teach you how to do everyday things as an amputee. You will learn how to navigate using a wheelchair, walker, and/or crutches depending on what is best for you. Keep an eye for the follow-up Part 2 to this article. And you can hear more on this topic by listening to the podcast. Learn more by listening to Amp Life Talk Radio.com The Podcast.

recommend this option to most new amputees as it is probably the safest option and you will remain under medical care and get much need physical therapy.

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SEPTEMBER 2019| ISSUE 3

LISTENER OF THE MONTH

Thanks! Colleen Wilson Hofmeister for a being a listener of the show.

PROSTHETIC INSURANCE Things you should know

amplifetalkradio.com

Millions of Americans need artificial body parts to lead active lives. Most health plans pay at least some of the related costs, but that's not the whole story. Here's all you need to know about how insurance covers prosthetic devices. It's hard to say how many Americans use prosthetic devices like artificial arms or legs. The Amputee Coalition, for example, estimates about 185,000 people in the U.S. have limbs amputated each year and suggests many of those limbs are replaced by prostheses. But that statistic doesn't account for people born with partial limbs, or with no limbs at all. Speaking of which, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says around 2,250 babies are born in the U.S. each year with missing or smaller-than-normal limbs. Not all of those children need prosthetic devices, of course, but many do. As surprising as those stats may be, they're still

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only part of the story. That's because there's more to prosthetics than artificial hands, arms, and legs.

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Artificial eyes, ears, teeth, and facial bones are prosthetic devices, too. As are replacement hip, knee, and elbow joints. Even if you're just talking about removable prostheses, arms and legs aren't the extent of what's available to people who need such

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SEPTEMBER 2019| ISSUE 3

PROSTHETIC INSURANCE assistance. Women who have mastectomies often use prosthetic breast forms after surgery, for instance. At any rate, it's safe to say millions of Americans currently rely on artificial body parts to lead active lives. The question is: does health insurance help pay for those artificial body parts? Actually, it usually does--and that's true whether you're talking about coverage you get through an employer or coverage you get elsewhere, such as directly from an insurance company, from the federal or state exchanges, or from Medicare or Medicaid.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT OBAMACARE IN 2019

ObamaCare was probably one of the worst ideas ever, not to mention they didn't tell the truth about how it make medical cost explode for people! Sorry that's just my opinion. ObamaCare now faces a potential deterioration of the risk pool due to policy changes (meaning healthy people are no longer held hostage by this plan paying a penalty) that reduce incentives for healthy individuals to enroll in [ObamaCare] marketplace plans. This deterioration and other factors could drive premiums higher for 2019, The good news is that the due to these changes by our new Administration premiums in the health insurance marketplaces are expected either to drop or increase by less than 10 percent in 41 states with about 9 million customers. Millions of people covered by the Affordable Care Act will experience modest premium increases by next year, and some will even get price cuts. The Associated Press and its consulting firm, Avelere Health, concluded that ObamaCare’s health insurance marketplaces may have finally stabilized after 2 years of

tumultuous price increases. It’s expected that 11 of the 41 states should expect a drop in average premiums, while 6 other states, including Washington, D.C., might experience a premium hike between 10 to 18%. Insurers are also expected to make a comeback, with more individuals expanding into more areas. Cigna and Oscar are two insurers slated to expand into new counties, while Bright Health and Celtic have penetrated the marketplace. The bigger question for those affected by lim-loss is: are prostheses covered by the Affordable Care Act? As a result of ObamaCare, “all individual and small group health insurance plans must now cover something called Essential Health Benefits, or EHBs.” According to healthcare.gov, these are “services and devices to help people with injuries, disabilities, or chronic conditions gain or recover mental and physical skills.” Individual and most small-group plans and employers with 50 or fewer employees are required to cover prosthetics in some way. On the flip side, large employers are not required to cover prosthetics or other devices and/or services that are related to these EHBs. Most still do, but it’s highly recommended that you revisit these policies with your employer, health care provider, or insurer in order to figure out what you need to pay for (or what they can potentially cover) in 2019. If you are with Kaiser Permanente I strongly suggest you check in with "Member Services" to see if your plan covers DME.

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SEPTEMBER 2019| ISSUE 3

PROSTHETIC INSURANCE UNDERSTANDING COST OF IT ALL Thsis the number question I get when talking with patients; "what will it cost?" Before we tackle and break down how each of those forms of health insurance cover (or don't cover) prosthetic devices, let's talk about one of the main reasons--besides medical necessity--that coverage is so important.  The reason, of course, is cost. As in, artificial body parts are expensive. Even a cosmesis, or a prosthesis that's designed mainly for looks and that has little or no functional use, usually costs between $3,000 and $5,000. A prosthetic arm with a split hook at the end, on the other hand, costs as much as $10,000. A myoelectric, or computer-controlled, arm that's both more realistic and more functional often costs $30,000 or more. Artificial legs tend to be pricey, too. It isn't unusual for an advanced device that replaces a person's leg above the knee to cost upwards of $50,000. Other prostheses aren't much cheaper. An artificial eye, for example, costs anywhere from $2,500 to more than $8,000. A prosthetic ear costs between $4,000 and $7,000 or more. Prosthetic breast forms may be the most affordable of the bunch, but even they cost as much as $500. In other words, health insurance can, and often does, play a vitally important role in helping people in need afford these and other prostheses.

HOW DIFFERENT KINDS OF HEALTH PLANS COVER PROSTHETIC DEVICES UNDERSTANDING COST OF IT ALL Generally speaking, if you have health insurance of some sort, it should cover at least a portion of the costs associated with the prosthetic devices you need. You want to check the DME (durable medical equipment) portion of your coverage. What does it say about about crutches, wheelchairs, shower chairs, prosthetics, etc. When it doubt ask questions. No question is dumb when your talking about your care. Don't take that to mean all plans pay for all prostheses, however. Different types of health insurance cover them in different ways and in different amounts. Here are some specific details related to how employer-sponsored,Obamacare(or"marketplace"), Medicare, Medicaid, and other kinds of coverage deal with prosthetics. Employer Plans There isn't a whole lot to say about how employersponsored or job-based health plans treat prostheses other than this: most of these plans cover these devices to a certain extent.

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SEPTEMBER 2019| ISSUE 3

PROSTHETIC INSURANCE

MARKETPLACE PLANS

That's especially true if you work for a fairly

As such, all marketplace plans cover prostheses in

small company. How so? As a result of the

some way.

Affordable Care Act (also known as the ACA or Obamacare), all individual and "small group"

The federal government doesn't mandate how

health insurance plans must now cover

much coverage they provide, though, so don't

something called Essential Health Benefits, or

shop for a marketplace health plan assuming

EHBs.

they'll all cover prosthetic devices to the same extent.

Included among the 10 categories of services that make up these EHBs are rehabilitative and

If it's important to you that a marketplace or

rehabilitative services and devices. Doesn't mean exchange plan pays for artificial limbs or other body parts, do your research. Read the fine much on its own, I know. Thankfully, healthcare.gov specifies that these are "services

print. Ask questions. Shop around and compare

and devices to help people with injuries,

policies before you enroll in one.

disabilities, or chronic conditions gain or recover mental and physical skills."

Off-Marketplace Plans Although a lot of Americans who don't get health

Basically, that means all individual and most

insurance through an employer--and don't qualify

small-group plans--or plans provided by

for Medicare or Medicaid--get it through

employers with 50 or fewer employees--have to

the marketplace, some get it elsewhere.

cover prosthetics in some way.

Specifically, they get health coverage directly from an insurance company. Or they get it

What if you work for a large employer? The ACA

through an independent agent or broker.

doesn't impact them, which means they don't have to cover prosthetics or other devices or

Even though these plans aren't being sold via the

services tied to these EHBs. Most still do,

marketplace, the Affordable Care Act still requires

though.

them to cover the EHBs mentioned earlier. Which of course means they have to cover prostheses--at

As is so often the case with health insurance,

least to a point.

how fully the coverage you get through an employer pays for artificial body parts depends

So, again, if you want off-marketplace health

on the company, the plan, and a number of other

insurance that will pay for prosthetics, do your

factors.

homework. Take a good look at any plan you think you might buy. And don't be shy about

Some plans pay for everything as long as it's

asking for clarification if the documentation you

considered medically necessary and after you've

review doesn't make it clear how a policy deals

met your deductible or covered your copay or

with these devices.

co-insurance. Others put limits on how much of the bill they'll pick up. Or they'll limit how often

Medicare

you can replace damaged or defective devices.

Are you on Medicare? You're in luck if you need an artificial limb or other body part. That is, you're

Only plans that cover the EHBs mentioned above

in luck if your physician or healthcare provider

can be sold via the federal or state health

says one is medically necessary.

insurance exchanges or marketplace.

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SEPTEMBER 2019| ISSUE 3

PROSTHETIC INSURANCE There are a few catches related to when Medicare covers the cost of a prosthesis, or how much of the cost it'll cover. According to medicare.gov, you must: meet the Part B deductible before Medicare picks up any portion of the cost pay 20 percent of the Medicare-approved amount for external prosthetic devices get your device or artificial body part from a supplier that's enrolled in Medicare That site also specifies that how much you pay for a prosthetic device under Medicare depends on several things, including: other insurance coverage you might have how much your physician charges whether he or she accepts assignment Medicaid First, some bad news regarding Medicaid and prostheses. The federal government considers prosthetic devices to be an "optional benefit" as far as this program is concerned. Now for a bit of good news. If you live in a state that has expanded its Medicaid program, it has to cover the EHBs mentioned earlier. This means it has to cover prostheses in some form or fashion. Also, if you need an artificial body part because of a disability, Medicaid has to cover it if a physician or healthcare provider says it's medically necessary. Other than that, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, every state offers prosthesis coverage as a Medicaid benefit even though doing so is optional.  These Medicaid programs don't all cover prosthetic devices in the same way or to the same extent. The best way to see how your state

your local agency and ask about it. Other Things to Consider and Keep in Mind Just because a health insurance plan covers prosthetic devices, that doesn't mean it covers all such devices equally. For example, some plans don't cover cosmetic prostheses. (They'll only pay for functional ones.) Others don't cover special prosthetic devices used for athletics. And some don't cover newer, more technologically advanced ones that often cost a lot more money than standard ones. Something else to keep in mind as you shop for insurance or review your current plan: after under going an amputation you will need some type physical and occupational therapy after getting a prosthesis. Does your policy cover any of that? If not, those costs can quickly add up. Make sure you ask. The same is true of any psychological therapy or counseling you may need as a result of your prosthesis. Also, does your plan cover liners, sleeves, or socks? And then there's the fact that many people who use prosthetic limbs have more than one, which they switch out depending on the situation. Will your current coverage, or the coverage you're considering, allow for that? Also, how does it deal with replacements--no matter how many prosthetic limbs you own? Finally, how does your plan, or the insurer that provides it, define prosthesis? Does that definition include internal devices, or ones that have been implanted? Does it include things like breast forms? Or is it limited to what most of us think of when we hear the word, which is artificial hands, arms, legs, and feet?

handles this kind of coverage is to contact your

AMPNATION | PAGE 11


SEPTEMBER 2019| ISSUE 3

THE ONE-LEGGED DAVE GANAS

SPARTAN

There are amputees and then there's Dave Ganas, I In an instant, his life was transformed. Being hit met him while doing a Gait Assessment event for

from behind at such a high speed turned the

the Physical Therapy Students at UOP - University

motorcycle into a bomb, the shrapnel from the

of Pacific in Stockton, California. As I worked in

bike’s rear wheel shredded Ganas’ right leg

the prosthetic field and meet a lot of amputees but above the ankle. After lifting himself off the there was something different about Dave, he was

pavement, he cradled his dangling leg with his

hungry to make a difference in the amputee world. left arm, holding it tight. Screaming for help on I thought that was awesome as an advocate and

the lonely side road next to the freeway no one

someone who is also trying to be a positive light in could hear his calls for help, he remembered his the amputee community and help others. Little

cellphone, dialed his wife to tell her he loved

did I know how Dave would impact my life and

her. As I am sure he thought this was it for him.

journey. But not yet, he was found and taken to the Who is this guy Dave Ganas and how did he

hospital. The surgeons cut Ganas open from

become the "Oneleggedspartan"? It was around 11

armpit to hip, stripping out his left latissimus

p.m. when Dave Ganas felt the headlights coming

dorsi muscle tissue and stuffing it into the void

up behind him as he travel along a dark side road.

where his lower right leg used to be. In an effort

The mechanic, driving home after a graveyard

to save the leg. But the transplant didn’t take,

shift, slowed his motorcycle to 65, assuming the

and within days, he could smell the rotting flesh.

lights belonged to the police officer who often

He gave the order: "Take the leg".

nodded as he passed, a mutual acknowledgment between two men alone on

As with most amputee this joruney would prove

Highway 99 late at night. But on this night Ganas

to be test not only for him but his wife also.

was mistaken, and he scarcely had time to check

They both were about to joruney into uncaharted

his side mirror when the drunk driver hit him

lands filled with ups and downs.

going approxiamtely 100 miles per hour. AMPNATION | PAGE 12


SEPTEMBER 2019| ISSUE 3

BOTTOM OF THE Not surprisingly, tough times followed. “I felt very alone for the first four years after being amputated,” says Ganas. As with most new amputees finding peer support was hard, he didn't really have anyone to help him along this journey. Dave find himself on heavy medication to deal with pain which left him in a drugged-up stupor and robbed him of his motivation. He rarely left the house. He felt weak and helpless. He needed something new, something to save him from what threatened to be a permanent state of melancholy. It was Ganas’ physical therapist who first told him about obstacle racing. Afterward, Ganas jumped online and began pouring over footage of veteran racer Hobie Call. He didn’t feel capable himself, but his interest in the sport held for two years before his wife finally said, “Why don’t you do a race, instead of just wanting to do it?” He felt insecure about his abilities, but his wife signed them both up anyway. And in the summer of 2015, Ganas reluctantly ran the AT&T Park Sprint in San Francisco. “I was miserable, complaining about every obstacle,” he says. During the race he blamed her for everything that was difficult, he was angry at some of the obstacles and was really upsert when he had to do burpees for failing to complete obstacles. He felt he was never going to

be the same person he was before the accident. Then came the finish line, he completed the race. They placed the medal around his neck. On the way home he was clutching that medal like a kid with a new toy. It was at that moment Dave changed. Staring at the medal and thinking about the race he just experienced. He mumbled to his wife who patiently dealt with his bad attitude through the race, “I wonder if I could do something to help with the sweat in my prosthetic?” A few weeks later he realized there wasn’t really any amputees that continuously raced in these events. There was no role model or Elite athlete in OCR. Not really any inspiration for others dealing with limb-loss. Dave decided he wanted to be that guy, to inspire other facing challenges as him to get up an live. He started competing in obstacle course races every year. AMPNATION | PAGE 13


SEPTEMBER 2019| ISSUE 3

Now, how Dave and I became friends, well

I felt so alive after walking this course watching

sometime after meeting at UOP (Unversity of

him and the other racers put themselves to the

Pacific) and came to be a patient for my company

ultimate test. It spoke to me, as someone who has

and I was told of a Spartan Race in Sacramento, CA been a competitor, fitness training, college that he would be doing. I was told I had to attend

basketball player, police officer, SRT Member

this event and to arrive by 4 am for this event and

(DOE Special Response Team - SWAT), I have

I remember thinking to myself what kind of crazy

always been active but since my amputation I lost

people are up at 4 am for race? Then as I arrived

that part of me because I thought I could do those

at the location for this event which was in them

things anymore. But I just saw this guy Dave do it.

middle of no-where, really seriously "No-Where!"

And I just hiked the entire course minus the

Some ranch. There hundreds of people running

obstacles, it made me think.

around in shorts, no shirts and head bands with numbers on them. I thought to myself what is this Dave invited me to do some workouts with him at madness? These people are crazy. I got parked and PFT in Lodi, CA, where he said "it will be fun trust grab my camera gear because I wanted to get some me". I showed up at 5 am ready for a workout not photos of this event and him.

sure what to expect. We were the only two amputees there. And they had full plate of goodies

It was chilly as the race began, I was going to

for me that morning as Dave puts it: "The look on

follow along and get some pictures little did I

his face was priceless when we started with

know I was in for 5 miles of hiking hills with about burpees. Full burpees then straight into a 1/4 mile 30lbs. of camera gear. By the end of this race I was run. Then into obstacles such as tire flips, monkey tired and felt beat up. At the finish line I watched

bars, rope climb, bucket carries and more. All with

the racers finish by jumping over a row wood on

a 1/4 mile sprint in between each obstacle. I knew

firer, these people could barely walk after what

he was hooked." No Dave, I was near death. He

they had been through but they reached down

then proceeded to mentioned his next race at

inside and jumped over this last burning obstacle

Diablo Grande, Ca. I committed and had no clue

where someone was waiting with medal which the how this race would change me and my life placed over their head and the medal hung like a

forever.

badge of honor for making it out alive from a battle with yourself.

The morning of the race I arrived early, 5 am, this

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SEPTEMBER 2019| ISSUE 3

sounds very familiar. This was a Sprint which is the beginning course of Spartan Races, a short 5 mile 20-24 obstacle event. On some of the toughest terrain know to man. Long story short, I finished in 5:54 minutes. My body was was in so much pain, I cried as we crossed the finish line. There Dave took my medal and placed it over my head, saying; "you earn this and your life is going to change today. Welcome to the Spartan family bro!" Dave Ganas is a true inspiration to everyone disabled and able body, his story is one of turning a traumatic experience into a life changing force. Not only for himself but anyone who happens to come into contact with him. He is contagious just being near him seems to enbolden people. As a husband, father and Spartan Dave values his family, "My beautiful wife of 20 years and I have a 6 year old son, Leo and an 8 year old daughter, Juliet", he tells me. He is currently taking part in World TEAM Adventure Team Challenge Colorado this September 5-8, 2019. Where participating athletes will travel to the remote Rancho del Rio resort in the high Gore Mountain Range north of Eagle

checkpoints and ascend granite outcroppings and rappel back to the ground. Team members work closely together throughout the Challenge, solving technical challenges as well as learning that cooperation allows for easier and more timely completion of each stage. By Saturday evening as the program concludes with a celebratory dinner and campfire party, athletes recognize they have learned new outdoor skills they can take home with them. Perhaps more importantly, each participant has made new friends who will remain a part of their life. If you would like more

information on this event contact: Phone (855) 987which is a isolated fishing and water sports resort 8326 or email: info@worldteamsports.org. on the banks of the Colorado River, and where participants will camp outside in tents during the duration of the program.

If you’d like to support Dave and other adapted individuals. Even $5 helps us greatly towards our

fundraising goal. Visit: After getting to know their teammates and outdoor https://www.wtsevent.org/atccolorado/ways-toequipment through onsite training and practice, givelandingpage/ athletes will complete two daily stages of

the Challenge. From the base camp at Rancho del Rio, they will ride mountain bikes and speciallydesigned hand cycles on single and double-track

trails, raft the Colorado River through challenging SAD NEWS whitewater rapids, locate back country

It is with heavy hearts that I announce the passing of our good man, Bill Dupes.  Bill served as the Editor for inMotion magazine, and his tireless efforts shaped this publication into an empowering voice for the limb loss and limb difference community.  

Bill Dupes - R.I.P.

AMPNATION | PAGE 15


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