STEPPING out into the snow with her children, mum Angie Fowler never anticipated the nightmare that would follow.
Whilst playing outside with her kids, the then 34-year-old slipped in the garden and was rushed to hospital with a broken ankle.
In an attempt to fix it, the operations manager for FedEx Express had to go through several reconstructive surgeries in 2011.
Despite this, she was left with a collapsing ankle and was unable to walk.
But this wasn't her only issue and during one of her surgeries, Angie contracted a flesh eating bacteria, with doctors being forced to amputate her leg in 2015.
Recalling her ordeal, Angie said the thing that killed her most, was that she was unable to pick up her children for years.
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She said: “If they got hurt, or one wanted to be held, I had to sit down and have someone bring them to me.
“When they removed my leg, I was in the hospital alone for a long time, while my partner, John, looked after the kids, as we lived an hour away.
“It was very isolating and I struggled with my mental health.
“I got really depressed for a few months and thought I would never be able to live a normal life like work out, run, or even keep up with my kids."
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During the operation, Angie contracted MRSA which developed into necrotising fasciitis, a rare bacterial infection that can turn fatal and Angie was forced to spend the next two years in and out of the hospital.
She said: “I was rushed to another hospital and they said if they didn’t amputate my leg below the knee, I wouldn’t make it through the weekend.
“I spent the next two years in hospital fighting the infection and had a further 46 surgeries on my leg.”
At first, Angie was given a prosthetic, which took her a while to get used to, with the mum even saying she 'hated it'.
What is necrotising fasciitis and what are the symptoms?
The NHS states that Necrotising fasciitis is a flesh-eating disease.
Guidance states that it’s a rare infection that can happen if a wound gets infected and needs to be treated in hospital straight away.
The first signs of the illness are:
- intense pain or loss of feeling near to a cut or wound – the pain may seem much worse than you would usually expect from a cut or wound
- swelling of the skin around the affected area
- flu-like symptoms, such as a high temperature, headache and tiredness
Later symptoms may include:
- being sick (vomiting) and diarrhoea
- black, purple or grey blotches and blisters on the skin (these may be less obvious on black or brown skin)
You should go to A&E if you have a cut or which is more painful than expected.
The NHS states you also need emergency care if you have a cut or wound and get symptoms like a high temperature, headache, tiredness and muscle aches.
If you have sudden confusion or if you have black, purple or grey blotches or blisters near a cut or wound you should go to A&E or call 999.
The now 41-year-old added that she used crutches along with the prosthetic because of how sore her leg was.
"I truly thought my life was over. Eventually, I decided that I could be bitter and angry or I could start living my life.
"I knew I wanted to live and would do whatever it took to stay alive," she said.
Much of Angie’s determination to get better came from the love for her five kids; Presley, 20, Reese, 18, Tylar, 11, Jase, 9, and Cooper, 2.
Angie now wants to help others and has launched a TikTok account to do just that.
Going by @amputeeangie, the mum shares what it's really like to live with one leg.
Angie said her children are really helpful and want to assist her – but added that they sometimes take advantage of her situation.
"My two-year-old will run from me when he’s playing because he knows I can’t catch him.
"My kids have adapted so well and they tell me it doesn’t bother them and they love me regardless," she said.
Doctors previously told Angie she couldn't have any more children, but in 2020 she fell pregnant with her fifth child.
This inspired her to sign up for CrossFit and a 5km race which she will wear a running blade for in Boston this April.
"I have learned that I can do anything if I push myself hard enough, and say yes to doing something that might be a challenge", she said.
Now Angie is grateful to be alive as she 'missed so much' of her kids growing up because of the ordeal.
"Anytime they ask me to do something or sit and play with them, I do.
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"I am so grateful to be here right now and I don’t want to take a minute of that for granted.
"It is crazy, messy and chaotic, but I wouldn’t change a thing," she said.
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