On the outside, she was an amputee. But on the inside, her struggle reached far beyond the absence of her leg.
It started as a skiing trip, and turned into a seven year battle for her life. Now Angie Fowler, a 37 year-old mom from Decatur, continues a daily pursuit to find happiness after an accident that changed her life forever.
“I had an accident in the snow, about seven years ago. I broke my leg and ankle really bad. During the surgery I got MRSA, then I got a bone infection, and I almost died,” Fowler said.
A statement so dark, said so casually.
“At that moment it was either, we amputate your leg or your going to die. I have four kids, I have a husband…and I said ‘take it off’… what other option do you have?” Fowler said.
The operation was done quickly, only giving Fowler and her family 24 hours notice to mentally prepare for a change that would alter their family forever.
“Once they opened up my leg and did the pathology on it, the doctor said I wouldn’t have lived more than another week,” Fowler said.
It was then that Fowler would experience one of the lowest points of her life. A past runner, living without her right leg proved to be a challenge she didn’t think she was ready for.
“I was extremely depressed. I felt like I had lost everything except for my family,” said Fowler. “I saw an article on Facebook, that was a ‘new you challenge’… so I went in to meet Candice at the gym, she was a coach at the time. I walked in and said ‘okay there is no way I can do this kind of workout.”
Little did she know, Candice and her gym “Fire Forged Barbell” would be the answer to her prayers.
“She had me come back the next day,” Fowler said. “It honestly saved my life. Three years ago, I never thought I’d be right here. I never thought I’d be walking normal, I never thought I’d be, you know, working out everyday, I mean that seemed like such a far off goal that it would never happen for me.”
Fowler is now working towards her second 5k as part of an application process to get a free sport leg so she can continue training as an adaptive athlete. The leg she currently uses is not apt for running or working out.
“Insurance won’t cover it [sport leg] because they don’t consider it a necessity,” Fowler said.
The Amputee Blade Runners foundation is a non profit organization that helps provide free running prosthetics for amputees. To apply for a sport leg, adults are required to complete three 5k’s.
“That’s the goal to get those completed. And then hopefully, maybe I will be able to get one of those sport legs. I really want to do a mud run,” Fowler said.
Though the struggle for the Fowler family started out as a tragic fight for the life of their mom, Angie is finally getting back to feeling like herself again.
“I just want to feel normal again, and I’m getting there,” Fowler said. “But I want to get back to where I can go out and run 3 to 5 miles a day and it be no problem. I think that would make me feel more normal then anything would, just getting back to doing the things that I was doing before.”