Help Jo regain her independence

My name is David and I am Jo’s proud husband of 26 years. She is my soulmate, best friend and an amazing mother to our three children and more recently a fun loving Nana to our two precious grandchildren.

In May 2020, Jo walked into A&E and left two months later in a wheelchair, having had both her legs amputated. A blood clot had formed in her aorta and some of it had dislodged and travelled down both legs, blocking a number of veins and capillaries, resulting in her becoming a bi-lateral above knee amputee at the age of 52.

Now, as well as dealing with her physical changes and medical needs, she is absolutely devastated at the thought that we may have to give up our family home without some major structural changes and adaptations to make our home safe for her.

“People who have experienced limb loss know that it only takes a moment for your life to be completely redefined. Yesterday you were standing and walking, today you are in a wheelchair and tomorrow? Well, tomorrow is uncertain and hard to even think about!”

Jo’s vascular surgeon explained that she had been “exceptionally unlucky” and over a period of three weeks, she endured 4 major surgeries, also facing this life changing event completely alone due to Covid restrictions. This was particularly difficult to deal with as I couldn’t ‘be there’ even if it was just to hold her hand. There were times when we thought we were going to lose her but thankfully she pulled through and came home to us.  

With our world turned upside down, the road to recovery has been a real challenge and we have literally taken one day at a time while we adjusted to the changes we have had to make in our daily lives. I had to put my career on hold to become Jo’s full-time carer and the kids have been through a roller coaster of emotions, but Jo’s fighting spirit and determination has helped us all along the way. Family is the single most important focus for Jo and the only reason she has the willpower to make the most of what she can.  

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Jo has been advised that the possibility of prosthetics would be a long and difficult journey and that not many patients in her position will be successful, however, she continues to amaze us all in her achievements to date.

Regardless of what Jo does manage to achieve with prosthetics, we now need to make some significant adaptations to make our home safe and accessible so she can stay in the house that we have worked hard to make our family home, until then she remains trapped, unable to go upstairs or even go outside in the garden. Staying here would mean the absolute world to her (and us).

A good friend of ours suggested ‘Go Fund Me’ as a potential way to raise some of the money needed for the building and ground works, ramps, accessible kitchen, low access shower room and most importantly a through floor lift so she can live independently in our house and finally go upstairs to bed and have a proper shower.  Jo has to rely on other people to do the many things we all take for granted, which for her, as a fiercely independent woman, has been extremely frustrating and soul destroying. She will remain a patient at the Freeman Disability Limb Centre in Newcastle upon Tyne for the rest of her life, requiring on-going support with physio, mental health, prosthetics, mobility aids and transport.

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A critical part of her rehabilitation and recovery depends on her believing that a good outcome is possible – that in time she can steadily improve her life. Jo’s emotional transformation lies in her facing the process of loss, grief and ultimately acceptance of her new body image and lifestyle. Looking back, Jo has gone through many of the stages of grieving. Firstly the fear, denial, numbness and shock of what happened to her, trying to protect herself from experiencing the intensity of the loss and the uncertainty of the future.

She spent the next few months pre-occupied with how the loss could have been prevented, or what the future might have been like if the whole thing had not happened. The black cloud of depression was also a phase in the grieving process but through some very ‘dark days’ Jo decided that she has everything to live for.

She has experienced feelings of loneliness, isolation and self-pity as well as anger and resentment, and sometimes she slips back to these places, but we are working towards ‘acceptance’ when hopefully most of her feelings are resolved and she is confident in a more positive outlook. You can see that the physical scars on her residual limbs have healed well but it’s the mental scars that are the toughest to deal with!

Jo has never put her owns needs first and she often reminds me that there is always someone worse off, but her life shouldn’t be over or limited by restrictions. Jo will never physically be the same again but she is still the same person. As well as dealing with the physical changes she is absolutely devastated at the thought that we may have to give up our family home.

I sincerely hope you can support this fundraiser in any way possible, even just sharing this story so others may help. Any donations would be gratefully appreciated to help Jo regain her independence and back to enjoying the simple things in life, as best she can. Thank you!

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  • Eleanor Guthrie 
    • £5 
    • 11 d
  • Anonymous 
    • £20 
    • 17 d
  • Keith Johnson 
    • £223 
    • 1 mo
  • Julie Venton 
    • £112 
    • 2 mos
  • Mrs J Venton 
    • £115 
    • 3 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

David Spencer 
Organizer
Chester-le-Street, UK
Joanne Spencer 
Beneficiary
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