(10/31/13) - Imagine waking up, expecting to meet your newborn baby, only to find that, while you were sleeping, your whole world shattered.
That is what happened to Shannon Smith. She lost nearly everything, but faith and high-tech medicine saved her.
"I shouldn't even be alive," says Shannon, who was six months pregnant with her second child when something went terribly wrong.
"I wasn't feeling that well that morning, and so I went to the hospital and was told that I would have to have an emergency C-Section."
During surgery, she developed sepsis and a condition that caused blood clots, loss of circulation, and organ failure, "I developed clots all throughout my body, which stopped the circulation to my limbs."
She slipped into a coma. Three weeks later, she woke up to learn she'd lost her baby and her limbs would need to be amputated.
Shannon remembers wondering, "how did this happen?"
Seventeen surgeries and 11 months later, Smith is one of the first people to get four nerve-activated prosthetics, that all work together to keep her going.
"There's basically a computer in that knee that is monitoring, ah, every step she takes," says Christopher Berger, of East Coast Orthotic & Prosthetic Corp.
The hi-tech limbs have given her a new lease on life and a new nickname, the "bionic woman."
"I have seen her, you know, go from, um, being in a wheelchair pretty much full time, to being able to put her limbs on, to being able to walk," Berger says of Shannon.
Shannon enjoys the independence her limbs have given her, "my son and my family, you know, God, everything, it just keeps me going."
Today, the "bionic woman" is adjusting to her new normal life and looking forward to taking her next steps towards independence.
The micro-processor in Shannon's knee understands her needs based on ground reaction forces.
There is a medical fund set up for Shannon, for more information, visit www.SDSmedicalfund.org
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