Just One Foot: A GeekMom’s Story of Her Artificial Leg

Books People

Photograph copyright Judy Berna

Judy Berna was one of the first writers we brought on to Geekmom.com. Her overall geekiness is lovely but she has one unique trait.

She’s bionic.

Judy grew up with a deformed foot that she eventually had removed surgically and then replaced by an artificial one. Just One Foot is her story about what it was like growing up with the foot, how she came to make the decision to replace it with an artificial one, and how her life changed as a result.

It’s also a book about growing up in a large family with a large number of foster brothers and sisters. I can’t identify with what it must have been like to be frustrated that one’s foot doesn’t work the way you need it, but I instantly identified with Judy’s story of being a shy middle child somewhat lost amid the constant changing make-up of her family. She knew her problem pained her parents because they wanted so badly to solve it but couldn’t seem to find treatment that would help. So she tried her best to bear it and not bother them. The stories of the various procedures meant to cure her ailment and their subsequent failure are heart-breaking, though she approached them all optimistically.

Eventually, she learned to live with the foot , got married, and had a family but the problems with her foot increased over time, limiting her ability to do things with her family as she desperately wanted. To her, these couldn’t be solved any other way than by drastic measures, i.e. the loss of the foot that plagued her all her life.

I raced through Judy’s story in one day, hoping that the surgery and her artificial leg brought her the mobility she’s wanted all her life. She learned to ski. She’s able to do the normal things, like taking walks with her children, that most of us take for granted.

As she says in the final chapter, the bionic leg has not made her life perfect but it has considerably improved it. That’s an inspiring happy ending.


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