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In February 2007, following a road traffic accident, mother of four Lisa Eagleton (40) from Wigan sustained a below knee amputation. The subsequent seven years presented her with many physical and emotional challenges in accepting her new life, as she explains.
“Even months after my amputation I was in pain every day, living on morphine. The socket on my prosthetic leg rubbed, causing blisters that resulted in me being barely able to walk. I had lost my life as it was.” She continues, “I thought I had to accept my limitations. I was told that I would never be as I was before my accident. Everyone was telling me what I couldn’t do, what I no longer was. I was depressed and in pain.”
With support from her legal representatives, Lisa was referred to an independent rehabilitation provider to try and address her prosthetic limb issues. As her prosthetist Howard Woolley at Pace Rehabilitation in Cheadle (Cheshire) recalls, “The discomfort Lisa was experiencing with her existing prosthesis and lack of mobility was understandably negatively impacting on many other aspects of her life.”
After several months of bespoke prosthetic and physiotherapy support at Pace, Lisa began to make positive progress, as she recounts, “Having my first comfortable prosthesis, I began to walk again. Each step felt like an achievement and I took personal victories by doing something more today than I did yesterday!”
With her regained mobility, Lisa decided to focus on her body image issues, “Since the accident I felt unattractive, had low confidence and was uncertain of what the world thought of a limb less woman. However I felt that it was time to accept that this is me and rebuild myself.”
It was at this time that Lisa was offered to participate in a photo shoot by David Draken to, as Lisa describes it, “raise my view of myself”.
The photographs were very well received and provided Lisa with the opportunity to become an alternative model, under the pseudonym of Lady Lush Lisa.
Since then her confidence has grown and has strutted down catwalks, appeared in magazines, given talks and even been on the Nation Geographic Channel talking about her modelling work and her prosthesis.
The positive experiences of working with David encouraged Lisa to return to an activity she enjoyed before her accident, dance. As she explains, “I missed it so much, but decided a route to return to it was pole dancing, as that is low impact on my leg and offered me support.” She added, “My teachers helped me to learn moves, some of which took a long time to master, but I was determined to dance again.”
The physical challenges of pole dancing meant that there were days when Lisa struggled to walk afterwards, but her determined spirit saw her through, as she recalls, “After lots of practice, I eventually managed to compete in some competitions and became Britain’s only below knee amputee pole dancer!”
Recently, Lisa has diversified her dancing activities by taking up Arial Silk and Arial Hoop, admitting, “I’ve not exactly mastered all the techniques, but I am dancing again, which is so fulfilling.”
Despite relearning to walk, regaining her self-confidence and returning to dancing, Lisa was still experiencing some pain issues, “I’m not a woman to live on painkillers, so thought that swimming may provide a full body work out and help with my pain issues.”
She recalls, “At first it was tricky to balance in the pool, as I wasn’t using my prosthesis, but as time went on and I swam more and more, the pain began to ease off. I now swim at least 8hrs a week and have even taken to snorkelling. To improve my balance I took up yoga, which is terrific too.”
Despite her life changing accident seven years ago and turbulent rehabilitation, Lisa now feels in a good place again, participating in her wide variety of activities. As she summarises, “There is always a way to do something that makes you happy. The hardest thing to do is take the first step to try.”Tags: Arial Hoop, Ariel Silk, below-knee amputation, David Draken, Lady Lush Lisa, Lisa Eagleton, prosthetic leg, prosthetic limb