Losing a Limb Taught Me a Lesson

Breaking a bone wouldn’t usually be a big deal or something I’d call a life changing experience’, but after 24 weeks in cast, two surgeries and countless appointments filled with disappointing news, I’m not the same person I was.

Despite the fact I have on-going issues with my ankle and it limits me at times, there are many reasons why breaking my ankle changed my life for the better.


When I somersaulted from the saddle, the several snaps I heard were like alarm bells in my head. Hitting the ground my first thought was; ‘thank god it wasn’t my neck.’ This is where my first point comes in: things can always be worse and life can always be crueler. However, I am aware that you can still be upset about something despite others having it worse. Nonetheless, this was the overall lesson for me; it could always be worse.

Sent home in cast and crutches to recover and discover all the joys that come with being one limb down inevitably resulted in me spending a lot of time by myself which got me thinking about how my life was going, where it was going and was it going the way I wanted it to. I realised a few changes which were essential, dealt with them and I have never looked back. My point here is, sometimes we are so busy settling into a life we don’t really want. It’s convenient to settle and unfortunately many of us don’t take the time out of our busy lives to re-assess, thankfully though, finding the time was easy for me. Remember: it’s okay to change direction if it’s for the right reasons.

It wasn’t all doom & gloom either, like everything in life; there are positives in every situation if you look hard enough. I mean, who doesn’t love breakfast in bed everyday, a personal chauffeur and endless movie marathons? It gets old real quick though, sometimes all you want is your independence back. Luckily for me, my mum turned into my full time nurse and I honestly couldn’t have got through it all without her.

It taught me that pain is temporary and this lesson proves valuable in every aspect of my life these days. With the initial break and two separate surgeries, I went through a lot of pain, the worst pain I’ve ever had to go through and no matter how sore it was at the time, the only thing that often comforted me was the thought that ‘this is temporary.’ So next time you’re going through something that’s painful, from a deathly hangover to a never ending assignment, just keep in mind, it’s not a permanent situation.


Being in a somewhat vulnerable situation, life as an invalid made me a more grateful person. Crutches taught me to never take my legs for granted. It’s true that you don’t know a good thing until it’s gone. Life is truly about the simple things for example, not having to drink your tea by the kettle when you’re home alone.

They say that time heals and this is true; the pain decreased as time went on, I got more mobile on the crutches and life less-active ended up being not that bad after all.

The beauty in your life is not about what you go through but often how you perceive what you go through. Experiences shape our lives and therefore make us into the people we are meant to be. People get so hung up on whether their glass is half full or half empty and maybe sometimes we should just be thankful that there is something in the glass.

Hardship is not something to be bitter and question ‘why’ but often; ‘thank-god I went through that.’ Being grateful is so important, so if you take nothing from this blog and you think ‘what is she on about?’ (which I’m sure some of you are) just remember; dance while you can, make the most of everything because it’s true, we never know what’s coming next. Life is full of challenges and opportunities and it’s important to make them matter. So stretch yourself while you have the chance, work a little harder, run a little further and be a little kinder and don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t do something because you can do whatever you want to!



Jessica Patterson is a final year BSc in Communication, Advertising & Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be found on Twitter: @JessPatterson16 / LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jessica-patterson-79a755113/