On Health

Spotlight: Premier Prosthetics and Orthotics

Certified prosthetist Manny Rivera co-founded Premier Prosthetics and Orthotics with the vision of having a direct impact on their patients’ quality of life by providing the highest level of convenience and care. One such patient Rivera has recently impacted is 54-year-old Gabby Guetterman.

Known as “Bad Ass Gabby,” Guetterman underwent an amputation of her left leg below the knee after several bad infections in her foot didn’t respond well to treatment. A diabetic, she also suffered from Charcot foot, a rare but serious complication affecting the bones, joints and soft tissues of the foot that severely impacted her ability to do all of the things she loved, especially spending time being active with her young nephews. She knew it was time for it to come off.

Soon after her surgery, Rivera came to see her and begin the process of preparing her for a prosthetic. Rivera worked with Guetterman to design her own leg, a K3-level prosthetic with a foot. Down the front of her new leg, it says “Beautiful Bad-Ass,” to remind her of her own strength; and down the side, it says “Bad-Ass Tribe,” in honor of the people who have helped her through.

Guetterman says Rivera and the entire team at Premier Prosthetics have been supportive since day one. “They are a great group of people,” she notes. “If you need something, they will come to your house and help you. All of the people in the office are excellent.”

Working with the Premier Prosthetics team and her physical therapist, Guetterman is determined to get stronger and more mobile every day. She is already riding her bike 30 minutes a day, and her next goal is to get it out on trails and also go hiking. She also wants to be an advocate and help other people facing amputation get through it. “It seems like a scary thing, but you have to have your mind made up and always stay positive,” she says. “I got my life back.”

In addition to her medical team, Guetterman credits her family—especially her brother, sister- in-law and nephews, as well as a close friend, with being a great support system and continuing to fill her with encouragement. “When this all started, my oldest nephew, Trece, was in the eighth grade and I went to his eighth grade graduation on a knee scooter,” she says. “This year, he will be graduating from high school, and I want to walk at his graduation and his younger brothers’ when they graduate. I want to make them proud of their aunt and to see that anything is possible if you stay positive and have goals.”

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