Paralympic snowboarder Amy Purdy is recovering and well after a risky surgery to remove a blood clot from one of her thighs.
Prior to the operation, Purdy revealed she would likely lose either her entire leg or her one kidney because surgery to save one would compromise the other.
But today, the 39-year-old medalist told fans everything went well – and doctors believe they may have achieved the near-impossible: saving both.
Purdy, 39, had her legs amputated below the knee and both kidneys removed during a battle with sepsis and meningitis at 19. This week she faced losing her entire leg or her kidney but she is hopeful she won’t
Thanks to prosthetics, Las Vegas-born Purdy was able to get back on the slopes and triumph on the global stage, winning a Paralympic bronze in 2014 and silver in 2018
‘Surgery took place yesterday and grateful that it went well,’ Purdy wrote on Instagram. ‘We are also checking my kidney this morning to make sure it handled everything well.’
The Catch-22 situation boiled down to contrast dye.
The dye is key for doctors to use in MRI scans and surgery as they locate the clot to treat, monitor and remove it.
But that dye can prove toxic to transplanted or diseased kidneys, raising the risk of two rare, serious disorders: CIN and NSF.
CIN (contrast-induced nephropathy) only affect two percent of the population, but it can trigger a sharp decline in kidney function within as little as three days. In some cases, it can cause irreparable damage to the blood vessels and heart.
NSF (nephrogenic systemic fibrosis) can be fatal. It triggers a burning reaction in the skin, joint stiffness, and muscle weakness. Worryingly, it can take up to three months to appear.
Writing on Instagram, Purdy said: ‘They had to use contrast [dye] but promised me it was a small amount so fingers crossed that my kidney powered through like the powerhouse it is. My dad reassured me that before he gave it to me he put it through much worse.’
Purdy was 19 when she had both legs amputated below the knee, her spleen removed, both kidneys removed and one kidney transplanted – donated from her father – to save her life from meningitis and sepsis.
Thanks to prosthetics, Las Vegas-born Purdy was able to get back on the slopes and triumph on the global stage, winning a Paralympic bronze in 2014 and silver in 2018.
But her reliance on her prosthetics led to a blood clot in one of her thighs, which doctors feared would require removing the entire leg – a move that would take years to accustom to.
The operation to save the leg, though, puts strain on the transplanted kidney, which she needs to prevent another transplant or a life on dialysis.
Purdy rides during a training session on December 16, 2013 in Copper Mountain, Colorado
Purdy is hopeful that she won’t have to face either prospect.
Living through this alone has been a lot to handle.
‘As you can imagine, all of this has once again shifted my perspective,’ she wrote.
‘Our bodies are so strong yet so delicate at the same time. Being an athlete and having prosthetic legs, I have conditioned myself to power through so much.
‘That is what has led me to where I’m at in my life but that’s the paradox because it also led me here.
‘Although I had zero symptoms until a few days before, I realize the pressure I’ve been putting on this leg for quite some time. Just a reminder to listen to those little whispers and put our health and self-care first!’
The Catch-22 situation boils down to contrast dye. The dye is key for doctors to use in MRI scans and surgery as they locate the clot to treat, monitor and remove it. But that dye can prove toxic to transplanted or diseased kidneys, raising the risk of two rare, serious disorders: CIN and NSF