Alice to the rescue!
When her fella lost his leg, their little girl got busy with the bricks. lianne Cronin, 31, from Oldbury, shares a tale of love and lego
Pulling off his shoes after a shopping trip, my husband Marc, 30, grimaced. ‘I’ve got a nasty blister,’ he said. ‘Can’t feel a thing, though.’
Marc had diabetes and feeling numb to wounds was one of the common problems.
But three months later, in November 2014, the blister on his left foot was infected. Badly.
Surgeons removed three toes and the ball of his left foot in an emergency bid to save his leg.
When the bandage was removed, his face fell.
‘It’s so ugly!’ he gasped. ‘Looks like a Monster Munch.’
He wasn’t wrong, but at least he still had a foot...
‘Let’s wait for it to heal,’ I soothed.
I quit my job in retail management to look after him.
Putting up the Christmas decorations that year,
I didn’t feel very festive.
But for the sake of our daughter Alice, 4, I got on with things, buying her lots of presents, wrapping them and placing them under our twinkling tree.
Marc was gutted not to be able to take her to Santa’s Grotto like before.
Come Christmas morning, Alice squealed, unwrapping boxes of her favourite toy. Lego!
She spent hours building huge, colourful towers around the house.
Meanwhile, Marc hobbled about with a special boot and crutches, determined to get better.
We quietly saw in the new year at home and toasted to a better 2015 with mugs of tea.
In January, Marc had a skin graft from his thigh to help his foot heal, but it failed.
Only able to put pressure on the outside of his foot, the muscles in Marc’s ankle had weakened.
He struggled to walk, and couldn’t bear to look at his foot any more – the very sight of it making him sad.
‘What have I been left with?’ he cried.
‘It’s OK, love,’ I comforted.
Yet things were anything but.
Self-conscious, Marc stopped going out. Cut himself off from friends. He’d been forced to quit his warehouse job, felt aimless.
And he was unable to help with Alice’s nursery runs.
So, when doctors suggested
a procedure to fix nerve damage in his foot and give him back his mobility, we were thrilled.
But there was a snag. It only had a 50/50 chance of success.
If it failed, the surgeon would have to amputate Marc’s leg from the knee down.
For the next few months, Marc and I deliberated.
‘Whatever you decide, we’ll manage,’ I said.
I only wanted Marc to be happy again.
Over the next few weeks, he even posted polls on Facebook asking friends their opinion. Finally, he made a decision. He wanted to skip straight to the amputation.
With physiotherapy and a prosthetic, it was a given he’d get back on his feet. Albeit, with one fake one… Counting down the weeks to the op in June 2016, we were strangely excited.
‘Daddy’s going to hospital,’ I told Alice. ‘Half his leg will be gone, but he’ll be better.’ ‘Really?!’ she asked, wide-eyed. Marc’s surgery took place at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham, and the next day I took Alice there.
‘How’s your foot, Daddy?’ she asked.
‘It’s gone!’ he laughed. He lifted the sheet, showed the space left behind and her eyebrows shot up.
It would be a few months before he could be fitted for a prosthetic.
Weeks later, Alice prodded his stump, looking at the neat scar.
‘I’ve got an idea!’ she said, marching upstairs to grab a box. Then she tipped the contents over the carpet.
‘What are we doing with all that Lego?’ Marc quizzed.
‘Building you a new leg!’ Alice announced.
We couldn’t help but laugh as Alice carefully measured Marc’s limb.
We joined in, guiding her with the build, working around the stump.
‘Ta-da!’ Alice squealed 90 minutes later.
‘I love it!’ Marc laughed, holding it in place.
Marc posted the picture on Facebook, then shared it on the website Reddit.
Hundreds of people praised his attitude and sense of humour.
You’re an inspiration!
We were baffled by the interest – but everyone was so nice, we couldn’t complain.
When Marc finally got his real prosthetic, he took it off every 20 minutes till he got used to it.
By June 2017, he was doing much better, even joining West Bromwich Albion’s amputee football team.
Now, he talks at schools about diabetes.
Marc has a blister on his right foot now. There’s a chance he could lose that leg, too...but we hope it won’t come to that.
If it does, we’ll be OK. We got through it once and we’ll build ourselves up again.
Brick by brick!
Me and Alice: here for Marc
The brightest prosthetic ever!