Pete Lausch's RHEO KNEE XC Story
In 2014 I was diagnosed with Renal Cell Carcinoma with a 112mm tumour off the side of my left kidney. I underwent a ‘radical nephrectomy’ surgery whereby my entire kidney was removed. Two years later we found a tumour on my left knee and unfortunately radiation and chemotherapy didn’t work so I went into surgery again with a Global Modular Knee Replacement System and it was out with the old knee and in with the new. Regrettably, I did not allow my leg to heal fully before getting back into action and a small hole that didn’t fully heal over from the skin graph started to get infected. In 2017 I had to go back into surgery for a new GMR replacement, so here I am now, a left transfemoral amputee.
My stump continued to change, and I was constantly getting new sockets fitted, it’s hard but you need to keep moving forward. I see other amputees walking around without any noticeable change in their gait, so I knew I could do it too. I was lucky I have had great support from my prosthetist which I have had the pleasure to work with, as well as family and friends. I have had a long and turmoil road to where I am now, but it has been worth every upset and gain, from pushing hard for what I wanted, to being open to what I am being told. I am now 52 and have only been an amputee for a short time, but I give credit to others more worse off than me and I will always maintain that I am still blessed because I have someone that looks over me and guides me in the journey of life.
I was fitted with the RHEO KNEE XC and Pro-Flex XC and this has changed everything for me. The combination of the RHEO KNEE XC and Pro-Flex XC foot feels more stable when walking over rough terrain, stepping over objects or lifting my leg up to get into the car. When I am swinging my leg to manoeuvre over various terrains, the leg locks for 3 seconds (extension hold) to help with stability. This feature enables me to perform tasks such as accessing the brake pedal in a car as any able-bodied person could do. The RHEO KNEE XC also helps me carry heavier loads, forming and fabricating a concrete slab, and I can use a whipper snipper for a longer time.
I can walk longer distances and the knee joint offers strength and the flexibility to be able to give me good posture and a correct walking gait. When I walk it gives the required resistance I need for stability and it is great for longer walking distances as the swing in the knee is very light and feels connected. I have more freedom to go off the level pathways and walk on uneven bushland. The Pro-Flex XC feels strong when stepping on uneven ground and the foot flex’s and takes the shock.
Another great function of the RHEO KNEE XC is being able to walk up and down stairs (step-over-step) easier, and although I may not look the best doing it, I can still do it!
One of the most impactful changes to my day-to-day activity since being fitted with the RHEO KNEE XC and Pro-Flex XC combination is helping me ride my motorbike. I use the motorbike as a daily means of transport for work. The knee and foot combination helps with stability when stopping at traffic intersections as well as stepping off and on the bike. The Pro-Flex XC sits nicely on the foot platform of my bike, giving me stability.
Late in the afternoons, when I’m tired, I sometimes don’t lift my leg up high enough and the toes catch the ground. I would have normally tripped with my older knee, but the RHEO KNEE XC locks up and helps me re-step or stops me from tripping over. It also provides support and a firm stance when standing for long periods.
Overall, what I enjoy the most about my RHEO KNEE XC and Pro-Flex XC is the freedom of getting up and walking again with ease. I feel like I am walking normally again. If I have long pants on and the socket is a good fit that day, I know I can walk like I don’t have any issues, and no one would recognise my disability.