Carla’s story: Finding a new purpose after limb loss

Amputation Success stories

A single mom of a young teenager, Carla Bisanti was accustomed to living life always on the go. However, a blood clot that caused the loss of her left hand and circulation in her right leg threatened to change that.

When the clot occurred, Bisanti was rushed to the hospital and underwent several surgeries.

“By the time I got airlifted to the hospital, they didn’t know what was going on,” Bisanti said. “On the third surgery, my blood was clotting as thick as yogurt in front of their eyes. The clots went into the veins in my fingers, and once that happens, it’s pretty much done with. There’s not much they could do, so I lost the hand.”

The clot then traveled to Bisanti’s right leg, restricting circulation for seven days. Though she didn’t lose the leg, she did have to learn how to walk all over again. That’s when she was referred to Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Altamonte Springs.

Occupational therapy helped Bisanti learn to navigate life after an upper extremity amputation and physical therapy worked to help her walk again—and keep up with her 13-year-old son.

“When you’re a single mom and your child all of a sudden is tying your shoes for you, it’s a very weird sensation,” she said. “Plus, I couldn’t keep up with him walking.”

Now, Bisanti spends her days baking with her son and catching movies—one of their favorite activities—and working as a prosthetic sales representative, a career change inspired by her own experiences. Often, she gets to visit patients at Encompass Health Altamonte Springs, answering their questions from the unique perspective only an amputee can share.

“When this happens, you have so many questions about life,” Bisanti said. “Now that I’m on the other side, my life is actually more enriched than before my amputation, and I want to let people know that.”

Optimism, though it can be challenging to come by at times, is a key piece of a successful recovery, Bisanti said, and it’s a message she imparts on every patient she meets.

“My motto was, ‘Crying in a corner isn’t going to grow this back, and it doesn’t make me walk,’” she said. “When I got here, I was ready to go because I was ready to get back to my life, my son and my job.”