Doing Disney World with a New Foot

Multi-Generational Travel

A prosthetic leg doesn’t keep grandma down on a multigenerational trip to Epcot and the Magic Kingdom

Despite being petite, my mom, Ruth, has always been a strong person. After having a few different careers, first as a cashier, then as a bookkeeper and later owning a full-service retail travel agency, she decided to retire, but she and my dad kept traveling.

Then something unexpected came up. After dealing with an issue on the heel of her right foot, it turned out to be a cancerous spot. My dad took my mom to Mayo Clinic, thinking they would just remove the cancerous spot. Instead, the doctors told her, “I’m sorry, but we’re going to have to amputate your right foot.” They scheduled surgery on Monday, and over the weekend, she thought, “If the cancer’s spread, why should I have to lose my foot if this isn’t a 100% cure?”

Getting ready for our next fun ride!

Getting ready for our next fun ride! Photo courtesy of Cindy Bertram

Fortunately, the cancer had not spread to the rest of her body, and the surgery was a success. When my mom was coming out of surgery and the anesthetic, the first thing she told my dad was, “When I get fitted with my fake foot, I’m going to Disney World, and I’m taking my daughters!”

Ruth dealt with a lot of pain during post-surgery recuperation. At first, my dad and our family were concerned about how she was going to handle this emotionally. A highly active grandmother, she’d worked all her life. But she got fitted with her prosthetic leg and a few months later was walking around like a pro. She got the hand controls put on her car, went through training and was able to drive again. And holding to those words she had uttered to my dad while coming out of surgery, she took my sisters, me, my nieces and nephew to Walt Disney World that August for a special trip.

We all love a second pair of ears.

We all love a second pair of ears. Photo courtesy of Cindy Bertram

This was mom’s first vacation since becoming an amputee, but everything fell into place. My dad thought this should be a special trip for Ruth and the girls and grandkids, so he decided not to go. We got down to Walt Disney World safely and arrived at our hotel, where we would spend the next five days. After watching the Main Street Parade in the Magic Kingdom, our first ride was Pirates of the Caribbean. My mom jumped out of her wheelchair, used her cane to walk over to the boats and hopped in like a pro.

A funny role reversal occurred that week. My younger niece, Evie, 11 years old at the time, overdid it a bit with dinner one evening.

The next morning, she complained she was feeling too sick to visit Epcot. So, she and her mom stayed at the hotel while the rest of us went to Epcot. After resting up, Evie finally told her mom she would go to Epcot, but only if her mom rented a wheelchair for her to use. Laurie, her mom (and my sister), did that, and they met us at Epcot.

Evie still seemed a bit somber, so Ruth decided to get her in a better mood. Ruth grabbed the wheelchair Evie was in and started pushing her fast to get to the next ride we were going to take! Yes, we were then left with Ruth’s empty wheelchair, which we pushed, trying to catch up!

We all had an amazing fun time during this special trip to Walt Disney World. And watching my mom so active on that trip was proof that nothing was going to hold her back!

Cindy Bertram

Cindy Bertram

Cindy Bertram is an author, speaker, marketer, content creator and storyteller with 20+ years of diverse marketing and public relations experience, including work in the travel industry. Never at a loss for ideas and topics, she says she can practically write in her sleep, but doesn’t! Her MBA from Loyola University Chicago and BA in liberal arts combine well with her creative edge.

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