Former cheerleader lost both her legs and her confidence, and then she decided to make a change!

Nothing is impossible in the world.

This adage holds more veracity for former cheerleader Nicole Grehn, who lost both her legs due to a rare condition, and today, she has learned how to live her life without them. And happily so.

A Milwaukee, Wisconsin native, Nicole Grehn, 27, nearly died when she went into cardiac arrest at a gas station in 2015. Doctors tried to re-start her heart and only after 78 attempts, did she manage to breathe again.

Three months after the harrowing incident, Nicole was diagnosed with an inherited gene mutation that had gone undetected for 25 years. Known as Catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia (CPVT), it is a rare condition which is characterized by an abnormal heart rhythm.

Recalling what she felt at the time of the diagnosis, the nursing student told DailyMail that she was rushed to the hospital where medical professionals forewarned her parents that she was most likely, not going to survive. However,  fate had other plans for her.

"I was just so lucky that I collapsed in a gas station that was right in front of a hospital in the middle of nowhere just as an ambulance was pulling in," she said.

Doctors at the Howard Young Medical Center in Minocqua, Wisconsin, had to cut open her legs to release the swelling, but when she went into septic shock, they had no choice but to amputate her limbs.

What followed the amputation, was a period of devastation that put her life on hold for some time. "When I realized my legs were gone I cried and cried and cried," she remembered.

"I instantly thought that everything I had worked so hard for over my life was over. It was like I was being punished for anything I had ever done wrong,” Grehn told DailyMail. "It felt like someone had cut a hole in the bed, my legs were dangling down and one person was trying to rip them off while someone else was throwing bricks at me. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy," she added.

Having been a competitive and ambitious woman all her life, being dependant on someone did not come easily to Nicole.

"I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy," she said. "I was also such a go, go, go, person, so to then have people taking care of me and pushing me around..."

Depression, anxiety and phantom limb pain became her constant partners and she felt like she was a prisoner in her own body as she was tied to a wheelchair.

Not the one to give up on life, Nicole did not let her physical inability control her life.

"I hated being in a wheelchair and felt like a prisoner in my own body, so when I began my prosthetics journey it changed everything," she explained.  

Life-changing experience

The trauma of the incident prompted her to pursue a career as a physician assistant to support other victims of limb loss.

"I decided I was going to work my butt off and I did. I was determined to go back to work and school," Grehn said. "That's when I realized, this is where I'm supposed to be. I'm supposed to be in the medical field helping other amputees," she stated in a report published in InsideEdition.

Two years after the distressing incident, Grehn successfully managed to rebuild her life from scratch. She has successfully learned how to walk and run again and couldn't be any happier.

"I have really never been this happy in my entire life," she said. "I didn't really value the things the way I do now. I'm going to be able to help other amputees for the rest of my life, which is incredible," she added.

The experience even prompted her to pursue a career as a physician assistant to help support others who have lost limbs. Grehn is currently employed as a mentor at Hangar Clinic, a facility that provides prosthetic care, and also supports and trains children who have suffered limb loss under the aegis of No Limits Foundation.

"I'm going to be able to help other amputees for the rest of my life, which is incredible," she said. 

Mary Leighton, the founder of the No Limits Foundation, which organizes Camp No Limits events around the US, described Nicole as a wonderful mentor.

"She had to relearn how to live her life despite her limb loss and her heart condition but she did not let this hold her back," she conceded.

We wish Nicole all the very best in her future endeavors.

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Tarunika Rajesh


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