Meet Inspiring Patient: Torie Mugo
Location: Aurora, Colorado
Overcoming a limb challenge
Please tell us about the limb challenge that you faced.
Torie: I am a mother, wife, and avid athlete. I was born and raised in Nairobi-Kenya and traveled to the United States at the age of 19 to pursue further studies.
After graduating with a degree in International Business, my husband and I started a Real Estate and Property Management company. I became a mother at the age of 35 and unfortunately lost my limbs three years later.
In January 2019 I walked into the ER with flu-like symptoms and was diagnosed with Walking pneumonia. The infection had spread rapidly and aggressively in my lungs causing a blood infection – sepsis. I immediately went into septic shock following hospital admission. The intervention to save my life required a medically induced coma, life support, ECMO and dialysis following lung and kidney failure. Unfortunately, the ECMO intervention could only supply oxygenated blood to my vital organs compromising blood circulation in my limbs. The doctors gave me a 2% chance of survival. I remained in the medically induced coma for about four weeks, at which point my limbs had become necrotic for lack of blood circulation. I beat the odds at the immense joy of my family and friends and began the grueling journey into life’s second chance. My ultimate vision was to run again and-in that journey, stay true to my cherished roles as daughter, sister, mummy, wife, and friend. I was discharged from the hospital in April 2019. Without insurance coverage for my needs as an amputee, I did not have immediate rehab or physical therapy. You see, my husband and I, unfortunately, had to put our business on hold after the challenges that came with my hospitalization, our loss of income, and ultimately our home. This did not discourage me. I was grateful for life and with that came purpose. I refused to feel sorry for myself and in the spirit of “Mind over Matter,” exercised (rehabbed) myself back to strength at my family’s home of course following the direction of the hospital rehab I had been receiving.
Being an avid athlete before my limb loss greatly helped this process. My friends in the medical community referred me to NGOs that assisted amputees in my situation. My application to one NGO- The RSVP clinic by Craig Hospital- was successful. This immediately provided me with walking prosthetics with the help of Rise and Hanger prosthetics in July 2019. However, physical therapy coverage wouldn’t start till later than September 2019. My determination to walk could not wait till September. So, I asked a friend to build me a wooden railing in my family’s garage and with that and continued strength exercises I self-taught myself to walk. By September 2019, in time for physical therapy, I had already registered for my first 5K walk by Sepsis Alliance, which I successfully completed with my family and friends and followed on to a 2nd 5K – Ragnar Colorado. Also, in September 2019, I became a Co-founder of a Sepsis Support Group at The Medical Center of Aurora – where I was hospitalized. The support group is a channel to sepsis survivors and their families.
During COVID year 2020, I kept busy by training family and communities in the states and abroad to exercise through Zoom. Around March 2021 the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) awarded me running blades. I went on to complete Tough Mudder Colorado (10.5 miles) in July 2021, my first half marathon and a triathlon as part of a relay team at the San Diego Community Challenge in October 2021, 2nd half marathon -Denver Colfax Marathon 2022, Bolder Boulder Colorado 10K 2022, 2nd San Diego Community challenge 2022- 4.5 hours of bike,, Bolder Boulder 2023, just to name a few. I am looking forward to making more history as an inspiring athlete.
I also cook with my son, volunteer in limb communities like the Limb Preservation Foundation, and mentor new amputees through my founded Sepsis Support Group. I credit my family and friends and various amputee communities for the incredible support that I continue to receive daily. Faith is what makes me shine because it fuels my purpose. My motto is “I am enough, all I have is all I need.”
Limb Preservation Foundation (LPF): How are you doing now? What progress are you most proud of?
I am still taking it one moment at a time, especially with year-round neuropathy pain. Challenges for me are opportunities to grow. I am proud of being in a position to support other amputees, especially new amputees. Most of all I am a proud mum.
What would you want other people in the same position to know?
No grave situation is permanent. Your mindset is your greatest step forward because there is always an opportunity in challenges.
What kind of support did you appreciate most?
What has been the most challenging part of your journey?
What was something you didn’t expect on your journey or in recovery?
What do you wish people knew about Limb Loss?
What is next for you? What are your hopes for the future? What are some goals you have related to your limb challenge?
Be a certified amputee trainer. Create a foundation that affords other amputees daily life needs.