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Step by step, marathon amputee reinvents her life

October 14, 2013 • National News


ADVANCE FOR USE TUESDAY, OCT. 15, 2013 AND THEREAFTER – In this Wednesday, July 3, 2013 photo, Mery Daniel, a Boston Marathon bombing survivor, pauses while she talks with her physical therapist Jessica Guilbert, while she takes a break from exercising with her prosthetic leg at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston. Daniel, a 31-year-old medical school graduate, lost most of her left leg in the blast that killed three people and injured more than 260 others. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

BOSTON (AP) — In late May, Mery Daniel went back to Boylston Street.

Six weeks before, on April 15, she had joined the throng of spectators at the Boston Marathon. She’d treated herself to hot chocolate and a pancake at a cafe before heading alone to the finish line to cheer runners at the end of America’s most famous race.

“This is where I was,” she said, her wheelchair gliding to a stop outside the Marathon Sports store.

It was on this spot that everything changed — where twin pressure cooker bombs exploded, killing three people and injuring more than 260 others, including at least 16 people who lost a limb or limbs. It was on this spot where the world came to regard Daniel, a 31-year-old medical school graduate and Haitian immigrant, as a victim.

“God bless you,” a young guitarist told Daniel outside Marathon Sports, before quickly taking his song somewhere else on the street.

Before the bombing, she had loved to roam and explore Boston, the city where she had become an American citizen five years earlier.

“Please save my legs,” she had begged the doctors before blacking out in the operating room.

But they amputated her left leg above her knee before she woke up. It was the price she paid for her life. Her heart had stopped twice after she lost consciousness.

Daniel’s wheelchair stood out when she returned to Boylston Street. Strangers saw her on the street, and a question flickered in some of their eyes: Was she one of the marathon bombing amputees?

She no longer could blend easily into a crowd, or go where she wanted when she wanted. But Daniel was determined to go forward without fear, and to see herself as a survivor, not a victim. To do that, she knew she would have to walk again.

___

Daniel heard the boom seconds after staking out a spot across from Boston Public Library’s central branch.

Suddenly, she was on the ground, her lower left leg dangling by skin, its bone split open and arteries and nerves blown to bits. A pancreatic laceration left Daniel bleeding on the inside. Projectiles ravaged the rear of her right calf, and doctors had to cut away ruined muscles and tendons and graft skin from elsewhere on her body to repair what they could.

Daniel did not cry when she awoke from surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital. And she did not cry on all the days Login to read more

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