Woman Has Her Leg Cut Off So She Can Wear High Heels
21-year-old New Yorker Mariah Serrano was born with a painfully twisted club foot, and had never worn high heels in her life. She’d attend...
Like many other girls from New York, Mariah dreamed of a job in fashion, but it seemed like her leg-situation was going to get in the way of that too. “When I was told I’d never be able to wear high heels and I should give up my dream career, I was devastated,” she said.
So when a specialist told her in 2009 that she had another option – to have her leg amputated, she seriously considered it. “Mum was horrified but I couldn’t get the idea out of my head. I had to give it some serious thought.”
A club foot is an easily-corrected childhood condition by bracing or surgery. But Mariah endured five operations and wore leg braces all her life with no improvement. It came to a point where she was sick of the braces and longed to wear normal shoes.
Mariah was still considering the amputation when she read something that helped her make the decision. “It wasn’t until I read an article about my favorite designer Alexander McQueen, who’d made a pair of prosthetic legs for athlete Aimee Mullins that I knew what I had to do.” Mariah realized that a beautifully crafted prosthetic could look good. And at that moment, she chose to chop off her leg.
In the summer of 2009, Mariah underwent surgery to have her leg surgically removed. It wasn’t easy for her; the post-surgery complications turned out to be a nightmare. As the wound struggled to heal, she did have her moments of regret. “I wondered what on earth I had done,” she said. “I didn’t go out and didn’t want my friends to come over and see me. It was really hard.”
Eventually the wound healed well, and that winter, her family presented her with her first pair of heels – white basket woven Alice + Olivia platform wedges. Mariah was thrilled. “As I teetered around the living room wearing them, I knew I’d done the right thing,” she said.
Not long after the surgery, Mariah landed her dream job. She works as a social media manager at top fashion label Betsey Johnson. “I’ve never felt so glamorous or empowered,” she said.
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Despite her success, Mariah sometimes forgets that she doesn’t have a foot anymore. “Choosing to have my leg cut off was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I still wake up sometimes and wonder where it is.” Sometimes she leaps out of bed, forgetting that she doesn’t have a leg, and falls over. She says she’s still getting used to it.
The prosthetic does make Mariah feel conscious sometimes, but she has learned not to take it too seriously. “My friends are always joking around with my fake leg.” But she also says that her leg has given her so much more confidence and helped her achieve the life she wanted. I suppose her decision was the right one, then.