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Atrium Health: Losing a Foot to Save a Life

Oftentimes, big life stories begin when we’re focused elsewhere. In 2013, Jenn Andrews’ focus was on her first pregnancy and a little self-care, when a pedicure technician felt a small bump on Jenn’s foot. What seemed so trivial that day would become so important later. That bump was a tumor – myxoid sarcoma, a rare and potentially life-threatening form of cancer. Despite an initial attempt at removing the tumor, it eventually came back, and now Jenn faced a daunting choice five years later: She could cure the cancer only by losing her foot.

We don’t think about feet much, but suddenly it was all Jenn thought about. She’s an active 33-year-old wellness coach, mom and fitness buff. Those feet allowed her to exercise with clients, to keep up with her two young kids, to enjoy barre and cycling classes with friends. What would life be without one of her feet? Who would she become? The thought of it spiraled the usually bubbly and outgoing Jenn into another version of herself: quiet, defeated, alienated.

But it wasn’t her feet that allowed Jenn to do those things; it was her spirit. And soon, strangers and friends alike would remind Jenn that she still had plenty of that... Read More

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