Jackie Paul is lucky to be alive.
The Shuswap woman had a traumatic end to 2021 after having her left leg amputated above the knee.
Paul suffered a series of aneurisms, each of which could have been fatal, that led to multiple surgeries on her leg.
She called the ordeal “horrific,” and the trauma was compounded by lack of staffing and COVID concerns postponing her life-saving surgery several times.
In the end, Paul, who works at a treatment centre helping others overcome alcohol and drug addictions, spent six weeks in hospital before the final surgery.
She was discharged Dec. 1.
“I can't even believe I'm alive, to have lived through all the infections,” she said.
This week, Paul was scheduled to be fitted for a prosthetic leg, which she hopes will allow her to once again indulge in her life-long passion of riding motorcycles.
“On Thursday, I hope to walk my first steps in physio in Kamloops,” she said.
Paul has been riding motorcycles for decades and hopes to get back on the blacktop with Pearlgirl, her Victory King Pin.
“Now, I just have to figure out the bike,” said Paul. “I have to figure out how that's going to work with the shifting and the holding of the bike and the balance.
“It's a passion. Passions don't disappear easily. Two legs or one, we're going to make it work.”
Paul said she may have to move to riding a trike — but one way or another she is determined to get back in the saddle.
“I have spoken to a lot of amputee riders who are riding on two wheels, so that's the dream to get back on two wheels,” she said.
Paul said it has been a difficult journey, but she is dealing with the changes and is determined to carry on.
A GoFundMe has been launched to help her cover the cost of a prosthetic and other expenses.