When Tessa Snyder was only 11, she made a decision that would alter the way she looked quite likely forever. But it’s not like she had a lot of choices either. At such a tender young age, she had been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. To treat her, she had to undergo a treatment that caused her to lose two things that she desperately loved. Sadly, only one of these things would grow back. But jump a couple of years later and you’ll see that her big decision as a child certainly didn’t affect the amazing individual this woman grew into.
When Tessa Snyder from Philadelphia was 11, she chose to have her right leg amputated to save her life. Snyder was diagnosed with bone cancer, which meant she had to undergo chemotherapy for seven months. Then her family told her that the best way to keep the tumor from coming back was to amputate her leg. It was a tough call, but she did it.
Confined To Wheelchair
Snyder was confined to a wheelchair and monitored for three months to ensure the cancer was gone. In January 2001, doctors told her that she was cancer-free. It was an unforgettable day, but she knew that without her leg, her life would never be the same again. And no matter how badly she tried to forget, the reflection in the mirror reminded her of what she’d been through.
When she first came to the hospital, she had long brown hair, which she loved as much as her right leg. The doctors and nurses warned her the chemotherapy would cause hair loss, so they asked her to consider cutting it off, which she did. But she felt vulnerable and weird. To fit in, she tried on wigs like this one.
Remembering The Agony
Fortunately, her cancer ordeal is far behind her, but she can still remember the agony she had felt. She told the Daily Mirror, “I had chemotherapy almost every week for about seven months. After the first two months of chemotherapy, the idea of an amputation was brought up to me. The procedure would involve cutting above where the tumor was to limit any chance of cancer coming back. I think my parents wanted to give me some sort of power by giving me the chance to decide what I wanted to do. Even in my 11-year-old mind I thought if I could get rid of my leg and never have to go through this again, why not?"
This is Snyder today, and as you can see, she’s looking amazingly healthy. Over the years, she learned to accept her prosthetic leg, which rewarded her by giving her the mobility. Now she’s embracing everything that her artificial limb has done for, and she’s proud of her younger self for making the decision that saved her life. She said, “If I get to help one person through my journey, then my purpose on earth is worth it. Almost 20 years later, I am proud to say to that little 11-year-old girl, thank you for not giving up.”