My name is Amy Jordan. I’m an Award- Winning author, speaker, dancer and choreographer.
On May 1, 2009 I was hit and run over by a New York City bus. My right leg was completely crushed. I was taken to a nearby city hospital. The surgical team at the city hospital decided amputating was my only option. I demanded a second opinion and was referred to Dr. Jason Spector.
Dr. Spector's office had me transferred to the William Randolph Hearst Burn Center at New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center. It was here that my nine-surgeon team began the arduous task of rebuilding my right leg, literally bit by bit. The diabetes complicated matters and I had developed osteomyelitis, bacteria in the bone.
The first to operate was HSS trauma surgeon Dr. Dean Lorich. I initially spent a total of 4 months in the hospital. On my first post ICU visit to Dr. Lorich's office he asked, 'so how do you feel about learning to walk again?' I started to cry with gratitude.
He would soon refer me to Dr. Anil Ranawat. The vast amount of surgery I had on the burn unit was limb saving surgery. There was still much work to do, especially focused on my dramatically damaged right knee.
Dr. Ranawat took one look at me and said WOW. I was impressed with his care and attention to detail. I had additional surgery into 210. Most of the concern was around the serious infection of the metal hardware Dr. Lorich ahd used to put my bones back together. The other big obstacle was whether my knee would function.
All the hardware had to be removed and was eventually replaced with a successful bone graft so I could at least walk.
There was still the issue of my knee, as I had no functioning ligaments. After the bone graft situation healed, I followed up with Dr. Ranawat. My options were slim. We began talking about fusing my knee joint. As a lifelong dancer and athlete/fitness instructor the thought of a ‘peg leg’ was unthinkable. I couldn't believe after everything I had been through, which at this point included cardiac trauma and an emergency angioplasty, I would end of with a fused knee or still a possible amputation.
While I was walking the function of my right leg was extremely limited and I was in significant pain.
Dr. Ranawat called in a second opinion from his colleague Dr. Austin Fragomen at the HSS Limb Lengthening and Complex Reconstruction Service (AKA Rock Star). I went to see Dr. Fragomen initially about the knee fusion. He looked at my leg, shook his head and asked me what I did. I responded, 'I am a dancer'. He excused himself, left the room returning a few moments later.
He looked me dead in the eye and said, 'I can't fuse your knee because as an athlete and dancer you will be miserable.'
Over the course of the next year Dr. Fragomen and Dr. Ranawat worked together following my treatment. Ultimately Dr. Fragomen decided on an osteoplasty with an external fixator. Dr. Spector was also involved in the surgery as he had done all the initial vascular repair.
The procedure was September 9, 2011, more than 2 years after the accident. The bacterial infection, with the support of Dr. Barry Hartman, was also fully treated. Together with this amazing surgical ‘Dream Team,’ we had thwarted fusion or amputation and I literally walked back into my new life.
Many amazing moments happened in the years following my accident and subsequent rebuilding. I founded my professional dance company, The Victory Dance Project. The company mission is to ‘Make the Impossible Possible with the Power of Movement.’ I wrote and published my first book: ‘Dance Because You Can’ 5 Steps to Transform Trauma into Triumph. Beyond my own and everyone else’s expectations, I also danced again. I performed with my Victory Dance Project Company on June 15, 2017 in a gala event honoring Broadway legend Ms. Chita Rivera.
I also became the subject of a full-length documentary feature film: Amy’s Victory Dance. The director, Brian Thomas, is a two-time Emmy nominee and Award-Winning director. His long list of credits includes choreography for many entertainment industry icons.
I visited Dr. Fragomen in the summer of 2019 complaining of numbness in my right foot and grueling hip and back pain. This was due to the dislocation of my right knee and literally C curved right tibia.
I was in a mild state of panic heading into that appointment sure my only options, 10 years after my accident, were knee fusion or amputation. The superstar he is, Dr. Fragomen found a solution. He would do another, more intensive osteoplasty, and I would have an external fixator up to six months. This would allow the bones to be moved what would be 15 degrees.
The procedure’s, my 19 and 20th surgeries, were held on October 8, 2019 and February 11, 2020. The surgery and recovery, while challenging, were successful. We averted a major infection. When the fixator was removed in February my bones are now totally STRAIGHT. My hip and back pain are GONE. My walking and movement patterns have improved dramatically, and I continue physical therapy.
I literally owe every step I take to Dr. Fragomen and my entire team at HSS. My debt of gratitude is beyond words.
And a fun fact, Dr. Fragomen and many of my other treating doctors are featured in both my movie trailer and the film. My goal now is that this story is a source of hope and possibility around the globe that any obstacle and become victory and any trauma can be transformed to triumph.
Let’s all ‘Dance Because You Can!’
(Updated on June 5, 2020)