SAN ANTONIO – The life Mona Patel lives every day is a reminder to her of what almost didn’t happen.
“I was a pedestrian at my university campus,” the single mother of two said. “I was hit twice from behind by a drunk driver.”
Patel said the driver was driving with a .22 blood alcohol content, just under three times the legal limit in California where Patel was attending college.
“He called me every name in the book,” Patel said.
Patel was left with a partially amputated foot and an extensive road to try and salvage her leg below the knee. She was only 17-years-old when it all occurred.
"So you can imagine just the emotions, the questions, the doubts, and the fear at such a young age,” Patel said.
Patel said two years after the accident she found herself dealing with depression.
“Everybody was freaking out,” Patel said. “Saying ‘okay Mona we’ve never seen you cry, we’ve never seen you get upset.’ I was allowing myself to grieve.”
After 20 salvage surgeries and seven years of pain, she decided to move forward with amputation.
“I was getting ready for surgery number 21 and I said to myself, I’m done,” Patel said. “I’m tired of being cut on. I wanted a better quality of life.”
Patel said she is now living a happier life.
She is participating in sports like cycling and mountain climbing and said she recently climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
“I may be climbing these mountains but the sole reason is to come back and share the testimony that you too can get through any mountains in your life,” Patel said.
Patel said she has been mentoring other amputees for the past 20 years and she plans to continue through her new nonprofit, the San Antonio Amputee Foundation.
“With the right people believing in them and belief in themselves they can get through any obstacles that life throws at them,” Patel said. “I truly believe in that.”