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I am a 35 year old woman who is recently single, with lots of pets. In 2006, I lost my right leg in Iraq during a routine patrol in Baghdad. During the attack, I also sustained a third-degree burn to my entire left shin that required a skin graft, and the extreme amount of blood that I lost that day caused my heart to stop, twice. The doctors finally managed to resuscitate me, but it was too late; a portion of my brain had sustained irreversible permanent damage. During a routine MRI months later, my doctors discovered my brain injury had caused me to sustain the foundation for a Parkinson's-like movement disorder, and they gave me a less than glorious prognosis.

My rehabilitation started out as a not very enjoyable experience for myself, my family members and my many therapists. I was angry and confused, with many unanswered questions.  What was I supposed to do now?  How was I supposed to make a living? How was I going to GO ON? It finally dawned on me a few months into my recovery that my leg wasn’t going to grow back on its own.  So, I came to the conclusion at that point that if it wasn’t going to be handed to me, I was going to have to go and get it myself.

So at this point I started getting serious about learning how to walk again. I remember it being so incredibly difficult. I had to re-train all the muscles in my thigh to work differently than they were trained for the last 30 years. Not only that, but I had spent the last 6 months in a hospital bed. So I tried and tried. I finally got to where I could walk a few steps on my prosthetic, but then I had to sit down. Every step I took I had to hold my hip and keep it from releasing out of my control.  The process wasn’t getting any easier, and I couldn’t imagine doing this forever. So I went to a specialist who took an X-Ray of my leg while I was wearing my prosthesis, and I was told my femur was too short for my adductor muscle to attach properly. This is the muscle that runs on the inside of my leg, and it basically keeps my hip in line with my leg. So, my doctors lengthened my femur. How did they do this, you might ask? The ingenious doctors I had a Brooke Army Medical Center had a breakthrough new procedure they wanted to try on me that had never been tried before on amputees. They cut my femur in two, attached a titanium frame and screws, and I turned the screws every day. It was a simple idea, but it was every bit as painful as it sounds. I had to have an unforeseen surgery where they re-broke my femur when it healed too fast and fused together. It was even more painful when I decided I didn’t want that surgery again, and resolved to turn the screws 4 times as fast as my doctors told me to.

After that surgery was over, I went through some personal trials and tribulations when I decided to divorce my husband of 4 years, and live on my own, and my medical board finally finished and I was at long last retired from the Army after 10 years. I have decided for now not to get up on my prosthetic and walk yet, because when I do I want it to be the last time, and I want to be physically and emotionally ready. So for now I am in my wheelchair.

During my rehabilitation, I had an occupational therapist who told me I needed to take up a hobby that used my fine motor skills, so I could gain control of my movement disorder. So, I picked up my first pair of pliers, and in 2009 Tara Hutch Jewelry Designs was born. I have a website that is it its infancy (tarahutchjewelry.net) but for now I mostly sell my jewelry through my Facebook page (Tara Hutch Jewelry Designs or Tara Hutchinson) This is a brand new venture for me and I am just starting to learn the basics of marketing and business administration.  

I specialize in semi-precious and precious gemstone jewelry in silver, 14K, 18K and 14K gold filled with high quality craftsmanship and materials. All of my pieces are sold with a lifetime guarantee on the workmanship, and with proper care I will repair or replace any of my jewelry if it breaks or malfunctions in any way, ever. I ship all of my jewelry through USPS priority mail for free, and accept credit cards and Pay Pal as methods of payment.

This has all been a great experience for me, and I would be lying if I said I wouldn’t change anything. But I do feel that things happen for a reason, and I know that I have grown as a person because of what I have experienced, and I have met so many amazing people because of what I have been through, so I am thankful for that, and I am thankful for all of those who have stood by me through thick and thin.


January 19, 2011



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