Mike Roman began his arduous journey through pain and despair just after Thanksgiving in 1994. With courage, hope and support to overcome perhaps the highest degree of adversity, Mike has persevered to tell his story. While he lost his entire right leg and years of his life along the way to severe chronic pain, Mike now wants millions of others to know that giving up is not an option.
It all began simply enough when Mike tore a ligament in his knee while playing basketball with some friends. A surgical assistant in St. Louis at the time, Mike had what he thought was a “simple” surgery to repair the tear. Mike had no idea what was in store for him when he soon contracted a severe staph infection from the surgery.
Throughout the next several months and after numerous unsuccessful surgeries, Mike was told that an above the knee amputation may be in order. On July 25, 1995, Mike had his right leg amputated above the knee and was fitted for a prosthetic. By August 1999, his entire right leg from the hip joint would require amputation.
As with many amputees, immediately after surgery Phantom Limb Pain began. The pain was constant in a limb that no longer existed! The pain was so horrific that Mike could not get out of bed for more than 3-5 hours per day, and his emotions were contingent on the dose of narcotics that he was prescribed. Mike was unable to be a father or husband, and felt like he had failed because of his physical absence.
After 38 surgeries and 12 years of combating illness, Mike is back on track pursuing his dreams of being a race driver with the goal of being the world’s fastest hip disarticulation patient. In 2009, he not only achieved that goal, but he blew it out of the water as Mike established 5 new world land speed records!
Mike speaks of the importance of determination, family teamwork, setting goals and the perseverance to achieve them. He now lives by the motto: “Dreams come true if you have the courage to dream them!”