April is Limb Loss Awareness Month, and Dr. Jokima Hiller, a professor and author who lives in Valparaiso, has just released a story/coloring book titled “Sabrina and Her New Shoe: A Story Coloring Book for All Ages,” which chronicles the journey of Sabrina, Dr. Hiller’s custom-made prosthetic leg.
When asked about the impetus for creating the book, Dr. Hiller said: “Within the amputee community, we discuss how we wish people would talk to us and ask us questions instead of staring. Ways to handle seeing others who are different need to be addressed at all levels and among all ages, and adults are encouraged to read this story to their children while they color in an effort to begin this necessary conversation.”
Read on to find out more about Dr. Hiller and her inspiring book.
How did you come to be an amputee?
I was prescribed an estrogen-type of medication and I experienced some side effects after taking it. It prompted me to go to the emergency room, where I was told that blood clots had formed in both of my legs. The blood clots ate away at the muscles in my legs and while doctors were able to save my left leg, that was not the case with my right leg.
Why did you choose the name “Sabrina” for your prosthetic leg?
My goddaughter named her. Shortly after my amputation, while I was still in the hospital, I was visited by a Peer Visitor. She was an amputee who was there to show me that there was life after amputation. She walked beautifully using her prosthesis. She advised me to name my prosthesis so that the multitude of follow-up doctors and physical therapy appointments wouldn’t be so clinical with everyone referring to my prosthetic device or prosthesis. They would be able to refer to my leg by name.
So, when I first brought my leg home, I looked at my goddaughter and asked her for a name, and she looked my leg over and said, “Hmmm … her name is Sabrina!” From that moment on, my prosthetic device was Sabrina and her “personality” was being formed.
How did you think to create a story/coloring book about Sabrina?
It may sound strange, but I have always felt that God chose me to be an amputee. Therefore, I have had this intense push to share my story in some way. It wasn’t until I was telling my story to a colleague that she said chuckled at my “Sabrina stories” and remarked, “Sabrina needs her own coloring book!”
I remembered our conversation, and over the course of 2 ½ years, I worked to put together a story and illustrations that would introduce the world to Sabrina and one way that makes her important to me and her role of a prosthesis important to other amputees.
What was your goal with creating the book?
My goal is to make the world aware that a prosthesis is not just a piece of hardware, but also an important helper in the lives of amputees. Sabrina is my friend. She and other prosthetic legs are necessary. They are real to us in every sense that matters.
Do you have any future plans for more books or more ways to bring awareness to limb loss?
No, no plans. However, when you get to the end of the story of the coloring book, you’ll find that Sabrina may just need yet another new shoe!
Stephanie Groves is the Executive Editor of Indy Maven.
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