Love conquering life without limbs

By Emilie Ng

Devoted married couple Matthew and Diane Ames are living proof that a strong marriage can help conquer any struggle, even life without limbs.

The St Thomas Camp Hill parishioners have been married for nearly 20 years, but their relationship tightened when Mr Ames had all four limbs amputated less than three years ago.

The two “soulmates” as they call themselves shared their story at the recent Assembly of Catholic Professionals luncheon on February 26.

In 2012, Mr Ames lost all four limbs after contracting a bacterial infection that led to toxic shock syndrome and Necrotising fasciitis, or flesh eating disease.

Doctors had already attempted to save his life by amputating his left arm, but his organs continued to shut down. “They said there was one thing they could do in terms of surgery and that was amputating his remaining arm and two legs but it would be a one per cent chance of him surviving that,” Mrs Ames said.

“(Matthew’s family and I) all agreed that Matthew was the person that should be saved and that he would be the person that could handle waking up with no arms and legs.

“I made the decision for our (four) children to have their dad because even if there was a one per cent chance of saving Matthew I needed to do it for the kids so they could have their dad because he’s an awesome dad.”

Mr Ames said when woke from the surgery, “knowing Diane was there meant that I just kind of knew that everything was going to be ok”.

“It really helped me accept what Diane was telling me because she was telling me, and that meant a lot to me,” he said.

“Matthew is my soul mate, my best friend, and he’s a fantastic dad as well, so I couldn’t let that go,” Mrs Ames said.

“If there was any chance to save Matthew I was going to take it.”

Mrs Ames said she and her husband “intertwined more than we’ve ever been”.

“I couldn’t love Matthew any more than I do right now because he’s worked so hard to stay here with us,” Mrs Ames said.

“Diane has to put up with me at home more than she used to,” Mr Ames said.

“We’re a bit like a retired couple with four young kids.

“Lucky we like the chaos.”

Mr Ames is now using “training arms” made of titanium bolt implanted into his limbs in a process called osseo integration.

He is working numerous projects with Catholic youth ministry Project Hatch and has told his story at Catholic schools in Brisbane.

The couple have written their story in a memoire, Will to Live which was launched in July 2014

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