Colorado teen chooses amputation

5:49 PM, Sep 7, 2013   |    comments
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NBC - A Colorado teen was born with a genetic foot disorder, but several surgeries later he still had chronic pain. So, he decided to have both of his legs amputated.

For most 13-year-old boys, having your legs amputated would be the worst.

For Kaleo Niko - he couldn't wait.

"I'm actually really happy because now I don't have to have any more feet pain," Kaleo said. "I just have to go through a couple of more weeks of this and then I'll be good."

Kaleo was born with arthrogryposis. He's had four surgeries on his feet, the first when he was just a few months old. But none of the surgeries took the pain away for good.

And he couldn't do what all the other kids did, like swimming or running or skiing - for more than a few minutes at a time.

"I couldn't keep up with my friends," Kaleo said. "Sometimes I had to just sit out and watch them."

So, he finally decided enough was enough. It was time to get rid of his legs.

"This is the only option, because I've already had four other surgeries," Kaleo said.

"I remember one night he just was looking at me, crying," Helen Niko, his mom, said. "He goes, 'I'm done.'"

Helen was worried about amputation, but she knew this sort of pain something not even a mother's hug could fix.

"As a parent you want to be able to take that pain, but there are some that you can't," Helen said.

If fact, when she was pregnant with Kaleo doctors told her something was wrong and she could abort him. She said no way.

"I just cant imagine not having him here," Helen said.

This past Tuesday at Shriner's Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City, Kaleo's two legs were amputated below the knee.

Finally, except for recovering from the surgery, the pain was gone.

"It feels really weird because I can wiggle my toes, but I don't have any toes," Kaleo said.

He will get prosthetic legs next month - and then go on being a kid for more than a few minutes at a time.

"Yeah, I can't wait for them," Kaleo said. "I just want to get them and go."

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