Shannon's Story: One woman's tale of survival - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Shannon's Story: One woman's tale of survival

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Shannon Wessinger continues to rehab. Shannon Wessinger continues to rehab.

Shannon Wessinger is 31 years old and learning to walk again. She's relearning those basic skills through an intense rehabilitation therapy program at HealthSouth in Columbia.

Such a competitor, Shannon is hard on herself.

"I know I can do it," said Shannon. "Why, why is it not doing it the way I want to is the biggest issue, making it do what it needs to do. It's more of a fight with myself than it is with anything else."

She pushes herself to learn the basics with new prosthetic legs.

Shannon's mom is a constant source of help. It's not easy putting on arms when you have no hands. Nor is it easy to pick up and throw balls when the hands are not really yours.

Gone are the hands that during high school and college made Shannon a standout pitcher in women's softball at North Central High School and later at Winthrop University, leading her teams to championship victories.

The strong feet that planted her body at the mound are also gone. The athletic body that landed her the job as assistant softball coach and social studies teacher at White Knoll High School struggles these days.

At her home in Lexington, Shannon shares her story while her 2-year-old daughter, Jaime, and 5-month-old son, Shaun, played nearby.

"My mom took me to the emergency room, and I don't really remember much after that," said Shannon.

A day after giving birth to Shaun, Shannon had a tubal ligation. A few days later, she was rushed back to the hospital; she had contracted strep a which later morphed into three near-fatal infections.

"I had Septis and that kind of started in the blood and worked its way into my liver and everywhere else. Everything kind of shut down," said Shannon.

Shannon went into a coma for a month and a half, but she was immediately slammed with news she never expected.

"They were like, 'Uh, well you had to have a full hysterectomy done. You're not gonna have your hands or your feet anymore,' said Shannon.

Her hands and feet died from a lack of blood. They were black and had to be amputated.

Any self-pity, although justified, Shannon pushed aside. She had two children who needed her and a husband who was fulfilling a vow of "in sickness and in health."

"Just knowing that, just knowing that he's gonna be there," said Shannon.

With the unbreaking mentality of a winning athlete, Shannon refuses to show tears. For her, that's weakness. This winner is determined to take literally every step necessary to get back in the game of life.

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