Family faces tough choice to amputate daughter's leg
LONGWOOD, Fla. —Jazmine Gonzales is energetic, loves her parents and enjoys playing with her sisters, but her life isn't easy.
She was born with Klippel-Trenaunay Syndrome. She is in constant pain and hasn't been able to walk on her right leg for six years.
"I was on the couch, and I just was holding my leg and was like, 'I just want my leg cut off,'" Jazmine said.
"Trying to imagine the pain that our child has to be asking for the amputation has to be so intense," said her mother, Esperanza Gonzales.
KTS was found when Jazmine was only a few days old.
She spent the first two months of her life in a hospital.
Her family found a doctor in New York to treat her KTS when she was 1 year old.
Jazmine has been through nearly two dozen surgeries to stop bleeding from the rare disorder and to help with the constant discomfort from her leg.
"How could we not move forward and ask the doctors, 'What can we do to take this pain away from her? Can she walk again? Can we amputate her leg?'" her mother asked.
Jazmine, her family and her doctor have been preparing for six months to get ready for the July 1 amputation. Jazmine goes to therapy twice a week to manage pain and prepare her body for a prosthetic.
"I think I'll be able to do anything with a new leg," she said. "I'm going to be free."
Jazmine's doctor plans to amputate her leg at the knee.
The surgery doesn't remove the KTS, but Jazmine's doctor thinks it will reduce pain, and she shouldn't need frequent surgeries.
"I'm just itching to go. I just want to drop the crutches and run," Jazmine said.
Jazmine starts seventh grade in the fall at her Longwood middle school, where she wants to encourage other kids who feel different.
"I would tell them not to give up. I would inspire them to just not care what other people think," she said.
Jazmine is donating her leg to science with the hope that researchers will learn more about KTS.