Patient Stories - Jeff Bryan (Dr. Peter Janes, M.D.)
An Avid Skier
My name is Jeff Bryan. In January of 1991 Shattered my Tibia and and Fibula skiing at Breckenridge. I lived in Alma and was avid skier. I remember the incident well. They were going to fly me to Denver and I requested to go to Vail. I was met by Dr. Chapman who said I am going have Dr. Janes Handle this. I was in extreme pain and remember that Amputation was a risk in my Surgery.
Living the Dream
Dr. Janes put two plates, screws and pins into my Tibia and Fibula. I spent a week in the Hospital and trained hard to recover. Soon I would be back to enjoying the outdoors. A couple of years later I had one screw giving me issues. Being a stubborn young man I wanted to try to have it removed with a local Anesthepic. Every time he tried to turn that screw I whimpered. Well I ended up taking his advice and I had surgery and was back to enjoying life. I began cross country skiing whic
h eventually turned to Telemark skiing, I started Rock and Ice Climbing and was living the Dream.
In 2001 I again saw Dr. Janes and he advised another surgery. He took most of the Hardware out and drilled my Talus. He told me Jeff your ankle is getting bad and they just don’t have Ankle replacements even close to your activity level. Dr. Janes said it might not last you much longer. I quickly healed and continued my quest as an Extreme Athlete. In 2001 I jjoined a volunteer fire dept and found my calling. I had no problem meeting the requirements of 15 degrees dorsifexion. My love for the out doors continued as I was fortunate enough to climb and ski I Europe and Asia.
Refusing to Quit
I moved to SW Colorado in 2008 where I took a job as a career Firefighter in the Ute Mountain Ute Reservation. My ankle although painful at time never slowed me down. I started climbing bigger routes and became a very proficient ice climber. In 2011 my ankle finally broke down. I was having allot of pain and working on what turned out to be multiple fractures. I was seen in Durango and Stubborn as usual I refused a fusion and jus t had bones removed. Now a Lieutenant. Training officer and teaching live fire I knew a fusion would be the end of my career. Dr. Janes had given me 20 years that was a blessing. I had far gone beyond expectations and never got to see Dr. Janes again.
A Chance to Thank Him
Now living in Southwest Colorado I had never gotten the chance to thank him and tell him how much life he had given me! I had an Ankle Replacement and worked in excruciating pain for the next three years. More surgeries were recommended. I was tired of being in pain and went to Denver and asked to have my leg Amputated. I was told to go to Vail and have my ankle replacement evaluated. I had a bone scan done and I returned to SW Colorado. On shift working in pain I was called on a Saturday. The bone scan did not look good and Chronic multifocal osteomyelitis needed to be ruled out. I returned and a decision was quickly reached to have me return to Denver for an ERTL Amputation. I had left the SW right after a 72 hour shift and now I was grasping the reality of my life’s path . At 49 years old I looked back at all I had overcome with the help of Dr. Janes. Laying on my daughters couch in Vail i was consumed . I remembered if I really train hard I can do this. I was literally going from working the front lines as a firefighter to an Amputee.
A True Warrior
I had my leg Amputated in April of 2014.
I was discharged from the hospital on my 50th Birthday. I spent the next 11 months repeating what I had done in 1991. I started out riding the stationary bike with one leg. I returned to full duty as a firefighter 11 months later. The first Career Amputee Firefighter in Colorado. I would go on to shatter my own expectations being the First Amputee to climb Ames Ice Hose. Now 54 I continue to serve as a frontline firefighter, teach Military Vets and Children to climb and live the Dream. I am a competitive mountain biker riding with able bodied riders and training for a climb.
In September of 2018 I will be joining some of the most Elite Amputee Athletes as we climb Cotopaxi to raise awareness and funds for The Range of Motion Project.
It has almost been 27 years since my accident. If it were not for that decision to go to Vail that day this story would have never been written. I was trying to just send an Email to thank Dr. Janes and let him know how thankful I was. I saw the story area and figured I would share this. Please just make sure at least Dr Janes gets this follow up report.