The people of PRIDE Industries – their journeys and the obstacles they have overcome – never cease to inspire.
Arvis Ramanis, 58, is a Desktop Support Technician at PRIDE Industries’ corporate headquarters in Roseville, CA. Twenty four years ago, he was diagnosed with an extremely rare type of cancer in the knee. At the time, there were few treatment options for Synovial Cell Sarcoma. Arvis was one of only two people in the world at that time to have this type of cancer.
Typically, the recommended treatment would be amputation of the limb. However, because Arvis was relatively young, his doctor suggested a total knee replacement. In his mid-30’s and with an extremely rare cancer, Arvis agreed. His knee was replaced with prosthesis and life went on for 20 years.
Unfortunately, during the surgery a vein which fed blood to the lower part of the leg was severed. For two decades, Arvis dealt with the painful deterioration of his right leg. Eventually doctors had no choice but to amputate. The leg was removed from below the knee. Soon after, an infection attacked his limb and did not improve. Within six months, Arvis had been through two amputations; his life would never be the same again.
Arvis recalls his initial post-surgery reaction, “When the nurse pulled back the sheet – all of a sudden, I got this weird feeling.” It was a surreal moment, “I envisioned a cartoon character holding up a leg of lamb and it was cut off.”
During the last 24 years, Arvis has overcome many challenges and has made much progress. When asked what helped him during those tough times he says, “Self-assurance and being gentle on myself.” In tough times, it’s understandable to feel defeated or want to give up. Arvis’ journey reminds us that we can defeat the negative thoughts and move forward.
Arvis is a resourceful man. When he needed to find strength to move forward, he found comfort in the words and works of famous authors and motivational speakers. Their wisdom provided the strength and courage he needed to grieve and overcome the loss of his leg.
However, it was a passage in a book by Joel Osteen that helped him most while grieving and healing. The excerpt says, “The bible instructs us to speak toward our mountains. Maybe your mountain is a sickness, perhaps it is a troubled relationship, or your mountain is a floundering business. Whatever your mountain is you must do more than think about it, more than pray about it, you must speak to the obstacle.”
The quote resonated with Arvis and helped him to accept his loss and overcome his grief. “It happened; it was time to move on,” Arvis says. “I wanted to walk again and that motivated me to get past all of that.”
Adjusting to his new way of life was not easy, but he faced it head-on. Eventually, he regained mobility. Arvis was in a wheelchair for a year and half while his leg recovered. Then he transitioned to a prosthetic leg. “I pushed myself to get healthier and stronger to be able to beat this.” Having a prosthetic leg meant re-learning how to do what most of us take for granted – walking. “I fell a couple times, I got hurt, but I got back up and did it all over again.”
“Whatever came in front of me I was not going to let it stop me,” Arvis says. “And, that is the way I look at life.” Determined to walk on his two feet, Arvis gave it his all and pushed himself to overcome the challenge. A little over a year ago, Arvis began walking on his own two feet.
“With two legs you feel like you can do anything,” Arvis says. His victories continue; in early 2014 he returned to driving re-opening a world of independence.
Arvis has one more mountain to overcome; he wants to be able to ride his bike again. One of his long-term goals is to ride around Lake Tahoe – more than 70 miles roundtrip. When he does, we will be sure to share it with you.
People like Arvis touch our lives as do many of the employees of PRIDE Industries. It’s a privilege to know and share their journeys.