TOPEKA (KSNT)– A setback in life can make or break someone but for one Topeka woman, an amputation made her appreciate life even more. It also encouraged her to do all the things she loves, on one leg.
The days can get busy for a city attorney like Amanda Stanley. We can all only imagine what each day looks like for her since she is the attorney representing the Topeka municipality.
“You don’t think about how the city attorney’s office is so involved in all the different various departments,” Stanley said. “Helping solve problems, and helping move things forward. I love it. No two days are the same. You get to do a lot of interesting work.”
Stanley is used to these crazy, and sometimes unpredictable days. She worked as a lobbyist at one point and on the Court of Appeals. But before she graduated and worked in law, she was studying to get into med school.
“I realized that I really liked it,” Stanley recalled. “And I was stuck in the mindset at the time, where like if something is easy, you shouldn’t do it. You should only do things that are hard for you. So I got a biology degree even though that is not what I am naturally good at, at all.”
But imagine this, you’re in medical school learning the ins and outs of the industry in your 20s. Then you get the news no one really prepares for.
“Turns out I had a tumor the size of a football in my pelvic cavity,” she recalled.
In 2009, she was diagnosed with cancer. Shortly after her diagnosis, she got the tumor removed. She was in remission for six months until she found out it was back.
“Then they went in thinking they were going to remove the recurrence,” she said. “Unfortunately, the cancer had spread everywhere. So 10 days later, they amputated half my pelvis and my leg.”
In May of 2010, at 24 years old, Stanley had to relearn everything she did before her amputation. From walking on one leg to washing her face and falling correctly so she didn’t break something. She also enjoyed golfing in her free time and in college, but even that was going to look different. A hardship she was not going to back away from.
“First two questions I asked is, ‘How will I drive and how will I play golf?'”
Thanks to her dad and college coach giving her free lessons and teaching her how to play again, she was back.
“That was a really important thing for helping me feel like life was back under control,” Stanley said.
Stanley has been in remission for almost 13 years now. She left med school and found a passion for law. She’s new to working as the city attorney, but each day she makes it her goal to fight for what’s right. Her message is simple, don’t let one bad thing overshadow the good that can come to life. Embrace the change and continue to strive with your new normal.
“Ok, a bad thing happened. But now I have an amazing life,” she said. “I get to do all kinds of cool things. I have an awesome job, I play golf and I have great friends. I love my community. And that’s just a mindset”
Amanda Stanley shared a moment she had to deal with while working at the statehouse. She said sometimes the things people say don’t always come off the way they are supposed to.
“I was advocating on an issue for the Tort Claims Act, and it was a grueling hearing,” she recalled. “I think, from the time I stepped up to the podium, to when I sat down- it was like 45 minutes of just Amanda getting grilled. But during the course of it, our opponent was arguing about our bill. And at one point, he was like, ‘She doesn’t even have a leg to stand on!’ And so, I was really mad about his points, and that kind of went in one ear and out the other. It did not for everyone else there.”
After it hit her what happened, she went home and talked to her sister on the phone about it. Then not too long after, a shirt arrived at her home with a play on this situation to make her feel better.
If you know someone you think is an Everything Woman, let us know here. These stories are featured once a month on the last Tuesday at 10 p.m.