Nfld. & Labrador·Video

Fighting spirit helps Paradise mother deal with loss of fingers, toes

A Paradise woman who lost most of her fingers and toes to a near-fatal infection is fighting back, and re-learning things she once took for granted.

'You can deal with a lot more than you think you can,' says Elaine Dodge Lynch

A Paradise woman who lost most of her fingers and toes to a near-fatal infection is fighting back. 4:38

A Paradise woman who lost most of her fingers and toes to a near-fatal infection is fighting back, and re-learning things she once took for granted.

"You can deal with a lot more than you think you can," said Elaine Dodge Lynch, who had to re-learn how to walk after her toes were amputated in January 2015.

The mother of two young children also lost all the fingers and thumb on her left hand, and parts of the fingers on her right hand.

The amputations were necessary after powerful antibiotics used to treat the infection reduced the blood supply to her extremities, and she went into kidney failure.

Elaine Dodge Lynch works out with weights attached to wrist bands to increase her strength, after losing fingers and toes. (Sherry Vivian/CBC)

Learning patience

"I've learned a lot about myself and our family, about how strong my husband and I are as a team," Dodge Lynch told CBC's Here & Now.

She works with a kinesiologist to strengthen her arms, using weights tied onto wrist wraps, and has gadgets around her home to help with tasks like opening jars and cutting food.

Everyday tasks like fixing her daughter Rachel's hair have become more difficult for Elaine Dodge Lynch, who says she has learned patience. (Sherry Vivian/CBC)

"It takes extra energy to do anything," she said. "Psychologically, it's very hard. It's frustrating … I've learned to mellow out."

In the months since the amputations, Dodge Lynch has progressed from a hospital bed to walker, to walking by herself.

"It's really hard because I'm walking on my heels all the time. There's a lot of hip pain, a lot of back pain."

Elaine Dodge Lynch and her husband Lloyd say they have become stronger because of their ordeal, and now "don't sweat the small stuff." (Sherry Vivian/CBC)

The family is now raising money to buy the prosthetic devices that Dodge Lynch needs. In the meantime, she and her husband have a new outlook on life.

"Don't sweat the little things," said Dodge Lynch's husband, Lloyd Lynch. "That's my motto now."

"You have to look at the bigger picture in life and be so thankful for what you have," said Dodge Lynch.

With files from Jonathan Crowe