I’m Kaylyn. You may have seen me decorating cakes in the front corner of the bakery through the window. I’m also the girl in the front corner with the robotic prosthetic arm.
I found love for decorating cakes in high school and knew I wanted to use my crafty abilities in my future. I graduated from Johnson & Wales University of Charlotte in 2011 and found my forever work family a few years later at Sweet Traditions.
Exactly 18 months ago, my world was completely rocked on a Sunday afternoon when my husband and I were in a rollover ATV accident that crushed my dominate right arm. While I prayed countless words during my ambulance ride, I knew in my heart I had just become a permanent lefty.
I started writing as a lefty before I left the hospital and colored countless coloring book pages once I got home. LeAne sent me home with piping bags and two weeks later I was attempting to write “Happy Birthday”. By 6 weeks post-accident I had learned to use my little arm to guide my piping. The day I figured out I could still pipe as I did previously was a day of clarity. Because I knew then that I’d be capable of making a comeback.
This week is a special week for me. Today, March 6th marks exactly 18 months since my accident. It’s also the anniversary of the week that I returned back to work last year. After many denials and appeals from my insurance company to get the prosthetic I wanted, I had finally gotten approved for a prosthetic arm. I was so eager to get back to my normal routine that I came back to work a few weeks before my prosthesis was actually complete. My prostheses, an i-limb with movable digits and different grip patterns, provides me with an amazing amount of function. Between my i-limb and bakery tools we've adapted, I'm capable of decorating cakes again.
LeAne is my work angel. She and Rowland are the reasons I still have a job and get to do what I love even with one less hand. All because they weren’t about to let me give up. The first thing I told LeAne when she came to visit me in the hospital was that I wasn’t going to be able to decorate cakes anymore. Even just hours after my accident she was determined that I was going to do anything I wanted. I’m so beyond thankful for her love, support, friendship and guidance. And mostly, her never ending patience with me. She can sense when I’m struggling on a cake and steps in just when I feel like I’m ready to lose it.
On days that I’m struggling or frustrated that I still don’t feel like a natural lefty, I have to remind myself that it has only been 18 months. There are plenty of days where I’m still sad and my injury is just still surreal to me, but I know that God had a bigger plan for me. I’ve met more special people, gotten more opportunities, and shared my story with more people than I ever thought. I get the chance to show people every day that I’m living proof you can do anything despite your disability. I look a little physically different now, but I’m just as capable of decorating cakes with one hand as I was with two.
My accident changed my life forever. While it brought me so many struggles, heartache, and sadness, it also brought me a new way of looking at life as well as a determination I didn’t even know I had.
So, happy 18 month “ampu-versary” to me, I can’t wait to continue to show the world what I can do.