No stopping her: accident doesn't hold back Coast mum
PAULA Gowland lost her left leg, her family lost their way of life, but the mother of three has not lost her will to bounce back from a freak accident in June.
A routine Sunday changed the lives of the family of five in June, when Paula fell from a bed while trying to hang curtains.
Although she landed on her feet, Paula broke her left leg in four places.
The injury was so severe she spent the next three and a half months in hospital, undergoing six operations, before doctors declared her leg useless and amputation was required to combat compartment syndrome, as the muscles in her leg died off.
The speedy operation also may have saved her life, as she was unknowingly suffering septicaemia at the time.
"I'm very lucky to have kept my knee," Paula, of Kawana Island, said this week.
"It's been life-changing.
"I've lost my job, I've lost everything... six months ago I was working for an RTO selling training packages, we were running our own business, we were running around with three kids. I've lost my exercise, I've lost work ... our whole world has changed."
Private health cover has helped the family avoid total financial ruin. However, they will end up about $30,000 out of pocket after the procedure to attach Paula's prosthetic leg, estimated at about $170,000.
Paula said the hardest part had been the impact on her family, as she had been essentially ripped out of the family home for the past five months.
"Ethan (seven-year-old son) says to me 'why did you have to lose your leg?'," she said. "I haven't got the answers for him. I honestly don't know how it's got to me losing a leg, I would never have thought I could lose a leg from hanging curtains.''
Paula's husband John and their eldest daughter Jessica have had to take over running the family unit. John juggled trips to Sydney to visit Paula and operating two businesses as the once dual income family strove to stay afloat.
However, generous friends at Mooloolaba Outrigger Canoe Club are hoping community spirit could help the Gowlands and a number of fundraisers are planned for the New Year. To help the family, donate to ANZ Bank BSB 014 304 Account No 216 332 485 in the name of Rowena Fitzgerald and Jodie Topsfield ITF Paula Gowland.