For Mike Prindle, it has literally been one step at a time but his progress as a cancer survivor is nothing short of remarkable.
Because of a tumor deep inside his hip, it looked at one point like Prindle would have to be cut in half in order to save his life.
"I was glad for what they did leave me with. I did ask the doctor if you could save my right leg, please, please at all costs, at least save my right leg. And he said he would," says Prindle.
Dr. Joel Mayerson says because of the type and location of Prindle's tumor, he had no choice but to remove the lower part of his body to remove the cancer. But then he had an idea.
"We knew we were going to take his lower leg and amputate it. But the bones and the blood supply to the lower leg were not involved with the tumor," says Dr. Mayerson.
What happened next was medical history. Doctors took the live, healthy bones from Prindle's amputated leg and rebuilt his hip.
They placed Prindle's thigh bone between his spine and the front of his pelvis. Then to stabilize his spine, they used a shin bone along with screws and a titanium device made specifically for Prindle.
By using his own bones, there was a hope that everything would Fuse together and the bones would grow as if they were meant to be in that position. It was a hope that quickly turned to reality.
"He's already fused. We saw it very quickly after the surgery that he fused, because there was still blood supply going to these bones, which promoted bone healing very quickly," says Dr. Mayerson.
That surgery allowed Prindle to get a high-tech prosthetic leg with tiny computers that help him learn to walk again; something that was only possible ironically by taking one of his legs in the first place.
"I've gotten to the point where I can almost walk with no assistance at all. Which, in my case, I think, is amazing as it is," Prindle says.
In all, Mike Prindle endured 37 hours of surgery with a team of hundreds of doctors and other medical professionals. Today, Prindle is cancer free and walking better every day.
His operation was recently names the reconstructive surgery case of the year by the American Society of Reconstructive Microsurgeons.