Road to recovery: 9-year-old amputee shares his story

Ethan Perez can't wait to run when he gets a prosthetic leg.

Talk about brave. A 9-year-old boy who recently had his leg amputated is sharing his story of recovery. Ethan Perez is now healing in his Bakersfield home.

It's only been three weeks since Ethan's surgery. He might not have his leg anymore, but the personality that made us fall in love with him is intact.

Fumbling with a Rubik's cube, Ethan was more interested in showing off his lightning fast puzzle-solving skills.

"Bam! I got a side," Ethan exclaimed, holding up the cube with all of the white pieces on one side.

Ethan would rather talk about that, than the other issue he recently fixed, having his leg amputated.

"Well, it's kind of weird because I kind of forget how much pain I had," said Ethan.

Ethan's pain came from Arteriovenious Malformation or AVM. The degenerative disorder made his left leg virtually useless, so doctors recommended removing it.

"The day of the surgery was the longest day of my life," said Ethan's mom, Debbie Landry.

Pointing to his stump, Ethan said, "This spot is still healing and I can't really hop yet cause if I hop it hurts this a little."

Just three weeks after the ten-hour surgery, Ethan showed us how he gets around using a walker. He says he's in less pain now than he was with his leg. And, as his parents explained how they've been praying the surgery doesn't change their little boy, Ethan making faces behind his dad, Tony Perez, showed their prayers were likely answered.

"Dude, don't be," Tony said laughing, catching Ethan sticking out his tongue behind him.

Ethan and his mom have visited his classmates since his surgery.

"She said, Well, aren't you afraid they are going to stare at you? And, I said they always stare at me," explained Ethan.

But, those stares are more in amazement and admiration students shared in hundreds of handmade letters. Plus, friends and even strangers have sent similar well-wishes, all written to Ethan.

"Are you still single?" we ask Ethan.

"Yes," Ethan answered while giggling.

His smile easily steals your heart, in spite of the drastic twists in his young nine years. But, like his puzzle, a Rubik's Cube, each turn has a purpose, and it's all coming together to be something to be thankful for.

"We're all together," said Debbie. "Best Thanksgiving, best holiday ever, ever."

"I don't know how we could ever thank all of those people, and like she said, it's going to be one of the best Thanksgivings, if not the best," said Tony.

Ethan will have his stitches checked out next week by his doctors in Los Angeles. If everything looks good, he can start being fitted for a prosthetic. He has no regrets on his decision to remove his leg. Ethan has already been in contact with other amputees who are advising him on what he can expect. He is looking forward to running and returning to school on January 7th.

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