Aimee Copeland has been through a lot in the past few months, but now the 24-year-old is able to get out and about and has made her first public appearance on Katie Couric's new talk show on Tuesday.
She spoke about her initial reaction to seeing her infected leg, and the moment she knew she was in trouble. "My entire leg was a dark purple color. I wasn't able to walk; I wasn't able to speak. The only thing I was able to babble was, 'I think I'm dying.'"
Copeland finally received a diagnosis of necrotizing fasciitis, or "flesh-eating" bacteria and immediately underwent an amputation of her leg. Doctors quickly realized that the bacteria had spread and ended up having to remove her hands and remaining foot.
"I think the most extreme moment was when my dad lifted up my hands for me to see, and my fingers were black and my hands were a deep, blood red. I said, 'Let's do this.' I mean, what else are you going to do? Live with some dead hands?"
She spent several more weeks in the hospital before moving to a rehabilitation center, where she quickly progressed and astounded doctors, family, and friends. Copeland was able to re-learn how to brush her teeth and can do up to 300 sit-ups at a time.
One of the best things, though, is that Copeland has finally returned home, which has been completely updated to accommodate her special needs. "I love life. It's a beautiful thing…even more so now," she told Couric.
"Senses are so deepened. Everything smells better. Everything is more vibrant, more beautiful," Copeland explained.
And just because she's home again doesn't mean she plans on staying in every night. Copeland is already making plans to drive again and was given a fully equipped van during the show. Steve Rayman's father recently became an amputee, and Copeland's story deeply touched him.
"She's going to be incredible," Rayman said.