Cancer nurse overcomes medical challenge of her own on Long Island

ROCKVILLE CENTRE, Nassau County (WABC) -- Patricia Lewis knows that life is a gift. "I'm grateful every day to be alive, because I'm not supposed to be here," she said.

The 54-year-old oncology nurse from Rockville Centre is now a double amputee, after mysterious pain in both her legs turned out to be undiagnosed diabetes.

And then she had a stroke.

Ironically, Pat had made a career out of helping others in her job at Mercy Medical Center, never realizing that that she herself, needed lifesaving medical treatment.

"I thought maybe my legs were hurting because you work a 12-hour shift," she explained. "You're on your feet all the time."

Pat lost her left leg below the knee last September.

Then her right leg needed amputation as well, in October.

She spoke to Eyewitness News about her grueling rehab at the Lynbrook Restorative Therapy and Nursing Center since November.

It was "seven days a week, even Christmas and New Year's Day," she said.

"We'd walk in feeling badly, but she'd go, 'I'm good. I'm here. I'm alive,'" recalled Patty Rowland, a nurse manager at Mercy Medical's I.C.U.

Pat Lewis is finally going home on Friday.

The day before her big departure, those who treated her at the rehab center played her favorite tune, "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now."

Her friends say she truly is unstoppable.

"You don't have your legs anymore," Pat said. "Although... amputation isn't the end of the world. It's a new beginning."

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