What happened to your legs?
I was born without legs. To this day, my family isn’t sure how or why. Since there’s no genetic history and my two little girls have all their fingers and toes, it was probably due to complications during my mother’s pregnancy.
How do you get around?
It depends on where I’m going and what I’m doing. I mostly walk on my hands around the house and when I’m playing with my girls. When I cook dinner, I either wear my legs or get around on a rolling office chair. For short trips to places like Target and when I’m out and about with my girls, I use a skateboard. For exercising and going long distances, like when we go to Disney World, I use my wheelchair. I wear my C-legs to work everyday, as well as places like the grocery store and going out with friends.
Some people ask me why I don’t wear my legs all the time, and I reply that not everything is easier with legs. Sometimes I’m in a rush, and sometimes they aren’t comfortable.
What kinds of things do you have difficulty doing or do differently than most people?
I sometimes have difficulty reaching things when I’m not wearing my legs, but usually I’ll just climb on something or ask for help. I use hand controls to drive a car. I’ve never ridden a bike, but with my new C-legs I may soon learn how! I’m not the best dancer in the world, but I definitely know how to have fun on the dance floor!
Do you like not having legs?
Yes, I like not having legs! It’s a lot of fun! I can do fun tricks like walking while doing a handstand and back flips, and I’m the best at hide-and-seek! I really enjoy playing with my children on their level and seeing the world from their point of view.
Some of the perks include handicapped parking and going through the express line at the airport, though security tends to take a few extra minutes because of my C-legs.
Are you insecure about not having legs?
I was in high school, but who wasn’t insecure as a teenager? I went to a normal school and had plenty of friends. The relationships I’ve had with women have been very meaningful, and I am currently with a woman really appreciates me for who I am.
Some people expect me to be shy or anxious about who I am. I’m not shy. I have been going to hospitals since I was 2 – getting x-rayed, poked and studied from an early age tends to lower your inhibition. Now, this certainly doesn’t mean I’m the first guy to take his shirt off and shout out crazy stuff at a party or football game, but it does mean I am very social and tend to speak my mind. I have learned to ask for what I need, both emotionally and physically.
Does it hurt not having legs?
Some people think, “Oh poor guy, he must be suffering.” I’m not in pain. I never had legs, so I don’t miss having them. I didn’t lose my legs through a tragic event, so I don’t relive the moment I found out I didn’t have legs, nor do I have phantom sensations.
How do you want people to treat you?
I want people to treat me with respect and kindness, just like anyone else. I want people to feel comfortable saying hello and asking questions. Many people with legs expect me to wish I had legs, too. Some people even pity me. The truth is, I don’t mind being the guy without legs. If someone has an issue with it, then we can sit down and have a heart-to-heart.
If you have additional questions for Paco, feel free to contact him.