Inspiring double amputee shares her story with seniors and patients


As part of Limb Loss and Limb Difference Awareness Month, Nicole Grehn, a double amputee and nurse practitioner, shared her inspiring story on May 8 with fellow amputees and local seniors at Momentum at South Bay for Nursing and Rehabilitation in East Islip.

Over the course of 36 hours, Grehn’s heart stopped 78 times. She was shocked, induced into a coma, and put on a machine to keep her heart beating. During what resulted in a nine-day coma, Grehn’s heart was pumping at only 10 percent, causing her limbs to suffer from insufficient blood flow. Grehn was on the brink of death and medics gave her family little hope of survival. When Grehn came out of the coma, she found that doctors had been forced to amputate both her legs above the knee, to prevent severe septic shock and keep her alive.

Beyond the trauma of losing a limb, many face mobility and mental health challenges. More than 150,000 Americans lose limbs due to disease and accidents every year. Grehn continues to inspire and motivate individuals around the world who also suffer from limb loss and limb difference. 

Since her amputation, Grehn completed her master’s degree in nursing and post-master’s degree in adult gerontology primary care nurse practitioner from Marquette University. Grehn now travels the world to volunteer her time to support and inspire people suffering with limb loss.

“Nothing in life can prepare you for the challenges associated with losing a limb. However, with a support system and a positive mindset, anything is possible. From being seconds away from death, to losing both of my legs, I have let nothing get in my way from allowing me to live a successful life. It is my goal to show people that anything in life is possible and you can achieve anything you put your mind to,” said Grehn. “I am grateful to work with patients who have experienced limb loss and who are working to achieve their life’s goals.”

Grehn is currently a nurse practitioner with Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation of Long Island that serves its out-patient rehab program and the short-term in-patient amputee programs at Excel at Woodbury for Nursing and Rehabilitation and Momentum at South Bay. During her warmly received presentation, she also raised awareness and garnered support for her upcoming mission to Sri Lanka in the fall with the Limb Kind Foundation, where she will be supporting individuals who also suffer from limb loss. 

“Having Nicole speak at our facility gave our patients the motivation and support they need to continue to thrive on their personal journeys,” said Michael Verbsky, director of inpatient amputee program and outpatient support group at Momentum. “Having inspiring speakers like Nicole reiterates our goal and mission of our monthly support group. Being surrounded by like-minded people, knowing they are not going through this journey alone, has proven to improve the mental health and well-being of our program participants.” 

For more information and to support Grehn on her upcoming mission, please visit,

For more information about Momentum at South Bay for Nursing and Rehabilitation, please visit,


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