A YOUNG woman who has been given a new lease of life with her bionic arm has revealed how she was overwhelmed after writing her name for the first time.
Katie O'Halloran (23), who was born with Femur Fibula Ulna Syndrome leaving her without arms, told how she has been enjoying a range of new experiences since getting her new limbs.
"It's a really big adjustment for me. I have my good days and bad days but then I just get excited about how much progress I'm making.
"The first thing I picked up was a pen. I was able to write my name for the first time and I could write it with both hands," she said.
Using her newfound independence to switch on the Christmas lights in Galway, Katie said she was still getting used to seeing herself with arms.
The young law graduate returned home from the US with her new limbs last month and has been practising her control ever since.
"Adapting to life with arms has been more difficult than I thought. It's really overwhelming. I've had to learn to walk with them and learn how to hold their weight.
"I had to get used to seeing myself with arms. For 23 years I've lived without them," she added.
Katie said she had better control of her left arm, which is controlled by her muscles, than her right bionic arm, which is controlled by her brain.
"It can be a little exhausting some days but now I'm able to hold a glass and walk around with it and open doors, although they are a bit tricky," she said.
Katie, from Cill Chiaráin, Co Galway, opened the Galway Christmas Market last night, switching on the lights for the city.
"I was so excited. I haven't really been outside with my new arms yet so I was also a bit nervous but it was lovely to be asked," she added.
Katie underwent ten weeks of intensive physiotherapy while in Boston. She will now spend the next year concentrating on learning how to operate the bionic arms.
The Katie Born to Run fund brought in a massive €438,478 to provide Katie with her new limbs.