I first met Leen about seven years ago in one of the Voluntary Amputee mailing lists where he was inquiring about bloodless ways to amputate his left leg, at the time considering dry ice. Not long afterwards he contributed photos of his recent toe amputations and other body modifications to BME, and a few months ago induced an infection in one of his toes (by, among other things, standing in dirty fish ponds and soaking it in motor oil) which eventually led to half of his foot being amputated by his doctors.
Outwardly Leen is a “normal” guy — other than his limp, without seeing his feet you’d never know of his interests. He’s a straight (and married) forty-two year old construction worker in Pretoria, South Africa, where his hobbies include motorsports, nature, working out, and reading — and still slowly working toward his dream of a LAK (“left above the knee”) amputation.
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Shannon: When do you think your amputation interests first developed, and how?
As a child I was always fascinated by people that looked different. I loved to look at amputees just to see the stump dangling and not really doing anything… I just loved that. My mother always told me not to stare at people with disabilities, and that made me wonder even more what it would feel like to have just one leg.
Then at school we had a girl with one underdeveloped leg and one good leg because of polio. She had a prosthetic leg, but the best part was when the leg had to go for repair, as she use to come to school on crutches — those where good days at school. We also had a student teacher who had four fingers amputated on her one hand — she only had a thumb. It was always nice looking at her carrying her briefcase and writing on the blackboard.
Shannon: When and how did you come to realize that you actually wanted to become an amputee?
I was about five years old when I first tried to cut my two little toes off with a pair of scissors. I was unsuccessful of course. Also, when we would play doctor doctor, when I was the patient I always tied my one leg so that I would look like an amputee.
Shannon: That seems early… And when did you actually do the first successful amputation?
I did my first amputations when I was thirty-five years old.
Shannon: Did you ever see a therapist or wonder if you might be unstable?
No, I never saw a therapist. I always knew this was the right thing to do. There was no “internal struggle”… nothing like that.
Shannon: While many people into voluntary amputation are only into amputation, you’re into a broader range of body modification — I know you have a subincision, as well as having done a partial castration… Are they linked interests, or separate?
I just love to be different. Thanks to the internet I was able to see what other people do and try some of those things myself.
Shannon: How did the partial castration happen?
I was just exposing my testicle, playing with it — I struggled to get it back into my sack, but couldn’t so I just cut it off. There was a lot of bleeding, but I managed to stop it. Later I tried to do a partial penectomy, but ended up at the ER.
Shannon: Why did you go to the ER that time?
I was losing a lot of blood. I knew I had to get to the ER — as soon as possible! I fainted twice on the way there because of blood loss!
Shannon: I’m glad you’re OK — I assume that the penectomy and similar play means there’s a sexual aspect to your modifications in general?
Not all of them. I think to have a partial penectomy would be interesting — not to be able to have penetrative sex anymore, but still be able to cum by masturbating or from a blow job.
Shannon: It’s my feeling that as a generalization amputation and body modification is sexual behavior, almost like the extreme mating dances that animals do to attract each other… To me this also helps explain why these extremes are almost always male behavior rather than female… What are your thoughts on that subject?
I agree with that.
Shannon: You’re into CBT as well?
Yes, I am into CBT… Every now and then I love to torture my dick.
Shannon: What’s the motivation?
It just feels good.
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Shannon: You mentioned in the past that you don’t want to lose a lot of blood when you do procedures… Is that why you chose to induce an infection for the toe amputation rather than doing it by just cutting it off?
Yes. I think toes and fingers are easy, but anything more gets a bit tricky. I do it on my own at home, so if anything goes wrong I could bleed to death. Thus the infection route is better.
Shannon: How did you do your previous toe amputations?
For most of my previous amputations I put my feet in a bucket of ice for twenty minutes, and then I use a cable tie. For the first ones I just used a chisel and hammer and chopped them off. On later amputations I used a scalpel to cut right up to the bone. Then I pull back the flesh, and use the chisel and hammer to chop off the toe. Finally, I stitch it up. I take the stitches out after ten days.
On one toe I was just “playing” with an old chisel I found… I put it on my toe and pushed too hard and it went right through the bone — I then just had to push harder until the toe was amputated. Of course, an infection set in because the chisel was dirty and I had to go to hospital where they did a ray amputation [note: a ray amputation is where the bone above the toe is removed as well — this is what caused the “hoof” type split in Leen’s foot].
Shannon: Which method would you recommend to others — a chisel job, or cut and stitched?
It heals much faster if you stitch it up. After ten days the stitches can be taken out and it is basically healed. The other way takes about two months to heal completely.
Shannon: Have you done any amputations (or other modifications) that are visible to the public, or are they all relatively hide-able?
None of them are visible — I just walk with a slight limp. Most people I meet ask me what’s wrong. I then just tell them I had a midfoot amputation.
Shannon: With the most recent amputation, where the infection got very bad and necessitated further removal, how risky was that?
My life was never at risk. I still went to work the Friday and Saturday after they did the midfoot amputation.
Shannon: What did you think of the “surprise” of getting a midfoot rather than a toe amputation?
I was in the hospital for two days and then flew into Africa for my Christmas holiday. I am happy with half a foot, but the first doctor wanted to do a below the knee amputation, which would have been first prize! Unfortunately he sent me to an orthopedic surgeon, and after more X-Rays and an MRI, they decided on a midfoot amputation.
Shannon: I’d make the argument that it’s probably more dangerous to use the induced infection route due to risks of septicemia and so on, versus the blood loss and shock risks of a “chop it off” method…
I’ve done both methods. Blood loss in my toes is not that a big of a problem, but if you cut off more, or start on something like your penis, there are big blood vessels so the loss of blood becomes an issue. The last two toes I did I struggled to get the stitches in, so I thought that going the infection route might be better. Since I am a diabetic, I just go to the diabetic foot clinic and they prescribe antibiotics which help against septicemia — I just make sure that my toe doesn’t heal and eventually they will amputate.
Shannon: What would you say to people who believe it’s an abuse of the system for people to “force” taxpayers to cover an amputation by “tricking” doctors into doing it?
I have private medical aid and the monthly contributions are quite high, so why not make them pay for the amputation? It is safer when a doctor does it, and it makes me happy. The doctors and nurses think it is fantastic that I don’t get depressed after an amputation, so I don’t waste tax payers’ money [with rehab or counseling].
Shannon: And how is the mid-foot amputation healing? Is it still maintaining that split “hoof” appearance?
It is completely healed now. The hoof split is because of the ray amputation I had a couple of years ago.
Shannon: When the stumps heal, what does it feel like?
In the beginning they are a bit more sensitive [than normal body parts]. After I did my big toe, whenever I woke up in the morning and I looked at my foot, it was still there! I think it is just imprinted in your brain, but after a couple of weeks it disappears. I do get phantom pains in my midfoot amputation — some days I can still feel my toes hurt.
Leen’s left foot, showing the healed ray amputation.
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Shannon: Unlike other modifications, I think a lot of people have a guttural response to amputation and have difficulty convincing themselves it’s not always negative — that it’s universally “wrong” to induce a “handicap”…
Amputation is not like piercings and tattoos, which are more of an art form. Most people see amputation as a disability, and yes, you will struggle to do certain things, but to we who want amputations that is part of the fun! We know what to expect from life with one leg or arm — disability is all in the mind.
Shannon: So your amputations have been a completely good thing?
I love my amputations; I talk about them and show interested people my stumps… I go to gym, shower, sauna, and to the beach, and I don’t care if people look at my modifications.
Shannon: Any negatives?
Not many negatives — just the bleeding risks during the procedures.
Shannon: Are they your favorite body modification?
The amputations are my favorites. I get such a high amputating a body part! The feeling when the chisel cuts your toe off, and it just lies there, unattached to your body, and goes completely white… I just love that feeling!
Shannon: Do you think you have a specific end goal, or will you continue to do procedures to keep getting the high?
There is an end goal. I want to be a left above the knee amputee. I won’t amputate fingers.
Shannon: How do you explain the amputations to people?
People at work think I am unlucky!
Shannon: And the doctors?
The doctors believe what I tell them. For example, for my missing testicle — since I live in South Africa where there is a lot of violence and crime, I just told them that I put up a fight when a couple of guys wanted to mug me, and one of them fell on top of me and stabbed me in my groin area. They believed it and asked me if I wanted to go to the police — I said no, it was dark and I didn’t get a good look at their faces.
Shannon: Has anyone gotten suspicious?
Nobody has gotten suspicious. They may think that I have been unlucky, but even when I went to the ER they believed all my explanations. It also helps that I have had diabetes for twenty years, so it is normal to get infections in your feet that don’t heal which result in amputations. Nobody knows that I help the infections along and make sure they don’t heal so I can have amputations done professionally by a doctor.
Shannon: And what does your wife think?
She does not know.
Shannon: Wow… so you’re not “out” at all — how would you feel if people found out your amputations were voluntary?
I don’t really care if people find out they were all voluntary. They will get over it — there are more important things to worry about.
Shannon: Are you interested in meeting others with this interest? Assuming you weren’t married, if you were looking for a partner, would you seek out someone with this interest?
It’s easier if you have things in common — partners should have the same interests… and I would like to touch and play with women with amputations.
Shannon: With the majority of amputee groups being very fantasy/fetish oriented, does it make it difficult to meet others with the same drives?
It is difficult to find somebody to talk, to but there are a few in those groups that will answer your questions and give advice. The most I have learned is by reading the articles on your website BME [Editor’s shameless plug: if you find this interesting and want to hear more stories and see more pictures, get a BME membership and visit the full galleries].
Shannon: What advice would you give to people who feel like this is what they need to do?
If they believe that this is what they want, they must do it, no matter what society or their friends say or think about it. They must just be 100% sure that this is what they want, because if you amputate something it is gone forever!
Shannon: What are your future body modification plans?
I am going to amputate one segment of my middle toe on my right foot, just to get the proportions right for now. I am still going to become a left above knee amputee — that is my long term plan, my dream… Also I’ll do a glansectomy or partial penectomy.
Shannon: Finally, something that I’ve heard brought up repeatedly by others is that voluntary amputation is an insult to people who’ve had it forced on them by fate — do you think that statement has any validity, and what would you say to someone who feels that way?
It has no validity at all. Voluntary amputations are just away to get our bodies into the shape we want them to be.