As Heinle continued talking, her daughter Sydney, 19 and a sophomore at Carroll Community College, arrived. Sydney and her 16-year-old brother Aaron, a junior at North Carroll and a member of the football team, along with their father, Larry, have been on call to help Heinle when needed.
"That's been the hardest part, not having my independence," Heinle said. "My son and my daughter are driving me around, and they say I'll owe them when I get my leg. They also say if I make anyone mad, they'll hide it from me."
Heinle laughed. Humor is part of what has gotten her through the last five months.
"The day I told my husband about the surgery, he said, 'Ask the doctor if we can keep your leg. Maybe we can make a lamp out of it,'" she said, still laughing at the joke.
"She's probably the strongest woman I know," Sydney said. "I couldn't do what she's doing. And she says things in public I can't believe. Like [recently], we were at the team's game and someone hit the ball where her leg would have been if she still had one and she yelled, 'Oh, you knocked my leg off!' I couldn't believe she said that."
But Heinle said a good attitude is important, and she noted that cancer
can change a person's perspective mightily.
"Little things don't matter anymore," she said. "Big questions like 'Am I going to get to see my kids graduate?' matter."
And setting an example for a high school field hockey team matters, too.
"I have the games I can be at on my cell phone calendar," she said. "This is a great bunch of kids, a special bunch because they've gone through this with me. I want them to understand that sometimes things don't go your way, but that doesn't mean you quit.
"They're so young and have so far to go. Life is difficult, but if you keep working hard, you'll get through it and things will come out fine. The harder you work, the more you'll get out of life. They need to see and know that."