One year ago, Cyndi Desjardins, an Ontario wife and mother, went to her local ER, complaining of a severe pain in her leg and what she thought was the flu.

When her condition suddenly worsened,  her doctors were forced to place her in an induced coma while they tried to figure out what was wrong.

When Cyndi awoke four weeks later, she no longer had both her hands and her lower legs.

She had contracted flesh-eating disease, her doctors told her, and her limbs had to be amputated to stop the necrotizing fasciitis bacteria from attacking her organs and killing her.

Desjardins stayed in hospital for five and a half months, adjusting to a life without hands and legs.

Now, a year later, she is learning to cope with her new body and has become a motivational speaker, telling her incredible and inspiring story.

Step by step, Desjardins is recapturing her life, getting hang of walking on artificial legs. For a while, she tried to use prosthetic arms, but she found it easier to move without them. She hopes to one day raise the $50,000 she needs to buy myoelectric prosthetic arms, which aren't covered by her provincial health plan. Her next fundraising event is a five-kilometre "walk/whatever-a-thon" at Fairy Lake in Newmarket, Ont., on May 6.

But for now, she uses both her lower arms together to pick up things.

That's meant she's had to re-learn new ways of doing everything -- from things as simple as chopping vegetables with no hands, to picking up her son, to driving.

She's even learned how to swim without calves and forearms, an activity she loves because it makes her feel free, she says.

"When I am in the pool, I feel I have no limits. There are no boundaries. Everything I achieve is new and exciting," she says.

With each new skill, Desjardins gains back a little of her independence. Her husband, Marc Wilkens, says his wife seems to surmount a new challenge every day.

"She shocks me with something new every day, with what she is able to do on her own. She looks at things differently now and how tasks can be achieved, it's just amazing, I am in awe of her," he says.

"I am motivated to be a better person by watching my wife go through these challenges and overcome these challenges."

Cyndi says she knows she's lucky to even be alive, since doctors had at first given her only a 20 to 30 per cent of survival. She says it's her six-year-old daughter, her toddler and her husband who inspire her.

"I have learned I am a fighter. I will not take no for an answer. And I have two beautiful children to get up for in the morning and a husband that stands by my side. Why wouldn't I wake up in the morning happy?" she asks.

"I feel like a miracle because you know those little quiet moments where you sit down and take a deep breath and you look around… I am so lucky and blessed to be here. I was not supposed to be spending that moment, according to all the prognoses, so I am a miracle," she says.

"And every day, I try to welcome it with that feeling."

Cyndi is now doing public speaking to talk about what she's been through and to help break down some of the prejudices that amputees and those with physical disabilities face.

Wilkens says many of those who attend his wife's talks say they find her inspiring.

"If we can make people realize that their lives are not so bad, and their challenges can be overcome, that is a very good thing. That is a very powerful thing," he says.

Cyndi says it feels good to know she has helped remind people about what's important in life.

"The more people tell me that they are inspired by what I am doing, the more inspired I feel to go to the next level. It is a nice purpose to have," she says.

With a report from CTV's medical specialist Avis Favaro and producer Elizabeth St. Philip