Three weeks after undergoing surgery to remove her left leg, three inches below the knee, Alexandriea (Alex) Watson is at home recovering.

The 9-year-old Northwest Elementary School student had the “bad leg” removed at the Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas June 9.

Initially, Watson was set to only have her left foot removed, but the day before surgery, the family was told surgeons would need to remove more than just the affected foot because the extended area had been stricken by “morphea,” or, hard skin, a disease Watson was diagnosed with in 2005.

“The doctor said that because of wound-healing issues, the amputation would be higher than they originally anticipated,” Watson’s mother Amanda said during an earlier interview.

The surgery lasted more than three hours.

Sporting a pink cast, Alex Watson’s eyes light up as she discusses her future.

“Now that it (the left leg) is gone, there is a lot of stuff I will be able to do,” Watson said. “Cheerleading, volleyball, basketball and softball. And, I will be able to go swimming.”

“That will be a while from now though,” Amanda Watson added.

The highlight of Watson’s one-week stay in the hospital was a visit by Michelle Keys and Kelsi Reich, Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.

“That was good,” Alex Watson said. “They talked to me and brought me some cheerleading bags, pictures, a blanket and a calendar that was signed by all 36 of them.”

Reich said she was grateful for the opportunity to visit with the Watson family.

“She really opened my eyes to the things in life taken for granted,” Reich said. “She was so precious. I will remember her forever.”

At home, Watson said she is now able to do something she has been deprived of for the last few years.

“I can sleep all night long now,” Alex Watson said. “I couldn’t do that before because my foot itched all the time.”

Watson is scheduled for a prosthetic fitting in late-August, early-September.

“After they fit her, there will be a week of therapy to teach her how to walk and gain her balance,” Amanda Watson said.

Alex Watson said it has helped her to stay positive throughout her ordeal.

“She says, ‘I am not going to let life get me down,’” Amanda Watson said.

Informational literature provided by the Scleroderma Foundation states that morphea is a localized form of the disease which affects an estimated 300,000 people in the United States and is four times more likely to be found in females.

The foundation’s Web site states that morphea can cause a wide variety of problems, from skin discoloration to internal organ damage. The exact cause of morphea is unknown, and the disease is not contagious. It’s typically chronic or recurrent, but not hereditary. Researchers believe a reaction of the immune system plays a role in the development of the condition. There is no cure, but some cases can be managed with medical treatment. Some treatments are directed at particular symptoms such as heartburn or high blood pressure.