I Survived Being Hit by a Train and Losing My Leg, Then Pulling Myself Off the Tracks (Exclusive)

As soon as I fell ... my leg instantly got cut off, and I was spun around and thrown

<p>Courtesy of Lisa Fitzgerald</p> Lisa Fitzgerald (center) after her accident

Courtesy of Lisa Fitzgerald

Lisa Fitzgerald (center) after her accident

Lisa Fitzgerald was returning from dinner with family last month, just two weeks before her 30th birthday, when she slipped onto the train tracks and was struck by a passing train.

She lost her left leg but still managed to haul herself to safety.

Here, the New Yorker tells her story, to PEOPLE's Briant Brant, in her own words.

On Saturday, May 4, I was visiting my brother, sister-in-law and niece for dinner in New Jersey.

We like to have an early dinner because my niece goes to bed early. It was about 7 p.m. local time, and I was headed back into the city. I decided to catch the New Jersey Transit train at the Morristown station.

While waiting for the train, I suddenly slipped or tripped and fell into the gap between the platform and the incoming train. As soon as I fell through, my leg instantly got cut off, and I was spun around and thrown.

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I landed on my stomach face up, looked up — and the next set of wheels of the train was coming toward me. I rolled toward the side of the platform [away from the train] and just hugged myself, flattening myself as much as I could. I hoped that would be enough for me to survive.

Once the train passed, I saw that my left leg was gone. My other foot was broken, and I wasn't able to stand on it. I called for help and waved to some people waiting to board the train, but nobody responded.

So I got up on my knee, reached the platform edge and pulled myself onto the platform.

<p>Courtesy of Lisa Fitzgerald</p> Lisa Fitzgerald.

Courtesy of Lisa Fitzgerald

Lisa Fitzgerald.

I had a flannel on and tried to take it off to use it as a tourniquet, but I couldn't get it off. I didn't have the energy to move and it was too painful. Luckily, I was able to wrap both of my hands around my thigh and squeeze it as tightly as I could, and I kept screaming for help.

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A ticket collector came over to me. He was young, and I could tell he was nervous.

I said, "We need to find more help. We need to find police, EMT, firefighter — someone. I'm going [to] keep screaming."

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A police officer in the parking lot heard me scream. He went over to the ticket collector, who told him EMS was needed. He grabbed a tourniquet from his car, came back and put it on me. Then he called for backup.

A couple of police officers arrived at the scene and they stayed with me while we waited for the ambulance. Those officers were amazing. They were asking me questions, and we even cracked a few jokes: They asked how much I weighed and I told them I think I just lost 15 lbs.

I said, "Okay, I'm going to talk to you and joke with you for 30 seconds, and then I'm going to scream at the top of my lungs in pain for 30 seconds." I was like, "Shouldn't I be in shock or shouldn't I be passed out from pain?" They said, "Yeah, it's kind of weird that you're just feeling it."

I was able to answer their questions and they were wonderful in helping me. I went to the hospital and underwent emergency surgery, where doctors had to clean out my leg before I had to wait a couple of days for the tissue to settle.

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A portion of my left knee remained but they determined it couldn't be saved, and eventually I had to do an above-the-knee amputation.

I was in the hospital for about two and a half weeks, then spent the rest of my time in rehab. I am now back home in Queens. I am so grateful for the outpouring of support I received from family, friends and even strangers.

Everyone has been so insanely unbelievable. I honestly sit in shock sometimes. The response has been beyond anything I could have ever expected.

While I wish this didn't happen to me, I have to live with it.

You just have to take every day as it comes. You can't let things hold you down, and I won't either.

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