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Heather Mills - Amputee Forum


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Everything posted by Neal

  1. Neal

    one of two new left BKA's

    Welcome Kitkat. I'm glad you found us and that we could be of some help. To have two of you going through the same thing at the same time must have been a little hectic. I'm sure you're already finding that what works for one doesn't necessarily work for the other. You should be over the worst of it. Learning the ins and outs of using a prosthesis is difficult enough without the healing, returning to normal process. As a physical therapist, were you as hard on yourself as you would be with a patient?
  2. Hi Kitkat: I see this is your first post. Welcome. You should go to the introductions tab and tell us a little about you.
  3. Call me crazy, but I almost always ask for the first appointment of the day. This goes for all medical appts. I have worn the 5-seal liner for over three years now. It is a hard set-up to fit. It has to be tight without being too tight. If it isn't tight enough it will fall off later if you have any shrinkage. Your bulbous stump should be good. It can be made a little larger at the distal end and still have the security of narrowing in the middle. I do like it a lot since it does allow better freedom of movement in the knee. If you do anything very active you might want to add a sleeve for added protection.
  4. Good Cheryl. Glad things are looking up. Hope you get a good fit on the socket.
  5. Neal

    New York

    I'm sorry for your bad experience Sue. New York is probably the worst because of all the congestion. It is a walking city. Every place in the US has to be handicap assessible, but I'm sure some are out of order or inconvenient. I'm sorry to say also that New Yorkers are some of the rudest people because they have to put with all that crap. LOL Try the US again sometime and make it more rural. I've never been to New York City myself.
  6. Neal

    Knee problem

    Sounds like you've bruised the kneecap from too much movement. That will probably take a week or so to heal. You probably shouldn't use that leg again. Too much padding will lead to too much movement within the socket. You probably banged around too much while working.
  7. Thanks Jane. I was told to contact Voc Rehab when I needed a new leg in the first year as an amputee. I didn't, which was stupid. There are many foundations whose mission is to help amputees fund their prosthetics. I usually send any inquiring amputee to their prosthetist who should know of these organizations. They should be up-to-date on them as well as have contact information. I've personally talked with a couple of these organizations through my affiliation with the Amputee Coalition. Some offer small amounts, but others will pay for the entire prosthetic. You will be limited in what is available, but you'll be walking.
  8. Neal

    Hello to all!

    Welcome to the forum Lucas. You will find many people here from around the world. Unfortunately you will find just as many answers to the same question. You've posed a very hard question for any of us to give you a definitive reply. Elective amputation is a tough decision that many of us have made, myself included. Many people here had no choice. They either lost their limbs to disease or such trauma that they had no choice. It's a mental blow no matter which way you came by it. Age and general health can affect the outcome. Instead of advice on what you should do, I'll just tell you about why I chose amputation. I was cleaning a 12-gauge shotgun that I thought was unloaded. The cleaning rag caught on the trigger which caused lead shot to fill my heel. I went through a debriding surgery that night and another one a few days later where they also installed an external fixator. The calcaneous was completely blown apart and removed. None of the docs could tell me how I would ever be able to walk normally again. I was talked out of amputation by the plastic surgeon and my nurses. I told my wife that I was ok with this as long as they didn't want to do more surgeries. The plastics doc was talking about multiple surgeries over the next 12-15 months with no guarantee that amputation would not be the end result. Three weeks later the plastic doc wanted to start grafting muscle and skin from my stomach and thighs. I had since done some homework on amputation. I knew I could be up and about and back at work much sooner with little or no pain. I told him that I had made my decision to amputate. His jaw dropped to the floor. I went back to my orthopedic doc, told him my decision, and was scheduled for surgery the next week. They amputated on April 5. I went back to work on May 4. I got my first prosthesis on May 20 and haven't looked back. I won't lie by telling you that the past 7 years have been pain free. I've had my share on down days, but I've never regretted my decision. I don't even know I have a fake leg most days. I wear my leg from 4AM-8PM every day. I cut hair so I stand all day. I have a commercial paper route where I carry some heavy loads. I take care of my invalid wife. I mow the yard, do the laundry and keep the house clean. I've literally done everything I set out to do. I only say I can't do something when I really don't want to. Don't let my family know that. LOL That is my story. Each of us has a little different one. Some here are plagued with phantom pains. Others have constant stump pain. My pains are usually caused from neglect. We have to use socks to take up the void as we shrink during the day. I am one of the worst at adding a sock. This has caused me a great deal of pain in the past. I think I've reached a point now where it really doesn't make a big difference. The way the leg fits can make or break your day. It helps if you have good insurance. Check your policy for it's coverage on "Durable Medical Equipment". That is where prosthetics are covered. Some cover well. Some not so much. A below knee prosthetic leg will cost from $8K to $20K depending on what foot, cosmetic cover and type of socket you get. It's mostly the foot that adds up. You can choose from a basic SACH foot which is essentially a 2X4 covered in plastic. Or, you can choose a new computer assisted foot that will run you upwards of $12-15K. Myself? I usually go with a durable, carbon fiber foot made for high activity. They are around the $6K range. Someone else will surely chime in. I hope we can help you make an educated decision. Neal
  9. I'm seven years out and still get a zinger occasionally. I don't think we can ever be totally rid of them. Mine usually comes at the end of a hard day. I will get some phantom soreness when my leg isn't fitting well. I seldom get any actual pain in Stumpy now that I resolved the infected hair follicles. It's always good to hear from you newbies again. Most of us reach that point where we just get on with life. It's a feel good feeling when you can help others. I think helping others is why I lost my leg. I was always stingy with my time before. Now I enjoy helping other amputees understand amputation.
  10. Neal

    It's me

    Hello stranger. Good to see you back.
  11. Neal

    Tag rugby

    Great story Steve. We do have some funny things happen to us.
  12. WooHoo!!!! I'm still struggling to gain some energy back. It takes a bit after being off for a few weeks. Like everyone said, take baby steps. We don't want a relapse.
  13. I've worn the seal-in liners for the past 3-4 years. I like it quite a lot. Bill is right about the flucuations though. I have had the leg fall off. Socks won't help hold the leg if you lose volume. You can only cover 2-3 of the 5 rings. If you lose volume at the distal end of your limb, it will lose suction and possibly fall off. This happened to me while walking down the concourse at the airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico. I didn't know what I was going to do. Not a very good feeling. I managed to get to my gate and took the leg and liner off to let my stump hang for bit in hopes that it would swell some. That worked and I was able to board the plane.
  14. Neal

    Suction socket

    Congratulations Chris. Have a great honeymoon.
  15. Neal

    Suction socket

    It seems like any time I change sockets, my stump will change. I like to wear a test socket for a couple of weeks before they make the transfer. This allows changes to be made with the socket as Stumpy changes. A lot of legpeople won't allow that because of the liability. Like Johnny said, go back and see what adjustments can be made. We've had to start all over again a few times on me. It's a pain, but a pain that we must endure. I know how hard you've fought for this leg. Make it worth the fight.
  16. Neal

    New fella

    Welcome back Steve. I hope you stay awhile.
  17. Good to hear from you again Steve. I know nothing about horseback riding, we'll leave that to Tammie. I just wanted to say HI. Neal
  18. Neal

    Another newbie

    Welcome Heather. Sorry to meet you under these circumstances, but I'm glad you found us. It sounds like your attitude is good. That is a large part of it. Don't be too hard on those who stare. It is only human nature to be attracted to the difference. Like Cheryl, I've been at this for just over seven years. Most of those years have been pain free. I have had a few times when things got a little painful or extremely annoying. Most of the time putting my leg on or taking it off is just a little inconvenience like putting on shoes and socks. Work or your balance. Balance and trust in your prosthesis are two of the most important parts of walking well. I think most topics have been covered here at one time or another, but if you fail to find it, just hit us up. Neal
  19. Neal

    Cruise questions

    Luckily I have a lot of time to fully recover from surgery before this cruise. I intend to have a lot of fun Ann.
  20. Neal

    Cruise questions

    Dave made some good suggestions Tammie. Sunscreen is very important and this comes from someone who doesn't burn easily. I got fried to a crisp on one excursion. My foot even swelled to the point I could barely wear a shoe. The sun is just more intense and the reflection off the water intensifies it even more. Dave: If you are on Facebook, look up Amputee Cruise 2012. You should go with us. We've already booked 16 cabins in less than two weeks. It should prove to be a blast.
  21. It's hard Cheryl, but something you have to do in order to get rid of "thingy".
  22. Neal

    from Barcelona

    Welcome Rick. I don't think we have any other Spanish people on the forum. I'm Neal. Lost my left leg in 2004. I haven't let much stand in the way of doing what I want to do. I have a few years on you so you'll be able to accomplish a lot more than I ever will. My age really hasn't kept me from trying to do some things. I attempted a rock climbing wall this past June. I want to enjoy some water sports before I get much older. I will put that on my calendar for next year. I'm so glad you found us. Neal
  23. Glad you're on the mend Cheryl. Do they know what caused "thingy" to rear his ugly head in the first place?
  24. Neal

    News about Neal

    Grrrrrrr We're gonna come and hog tie you if you don't pay attention!!!! I'm glad that you are feeling a little better today though.. I would imagine that your rehab will be inside.. Most heart hospital's have a cardiac rehab center in them.. Do you need a warden or a drill instructor? You are my drill instructor. You might have to make a visit to line me up. This heat is unbearable. 112 yesterday, 115 today. When will it end? I felt a little lightheaded yesterday and woke up that way this morning. Will put in a call to the doc later.