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Heather Mills - Amputee Forum


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Everything posted by cherylm

  1. Mickey h

    Hi, Micky, and welcome to the Forum! In theory, you can wear as many plys of socks as you want, as long as they feel comfortable and you're able to walk well with your prosthetic leg. HOWEVER, most prosthetists recommend that you have your socket recast (or seriously padded) if you are wearing 10 plys. That means 3 of the 3ply socks, plus a single ply sock. Since You're a new amputee, it's likely that you'll be having a LOT of shrinkage on your residual limb. (I went through three different sockets during my own first year as a new amputee.) A socket that fits well is usually MUCH easier to walk with, so you might want to check in with your prosthetist and see if they think recasting is in order. Good luck to you!
  2. Hi, Kait, and welcome to the Forum! I have had "something like" some of your situation, although I amputated before anyone mentioned fusion as an option. My own problems started when I was born with what was considered a very, very minor defect in the alignment of my feet...it was never considered worth treating until my mid-forties, at which time tendons started snapping, bones started breaking, and feet started getting surgically rebuilt. The right foot ultimately came out OK (after only 10 surgical procedures), but the left one kept breaking down, becoming more painful, stiff, and fragile after each of four different attempts at a surgical repair. Eventually, I developed a post-op infection and, yada, yada, yada, I opted for amputation in hopes of getting my life back. Soooo....I sort of understand where you're coming from. I'll give you the "upside" of the amputation first: it gave me pretty much my "normal" life back and I've never regretted it. The "downside?" It took a long time to get that normal life back, and the earliest of my prosthetics did actually have the same effect as a fused ankle. But prosthetic legs have come a long way in the 13 years since my amputation, and you're a lot younger than I was, so your own recovery could turn out to be easier than mine. If I were you, I'd do as much research as you can on both fusion and amputation. And that will mean speaking openly with your doctors about what you fear and what you hope for under each scenario. You might also want to make contact with a prosthetist and get their opinion of possible solutions for your situation. You say that your condition is very rare, but if you happen to be in contact with that one other person, it could be invaluable to compare notes...often folks dealing with a situation will know much more about what might or might not work than a person with training but no experience with the condition. At any rate, do all you can to gather information that's truly applicable to YOU, not just theory about your options. I'm not sure how much involvement your family and friends should have during your research and investigations...again, they do not know how all the aspects of your situation and how your condition feels to you. It is good if you can have the support of family and friends, but when most people hear talk about losing a limb, their first response is panic and the second is resistance. You might want to have enough information to be pretty solid with your decision before asking for their support. (That's based on my own experience, but you know your family best.) I'm sorry you're in the position to have to think about this decision. It's not an easy one...once you lose a limb, it's permanent. But once you lose a painful and useless limb, you can also get on with figuring out what to do with your life. A determined amputee can have a very nice life one-legged. So good luck with your research and I hope you can reach a decision that truly feels right to you!
  3. Hello All, Basset Here,

    Glad to see you're branching out, Bassett...I'm also glad to see more activity here, as this can be such a great resource for folks! I didn't even really THINK about the Amputee Coalition conference being nearish to you, so thanks Beth Marie! It is quite a fabulous way to get educated in amp-life, see a huge amount of gear available, do some networking with involved and active amputees and--for just a few days--feel like you're NOT a member of a strange little "minority community." Suddenly, you're "just a regular guy" again and it can be a nice feeling. Plus, you'll meet some fantastic people!
  4. OttoBock Triton Harmony

    Sorry I've been out-of-touch lately...I've just gone through a major revision surgery on my stump.....lost about 2" of bone and a whole lotta excess tissue due to a nasty fistula that was housing a "small and mostly inactive" colony pf MRSA. Back home and healing now, so I'll soon be starting casting for my own new socket. Are you still doing well with your new leg?
  5. OttoBock Triton Harmony

    Hope things went well with your Hanger visit. This whole liner/socket sounds like a set-up that might be better off just being recast and replaced. I had one socket in my life that was simply a disaster right from the start...we made dozens of adjustments and tweaks, and it never was right. We just kept at it until my insurance decided that enough time (a little over a year) had passed and they authorized a complete recasting and new socket. In my case, a big part of the problem was that I was just feeling generally overwhelmed and depressed at the time, and I was just too darned tired to bother talking to my leg guys about yet another socket. "You're the experts...just make it work" was my attitude........and I paid dearly for that! Once I got my head back on straight and started communicating again, the replacement socket was a success. So hang in there and keep at it until you get a leg you can wear and walk in comfortably!
  6. OttoBock Triton Harmony

    I don't know about the current state of valves out there...I tried one several years ago, and it was spectacularly unsuccessful, but I'd guess that they've improved since then. Maybe it will give you some good information. After 12 years as an amp, I'm still slowly and steadily shrinking. I have to go through castings for new liners and sockets about every two years. One of my favorite things about my pump suspension is that I don't have to take time to add socks in the middle of the day...but I still change enough, over time, that I have to slowly add socks as I keep shrinking...it's just that it happens over the course of months, instead of hours. Is there anything that's been happening in your life that could contribute to unexpected volume changes? I'd guess that, after nearly half a century, you'd be so accustomed to NOT changing volume that you might not even recognize a change in volume unless you really sat down and thought about it. Does that sound possible?
  7. OttoBock Triton Harmony

    That sure sounds like a possibility for all your troubles! I have a tendency to develop pinholes in my suspension sleeves...and even knowing that, I tend to think that any problems with my suspension "must" have something to do with my body rather than the sleeve. As a result, it can take me a while before I visit my CPO...which is a foolish thing to do. I hope that they can either repair or order a new liner for you, and that it will be enough to get your skin to calm down afain!
  8. OttoBock Triton Harmony

    There's a "temporary DIY" solution you can try for the suction issue if you think that may be the root of the problem. (It does sound likely from what you've said...) First off, does your pump actually have a second "comfort fit" button on it? If it does, try that mode for a bit and see if it feels better. If a secondary setting on the pump doesn't exist, try a loose sort of "diffuser" stuck down into the pump hose. I did this with the assistance of my prosthetist during the troubleshooting on my latest leg. We used a small bit of wool felt...just cut a small square, rolled it into a loose plug, and stuck it into the end of the pump hose inside the socket. Regular polyester craft felt may not work for this, but wool felt is fairly easy to find and you need only the tiniest bit of it. It simply makes the draw from the pump a little less intense. In my case, the improvement was immediate and let us know where to go from there. Good luck to you!
  9. No clue

    Hi, Skip...you're in the right place to start getting answers to your questions. Johnny's right, though...it will help if we know a little about your background and the type of surgery you've had. Leg? Above or below the knee? Arm? Above or below the elbow? What contributed to you needing an amputation? We very likely have someone around who can identify with what you're going through. I'm going to elaborate on Johnny's comment that there is "no normal." I think what he's getting at is that every single amputee is, in one way or another, different from every other amputee...we all have our own particular "quirks," but we can still help each other out and can offer advice on things that might work for you. If your surgery went well, going on to rehab a few days after surgery is not unheard of. If you are given a choice on rehab centers, try to get one fairly close to your family, just because ir makes it easier for everyone involved. And, as for taking ativan...well, ir is only a few days since your surgery, and they want to keep you comfortable and as free as post-operative pain as possible. You do have the right to refuse the meds if you want to, but it might be best to taper off gradually as you heal. It's very possible to live a normal life as an amputee...I know that my own surgery got my life back on track after a long downward spiral, and I've never regretted having it done. I hope we can help you sort this all out!
  10. OttoBock Triton Harmony

    It could help...I mentioned all those various "accommodations" in my last post, and I've used a number of them in my "total contact" socket. My best guess is that any type of non-porous padding, either permanent or temporary, would work, as long as it kept the opening for the pump tubing clear. The only one that might be problematic would be massive thicknesses of socks, as that also adds a lot of trapped air to the socket interior.
  11. OttoBock Triton Harmony

    The little "cup" thing looks interesting...at various times, due to a long, long history of stump shrinking, I've worn assorted lengths and thicknesses of socks...and leather pads...and wool felt cushions in the bottom of my socket. All of that, though, generally goes on when I'm nearing the end of a particular socket's lifespan. Your socket seems like it's too new for that...and after all that time as an amputee, I'd think your volume change issues would be minimal. That "crevice" sounds like it can be a challenge! All the best to you!
  12. OttoBock Triton Harmony

    I've never worn a PTB suspension--I actually did quite well with a pin-lock system for several years--but I've worn a elevated vacuum-assisted pump suspension for a few years now. In the beginning, I went through some miserable times with the pump...it literally tore the skin off my distal end in long, wide strips. Yes...it hurt! My prosthetist spent a fair amount of time consulting with OttoBock. Even though my system is not "fully" OttoBock components, they were very helpful. Their suggestion was that I try a custom-molded liner, even though I was technically sized for a normal "prefab" liner. I have to admit that I was skeptical, but the custom-made liner completely solved the issue. Any sort of airspace in the liner can be bad news. On my current leg, we tried moving the place where the hose fed into the socket to make the entire assemblage more compact and less likely to get caught on things...and simply the change in position caused skin irritation--almost a blister--on my distal end near the hose. That one required an adjustment in suction strength...and then everything was lovely again. It's a tricky suspension to wear...but it's soooo grand when it's set up "just right." I'd hate to have to give it up! I hope your leg guy can come up with a solution for you...................
  13. Hi all, Through knee advice needed please

    Well, "option three" does sound like it solves a problem...as well as sounding rather drastic! If you do decide to go with that one, Hefty, I'd be interested in how it works for you. It does sound like it could make your exercises of choice less complicated! And the theory about through-knees having few problems with sockets sounds like a logical one to me...a lot less soft tissue at the knee, so a lot fewer problems with volume changes. I've been through some fairly drastic surgeries on my one remaining foot/leg and have found that sometimes it can be better to dive right in there...for several years I fought having bones removed from my foot and additional tendon surgeries on that side, but once I finally had those three final procedures done I found that it made a tremendous improvement in my mobility. It helps if you really trust your surgeon!
  14. Bobby

    Yes, very sorry for the hijacking, Bobby....and now back to you
  15. Bobby

    May your new socket fit as well as mine, Mick! Take care.............
  16. My new life without arms

    You know, I've found that those of us who have lost legs tend to be glad that we "only" lost legs and still have arms...and those of us who have lost arms tend to be glad that they've "only" lost arms and still have legs. My conclusion: we can deal with anything that life sends our way, as long as we're willing to work at finding alternate ways of doing what we want to do. Isn't that a reassuring notion?
  17. Bobby

    I'm doing OK now, Mick...but I was "without a leg to stand on" for about three months. Had a couple of minor revision surgeries, followed by a MRSA infection and a lot of swelling that kept me hospitalized and wheelchair-bound for a while there. They kept assuring me that I'd eventually be able to get back in my current socket and--eventually--I really did make it back in. That's a good thing, since this socket fit like a thing of beauty prior to all the "troubles." Having it back inmy life makes me happy. I've never had a socket last for 10 years...I'm sure it's a major imposition on your life having to go through the whole fitting process after all this time. Hope it gets sorted out for you soon!
  18. Thank You Heather!

    Hi, Renee, and welcome to our little "family." I'm sorry I've been so late in getting back to you...but when you first posted here, I was stuck in the hospital myself, going through my own little adventure in living with a badly swollen stump. Have all the incisions from your last amputation surgery now healed? Is there swelling on your stump itself, or just on the side with the broken knee? (I'm assuming here that your amputation is on your left side, and that you might have put an unusual amount of stress and strain on your right leg, leading to the broken right knee...does that sound possible to you, or am I mistaken?) Swelling can be such a frustrating problem, in part because it is so hard to diagnose and just seems to take its own darn time to resolve itself. I know that my swollen stump drove me crazy! Try to keep yourself occupied as much as possible...if you're not wearing an elastic bandage on your knee, ask your doctor about doing so and have someone show you how to properly wrap it. Elevate your knee as much as possible, too...keeping it above the level of your heart can help with swelling. So can ice. I know that doesn't sound all that exciting...but getting you healthy enough to start "rehabbing" is a good goal. And speaking of Physio...at the very least they should be working with you to keep the rest of your muscles and joint strong enough to help you during your recovery. You may have to be very assertive about your needs through all of this...amputees in general are not particularly common, and amps with complications sometimes just leave health care workers "flummoxed." Do all you can to advocate for yourself........I'm pulling for you!
  19. Bobby

    Baby wipes seem to be able to solve just about anything! I use them for quick clean-ups of my liner, suspension sleeve...and my stump, too! And hi there, Mick...how have you been?
  20. Hi all, Through knee advice needed please

    Hi, Hefty, and welcome! I've been away myself with some minor stump revision issues...fortunately, I'm still a below knee, instead of becoming a through-knee. Unfortunately for you, however, that means that I also don't have personal experience to share with you...just more theory. In theory, going through joints can provide better stability for an amputee...but, as you suspect, your height could prove to be a problem because of having "knees" at twodifferent heights. If you have the time and opportunity, I'd suggest trying to consult with a variety of prosthetists, seeking out those who have good experience with both through- and above-knee amputees. If they could put you in touch with similar amps that they have fitted, that would be especially helpful. Please keep us posted on your progress and decision...I wish you all the best!
  21. My new life without arms

    Hi, Thomas, and welcome to the Forum! Sounds to me like you've made a great adjustment to your new life...good for you and your family!
  22. Looking for support (for daughter)

    Good to hear from you, Marion! I'm glad that Lauren seems to be figuring out her new life. Sounds like it will be a good one for her...and all the rest of the family! Pics would be wonderful, if you get around to it!
  23. Looking for support (for daughter)

    Quick updates are just fine, Marion...they mean that life is "getting back to normal." So glad that Lauren is continuing to expand her horizons!
  24. Hi, Julie F...Well, it sounds like you're well on your way, and I'm hoping that you'll have a very successful experience. I do think it's good that you've had time to meet and consult with various members of your team...despite that fact that my own amputation was elective, it all came about over only about one week at the end. I was briefly introduced to my surgeon and soon-to-be-prosthetist a few days before the surgery date, when I hadn't even had the time to develop much in the way of practical, serious questions. You're definitely in better shape, there! On the anesthesia front, there definitely are alternatives to general anesthesia. In my own case, I had an epidural that went in a day before and came out a day after surgery, with surgery day itself consisting of a combination of the nerve blocks and twilight sleep. I was "out" enough that I didn't experience anything "surreal," but I also had none of my usual aftereffects and illness that follow general anesthesia. The amputation surgery was not the first time I'd used that type of combination (I also have a history of illness following GAs) and every single surgery I've had since my first time using that sort of combination has been some sort of variety of local anesthesia and light-to-moderate sedation. And I've been through a lot of surgeries! So do have some serious discussions with your anesthesiologist...there ought to be a way to get you through the surgery without making you ill in the process. Good luck and best wishes!
  25. Hello, start of the journey

    I gather that a good number of our members have migrated over to Facebook groups...Facebood may yet take over the world. But we do have folks checking in here, mostly to make sure that new posters fat a "welcome." I'm just an old-fashioned gal who is not a Facebook fan......so here I am!