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Heather Mills - Amputee Forum


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About stubby

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    Ogden, UT, USA
  • Interests
    Anything high adrenaline and outdoors. My main interests are: water skiing, snowmobiling, four-wheeling, horse riding, rock climbing, fishing, camping, and working on cars.

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  1. stubby

    Question about driving as an RBK amputee

    I am an RBK and have been for awhile. I drive using only my left foot but I don't have a modified accelerator. I just tuck my right leg behind my left leg and drive with my left foot. My wife says I have clown feet :) and maybe that helps, but I haven't every had any trouble with it. I can't really drive a stick though.
  2. Hello Bean and, may I also say from me and my wife, thanks for your service. I am an RBK due to something like a congenital issue that manifested around 12 years old. I decided in 2002 that my life would be better as an amputee. I have been on heavy opiates since about 13, so I understand how you feel about those. I have never once thought my choice to amputate was a bad thing. Especially since it led me to my wife :) I had amputation surgery and joined the Park City Disabled Ski Team 6 weeks later. It's all about your attitude and drive. Life as an amputee definitely has its trials. I have had surgery twice now to have some over-active nerves removed that were causing significant pain. I have a running leg, and it feels so great to get out and run, although I haven't used it for quite awhile due to the nerve pain. I am pretty well recovered from that now, but I need to build my strength back up. The strength in an amputated leg does deteriorate due to the lack of use. My wife keeps telling me that I should exercise my upper leg more, but I guess I just don't have enough discipline. My left leg is rather over developed due to the compensation. When I am feeling good, nobody notices I am an amputee unless I have shorts on. I have been on and off opiates throughout my life. Right now, I am pretty low on the opiates and we are trying for me to be opiate free in the near future. Being an amputee has it perks. Such as, I am a pirate with a real wooden leg for Halloween and you get the best parking spots. My wife and I are rooting for you, we are very glad you have such a good support system. I have worked with a number of people who have been looking at amputation or have recently had the surgery. If you have any direct questions, don't be afraid to PM me. My biggest piece of advice is to put your prosthetist and your orthopedic surgeon in the same room to discuss where (assuming you decide to go for it) the cut will be made. I did this and I am very thankful I did as this dictates to a degree what type of prosthetic equipment you can have. You need enough room to put a high activity foot but also enough of your leg left that your socket is comfortable. My personal opinion for a suspension system is vacuum and I will never go without it! From your story, my one big worry for you is the bone marrow issue and if it will keep climbing your leg even after amputation, and your knee. As for your knee, I think Neal explained that quite well. Good luck. Stubby and Wife
  3. Cheryl, I have Lidoderm patches. I was prescribed these when I first started having pain, before I had the first neuroma removed. They are really awesome things. It is an anesthetic for the surface of your skin. Basically, I would put them on at night while I sleep, and then take it off in the morning. It did help the pain to be more manageable. It didn't really cause my stump to feel funny or completely numb in the socket, just helped with the pain. Also another time, a cream/paste was prescribed and had to be made for me. This also basically had some surface anesthetic in it plus some steroids. I was able to put this on, let it dry, and then put my leg back on. Just some suggestions from a guy who has tried a number of things. If you want, I can probably find the name of the cream somewhere. -Stubby
  4. stubby

    Hello Joe. Congrats on joining the society of amputees. You are doing awesome with already rollerblading and unicycling. Keep up the hard work and good spirits.

  5. stubby

    New Pain Answer

    Sorry I haven't been on this forum for awhile. I did get surgery to remove the nerve next to my knee. We were told by my surgeon that it was just going to be a small cut and that I would be up and on my leg in no time. However, during the surgery my surgeon decided to do more digging than he normally would. He really doesn't want me to come back again, which is just fine by me. Well, he found a pretty good-sized bursitis and removed it. He also just took out any nerves in the surrounding vicinity. All in all, I ended up with a 3 inch incision just to the side of my knee where the socket is going to rub all nice. I am glad to get all that bad stuff out though. So, as the story goes on, my body decided to hate me more and didn't dissolve the underlying stitches. So, I had a massive infection burst out of the partially healed incision about two weeks post op. My wife actually pulled about 5 stitches out of it. More antibiotics and pain killers, still no leg. I am now happy to report that I do have a leg!! I had to get a new test socket made because my leg is still quite swollen and has a bit of a funny shape in that area. My wife has been trying to massage the incision area every night now that the infection is gone. It feels so incredibly good, which makes me truly happy. I haven't been able to stand anyone rubbing my stump for a few years now. All in all, I am doing very very well! I have my leg on, it feels really good. I am completely off the fast-acting pain killers and am about to go down on the long lasting ones. I truly hope to be completely pill free within the next while. To give you a timeline bearlover, it has taken me about 8 weeks, but I had an infection and swelling. If you are just getting a neuroma removed, you should only need to be off your leg 2-3 weeks. I hate crutches, but I have been on them a long time now. I am happy to be on my leg and without pain, at least not much. And, I am happy to say, the twitches and phantom pain is mostly gone. The thing that narrowed it down to being a nasty nerve was a local nerve block done right at the site. That killed the pain for a day, so we were pretty sure that was the issue. I would not recommend Calmare Therapy to amputees however, which is sad for me to say considering the money we spent on it. My wife and I believe that it is a good therapy if all you have is phantom pain. However, that is really hard to tell and this therapy costs a lot. We decided not to do an implant, which is what started this thread in the first place. Just seemed to risky, being next to the spinal cord and all. My doctors agreed and that is why we went for the surgery. Have a good night. Stubby
  6. stubby

    New Pain Answer

    Hello. I am doing alright, but that is just about it. The Calmare Therapy worked for about 3 weeks, but my new job was making me walk so much, it negated everything. I was having to walk 2-3 miles per day to "find" work. Obviously, that was not part of the deal when I accepted the job. I had to quit because I was in so much pain and they would not work with me. I have been out of work since, which is a horrible thing and I have to walk with a cane (uggh). I have gone in for "booster" treatments of Calmare, but it doesn't hold for more than a day. My ortho thinks that maybe my neuroma removal has caused the other nerves to over compensate and become extra sensitive. We are not sure of the route to take yet. My ortho is debating on if it would be helpful to do another surgery and remove the cutaneous nerve about mid-thigh. Also, we are looking at a spinal cord stimulator as an option. We opted to do a nerve block last Thursday in the hopes that would give me some relief and allow us to figure out which option is best. Unfortunately, the nerve block has, of yet, done absolutely nothing. Hopefully some of you have found something that works for you. If you have, please share. My wife and I are looking for every option out there that is not medicine. I am so sick of pain medication and the way it makes me feel. I hope that you all are having better luck than I am right now. If any of you have done the SCS route, I would very much like to know. Thanks -Stubby
  7. stubby

    New Pain Answer

    My wife was reading a medical website today and noticed a piece about the company Neuros Medical. They have made a neurostimulator specifically for amputees who suffer from nerve pain. http://neurosmedical.com/ I tried to contact them to ask when it would be available, but didn't reach anyone. Anyways, thought maybe someone else would like to know about it. Stubby
  8. stubby

    Calmare Therapy

    Hello All. I am glad to hear that some people have been reading my posts. To answer your questions Neal, I am a right BK, but I tuck my prosthetic under me and drive with my left foot. I only drive automatics and my wife drove all of last week. I am doing really well. Now comes the really hard part, getting off the pain meds. I spoke with my pain management doctor yesterday, so at least we will have some help this time. I have started my new job and I actually did a ton of walking today. The only pain I have is in my good foot and in my thigh because they are not used to so much exercise. I am so happy. My wife and I have been telling everyone we can about this new therapy. We are hoping some of you that have been reading my posts tell anybody you know that has nerve pain. We gave the pain clinic some brochures on the therapy and they told us they would call Dr. Chalmers. We are happy to help any of his business because he is helping people so much through this therapy. All in all, my wife and I are doing so good because I am feeling so good. It is wonderful to be free of the chains that have been tying me down for so long. Thanks to all who have been reading my posts and please don't hesitate to PM me if you want to ask any questions. -Stubby
  9. stubby

    Calmare Therapy

    I am undergoing the last treatment right now. So exciting. I did ask if the doc new of Calmare therapy getting into Canada. He says he hasn't heard anything, but he will keep his ears open and if he does he will let us know. Today I woke up at a 1, but I thought I was in need of a pill (stupid addiction). By the time we had gone out for breakfast with my sister-in-law and her husband, I was at a lovely 0. Had no problem whatsoever in helping my wife load the car. The problems started in the car ride down here to St. George. My leg just doesn't like the road vibration or something. I was at a 6 by the time we got here. I had pins pricking me between my phantom toes. The doc got me right on the machine though, so I am feeling super good now. Dr. Chalmers says that this therapy is still on-going after the treatment. Even more so as the brain is still continuing to learn that I don't really have pain down in my stump. So cool. He says he has a lot of patients who haven't responded as well as I have during the treatment, but have continued to get a lot better in the short time after the treatments stopped. My wife and I are praying every day that this completely sticks and I will be out of pain for a very long time. I have noticed so much how out of shaped I have become since all this pain started a few years ago. My thigh muscles are sore from the walking and four-wheeling we did yesterday. Well, we are about to leave and I am at an awesome 0!!! I highly recommend that you call this doctor and make the trip if you are having phantom/nerve issues and have not figured out a better approach. Dr. Robert Chalmers, M.D. Spero Pain Relief Therapy (www.sperotherapy.com) 435-656-1916 I will be on my way home here in a few minutes. If anybody has any questions for me, don't be afraid to post them. My wife and I are going to be staying in touch with the doc closely to help him get his clinic in Salt Lake City started in February. Hope you all are feeling as good as I am. -Stubby
  10. stubby

    Calmare Therapy

    Treatment 9 (yesterday at 4pm): I came in at about a 4 to the clinic. I have been battling addiction issues all day, I know that I am going to be going off pills (or at least a lot lower) soon. I noticed that I have not been twitching much since the beginning of the treatments. This is definitely a welcome relief. The highest I got yesterday was a 4, not bad. I still notice that driving makes it worse. Treatment 10 (today): I came into the clinic at a 2 WooHoo!! I woke up at a 5 this morning, but some of that is due to the addiction. We are just about to leave the clinic, didn't notice anything new. I am going to ask the doc if he knows about this treatment getting into Canada, but I haven't had a chance yet. We are going to go four-wheeling now, so I am super excited. I haven't been out four-wheeling without pain for years and years. Today I am leaving the clinic at a 0. So very exciting. -Stubby
  11. stubby

    Calmare Therapy

    Hello. Hope nobody mind's that I haven't been able to write in a couple days. I don't know that very many people are reading this anyways. I will sum up what has been going on. Treatment 5: (I got two on this day) I came in to the clinic at a 4, but that is somewhat due to the pain pills I took. They were able to take the electrodes to a higher power, which the doc says is a good thing. I felt super tired after the treatment, but left at a happy 0. I was only at a 1 by the time I went to the second treatment of the day (six hours later). Treatment 6: Walked into the clinic at a wonderful 1. I had the tech turn the electrodes up three times. The treatment went well and I left at a 0. Super happy. We drove back to Cedar City, and once again I noticed that driving for some reason increases the pain. Treatment 7: (yesterday) I woke up super early in the morning in pain, have no idea why though. I had a huge spike of pain just before going into the clinic, so I walked in at a 7. Went through the treatment and was able to have the tech turn the electrodes up a few times, but the nail being driven into my stump never went away. I walked out at a 4.5, so I was quite disappointed. The techs were a bit confused with this result. It was a bad day overall. Today I am feeling better so far. Woke up this morning at a 4, which is awesome.
  12. stubby

    Calmare Therapy

    Day 4: Today I went into the clinic at a 7. I wish it was less, but the doc is still really confident that I am responding well. I took my leg off and noticed that my stump was really cold, which contributes to my pain level. I was really excited to get started today. These hours without pain are such bliss and I don't even want/need pain pills! I didn't notice any odd sensations like yesterday during the treatment. I kept calling the doc in today to turn the electrodes up. I actually had him turn them up 4 times, which he was more than happy to do and says it is a good sign. I had him turn it up more than I have before. Just to where the tingly is uncomfortable, but not painful. I really want the pain free time to last longer today. I left the clinic at a 0 again. My wife and I went with her sister and her sister's husband to the mall. We walked around for quite awhile and I noticed that it felt like the ball of my foot was being pinched. Not really painful, just new and odd. We drove the 45 min back to Cedar City after walking around for about 2.75 hours. I was still feeling good at this point. During the car ride, I noticed that my pain level increased while being in the car. I am not sure why, if it was due to lack of movement, vibration, or whatever, but that seems like it should have been a big contributing factor since all of what we did yesterday after the therapy was drive. My pain free period ended quite suddenly after 3.5 hours. Not long enough. I did go without pain pills for a good portion of the day though. Summary: Started the day at a 7, left the clinic at a 0. No pain lasted for 3.5 hours after which I was at a 7. -Stubby
  13. stubby

    Calmare Therapy

    Day 3: Went into the doctor's office at about a 7. The doctor mentioned before we started that I have been responding better than average for the treatment. However, there isn't much data to pull from. We started the treatment with the same number and placement of electrodes. It seemed to my wife that he turned them up a bit compared to yesterday, but I didn't ask. I had an interesting phenomenon happen during the treatment; I could feel my non-existent middle toes twitching around for a minute or two. I haven't ever felt them separate like that. During the treatment, I have experienced an itchy/tingly sensation underneath the pads that I haven't thought to mention before. The doc turned up the electrodes once and just let me relax and enjoy. I left the clinic pain free again. I find that my wife and I are in a much happier mood when I am not in so much pain. The bad thing is that the pain free state only lasted for 2 hours. It happened to descend upon me just before we got to my sister-in-law's house. That really made a good impression right? Oh well, this seems to be a roller coaster ride so far. I hope the pain free state hangs on for longer tomorrow. Summary: Into the clinic at a 7, out of the clinic at a 0 for 2 hours. Came back at a 6 according to my wife, a 9 according to me. I am not sure if I am able to tell my real pain level any longer. Seems so much worse since I am now coming out of a pain free state. My wife can probably tell better, I am not sure anymore. -Stubby As an unrelated FYI, the doctor mentioned that he and a prosthetist down here in St. George want to start an amputee focused therapy group. Something like that anyways. If there is anyone down this direction that wants to get in touch with this doctor, let me know and I will get you his info.
  14. stubby

    Calmare Therapy

    Day 2: I walked into the doctor's office at a pain level of 8. The doctor put me on the machine the same as the day before with the same number and placement of electrodes. The therapy felt tingly, but not so much as yesterday. I find that I can't really tell what my pain level is during the procedure. Doctor Chalmers only turned the electrodes up once. After 45 minutes, we were done and I was at a wonderful 0!!! I told my wife when she asked me how I was doing that I could do cartwheels down the hall. I did have a slight itching on my stump, but the doctor says that is quite common. After about 2 hours, I found a bit of new pain, and the total pain came back after a little over 3 hours. It did descend quite sudden, but not as bad as the day before. When it came on me, it was a 7 instead of an 8. A little bit of difference is still a difference. After the procedure, we went back to my aunt's house where we are staying and helped load up all the kids and the four-wheelers to go play in the mud. I did notice that I have been feeling a bit tired after the procedure. We stayed out playing, with me doing a lot on my leg, until around 6 that night. All in all, that is 8 hours that I was up and doing active things on my leg. Haven't been able to do that in a few years. It isn't that the pain didn't come back, it did after three hours, but it seemed more tolerable. I am working myself just like the doctor has asked me to. Getting my brain to really focus on the pain and really see if there is a difference. I thoroughly enjoyed the day and my wife and I got so muddy it was hilarious. So in summary, I went into the doctor's office at an 8, came out at a 0, and the pain came back after 3 hours to a 7. If anyone has any questions, please ask me on here and I will make sure to ask the doctor the next day. -Stubby
  15. stubby

    Calmare Therapy

    For all of you who care, I am hoping to write updates on what happens during this therapy every day. My wife and I can only be down here in St. George until next Saturday evening, so we are going to do double treatments on Tuesday and Thursday. Day 1: I came into the office with a pain level of 8. The doctor figures I will be a very good patient for this therapy since most of my pain is caused by nerves. Some of it is caused by inflammation, but only a small portion. He figures that in 10 treatments, he should be able to get my pain to about a 2-3. Hooray. Dr. Chalmers put three electrodes on the very end of my stump, since that is where the pain is focused. He put two grounds on my upper thigh. He turns each electrode up until just before it starts to hurt. Then he leaves everything at this setting for around 15 minutes. He then comes back in and turns it up again. He did this twice after the initial setup. I was on the machine for about 45 minutes in total. I could not tell very much that my pain level had gone down until my wife starting touching my stump where it would have hurt and I closed my eyes and just kinda thought about how much pain I was in. I walked up and down the hall 5 times after the treatment and my pain level was at about a 1!!! I was so excited. We left the office with next to no pain and I actually got to take my wife and my dog around the block for a walk and a bit of a run! I am so out of shape. We decided that since the treatment worked so well, we are going to shell out the money and do the rest of the treatments. The lack of pain lasted for 2.5 hours, which the doctor says is above average. However, when the pain did come back, it didn't come on slowly. It came on like a ton of bricks and made me a bit depressed. We will be doing another session tomorrow though. So in summation, I came into the doctor's office at an 8, and left at a 2. This lasted for 2.5 hours. -Stubby