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Jane K

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Everything posted by Jane K

  1. 1/5/2011 Hi Everyone: I'm looking for any ideas or pointers that could help me in a upcoming surgery. On January 17th I'm going to have surgery to repair a torn rotatory cuff on my right shoulder. As part of the healing process my shoulder and arm are going to be encased in a rigid type sling 4 to 6 weeks. As a right leg AK amputee I'm concerned about maneuvering at home when I am not wearing my leg and will be using a wheel chair to get around. The seemingly simple task of moving from a recliner (where I'm told I should expect to spend a lot of time) to a wheel chair. Getting into the tub to use a shower chair? Getting onto the toilet? My surgeon stressed today the crucial point in keeping my arm protected in its healing. Multiple falls while learning to walk again led to the needed surgery and I really, really, don't want to have to face it ever again. Thanks all. Hope your New Year is going well. Jane
  2. 1/8/2011 Sue, Ann, Cheryl & Mick: Thanks for all your input. Planning how to manage this next surgery - set for 1/17/11 - is keeping me busy. Wrapping up work again (getting ready now for the auditors...procedural notes for my coworkers and anything else that comes to mind) and planning how to make my home more workable feels a bit overwhelming. My new mantra... "what will be will be"! I've decided to rent a hospital bed with a overhead grab bar so I will be able to sleep in the required semi reclined position for the 4 to 8 week recuperation. A friend can lend me a camode for the just in case late night need. A co-worker went through the same surgery a year ago and has lent me here sling/brace which will let me try to see what I will actually be dealing with. Mick - your very good point to concentrate on every movement is so true. I've been warned that if I crash with a healing arm I'm in big trouble. My family and friends will also kill me. I am feeling more overwhelmed with this surgery I think then I did with the amp. I guess it is because I did have a lot of time to come to terms with doing an amp while this prognosis was dumped on my this week. I could wait to do this work but to what gain. Sleep now is very difficult due to pain and waiting will only delay going forward with life. So I'll keep occupied with list to notes and to keep my sanity I'm off to the gym to use the treadmill. Thanks again to you all, Jane
  3. 12/30/2010 Hi Everyone: As a fairly new right disarticulation amputee and I would appreciate some pointers on using stationary exercise equipment. Can other AK's use elliptical machines? Successfully? This was my favorite indoor torture devise before my surgery but I haven't figured out how to use it with my new leg. My physical therapist has been great on helping my rebuild strength etc but I'm her first AK amputee. I've also had difficulties with both stationary bikes, standard or recumbent, in that I can't complete a pedal without the back of the knee hydraulic frame hitting my socket. I think this problem is due to my being short (5' 1') and the bulky workings of the Endolite KX06 knee but any other thoughts would be great. Thanks all & a happy new year too! Jane
  4. 1/1/2011 Hi Allen: Thanks for the link. I looked it over and while their product is a great idea I don't think their equipment will help me. However it makes me think their must be a means to rig up or see if someone has created a pedal extended that will put the pedals further away from me to avoid the knee component hitting the socket. A friend (who is 4'7") had to have a pedal extender installed in her car so she could reach the pedals. Maybe someone has already found or created the equipment. Time to get on the net again. Thanks again, Jane
  5. 09/18/2010 Hi: I'm a new through new amputee (8/13/10) and I'm short 5'1". My leg guy is suggesting a hydraulic knee may fit me better than a electronic "C" type knee. His concern is that the electronic knee would extend about two inches beyond my left - remaining leg. He does point out the hydraulic knee cost is about half the electronic counterpart. I understand his aesthetic concern, and certainly would like the lesser cost, but I am more concerned about function than looks. I hope to be able to do the activities I once was able to do routinely. Walk, alpine ski, hike and maybe tennis or racket ball. Earning a living, getting groceries, dump runs are also in the desired, although not always as much fun, goals. Prior to the actual surgery a "Plan A - through knee amputation" and a "Plan B - higher up on the femur amputation" were laid out as options. I understood the Plan A - through knee amputation - would allow me greater strength going forward and seemed the best outcome. I awoke from the surgery relieved that the through the knee option was able to be done. I'm feeling like I'm now being penalized for being short. I realize that the "more expensive is better" concept may be clouding my view but I really do want the chance to live actively again. I've seen on this site other conversation on the pro and cons for the different equipment but I don't recall height issues being part of the equation. What is done for kids? Can anyone offer input? Thanks, Jane
  6. Jane K


    11/28/2010 Hi All, It may seem silly advise to some - or others may have learned this lesson as I did - but I will now always test exercise equipment stop/kill switches before I begin a workout. Before my misadventure this weekend I would have never, ever, thought a treadmill could be dangerous. Life lesson number 1, 497. The upside it was a great way to talk with several members of my health club who I had only waved to in the past. I'm headed back this morning to have another go. My it only be some calories that are burned. Jane
  7. 11/27/2010 Hi Mick: I haven't yet played with settings but I definitely plan to learn the different options available. The very fact options are available is what made this knee appealing to me. My original knee, an Ottobach 3R360 pro(I think I've got the name right) is fantastic in its lightness but can't give any resistance when the knee is pressured and can't be locked out for safety. For me those two features are very important for safety. The lack of these options in my own knee drove me down this path. Mick - any points you can offer will be much appreciated. I know enough to know I don't know what to ask - yet! Once I do know more I probably won't need to ask but since I'm not there yet please offer what advise you can. I've been thinking over the weekend of asking the manufactures if they have considered a lighter version of the current model. I realize many of those needing their knee components come about via military conflicts - and are more than likely 5' 8" +/- or so but would a slimmer model be an option? I hate to admit it to my brother but the knee does really resemble a car jack. I'm not against the look as I'm not sure I quite need all its sturdiness and girth. A scalded down model might work for my size. Worth asking. In the mean time any points Mick or anyone else can offer would me appreciated! Thanks, Jane
  8. Jane K

    How to tell loved ones you know whats best!

    1/25/2010 Hi Jenn: I relate to your situation all to well as I lived with a "salvaged" knee" for six years. My particular issues could not be helped by today's fixes. In early July (2010) I hit the end of my willingness to wait around for that fix. I had enough of putting life on hold. Via a friend of my sister I was linked up via email to women who so well wrote about why sometimes an amputation is better than making do with what one has. I think I posted her piece before on this site but in case you can't locate it I will attach it again. I used her words to help make my family, friends and co-workers understand why for me an amputation was the right decision. The step is huge and there is no turning back. But I can say despite a learning curve that has involved multiple falls my life is moving forward again. Bumpy and a bit bruised but it is going in the right direction. The best advise Judy (author of the attached piece)has given me is to look ahead six months to a year. The beginning steps of this new life can be overwhelming, painful and frustrating. A new life will come around and looking ahead the six months or a year help keep everything in perspective. Hang in there, Jane Youve already lost it2.doc
  9. Hi Everyone, Happy Bird Day to all those in the US! After multiple attempts I think I've finally found a knee component that works for me. The third knee,Plie 2 by Freedom Innovations, just didn't quite fit me. I also now understand what Karen described at "too controlling". Before I experienced this knee for myself I thought "controlling" would be good. The overall not quite right fit, not being able to have the knee free swing, or lock straight if desired, caused me to ask for yet another knee. I've been using the KX06 by Endolight for about a week and so far so good! No falls and no foot catch while walking. Having some resistance when the knee is pressured is wonderful. And this knee is able to free swing or lock straight with just a small adjustment. It is a bit heavier compared to the other knees but the positive points far exceed that issue. The fact the it is roughly half the cost of the electronic knees isn't too bad either. I'm very thankful I was able to try different knees to experience first hand the different technologies. As well said by Karen, Mick and others in earlier responses no one shoe fits everyone. I encourage anyone new to this life to ask for trail tests runs. If only I could just get out of my head my dear big brothers comment that he could use the knee to jack up his car if he had a flat. Gotta love siblings! Thanks to everyone for their thoughts. Jane
  10. 11/7/2010 11/7/2010 Hi Everyone! My odyssey in experiencing different knee options continues as do my questions. For about two weeks I have been using a Otto Bock EBS Pro 3R60. It felt wonderful to be able to stand up on two feet again but I didn't like the fact that once the knee is bent, and weighted, there is no resistance to stop a fall. I tested this point when I tripped in my office and managed to connect with a very solid iron support column that jumped up in my path. A bit more than my pride was bruised but fortunately no bones were broken per the kind folks at our local medical facility. I realize falling is certainly part of the learning curve and I know more falls will be part on any life but I'm hoping other knee options can work for me. My leg man did arrange for me to try a Rheo Knee this past Friday but we had no luck. Despite numerous tinkering being short and a through knee amputee combination made this equipment unworkable. The equipment rep. couldn't get enough clearance to stop a toe drag when I walked. My leg guy had been willing to try this knee because the "build height" noted in the Rheo's literature, (9 1/4) while tight, looked like it should be workable. Unfortunately the "knee center" amount was not. The rep only brought up this "knee center" reference at the end of several hours trying to make the equipment workable. He said this knee center measurement needed 17 or so inches to make the knee workable and I have only 14 +/- inches for spacing. This term is no where I can see in any company info. My leg guy said had not seen this term in the literature either. To hear this requirement at the end of this time was frustrating. However the afternoon was productive in that I could see how much this knee stuck out beyond my own left knee. I didn't measure it but it was huge and would have to be really considered even if a microprocessor knee came along in the future. As it is my current Otto Bock knee extends about a 1 1/2 beyond my own knee. I will be talking further tomorrow with my leg guy but I wanted to ask today if my hope to find a hydraulic knee that can allow me to move about and have a knee, when bent & weighted, doesn't give out? Walking about on level ground is great but the world is not level. I know a locking option with the leg extended is possible but I'm hoping to be able to move on uneven ground, go uphill and downhill, without having to resort to a locked out knee. Are my expectations unrealistic? Thanks for your thoughts! Jane
  11. Jane K

    Amputee Athlete and Actor

    10/31/2010 Hi Kurt: Great video! I'm new to this club so your path of recovery is not known to me but it is wonderful to see your success. The unavoidable thinking of what we cannot do because of our injury, illness or accident can overwhelm the possibilities of what we may be able to do with work and time. Thanks and keep up with your work and fun. Jane
  12. 09/05/2010 Hi Every One: As a new amputee I'm looking for input on what other amputees have done to help phantom pain. In particular I've looked over a Dr Jack Tsao's mirror therapy and wondered if anyone has tried his technique? Acupuncture treatment is another avenue I've wondered about in treating phantom pain. Any input would be appreciated. Thanks, Jane K
  13. Jane K

    Did I miss the memo???

    Thanks for the in-put and hearing how others are faring. Since I answered Cheryl's "where is everyone?" I have spent the day food shopping while walking on two legs - and holding the cart - home to have my boys unload the purchases; then walking the aisle at Walmart to locate a small locking bin to keep my felines away from the socket liners; and lastly going for a swim. To live normally again felt wonderful! I did realize once home moving about the limitations of my current knee or at least its setting as it is now. I equate it to my extensive time dealing with a drop hinge brace. I can walk and have some what normal gate but when I do every day motions around the house I am resorting to a "peg leg" stance. Is this typical of any other members experiences? Am I expecting too much from the mechanical world? Jane
  14. Jane K

    Did I miss the memo???

    Hi Everyone: I've been busy with my boys, work and adjusting to my first new leg. I'm a through knee right leg amputee since August and I just got my new leg on Monday this week. Relearning balancing and to trust my leg will take time but it feels so good to be back on two legs. The temp socket has a slow leak in either the valve or side seal. I was warned that temporary sockets can have this issue. It was pretty funny to see my physical therapist try to catch my leg when I was using stationary bike. I do have an appointment tomorrow with my leg guy so this problem will be fixed. However my short experience with this new leg has generated many questions that I plan to ask my leg guy. Maybe some of you with more time with legs might be able to offer your thoughts. My temp socket covers my entire thigh. I was wondering that since I was a through knee amputee, and I'm lucky to have all my thigh bone, if a socket surface could be shorter? An inch or two shorter would be much more comfortable. I've also read about a softer shell with a rigid frame option. Anyone had this system? The knee is a Otto Bach RX360 pro. It is a hydraulic knee that is well suited from my short 5' 1" height. However the knee has no locking ability that I think I want if a get into a poor footing situation. Maybe I'm just falling back onto the years I used a drop hinge brace to survive. I know my prosthetic fitter can answer these points but I was trying to learn more about equipment as I can. Sometimes it feels like trying to shop for mattresses and understanding one manufactures features over anthers. Actual experience helps. Thanks, Jane
  15. Jane K

    Doubles tennis for AK amputee

    09/26/2010 Hi: As a new above knee amputee (8/13/10) I'm still in the incision healing, wearing the stylish shrinker stage but it is great to hear your question. I've been a life long tennis player and hoped this may be one of the activities that I can look forward to doing again. Sounds like you are doing it and having a great time! Congratulations! Is back peddling to get a deep ball, or overhead, an issue? Do you play singles or is court coverage a problem? Jane
  16. 09/21/10 Thank you all for your responses. As you all stated no one answer fits everyone but you all have given me good ideas to work going forward. I feel a bit less overwhelmed understanding the technology and this new life. I think I've said it before, and at the risk of repeating myself, this site is amazing! The willingness individuals have shown to lend support, suggestions or a shoulder to lean on is something I've never experienced before. The good nature of people shines here! Take care all, Jane
  17. 9/19/2010 Thanks very much for your input and help putting the options in perspective. Especially your comment about what do I have to lose. I came into this world after six years of trying to just hold onto a mangled, painful, unstable knee that my surgeons strongly suggested amputating two years ago. Since the initial surgery mending I'm free of knee pain and I see how easy I've slipped into the mindset the closer I can get to normal the better. (Friends will say I've never been normal but that's another story.) This site and the folks in it are amazing. Thanks to all.
  18. Jane K

    Logic Vs. medicine

    9/18/10 Hi DJ: How goes your research for docs and equipment? Any luck? Jane
  19. Jane K

    Frustrated and feeling lost!I

    9/13/2010 Hi Mary: When I just logged onto the site there was partial message from you that was visible but when I tried to open it to see all your note I lost it My newness to this site is very easy to see! Jane
  20. Jane K

    hello all

    9/14/2010 Hi James: I'm new to this group but I have been so amazed by the positive outlook shown by other amputees in this forum. And yes - humor is essential for everyone everywhere. Maybe the image described below will lighten your spirits... I'm just 4+ weeks from my through knee amputation. I will be soon getting my "training leg". My insurance will cover 80% of the artificial leg costs. I plan to finance the balance since I don't have a heap of money under my mattress. I was thinking that when someone fails to pay a car loan the bank can send out a tow truck or flat bed to remove the car from the owners property. So if someone defaults on payments for a leg do the loan folks send out one of those salvage yard cranes with the giant magnet on it? Warped perhaps but I can't help chuckle with this image in my mind. Hang in there, Jane
  21. Jane K

    Frustrated and feeling lost!I

    9/13/2010 Hi Mary: I'm so sorry to hear how many issues you are having and the trouble trying to resolve them. Your health, physical and mental, can be so affected be these problems. I can't say it always works but sometimes when I have had to wait awhile for an appointment I have tried checking with the Docs office each day to see if they have any cancellations. Being very polite, but persistent, can some times help to get one into an opening or cancellation. Good luck! I do hope you can get some positive help soon. Jane PS If it is possible get the receptionist name so you can address her/him personally when you call.
  22. 9/8/2010 Hi Everyone: My name is Jane and I'm new to this site and have only been an amputee since 8/13/2010. I've been pretty lucky that I have only had brief times where my phantom sensation has become phantom pain. That being said and however short the pain I don't like the experience at all. Trying to learn what options are out there I kept hearing a bit about the use of a mirror to help reduce phantom sensation and pain. The long and short I found reference to this technique on a 2008 article in the In Mviewer.htmotion publication. This article lead to my reaching Dr Jack Tsao (sited in the article) and asking for more details. He kindly responded with the attached information. I'm going to give it a try. This does not involve chemicals -and if nothing else -I've gained a new wall mirror. This information may already be out somewhere in this site, but in case it is not, pleas feel free to look over the information. Janeviewer.htm
  23. Jane K

    Logic Vs. medicine

    9/8/2010 Hi Kender: You may have received a partial response I was typing but on my end I some how managed to delete the entry. I'm new to having a lap top computer and clearly not used to keying on my lap with my leg elevated. It sounds like that if you go ahead with an amputation you may be able to salvage your femur intact. I'm new to this world but I get it that the more you can retain the better going forward. My surgeon was able to do this for me as he hoped A leg attached to a complete femur will protrude beyond the remaining leg (when sitting) but this the least of my concerns. I want function. I want the chance to live again. I'm attaching a piece written by a wonderful women named Judy who I was lucky enough to get to know earlier this summer. Her advise and experiences as an elective amputee has been priceless to me. Despite different histories that brought her to her decision to amputate, her outlook has been fantastic and, I hope can help others too. Let me know what you think too. JaneYouve already lost it2.doc
  24. Jane K

    Logic Vs. medicine

    9/6/2010 Hi Kender: This is my first time offering my thoughts but here it goes anyway: Run, do not stop except to grab your medical files, to another surgeon. Get more opinions. You may not still like the answers but you need to at least have confidence in your doc and his or her abilities. Your situation is rough. Chronic pain is so horrible and only those who have experienced it can relate. Unless an infection is a current issue per sue your options. Only you can decide what it right for you. None of us in our right mind would elect to chop off a limb if we had other options available. But there comes a point when an amputation may give us a chance for a better quality of life. A chance is better then no chance. I had a elective above knee amputation on Aug 13, 10. This surgery was my 7th on my right knee. My surgeon strongly suggested amputation just before the #6 surgery in Oct 2008. I begged him to let me hold onto my leg and he manged to salvage what he could. In these two years I was so fortunate to have the time to realize even though I had my knee and a foot attached I wasn't living. I lived in dreaded fear of another infection or another patella rupture. A locked out drop hinge brace couldn't stop the inevitable. I elected an amputation on my terms - no trauma, no infection, otherwise healthy and a healing process with crutches not on snow or ice. Just 3+ weeks out I have no end of limb, stump - or whatever it should be called - pain. I am experiencing phantom sensation that my now gone foot has fallen asleep. I am also experiencing bouts of sharp pain and have been trying to treat them with a higher dosage of neurontin per docs approval. Time will tell what is to come for me. I friends recommendation is to look ahead to a year. from now. To envision what might be possible with a lot of hard work. A chance for a better quality of life. Good luck. Go with what your gut tells you. Jane