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Heather Mills - Amputee Forum
RozM

Hello! ...choosing to amputate is tough!

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Hi all;

Hello Mike! - I agree entirely with you, I would like to be completely unrestricted and able to drive manuals too. I used to be an enthuiastic driver and preferred manuals, but after buying my first auto in 1988 and being amazed with how smooth and relaxing they are, I've had them ever since. But sometimes my garage gives me a manual loan car when mine's being serviced, and I enjoy the feeling of involvement with driving a manual again. I'll definitely be aiming to drive a manual with my prosthesis, and going from left-foot-only in an auto to left-foot-and-prosthesis in an auto will be a great stepping stone, so-to-speak!

Patti - I recently enquired about a left-foot accelerator and an electric parking brake - my car has a left-foot-operated parking brake, which would have to be moved if I had the left foot accelerator. They sent me the relevant information, but you wouldn't believe what else they can do! There are zero-effort controls available, and a car can be controlled entirely from a single joystick. I would think there is bound to be an ideal option for you - if you are in the UK I could send you the details I've got - please feel free to PM me!

Actually Muz - I do have a slight left-right issue with my car, one that we don't see very often these days, but it's due to international variations. My car is the Japanese version of a UK spec car - a grey import, as they're known. It's actually better-equipped than the equivalent UK car, but the indicator and windscreen wiper stalks are reversed left to right. When I get a loaner car from the garage I'll inevitably turn on the wipers instead of indicating, and vice versa, and I'll do this again for a while when I get my own car back. It's not a major problem, but it becomes really infuriating if I've done it fifty times already! :angry:

Ouch, Lizzie2, £500 was a lot for insurance in the late 80s! :o Did you pay it?

JimT - thanks again for your experiences; having been a left-foor-braker for ages, it's my left-foot-operated-accelerator that is the "oops!" pedal right now! I must look like a learner again, kangarooing about! :rolleyes:

Roz :)

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Hi Roz,

Decided to add my 2 cents. I'm rbk and I drive an automatic with a left foot adapter. I drove for a while just using my left foot, kind of cross over to the gas pedal, but felt like it would be safer if I did the adapter thing. I really like it, and it flips down so if someone else drives it there's no problem. In fact, it's probably the best $250 I ever spent. I could have gotten it done thru the State for nothing but I would have had to wait about two more months. If I had to drive someone else's car, I could still do the cross over. So I guess it's just whatever would be most comfortable for you. Personally, I don't think I could drive with my prosthetic foot. But a lot of people can. You'll figure out what works best for you.

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Hi all;

Update - my GP has granted me an out-of-area referral me to an orthopaedic surgeon in Birmingham who specialises in the foot and ankle areas (Mr. Mark Herron). He can also look at my hip problems. The wait is normally 3 months (I was hoping to have had the amp by the end of March), but I'm trying to get through to tell them that I'll take a cancellation or other short-notice appointment.

I imagine he'll say what they've all said before - "arthrodesis or amputation", but I can at least get his opinion on my hip and my amp outcome.

I'm waiting to hear back from the other people I emailed before Christmas - Mr. Nigel Rossiter, who is an Ertl surgeon, and Dorset Orthopaedics.

The process of getting my amp begins..! :rolleyes:

Hi mmarie (Marcia);

Thanks for your thoughts. I must confess that using my left foot for the accelerator does feel very strange, and I can see how a left foot accelerator pedal would make things feel a lot better. However, I keep telling myself that I'll need to get used to adapting to new and unfamiliar things, so I should stick it out.

Also, my car has a left-foot-operated parking brake which would have to be moved out of the way of a left foot acceperator pedal, adding over £1100 to the cost! :o When I think of this, my eagerness to adapt to the unfamiliar gets a boost! <_<

Roz. :)

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I must look like a learner again, kangarooing about! :rolleyes:

Roz :)

You know Roz - I was 52 when I lost my leg. Over half a life time, and I had never experienced the losing of a part such as this. It was a whole new life. When my cast fell off while I was walking around the house on crutches, I stood and didn't know whether to laugh or cry. I picture my whole body flowing out through the hole in the bottom of my stump.

In a short minute I learned that there was not hole in the bottom, and I was fine. My stump had just shrunk. But - it was all brand new to me. As everything else was. We all have to learn all over again, new ways to do what we have been doing all of our lives.

Driving is one of them. You'll work it out and it will become old hand to you again, just like before - except you will have learned a different way to do the same thing you were doing before.

It's that simple - if we let it be.

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Hi all;

Many thanks for your birthday wishes!

It's been a slightly odd day, finding my way around a new organization that I must do IT stuff with, in the company of very good people and a couple of wonderful old friends, but I'm in a strange town, and your wishes have really brightened up my day - gee, THANKS!!! :D :D :D

Coincidentally, I have an appointment one week from today with Dorset Orthopaedics - my first private consultation - in their new consulting rooms in the Leeds Nuffield hospital. I can't wait to hear what they have to say! :rolleyes: I'll let you know the outcome...

Best wishes

Roz. :)

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Hi RozM

I have been toying with the idea of below amputation for several months now, after several operations over the years to repair an achilles tendon problem and a bout of pseudomonas, I have seen several doctors so they could rule out all other possibilities. Now it was decided that elow knee would improve things or i could stay as i am, in alot of pain and very restricted.

only today infact i have got the date for the amputation to go ahead (9th feb 2006) and although i have been expecting it, i would be lying if i didnt say i feel very scared. And only now is it feeling very real.

I (like all of you at some point) have been going through the shall i, shall i not stage. And now the date has been set, all i want to do is hide away!

I feel now that if they could just wake me up after its all done, i would be ok, the surgery itself, going down to theatre with two legs and coming back with one scares me no end. I suppose this is normal?

I just really wanted to say thankyou, you have helped me feel abit more normal with your honest and frank forum. I dont feel so alone now. i have been looking at this site for several months prior to making the decision to go ahead.

i wish you all the very best with your amputation and wish for you a speedy recovery. and to anyone else that may making the same life changing decisions.

regards

terrih69

p.s if that is the mark herron that used to work at nuffield hospital in oxford, you will be in very good hands! if it is te same doctor, i used to see him several years ago before he moved on, good luck!!

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Welcome to the forum, terrih69! :)

I'm pleased - that this forum has helped you to make up your mind - and I'm also relieved for you - that you have made the decision to have your amputation. It's not much fun deciding to have an elective amputation, is it?

Things must be very scary for you at the moment, but it won't be for long & then things should calm down for you after your amputation. In the meantime, try and fous on something to occupy your time. The last time I had surgery, I gave the garden a makeover and varnished all the doors in our house - silly things, I know, but doing them helped me cope with the stress.

I'll be thinking of you at the beginning of Feb. Hope everything goes well in hospital.

Lizzie :)

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Hi Terri and welocme..........good luck with everything

Cat

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Hi Terri--

Welcome to our forum family! I wish you the best with your surgery & a speedy recovery!

Patti

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Hi, Terri, and welcome. It is indeed very scary and we are here if you need us. Hope all goes well for you.

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Hi terrih69, and welcome to the forum!

I'm glad you've already seen the kind of help and advice that's available here, and there's loads more information contained in previous posts, too.

If you'd like to know more, I'd recommend that you go to the last page of the Introductions forum (which shows the earliest posts by new members) and follow some of the stories through from the first postings up to the present - I have done this with many threads, and they have shown me than I'm by no means alone in having to choose an amputation, and they've helped me feel so much more optimistic, and better informed - and therefore much less terrified!

I'm delighted that you have a clear path ahead, even though it can seem so scary at times; I've had a new bout of panic myself today, as I accompanied a friend to hospital to have keyhole surgery on his knee - just being in a hospital and knowing what's to come for me weakened my resolve! But then I remembered all the others I've read about on the forum, who have had similar apprehensions before their surgeries, and have then gone through it all, and are now delighted with how much more able they've become, and how wonderful it is to be pain-free.

I don't have a date yet, and I imagine that having one raises the apprehension level significantly, but when you have difficult moments, just come back to the forum - you have many, many well-informed and experienced new friends here.

Please keep in touch!

Very best wishes

Roz. :)

PS: Thanks for the positive feedback on Mark Herron!

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Welcome to the forum, terrih69. :)

The decision was made for me, so I can't help much there, but it's not easy, whichever way you look at it.

Be confident in the decision you come to finally.

All the best.

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Hi all

wow! all this support! thank you to you all!!

it gives the saying ' your not on your own' a new meaning.

In the short time i have been reading forums on this web page, i have found it very helpful, but above all very inspiring to feel that people are sharing both good and bad stories and tips on how to deal with things and where to find the help and advice that you would never know to ask for otherwise.

will keep you informed, good luck to anyone who is going through similar. and all the best to all.

thank you again

terri

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Hi Terri

Welcome to our "little" club. (Pretty good size actually) You have a world wide network of experience here, all yours just for the asking. I've never seen a group of people so dedicated to helping others. I am proud to be in their midst.

I went into the hospital to correct a graft in my femoral artery (groin) that had come loose. 30 day's later I got out without a foot and lower leg. se la vie

Like other's have said: "The decision" was made for me. I do remember however, that the morning that I entered the hospital to have the graft worked on. (part of an aorta-femoral bypass to increase circulation in my legs), I told my wife: "I really don't want to do this". It was the third of what has turned out to be 43 operations at this point. (My body just does not like to be invaded.)

Now with that said, had I not gone, I would not be alive today, and all (most) of the subsequent operations were necessaary to fix complications and other problems over the years. My brother was an attorney, (was because he has since passed on), and he looked into my procedures to make sure that everything was done correctly. He later told me that: "The doctor's did nothing wrong - it's just that what they did, went wrong".

They kept me alive though and saved most of the leg. I am eternally grateful for that. As for the other doctors later - well, I'm still here. That counts for a whole lot. I have just reread what I've written, and I am not trying to be encouraging or discouraging. These are just my facts. I don't gloss reality over. Sometimes, we just don't have a choice, and have to bite the bullit and go for it.

Yes - knowing everything that I know today, I would still make the same choice to go into the hospital that morning. I really did not have a choice. It had to be done.

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Hi Terri, welcome to you.

I know just how you are feeling at the moment. I waited for the postman to arrive, everyday for six months, with my letter from the hospital, then believe it or not, I got a phone call giving me 10 days notice. The waiting is scarier than the op :(

Good luck, hope all goes well.

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Hello Terri--welcome to the family! I do hope that everything goes well for you.

Take care.

Carol

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Hi all;

Just a quick update, back on my Intro thread, to keep all my history in one place!

I contacted The Coventry Pain Clinic, and got some very good advice about a drug regime for both before and after my prospective amputation, and my new GP seems happy to be advised by it. This is good news, because the wait for an appointment at an NHS Pain Clinic is many months - you were spot on, Lizzie2!

It's now only 2 weeks until my private consultation with an orthopaedic surgeon, and as he consults to Dorset Orthopaedic, I'm expecting advice of the highest quality.

I'm still waiting to hear about a date for my NHS referral to an orthopaedic surgeon.

In the meantime, I'm trying to limit my activity as far as possible, so I have as little arthritic pain as possible leading up to surgery, which I hope will help with phantoms.

The time seems to be dragging, but I guess it'll all be upon me before I know it!

Roz. :)

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Hi Roz

I'm glad you contacted the clinic I suggested. It's appauling how long you have to wait for an NHS pain clinic referral, isn't it?

I'm sorry to hear that you're having more arthritic pain. :( I can understand why you're limiting your activity, but try to find other ways to exercise, such as swimming, as you need try to be as fit as possible before a general anaesthetic & surgery. Also, you'll find that the endorphins released when you exercise will help your pain.

Take care

Lizzie :)

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hello everyone

sorry it has been a while, as you can appreciate, this last few weeks has been a rollercoaster of emotions, trying to prepare myself and my family unit for whats about the happen (BK)

just wanted to say thanks to all of you for your support, i probably wont be around for a few weeks now as i am only 3 days away from surgery, i am admitted wednesday and operated thursday morning.

speak to you all soon

bestwishes to you all

Terri

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It's now only 2 weeks until my private consultation with an orthopaedic surgeon, and as he consults to Dorset Orthopaedic, I'm expecting advice of the highest quality.

Roz, did you also check to see if he consults to the NHS as well. You may just be getting the same "second class low quality" advice at a higher cost. <_<

Also, you'll find that the endorphins released when you exercise will help your pain.

Interesting thought Lizzie but aren't endorphins released as a response to pain? Therefore the more pain you are in to start with the more endorphins will be released into your body. Presumably this would reach a plateau and no more endorphins are available for release, and pain is felt again. The sort of pain suffered by a prson with a freshly amputated limb for example?? :blink:

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Give me a break, Muz! :(

Where I live, it's an 80 day wait for a referral to an NHS pain clinic & that's supposed to be good! :blink: I've contacted the pain clinic in question before for advice & it was excellent. The consultant at the clinic is also an osteopath & he does online consultations (for which you pay a nominal fee). I think it's worth paying a small fee if you don't want to wait ages for an appt.

Also, you'll find that the endorphins released when you exercise will help your pain.

Interesting thought Lizzie but aren't endorphins released as a response to pain?

I don't believe I said they were released as a response to pain. As you know, Muz, 'endorphins' are released when you exercise. I've found exercise really helpful for my pain management. ;)

Lizzie :)

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Sorry Lizzie, just in an argumentative mood today :) You're correct in that you didn't say that endorphins are released in response to pain. I found it here and here. The wikipedia entry also disputes the so called endorphin rush that athletes experience. They think it's more a response to succesfully completing a challenge. I think I'll stick to eating a nice hot chilli for my endorphin release :P

I think it's worth paying a small fee if you don't want to wait ages for an appt.

I wouldn't deny that but ... :)

I recently had to attend the local Nuffield hospital (Private) to see a psychiatrist as part of my insurance claim process. I arrived at the hospital around 6 and found the waiting room full of people with sticks crutches and assorted leg dressings all moaning about how long they'd been kept waiting. I actually overheard one woman say she'd been waiting since 3!!! If that's the prompt service you get for paying I think I'll stick with the slow one hour waits I have at the NHS ;)

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Ultimately, it’s the pain (and not vanity!) that has me writing to surgeons

I know what you mean, I was so pleased to have my left leg amputated I was out of hospital within 1 weeks rather than the 3 weeks the consultant said I would be in, my state of mind improved enormously due to less pain. There is nothing like constant string pain to bring one down, so while it's not the ideal solution you'll probably feel better of in the end.

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Hi All;

Lizzie2, I've recently moved house, which has also prevented me from exercising - I have an exercise bike and a "Health Rider", which is probably best described as a kind of rowing macine - but I'll be able to get back on them this week. I've really noticed the effects of less exercise, and am looking forward to turning calories into endorphins again - or at least trying to! I'll try to find a pool too, but the last council one I went to gave me a truly dreadful foot infection, so I'm a bit wary of them now!

Hi Muz; I believe the surgeon does consult to the NHS too, but I'm prepared to pay for an initial appointment at least, and thus gain further advice when I want it. Also, I've moved to the north west of England, where orthopaedics are not a speciality, and having established a relationship with a specialist surgeon will strengthen my case for an out-of-area NHS referral directly to him for the surgery - all worth it, I think. As regards the quality of advice, I'll be letting him know from the outset that I expect excellent value for my money! As regards waiting times, both private and NHS clinics can be chaotic, but the problem with the NHS is waits of months to get in, rather than hours to be seen.

Hi dabbit; yours is the kind of feedback that's just great to read - thank you for posting it!

Roz. :)

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