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vickib

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I drive an automatic car at the moment but obviously with my right leg soon to go do any of you know whether I will need to inform DVLA of my amputation even if I can master driving using my left leg?

Hi Vicki,

Regarding your question about driving, Muz was absolutly right you do need to inform DVLA and your insurers.

Have a look here for more information DVLA Medical Rules

Hope this helps.

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.Hi Vicky, I am glad you have joined us. I want to ask you to see if they can save your knee, ask your doctor to try to save it if it can be saved.

I drive an automatic with my left foot. It is fine. I went to the DMV and got another drivers licence. I don't remember if I took a test or not though. I got a special license plate for parking on handcaped space.

You will feel better sleeping with a pillow by your leg. It is amazing how you will miss that part of your body, most of all if you like to sleep on your sides...

If you start feeling sad, discouraged, etc, write down your thoughts, later on you will see how much you travel toward your sucess when you compare the notes .

Don't forget that each day will bring you closer to face life as it is, full of surprises.

If you need any help from another amputee, feel free to reach out for any of us. We all have open mind and arms

Dea

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Hi Vicki. Welcome to this wonderful forum. I'm so glad you decided to join us. Even tho this is a scary thing, once the pain is gone you will feel like a new person and can begin to start your life anew. Even tho I had no choice regarding my amputation, I was in pain for a really long time so I know where you're coming from there.

I'm a right below knee and drive using a left foot adapter. I drove for a little while just using my left foot but I feel safer with the adapter.

You have been thru a lot and it's not over yet but I can tell you have lots of courage and you are going to do well.

Best of luck. We're here for you whenever you need us.

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Welcome, Vicki!

Add me to your list of encouragers! You are in great hands, here on this forum, and will be educated and supported beyond belief. Your Mum is a real gem, and I'm so glad she brought you to all of us! :)

Best wishes to you Vicki.

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Hello Vicki... most of your questions seem to have been answered.

Just to add to experiences of others, I'm a right AK, I drive an unadapted automatic. I didn't have a driving liocence before loosing my leg, so had an extended test (which the examinar cut short becuase he realised it wasn't necessary) in a normal auto using my left leg.

Defo tell DVLA and insurers like has been said, it should just be a paperwork exercise.

One thing I'll add to Awesome Blue's comments about the first few weeks... they will probably get you up in the parallel bars and fit a 'Pam Aid' to you. This is a scary looking frame with a blow up tube in it. It's fitted around you stump (or residual limb as they call it) and they blow it up to gentling apply pressure around your stump to allow you to feel something of what it's going to be like to wear an artificial limb.

Don't worry, this is nothing whatsoever like the leg you will receive to wear every day.

I suffered about a year of hospital and 26 operations to try and save my leg, Awesome Blue's timings are roughly what I remember. That was 23 years ago, and apart from a couple of trips per year to my fitting centre for maintenance etc. I've worked full time and not needed a single day off as a result of being an amputee in all that time.

I put my leg on first thing in the morning and take it off last thing at night... it's just a normal part of life now.

Good Luck

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Hi Vicki!

As you may have seen, I've corresponded with your wonderful mum!

I had a motorcycle accident too, 26 years ago, and was left with a badly messed-up leg, which I'm having amputated on August 10th. Recovering from my injuries taught me how to triumph over almost any adversity, and I'm sure this will be the same for you, but I certainly could have done without the pain I've suffered for the last 26 years! It's knowing that I'll be free from this pain at last, and that I'll be much more able with a modern prosthesis in comparison to my wrecked old leg, makes my amputation seem like something to look forward to. I think you're wise to take this courageous decision to have the amputation, as it sounds like it will also give you the most able and pain-free future.

I went through the same distress as you have over the anguish I'd caused my family, but we pulled together, and I think that ultimately it made us all stronger in many ways, and much closer, so try not to reproach yourself over this. It's not the kind of thing anyone would invite into their lives, but eventually I think you'll see that a lot of wisdom and compassion is acquired by everyone who's a part of digging deep to be a part of overcoming such an adversity.

Your mum mentioned you'd been struggling to give up smoking - I wish you the very best of luck with this. I smoked when I had my accident, and afterwards, and I suffered some complications as a result, so I hope you can kick the habit too, and make your new start even better. Have a look at Ally's thread on the subject - it's informative, as well as a good laugh!

As regards driving, I've recently taught myself to drive my automatic car with just my left foot; it took a while before I didn't look like a kangarooing learner again, but it became second nature pretty quickly. I'll probably have a left foot accelerator fitted, as stretching all the way over to the accelerator can be tiring after a while, but it is possible to drive this way. As I approach my amputation, I'll just tell the DVLA and my insurance that I've been doing it for ages, and my amp will make no difference!

You'll find that the forum is absolutely huge, and crammed full of useful information - I'm still learning new stuff every day after trawling it for over 2 months! I'm sure the knowledge you can find here will make everything much clearer, and you'll feel progressively more optimistic about the future.

Very best wishes

Roz :)

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Hi Everyone

Once again for your kind words and suggetsions.

Thohom thanks for your advice I never actually realised how big this site was you cd spend all day here for a year and still not be able to read everything.

Aquarian63 thanks for ur kind words.

Lynne I agree with ur posting and agree I think a small part of me has grieved my leg already but just worry things aren't gonna be as pain free as I think. Any suggestions anyone who had elected amputations?

....You have already dealt with alot over the past four years and I'm sure you have felt like life was on hold. Progress has only begun.

Shane  this is exactly how I have felt but also feel I have put my whole families lfe on hold which is probably the hardest thing to deal with  :(  .

Lizzie2  Thanks for your reassurances  it help to know i'm not on my own here and at least slightly normal  :blink: . Have felt like I've been slightly mad up until now.

Jen  I am still waiting for my appt to come through so all I know is the person i'm waiting  to see is Steve from Addenbrookes Disability Services.  I am also blessed with the fact that I am extremely stubborn and bloody minded so hopefully this will help a great deal

Muz  Thanks for your advice and I think that's where i've been going wrong I agree it is to the future I shpuld look.

Marilyn  Thanks for your advice and I agree it is an awesome place.

amputeegirl05  Thanks dor your kind words and advice.

.....enjoy the new friends (and their knowledge) you will find here. You are already lucky to have such a treasure (your Mum) by your side.

Afet Thank you very much and I agree with you on the mum front :angry:

Awesome Blue Thank you for your kind words.

I will continue this posting soon but at the mo I have to do the school run.

Vicki

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no problem vicky :)

i am also a newbie here, but i remebered this thread.

in the moment you think, that bathing is a big challenge, but later you will find out , that it is just easy. try to strengthen all intact bodyparts. it will help you, when you have later lost some weight.

go for swimming...the next stage after having a bath...you will feel free in the pool....nearly no limitations. ;)

ciao thomas

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Lynne I agree with ur posting and agree I think a small part of me has grieved my leg already but just worry things aren't gonna be as pain free as I think. Any suggestions anyone who had elected amputations?

There aren't many of us who have had elective amputations, but I had one when I was in my teens.

My main advice is (I know this sounds a bit stupid) to be prepared for what will or could happen, but don't dwell on it.

Yes, you will have partly grieved for your loss of function, but you will grieve some more, after your amp, for your increased loss of function (this is helped when you get mobile on your temporary prosthesis)...and as you're a woman you'll have to adjust to your altered body image (it seems it's more important to women). Also, as it's an elective amp, you'll also have a bit of guilt thrown in too. But it's all manageable and you should get the support you need, if you ask for it.

You can always PM me if you have any further questions.

Lizzie :)

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Hi again

I have now been picked up and am at mum's now after she has helped dropping the kids off etc.

Back to where I was

Greenthumb I have persevered with my leg for the last 4 yrs (although I know many of you persevered for longer). My knee is not viable and and due to the arthritis I now have as a result of the accident the docs say this will continue to get worse as time goes on so the chances are I will have to have it done later in life anyway. My view on this is the younger I am, surely the easier it will be to adapt ;). Well i'm hoping anyway. Thanks for your other advice it things like those you pointed out that you don't even realise will be a prob until it is done.

nmarie Thanks for your kind words and advice.

Cheri Thank you for your welcome and as I said before yes mum is a gem :angry:.

Oneblueleg Thanks for your advice on the Pam Aid. I would prob have got a bit freaked out if they had used this thinking it was my new leg.

Rozm Thank you very much for your posting it seems like you too have been through hell. I have read your Posting in Introductions and whilst I can't offer you any advice on the questions you raised I just want to wish you all the very best for your op. You never know we may be going through it together at around the same time. Well once again best of luck ^_^ .

Thohom Once again thanks for your advice. At the moment I can't swim as I still have an open wound from surgery I had last September (long story). The one thing I did plan and promise my daughter was as soon as I healed up we would go swimming as I am restricted quite mobility wise to do exactly as you say, so it's quite nice to know i'm going in the right direction.

Sorry guys n girls but I do have another question to ask. Hope you don't mind?

I am on a very high dose of Morphine as I think I have previously said with everyone who has had amputations and been on medication before their ops would it be to much for me to cease taking my medication as soon as I have had the op (go Cold Turkey :blink: ) or would I be better letting my body adjust to the amputation first before embarking on another scary journey?

Well once again thanks everyone

Speak soon

Vicki

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well vicky,

i started with morphine after the amputation....and didn´t stop at once. i reduced it over 6-7 weeks...one day i forgot to take the pill. then it was ok.

my biggest fear was, that there could come pain. in my eyes it is a problem of confidence in yourself then...maybe some painkillers at the nightdesk help also. you know than, that you could take them if....

thats the way i deal with it now.

ciao thomas

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Oneblueleg Thanks for your advice on the Pam Aid. I would prob have got a bit freaked out if they had used this thinking it was my new leg.

Sorry guys n girls but I do have another question to ask. Hope you don't mind?

I am on a very high dose of Morphine as I think I have previously said with everyone who has had amputations and been on medication before their ops would it be to much for me to cease taking my medication as soon as I have had the op (go Cold Turkey :blink: ) or would I be better letting my body adjust to the amputation first before embarking on another scary journey?

Well once again thanks everyone

Speak soon

Vicki

Pam Aid .. Remember it well a weird contraption but at least it gets you up and walking, and that's welcome after being immobile for a few days. I got to the stage where I looked forward to it because I was me again, upright and walking.

Morphine .. I think this is something to discuss with your doctor / surgeon. They are probably the only ones that can give you any meaningful advice an how to handle this.

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Hello again Vicki;

As regards morphine, I can't offer any informed advice, but I think if I were in your position, I'd try to come off it before the amputation. I try to take no painkillers, so that when I need one, it works well at low doses.

Intuitively, it seems to me that if you can come off (or reduce) the morphine before your amputation, you will overcome any tolerance you may now have developed to it's painkilling effects, so it will be available after the amputation at full-strength, so-to-speak, giving you the best possible analgesic effect.

Doing this may also help you reduce your reliance on it later on, too.

However, as others have said, in any event you should consult a pain specialist to advise on the amputation - there's a very good online one here.

It would be strange if we were to be going through this at the same time, wouldn't it?! Do you have any ideas of dates yet?

Best wishes

Roz. :)

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Hi all

I'm back again

Thohom Once again thanks for your advice it's worth bearing in mind.

Awesome Blue I have an idea I will prob feel exactly the same I hate to be cooped up in bed it's soooooooooooooo frustrating.

RozM I am currently under a Pain Specialist and had a spinal block about 2 months ago but found all it did was give me back and stomach ache. The trouble is due to under funding and waiting lists I now have to wait until May before my next appt to see him. With regards to my op I am waiting for an appt with Disabled Services, they are the people who deal with everything from Prosthesis's to dates etc. Hopefully when I go to my appt he can then tell me time frames etc. Where abouts are you having your op done?

Thanks everyone

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:wub:

Hi Vicki

I am LAKA Mine was elected i first had a BK then had to make the same decision 28 day's later to have AKA The first time I had to wait a month after I made the decision the next time it was done the next day with AKA it's a bit more difficult than BK you have no knee joint that's what I found but like all thing's you get used to it after a while.You sound very positive so you will be OK. IT'S now 4 year's since my 2 op's and I have been a member of this site just over 3 years as you can see by my number I was one of the Early member's i still find this site very helpful.All the best Vicki PM me if you need any advice.I was in hospital 10 day's each time after the op's

Pat.

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Hi Vicki and welcome to the forum, my name is Lesley, i am 43yrs old and had my bka op just over 2yrs ago.

I had an elected amputation, after having a couple of ops that failed, to replace a blocked main artery and suffering gangrene twice, i could no longer stand the pain i was in and the gangrene would only get worse. The vascular surgeon offered to try yet another artery transplant but i had had enough and opted for the amputation.

My advice to you is to ask your surgeons, aneasthatists and any other medics involved as many questions as you can. As well as posting your questions here(there is nothing better than the voice of experience) write them down and then ask at your hospital as well.

We are all different and cope in different ways but we do all get through.

Previous to my last 2 ops i had taken morphine for quite a while, couldn't have done without it. My surgeon told me that the less pain i was in pre-op then hopefully the less phantom pain i may experience. This is not true for everyone but if there is a chance of it working then great. He also advised me that an epidural for the op can have the same result so again i had one, the result, i haven't had much phantom at all. I do get the pins and needles feeling, it was really bad just after the op but has since diminished to the point where i don't notice it too much any more, i can also still wriggle my toes, i think a lot of members here will tell you they can also. An friend of mine who has been an amputee for 30 odd yrs tells me he can still wriggle his toes so i am not sure if this ever goes away. When i tell my non amp friends this it really brings a smile to their face and i can see that they are trying to imagine what it is like :) silly of them, how can they with toes imagine not having toes and then imagine being able to be able to wriggle toes they haven't got, :) duh!! too confusing. :wub:

I think the question of how long you are likely to be in hospital will depend on your area, how well you heal and how well you cope adjusting. I was only in hospital for 10 days, second day after op i was given crutches and wheel chair. I was shown how to transfer from bed to wheelchair, wheelchair to toilet. Physios made sure i could crutch properly, took me to the model bathroom and kitchen they had set up and made sure i could safely make my way around them. Then i was taken for a home visit and promised that if i was fine i would be aloud to stay home, that is what happened and there was no way they were gonna get me back into hospital.

One month on i had my first visit to limb centre and within 2 weeks or so my first prosthesis. A few visits to physio before i was allowed to take my limb home and a few more until both the physios and i felt i no longer needed to go. All in all i think it took me about 5 months from op to being totally independant(although still using one walking stick)confident and back to work. Once again tho there are no hard or fast rules on time keeping, take things at a pace you are comfortable with.

Please feel free to pm me any time. :)

I haven't had chance to welcome your mum but i did read her posts and i have pm'd her, please say Hi to her from me. :)

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Hi Vicki;

I think I'll be having my op at The North Hampshire Hospital, in Basingstoke - it's a long story!

I've just moved from the Midlands to the North West, and my new GP has said he can refer me out-of-area to the surgeon I want (in Basingstoke), whom I found after seeing Dorset Orthopaedics in Leeds! :blink:

All I have so far is a Hospital-letterheaded letter saying I'm on the surgeon's NHS waiting list, and there may be funding issues to overcome, but if all works out, yes, it'll be Basingstoke.

Having spent the last 2 months seeking advice to lead me to a final decision on having the amputation, I'm now in the same situation as you are - planning how to cope with it. Knowing that something like this is on the horizon is very much a double-edged sword, isn't it? I know that a few months after the amputation I'll be much more able and free from pain, :D but I've got to get through a pretty challenging time before I reach that nirvana! :wub: I find that it's a very odd feeling! :huh:

I wish there was a book (or a pre-amputee forum?!) that told me how to deal with the pre-op period, but Lizzie2 has advice for virtually every situation! Any time you feel like comparing notes, please don't hesitate to post or send me a Personal Message!

Best wishes

Roz. :)

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Dearest Vicki,

first of all I should like to thank you for your kind welcome in my thread

New Member [HD] : Mike from Germany.

I am amazed and thankful that with your problems and amputation forthcoming

you find the time and composure to welcome another newcomer to the forum.

Though - unlike you - I can consider myself a veteran amputeee with 16 years'

experience behind me. When people ask me, if they can be of any assistance,

I usually thank them and tell them: "That's alright. I'm a professional".

I am an elective amputee, too.

Perhaps reading my story will provide a little encouragement.

I could mail it to your private e-mail-address, if you agree (mine is:

elnoviodelamuerte@web.de) or you can read it in the 'Personal Stories'

section of the Sarcoma Alliance website:

Michael W... ; http://www.sarcomaalliance.org

Being a cancer case, I experienced no symptoms like pain before surgery.

I had expected the pain after surgery to be worse. They were able to control

it pretty well with the usual morphine drips.

Actually what I remember first, after waking up from the anaesthesia,

is literally shivering with cold - from the loss of blood, I suppose.

They did install special lamps to keep me warm, and I remember as particularly

pleasant the lollies which I was administered to alleviate the uncomfortable

dryness in my mouth.

The really strong pain soon subsided.

There was a slight problem with wound fever for a week.

I did experience rather excruciating and unnerving phantom pain during

the first two weeks after surgery, but then it suddenly disappeared.

Nowadays I only feel a singular stabbing pain, perhaps once a week, or

even less frequently.

As far as mourning the loss of my leg is concerned, I cried once or twice, and

never looked back.

However, I was so worried and preoccupied with the possibility of cancer

metastases developing in the first five years after amputation that the loss

of my leg appeared to be only of secondary importance.

I wish you

All the Best,

faith, courage and strength

and a 'stiff upper lip', you know.

Take care!

God Bless!

Mike

P.S. I should like to stay in touch.

Please, keep all your friends in this forum posted.

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hi Vicki & Anne i would like to welcome you both to this forum, as you have already found out its a great place to find out all those things that you need to know, myself im still new to all this. lak about 1 1/2 years ago (run in with a lorry) it won i lost :P .

i cant give any advice as most of your questions have been answered already,(im late again) but one thing that i did that really helped is :-m i kept a dairy from day one with pictures , well i didnt start it my wife yvonne did ,but as soon as i could put pen to paper i took over,........... photos !!!!!!! ugh i hear you say but later on when you are having a bad day (yes there will be some ) i look back at what i wrote and what state i was in & i realise how far i have come . i know this isnt much BUT on a bad day every little helps. :P

other advice i would like to give is talk then talk some more ,my mistake was i kept it all to myself , but it sounds like anne has already got that bit sorted . mums always know whats best!!! you should know that by now :D :D .

i wish you both well and keep us informed of your progress...............................................take care mick

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Thanks for that Mick. You are right Victoria and I very close, but perhaps we are both guilty of trying to keep our fears to ourselves.

Strange as it might seem, since joining the forum we have opened up to each other a little. But still, because we are heading, for us, into uncharyed waters, we are slowly feeling our way along.

Obviously, as a mum, I want Victoria to face a future without the tremendous pain she has suffered for the last four years. However, after 43 anaesthetics and operations, I wonder how much more she can take.

For us, the certain knowlege that we are there for each other will carry us through. Also the priceless support we have had, and I hope, will continue to have from our friends here will address our fears as they arise.

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other advice i would like to give is talk then talk some more

Whenever someone "normal" asks me how I live with the 43 operations, and the many "complications" that I've gone through, I simply tell them that I talk about it.

Any time in my life that I have feared something, I take it out and put it right in front of my face (so-to-speak) and stare it down.

It has been 18 years now since my amputation, but so many surgeries afterwards and problems, have left me an emotional wreck inside.

As long as I just skim the surface, and talk in general terms, (like here on the forum), I'm okay, but when I start getting specific and re-living it, my eyes immediately fill with tears. (I've always worn my heart on my sleeve.)

My wife was quite concerned when I joined this forum, because she knows how sensitive I am to the specifics of all of this. But it is okay, because I rarely get into the emotional side.

But believe me, even after 18 years, it is still very vivid

And that's okay for me - you know why? Because I say it's okay. I allow it to be okay.

***************

Escuse me. I don't know where my manners went. Welcome to our little corner of the world Vickie. I read your mother's post earlier, and have been looking forward to your joining us. I believe you will have much to share and to contribute. You can literally say that you immediately have friends all over the world. And not "fair weather " ones either. They will ride out whatever storm you may be faced with, now or in the future.

Hang in there and we'll hang with you.

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How did you all get so wise?

Don't edit that post Anne. I want to get ahold of my grandchildren and have them read it. :P :P :P

By the way, I didn't notice until reading the posts again that Vickie also has gone through the same number of surgeries that I have - 43. Mine have been spread out over a mostly 18 year period, however,(except for 1 or 2 earlier ones). And I definitely am a lot older, (69).

She sounds like one tough lady. Listening to you, I can see where she gets it.

God bless. It will all turn out the way that it is supposed to.

I know these things. :D :D

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QUOTE (anne.brook @ Mar 12 2006, 12:00 AM)

How did you all get so wise?

hi Anne speaking for myself im not wise, there are some members here that are.

but im not one of them . :o

Your Vicki has had a really bad experience she has been to a place where not many people go and hopefully she will soon leave this place and start a new life.

All of us on this forum have been there in one way or another, when you come out of this place it changes you :- for me it was for the better . :D

yes i would give anything to have my leg back again but that wont happen but it isnt as bad i thought it was going to be i still do evey thing that i did before only a bit more thinking takes place first :rolleyes:.except for the handglidding and i really was the most rubbish piolt there was .(my wife yvonne gave my glider away just to make sure i didnt try it again)she want me to keep my feet eh !! foot on the ground this time :D

But remember Anne you need to spoil yourself as well . i belive it is even harder for our loved ones to watch as we try to cope with our pain and sadness but if all goes well for vicki it wont be for much longer , then the fun starts as she starts her journey back to a full life. it will be a hard road to walk with lots of ups n downs but the rewards are just so great as you will both find out. sorry im rambling on a bit i guss that im still going down that road back to a full life myself ........................take care mick

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Hi Vicki,

there is a German saying which sums it all up for you & Roz:

"AN ENDING WITH TERROR IS PREFERABLE TO TERROR WITHOUT ENDING!"

Take care!

God Bless!

Mike

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