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Heather Mills - Amputee Forum
jberna

Surgery in six days

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Okay gang, my countdown is on. I have my surgery for my LBK on monday, jan. 12th. A day I have actually looked forward to for a long time. I was supposed to have had this done in July of last year, then again in October, both times we had to postpone for moves, one cross country! For those of you who dont know me, I was born with spina bifida and have had a deformed/withered leg all my life from that. I have worn a big, cumbersome leg brace for the last eight years and have had sores rub deep holes in my foot, putting me on crutches for months at a time. My mobility has decreased significantly thru the years and I am tired of seeing all the things that active amputees can do with their prosthetics that I have never dreamed of being able to do. Simple things like walking a half mile to my kids school or even possibly learning to run for the first time in my life.

I am very healthy otherwise, and just turned 37, so have a lot of fun years ahead of me. I look forward to trying all the new componants during my rehab time, on my temp leg, and getting a PRETTY leg sometime this summer.

I know that surgery will be painful and expect the month of january to be 'recovery' time....but cant help but concentrate on the SPRING, when I will learn to walk RIGHT finally. I have my prosthetist and physical therapist set up, ready to go. Now just need to get thru a successful surgery.

My husband and four kiddos (ages 3-12) are very excited about our new year, the new opportunities we will have with my new leg. But for now, we need to get the surgery done and get some healing underway.

I would love to hear anyone elses stories, about their surgeries and the days immediately after, esp if you had no other complicating factors. I have been told I can come home the next day if I feel up to it, and will just come home to wait out the stitches healing. I am a bit nervous about the pain factor, I guess...is it really out of control pain, or just uncomfortable? My doc is good about wanting to keep me as comfortable as possible, is it possible to be 'comfortable' in the days after surgery? I would imagine keeping the stump elevated will help? Does it throb if you get up to use the restroom or crutch to the kitchen? If you can remember your early post-op days, I would LOVE to hear your stories!

I am hoping I can post my new walking/doing stairs goals in the weeks to come...just want to have the surgery go well so we can move on finally!

Thanks for all the great postings I have found in the last few months, on this site. They ALL helped, even if it didnt relate to my situation exactly....just knowing there are a lot of "us" out there!

I will be checking in until probably about friday. My hubby and I will be going on an overnight date to Park City (we live in Utah) on the sat. night before my surgery...kind of our last hurrah and celebration date. He has come thru a LOT with me and has been SO supportive...we have a lot ahead, but it should be much more positive from here on out!

Judy

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Hi Judy

Don't worry about the pain post-operatively, your Medical team should have a pain management program worked out for you. After my AK, what I found weird was, I had to learn to do everyday things from a wheelchair. Then when I had worked it out, I had to learn again with a very cumbersome prosthesis. Then when I got the one I have got now, I had to learn all over again.

But I don't know about BK'S but Ak's have a problem with balance, and compensating for the weight of the leg loss. This especially when rolling over in bed. I had fallen out several times :D

Most importantly, have patience with yourself, everyone adjust's in their own time.

Good luck.

Best as

Steve

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Hi Judy,

I had both my legs amputated below-knee just over 5 months ago. Firstly, you sound ready psychologically, so most of the battle's already won!

Secondly, and honestly, whatever pain-killing drugs they offer, take it! I was offered the choice of an epidural or IV morphine, which I could administer myself by clicking a button. I chose the morphine. However, I would say that most of the pain you'll feel is immediately after waking up from surgery. Once the pain settles and goes, it's up to you whether you take any more. By my second amputation, I only needed morphine when I woke up from surgery and rarely after. But don't be nervous; the pain will be controlled.

I was always told NOT to elevate the leg, but to keep it straight on the bed WITHOUT A PILLOW, so that the knee and hip doesn't get 'locked out.' Your leg will be heavily bandaged anyway, to protect it from knocks and stuff, so therefore provides some sort of cushion.

Your physio/rehab will start the day after surgery, and though it may be difficult at first, stick at it and try your best. Personally, I wouldn't go home the next day, because if you knock the leg, by accident, the last thing you want is bleeding from your wound, setting you back a little. But that's a personal thought; it's entirely up to you. You know yourself better!

I'm sorry if I've been too candid, but I'm sure you'll appreciate my honesty!!

It's good to hear about your family. No doubt they will be a very strong support network for you. I wish the very best for your surgery, recovery and future. I'm sure everything will go as planned.

Keep us posted on how you're doing.

Afet :D

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Judy,

As for the pain meds if you're in pain use them they do help take the edge off and also helps in the recovery. I don't think I could have managed without them that first few days after my revision. Also they will advise not to use pillows to elevate the leg because if you do your knee and hip will contract then you won't be able to stretch them out straight. I did prop my leg on a pillow but for short periods of time and I also did exercises in bed like bending the leg and leg lifts so as not to have contractors.. I also don't recomend being sent home from the hospital the day after surgery just for the fact that you will be on meds and groggy so it will help to have a few days to let some of the goggyness go away especially since you have young ones at home. After my revision I elected to go to a rehab hospital and was there for 8 days on top of the one in the hospital. At the rehab hospital they gave me exercises to do to strengthen my arms so I could wheel my self around in the wheelchair and also for my time spent on crutches you'll need that upper body strength. It will all come together as you go along. I don't remember if anyone has recommended you to call the amputee coalition of america they have a magazine called First Step guide to amputation it has some helpful information in it. Their # is 1-888-267-5669 also you might want to join and get the benifit of the magazine in motion which comes with the membership. Hope all this helps you.. One last thing enjoy your weekend with Hubby... :P

I'll be thinking of you on monday...

Brenda

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Hi Judy, I'm a LBK of almost eight years now and must say, the pain I was going through before the amputation, was far worse than the pain after the amputation, for me any ways. I had mostly just discomfort and phantom pain, which does get better with time. :-) The meds did help me through that part of the rehabilitation. To me, I think it's 90% attitude after that, and you certainly sound like you have a very positive one. Of course everyone is different in how they handle life's hurtles, but if you stay with your positive attitude, you'll be just fine, I'm sure. I myself am pretty new to this forum and would like to say, as you no doubt have noticed, they're very nice people on here and anything they can do to help you along the way, will be done. Also, if there's anything I can help you with, please just asks, k? So I would like to say, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. May this New Year bring you all much good health and happiness. Take care and Good Luck. Enjoy your overnight date. ;)

Sheila

Keep Smiling :-)

As individuals we all have separate needs, as people we all need each other.

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AS ALWAYS, you guys came thru...THANK YOU for all your advice and all your honesty! I appreciate it when people are open and candid. That is one thing I like about this forum. I feel sometimes that I can share more *personal* things because I am not face to face, telling you. I am somewhat anonymous, but it is still personal, the care in the answers. THANK you ALL! And anyone else with two cents worth of advice (or more!) feel free to post it...I will read every one!

Going in for pre-op blood work today. It should go well, just praying that nothing unexpected shows up..I am ready to get ON with this!

Judy

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I don't have any wisdom to share but many good wishes for your recovery.

~ A Healing Blessing ~

May you be surrounded in comfort.

May you be filled with love.

May you feel the healing presence of those who hold you in their thoughts and prayers.

May these positive thoughts and blessings provide you with strength.

May you be sustained in health as you continue your healing journey.

May you relax.

May you be calm.

May you be serene.

May you rest as your body heals in your safe cocoon of comfort, love and strength.

May your body be transformed into one filled with love, happiness, joy and health.

May you continue to heal

moment by moment

hour by hour

day by day

knowing that so many love you and wait to welcome you.

May you feel loved.

May you be safe.

May you be protected.

May you be strong.

May you be healed.

Written for Kristiina Anna Mia Thompson during her UCSF ICN (Intensive Care Nursery) stay.

Born 3/29/02. Admitted 3/31/02. Discharged 4/12/02.

This healing blessing was placed over her ICN bed on 4/4/02 where it remained until she was discharged to home, greatly improved, on 4/12/02. Several copies were given to the ICN staff with our deepest gratitude on the day she was discharged.

This blessing is shared in Kristiina's honor in the hopes that the blessing will help those hospitalized—ICN babies and others—in their healing and recovery process.

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Lark,

I know that wasn't intended for me but it was beautiful. Thanks for sharing...

Brenda

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Judy-

Lots of thoughts and prayers will be going with you on Monday. Take it easy and don't rush things, as hard as that can be!

Take care.

Carol

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Judy,

Today's the day. I had my BK last Monday (5th). I came home on the 9th, but was ready to come home on the 8th. They gave my PDA morpheine and I had them remove the IV about 18 hours after the surgery. I can truly say it was the least traumatic surgery I've ever had. I have virtually no pain other than the first night after the surgery. I have experienced some phantom sensation, like feeling my non-existent toes, but no phantom pain. All your forum friends are absolutely correct, it's 90% attitude. I knew I had tried everything and was literally risking my life as long as my cancerous foot was there - I look forward to all the mobile things I'll be able to do. I guess the best recommendation I have is to be patient (something I'm not, after all these years...) You have a wonderful family and lots of great years ahead of you.

The best of everything - you deserve it!

Retta

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Retta,

I have to tell you, your note was the last thing I pulled up online before heading to the hospital today...THANK YOU for taking the time to write back, it helps a LOT. I am headed in now...in two hours I will be under the knife and my new life will be beginning. We took tons of "before" shots last night, with video and a camera...cant wait to have some "after" shots, will post both in the months to come!

THANKS TO EVERYONE! I will write in a few days, when i get back home!

Judy

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Judy,

By the time you read this you'll have had the surgery and are home with your family. You were in my thoughts and prayers today and I'll be looking forward to hearing of your new life that you're going to be starting.

Brenda

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Had the surgery, great hospital experience, and am HOME now...all is going even BETTER than I expected. Pain is under control, VERY thankful for that...will keep posting as I can sit at the computer for longer spells. Right now need to keep it elevated, hard to do while typing, the way we have our computer set up. THANKS for the well wishes and prayers! My sugery just happened to be on heathers bday, AND my neices third bday (who lives in london).....lucky day for me, january 12th!

Judy

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Welcome back Judy. Nice to hear from you. It's good to have you home. Glad to hear things went and are going well. Will look forward to hearing more from you soon.

All the best.

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Judy:

So glad to hear from you and that everything went well. With your great positive spirit, all will continue to improve. Take care, be patient, and hope to hear again from you soon.

Best wishes,

Carol

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Judy,

Welcome back glad to hear you had a great hospital experience but no matter how great that is it sure is great to be home and in ones own bed. Keep us posted as you embark on your new life and journey. Don't forget to write all this down in your journal so you can go back later and reflect on the journey that you took... I will help as much as I can when I can....

Brenda :D

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Dear Judy,

You made it and it's only up from here!!! I have to admit, I'm now having a bit of phantom pain - mainly in my non-existent arch! I have now started "climbing" the stairs so I can sleep in my own bed instead of the daybed in the family room. The surgeon took my stitches out on the 21st and I go in on the 27th to get cast for my preliminary prosthesis. It's very exciting - but I'm so bored with not being able to do the things I've always done. And my husband literally gets angry with me when I try to help out a bit - he quite likes being a carer. I'm so lucky to have a great husband who fancies it'e his foot/leg as much as it is mine. I fully intend on walking everywhere within 3 months - how about we make a pact that we'll both be walking everywhere within 3 months?!

XOXO

Retta

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Im with you, Retta! I have promised my seven year old that I will walk him to school by the end of the school year. I would hope it will be way before then, even with a cane, but have set the realistic goal of mid may.

I get my neon green cast off thursday of this week. I can tell my leg is shrinking on cue, the cast is very loose. My doc warned me to keep the ace bandage wrapped around it, so it wouldnt fall off...I had it on too loose one day and the cast actually fell off, hit the floor, when I stood up to go to the bathroom! I had to shove it back and and wrap the ace bandage tighter!

Then I fell, on saturday night. Have heard that most amputees fall on their stump at some point but hated to have it happen to ME! I think the cast helped, really buffered the stress on my stump. I had aching in my leg mid shin, my stitches looked good when we popped the cast off for a look. My husband went out and bought some indoor/outdoor carpet to put in the bathroom for now. We have shiny, SLICK linoleum in there now, which is how I fell.

My mother in law has been staying with us, from NH, and left this morning. My first morning since surgery where I am totally on my own. Not bad. I can get around fine, and my three year old is a great help in carrying things from one spot to another for me. I still have to keep it elevated, to keep the swelling down, so spend a lot of time reading, playing board (bored!) games with my little guy. My big kids (ages 12-7) will be home from school by 330, and are also a huge help. Luckily the mother in law stocked the fridge well for us...will help a lot in days to come. (as my husband gets home after six, and the kids are HUNGRY by then!)

I will let my leg rest one more week, after getting my stitches out thursday, and then get MY first leg! I look forward to comparing experiences with you, retta! We are on the same time table and can challenge each other and hold each other accountable! GOOD luck with yours, and tell me how it goes!

Judy

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Hi Judy, so glad to hear all went well for you. I'm sure with such a good positive attitude and sence of humor, you'll continue on doing just fine. I wish you the best of Luck with your new limb. Remember to keep patience as a priority as well, k? This is a little saying I made up when I came home from the rehab, which helped (still does) me along.

"Concentrate on the things you've achieved today and let tomorrow bring what may." :D

Sheila

Keep Smiling :)

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Judy,

I'm glad to hear things are going good for you. Yes hundreds of amputees fall and hurt their residual limb (stump) so be careful. Putting the indoor outdoor carpet in the bathroom was a good idea as area rugs are not good for amps as well they are so easy to trip on. I had some nice ones in my kitchen that I tossed out because I kept tripping on them I was just lucky that I never took a fall because of one.

Keep us posted on your progress and remember baby steps.

Brenda :unsure:

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Got the cast off on thursday. My daughter, with her broken arm, got a new cast. We are quite a bunch! Asked them if we could have the two for one special at the docs office!

He took out half the stitches, every other one. I feel better about that, because of the warnings you guys have given me about rushing things. I am content to just let it heal some more, not to rush the leg. Next friday the rest come out and then the next week I get my first leg. VERY exciting!

It is weird to not have the cast on anymore. I am becoming friends with my stump. I knock it around more, forgetting the cast is not there to protect it, but also can "rub it out" if it is sore, which is nice. One question...it is kind of dry...is it okay to put lotion on it, then put the shrinker sock on right away? I LOVE the shrinker sock, really does feel better all compressed like that.

One observation...that leg has always been very small, skinny, atrophied, because of all the surgeries on it. Now, as swollen as it is, it is MUCH bigger than what used to be my BIG leg!...I know it will shrink considerably in the next few months, but for now it is weird to see the leg on that side as a BIG leg!

My dad is coming in to visit/help tomorrow. He will be here for ten days. I hope that means that he will be here for the first fitting of my new leg. He was a math/science teacher and will love to see the technical side of making a prosthetic leg. The guys at my prosthetists office are wonderful, very friendly and helpful. I know they will give him a good tour!

All is going well for now...thanks again for all the support and encouragement!

Judy

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Hi Judy,

it's good to hear from you. Especially with such positivity. I'm pleased you are progressing and hope everything works out for you with your new leg.

But you will need some patience with yourself.

When I got my first leg I found it weird standing up talking to people face to face, rather than looking up at them from my wheelchair.

Best as .....

Steve

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Hi Judy, about that question you asked, I was told, if I put any cream on it, to leave the shrinker off for a bit, until the cream dries some. You sound like you've got a good handle on things. So keep up the good work and you'll be walking around before you know it. Good Luck :D

Sheila

Keep Smiling :)

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Thanks for all the encouraging postings! It IS really fun to come and check this site, read the new postings, see the new people signing on. Just had to share a funny story, after steve talked about it being weird to stand up and talk to people, not be in the wheelchair. I get around mainly on crutches now, until I get my new leg, but yesterday I needed to do some grocery shopping so I went with my dad and his wife to the store. They had a motorized wheelchair at this store, so I was able to zip around, and point to things I needed, my dad would put them in the cart. First of all, it was weird not being able to take my own groceries off the shelf. Very *dependent*feeling. I look forward to shopping again with my new leg, picking my own items off top shelves.

But the funniest thing, being the wheelchair, was watching my dad, who is early 60s, shopping. He is much slower than I am in everyday life, just laid back, looks over every item....made me realize how quick I used to be in every day life...I could have done the shopping trip in an hour by myself but it took us a full TWO hours with his help! LOVED the help, loved having my dad around to help, but look forward to strolling in on my GOOD leg some day soon! No time to be choosy in the grocery store when you have a household with four kids to run!

Doing great over all...just excited about meeting my new leg in less than a week. Then all the discussions you guys have about different liners and different componants, will make sense to me! I know it will be a good spring time, good rehab time, with you all behind me, with advice and encouragement!

Judy

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Judy,

I am so glad that everything is going so well for you... You got to love the help even if it did take twice as long.. LOL

Keep the positive attitude and you'll be walking before you know it but remember as I always say this BABY STEPS..

Your Friend

Brenda

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