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madman

To amputate or not!

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Hi,

I was meant to have a BK amputation this month. But the docs have offered me a last minute the chance to save the leg/ankle but it would involve a complete talus removal, ankle fusion and a year in the Ilizarov Frame to regain around 2 1/2 inches to the length of my leg. The end result and the level of mobility is unknown. The ankle will of course be fixed at 90 degrees permanantly and along with the many scars and skin grafts i will never regain the calf muscle so, it will not look that good either.

I am and have been ready for this amputation now for some time. I am OK with it and I am aware of what is involved and know that apart from the inconvienience of hopping to the toilet at night and one legged showers, most of the time I would have good mobility with a prosthetic leg.

Its a strange question to ask of those on here who have had a BK amputation but I am faced with a real dilema.

If you were faced with a choice like mine now that you have lived with your amputation and prosthetic leg/legs, would you still have the amputation or would you save the leg no matter how long it took even if the end result was not that good? If you had poor mobilty and possibly further pain in years to come BUT it was YOUR leg that you could still feel and touch... would you still keep it? What minimum percentage of mobility would you have had to have with your real leg to have made it worth keeping? OR is living with a prosthetic leg not so bad? Has anyone had to live with fusion for a while?

I know many of you never had a choice and in a way I wish I did not. I sometimes wish the injury had been so bad that it had been taken off 5 months ago. I would probably be walking by now!

Thanks everybody.

Jeff

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Hi Jeff - I'm RBK. I didn't have a choice and hate that you are being put in the position of having to decide. There are others here that did have to make that decision and I'm sure you'll hear from them. Best of luck to you.

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....I am and have been ready for this amputation now for some time. I am OK with it and I am aware of what is involved and know that apart from the inconvienience of hopping to the toilet at night and one legged showers, most of the time I would have good mobility with a prosthetic leg.....

These are two of the biggest day to day nuisances and they both get very old quickly, but like most everything in life I think you just get used to it. But I underestimated the nuisance value of them prior to my LBK. The other really big nuisance is the inability to sleep due to phantom sensations. This seems to bother most amputees; especially the more recent the amputation. I've found a medication approach that works pretty well for me. Walking for me is still much more tiring and it may always be. Other day to day issues that you may be undervaluing are the hygiene needs and getting sores and blisters on the stump. Traveling in general is a greater chore too.

I was facing a similar situation to you and with the benefit of hindsight I have absolutely no regrets about my decision except that I put the amputation off a couple of weeks. But that's the benefit of hindsight. I sure wish my crystal ball were as clear as my hindsight! 81647499-O.gif

Other things to consider are that good prosthetics are very expensive and this is a long term cost burden you may need to factor in depending on your health care coverage, activities (I will need more legs than they will cover!) etc.

OTOH, I'm know that for me I'm much happier moving forward instead of dealing with many more surgeries, pain and recovery only to have a poor chance (they gave me at best a 30-40% of saving it) of ending up with a leg, albeit my own, that would have been a continuing source of pain and challenge and overall less functional than a (good) prosthetic....

Your mileage may vary.....

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Hi Jeff.

This is a question that comes up often here. All I can offer is that you do adapt to the amputation after a period of time, which I'm sure varies from individual to individual. It took me a couple of years. You do things a little differently but it all becomes routine.

In the middle of the night I slip on my liner (with pin) by the light of my alarm clock, stick my leg into the socket and go to the bathroom. It's about a twenty second operation. Actually takes longer to pee most nights at my age. (57).

Personally, I would not do well with chronic pain from a bad leg and am extremely fortunate not to suffer the phantoms.

Best of luck.

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I am above the knee and it was amputate or enter the pearly gates.....

plan A was more in line with a "fused rebuild" with little vestigial flesh but it was not to be.

i have a shower leg now which I can get on in 20s. To cope with a night time call I am lazy and use a pee pot.

life goes on - it is dfferent but full

Good luck

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Hi Jeff:

I had to make the choice. A year of surgeries where they would cut up other parts of my body to save a foot without a heel. None of the docs could tell me how I would ever walk if at all. There was a chance that I would lose the leg anyway to infection or lack of function.

I'm not a sit down kind of guy and had already broadened my butt for a month. I was preparing myself for the possibility of amputation. I talked with a prosthetist who had me talk with two of his patients. When the plastic surgeon told me that it was time to start more surgery, I said NO. I opted for amputation that day and I've never looked back.

It would sure be nice to have a healthy leg back. The inconveniences are small, but significant at times. I don't have middle of the night bathroom problems yet. Ken is right about how quickly the leg goes on when in need. Your stamina comes back after a year or so, but not to where it used to be. It does take more energy when using a prosthesis.

With all that said, I would do the same again. I have no regrets about my decision. I don't even think about the leg most days other than to put it on and take it off. I'm one of the fortunate ones who isn't bothered with phantom pains. I have phantom sensations which are good. I do most anything I want to do.

On a light note; I attended a birthday party yesterday which was held at a Pump it Up play station. It has a series of inflated play stations mostly geared for kids(birthday girl is 4yo). Adults can participate as long as you are wearing socks. I asked the attendant about my leg and she said go ahead. My sister and I raced through the obstacle course. It was a series of 4 climbing obstacles with a slide at the end. I made it through fine on the first and third times. The second time though, my leg lost suction and came off. I put it back on, but couldn't get a good hold since I wasn't standing on a firm surface. I lost it again before the final climb to the top of the slide. I through the leg to my sister at the top and proceeded to climb on one foot and one knee. I made it fine. My sister sent my leg down ahead of her and we followed (pics to follow). It was a blast though not recommended for those of us over 50. Very tasking on the system. I have a rub burn on my elbow and I'm quite sore today. Fun, Fun, Fun!!!!

Good luck Jeff on your decision.

Neal

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Hi,

I was meant to have a BK amputation this month. But the docs have offered me a last minute the chance to save the leg/ankle but it would involve a complete talus removal, ankle fusion and a year in the Ilizarov Frame to regain around 2 1/2 inches to the length of my leg. The end result and the level of mobility is unknown. The ankle will of course be fixed at 90 degrees permanantly and along with the many scars and skin grafts i will never regain the calf muscle so, it will not look that good either.

I am and have been ready for this amputation now for some time. I am OK with it and I am aware of what is involved and know that apart from the inconvienience of hopping to the toilet at night and one legged showers, most of the time I would have good mobility with a prosthetic leg.

Its a strange question to ask of those on here who have had a BK amputation but I am faced with a real dilema.

If you were faced with a choice like mine now that you have lived with your amputation and prosthetic leg/legs, would you still have the amputation or would you save the leg no matter how long it took even if the end result was not that good? If you had poor mobilty and possibly further pain in years to come BUT it was YOUR leg that you could still feel and touch... would you still keep it? What minimum percentage of mobility would you have had to have with your real leg to have made it worth keeping? OR is living with a prosthetic leg not so bad? Has anyone had to live with fusion for a while?

I know many of you never had a choice and in a way I wish I did not. I sometimes wish the injury had been so bad that it had been taken off 5 months ago. I would probably be walking by now!

Thanks everybody.

I had the choice to take the chance of dying or have the amputation. I walk well, have little phantom pain and sometimes forget that I have a "fake" leg. I would hate having to go for a year in pain and fixtures. My vote would be for the amputation. Just be very picky about your prosthetist. It is critical. good luck!

JudyH

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Hi Madman,

I didn't have the choice - it was my life or my leg. All the what ifs were difficult to deal with at first but in the long run I am glad that I had the amputation and didn't have to go through endless further operations to try to fix what would undoubtedly have always been broken really.

The first year after the amputation is really really difficult. But it gets so much better after that. As a guideline, a year after the amputation I was walking, badly, with one stick, and was still getting taxis to work, and just about the only real exercise I was able to do was swimming.

However, by the two year mark I was walking pretty normally any distances I wanted with no sticks, had got into cycling, and had just returned from a 500K bike ride from Saigon to Ang Kor Wat followed by a month of travelling through Vietnam and Cambodia.

Three years after the amputation I was living in Hong Kong, had hiked up its second highest mountain, and had started to run again.

And now, three and a half years afterwards I would say my life is the same if not better than it was before the amputation. I don't get phantom pains at all which makes a massive difference to my quality of life, and I haven't needed a new leg for a good year or two. Sometimes I get pain on the end of my tibia or on my fibula and that can be horrid, but it is always bearable and I can generally walk through it. I go to the gym three or 4 times a week and do everything if not more than I used to do before the amputation, and in September I am going on another bike ride over the Andes in Peru.

I don't know if I would have been able to do any of that had I been able to keep my bashed up leg. And I dread to think of the pain I would have had to go through had I had the chance to save it.

Madman I don't envy your choice and I really really feel for you. But in my opinion, if you really think that you would have to go through lots of pain and lots more operations to save a leg that will never work as well as it would have before, then I would say go for the amputation because if you have the determination to make it work for you with a prosthetic leg then it will be far far better than a painful real leg.

Just my two pennies worth.

Good luck with your choice.

F x

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Hi Madman,

This is a tough choice and only you can make the final choice. I had had three years of surgery including an ankle replacement. After surgery the ankle would be pretty good and then something else in the ankle would fail. After four surgeries and still in lots of pain, I had had it. The doctor really pushed to try "one last thing," which had been the case with the two previous surgeries. I had to talk him into amputating my ankle (RBK) and he wasn't very convinced. I have never looked back to that decision. At the time and under the circumstances it was the very best decision. I have been blessed with very little phantom pain and I have been able to get back to living life again--like Neal I don't sit and watch the world go by very well! I now do almost all of what I did before and even learned to run at the ACA this year--couldn't do it before :rolleyes: I just, like last night--what day is it????--from leading a three week tour in Viet Nam. This was the best year since the accident as I really had no pain, just got tired, but I out walked the others (except the other amputee) by many miles--it was great and I always have fun.

I will think of you as you make your decision. I know no one could have made the decision for me.

Peace and blessings, Beth Marie

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Hi! I struggled with ankle and foot fusions for 10 years before I decided to amputate and life is much better. It is different for everyone, but for me, I became mobile and living again once I had the amputation. Lots of luck with your decision.

Take care,

Caroln

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very tough decision - I''m glad i didnt have to make the decision. I think its just balancing what you can and can't do either way. Chances are I would have been okay without the amputation but either way its life changing, and both would'be prevented me being quite in the role i would like. I think the being able to move around and get on with things is good - had my amputation not taken place I would've died, but I would also still be in hospital and not out and about as much as I am. I've been two months, just over, with my new leg now, and I'mwalking distances with one stick, and in the house I often don't need them at all. I wouldn't be able to make this decision I don't think. But I will be praying for you and everyone on this forum at Greenbelt when I am there this weekend.

Bex xx

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I took the decision to go for my blk amputation in march this year the consultant wanted to carry on with more operations but after 9 i had had enough. I had a motor bike accident on the 9/12/2004 and smashed the leg up but they did manage to repair it but i ended up with chronic osteomyelitis(bone infection). Now 5 monthes later i can say it was the best thing i have done and i am 55 yrs old and since the amputation i have learned to swim and have also joined an athletic club. It is a ball ache at times but i have a urine bottle at the side of the bed so one less thing to worry about i got my new leg in june and now im doing 45 mins on the treadmill and cycle between 15 and 20 miles a day.

john :D

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Hi,

I was meant to have a BK amputation this month. But the docs have offered me a last minute the chance to save the leg/ankle but it would involve a complete talus removal, ankle fusion and a year in the Ilizarov Frame to regain around 2 1/2 inches to the length of my leg. The end result and the level of mobility is unknown. The ankle will of course be fixed at 90 degrees permanantly and along with the many scars and skin grafts i will never regain the calf muscle so, it will not look that good either.

I am and have been ready for this amputation now for some time. I am OK with it and I am aware of what is involved and know that apart from the inconvienience of hopping to the toilet at night and one legged showers, most of the time I would have good mobility with a prosthetic leg.

Its a strange question to ask of those on here who have had a BK amputation but I am faced with a real dilema.

If you were faced with a choice like mine now that you have lived with your amputation and prosthetic leg/legs, would you still have the amputation or would you save the leg no matter how long it took even if the end result was not that good? If you had poor mobilty and possibly further pain in years to come BUT it was YOUR leg that you could still feel and touch... would you still keep it? What minimum percentage of mobility would you have had to have with your real leg to have made it worth keeping? OR is living with a prosthetic leg not so bad? Has anyone had to live with fusion for a while?

I know many of you never had a choice and in a way I wish I did not. I sometimes wish the injury had been so bad that it had been taken off 5 months ago. I would probably be walking by now!

Thanks everybody.

Jeff

Hi Jeff

Luckily, I didn't have to make the decision you are having to make when I lost my legs as mine was down to accident and immediate amputation was the only option, however, can appreciate how you feel about having to make that decision because I myself have taken quite a time over the decision or not on whether to have a revision operation on one of my stumps, and its probably taken me about five years, since it was first suggested to me, to decide to finally have it done.

I have never had to live with fusion so know nothing about that, but have lived as a bilateral below knee amputee for nearly 40 yrs now, and can't say that life has been that bad, I am sure there are a lot worse things to live with, however, it is different for everyone, and sometimes there are frustrations, problems and difficulties with getting a good fitting prosthetic etc. that I am sure you are probably aware of if you have read some of the postings on this forum. I wouldn't say that being an amputee is completely problem free (otherwise I wouldn't be going for this revision now), but, like everything else you get used to it, and get used to regular visits to the prosthetic centres it becomes a way of life, well it has for me.

If you haven't already done so, I would suggest you look around at some prosthetic centres, take a look at the limbs, get to meet some other amputees to give you some idea of what to expect if you should go ahead. If you can, talk to prosthetists and consultants, get as much information as you can before you make your decision.

I wish you luck and hope everything goes well for you.

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Hi,

I was meant to have a BK amputation this month. But the docs have offered me a last minute the chance to save the leg/ankle but it would involve a complete talus removal, ankle fusion and a year in the Ilizarov Frame to regain around 2 1/2 inches to the length of my leg. The end result and the level of mobility is unknown. The ankle will of course be fixed at 90 degrees permanantly and along with the many scars and skin grafts i will never regain the calf muscle so, it will not look that good either.

I am and have been ready for this amputation now for some time. I am OK with it and I am aware of what is involved and know that apart from the inconvienience of hopping to the toilet at night and one legged showers, most of the time I would have good mobility with a prosthetic leg.

Its a strange question to ask of those on here who have had a BK amputation but I am faced with a real dilema.

If you were faced with a choice like mine now that you have lived with your amputation and prosthetic leg/legs, would you still have the amputation or would you save the leg no matter how long it took even if the end result was not that good? If you had poor mobilty and possibly further pain in years to come BUT it was YOUR leg that you could still feel and touch... would you still keep it? What minimum percentage of mobility would you have had to have with your real leg to have made it worth keeping? OR is living with a prosthetic leg not so bad? Has anyone had to live with fusion for a while?

I know many of you never had a choice and in a way I wish I did not. I sometimes wish the injury had been so bad that it had been taken off 5 months ago. I would probably be walking by now!

Thanks everybody.

Jeff

Hi Jeff,

I was faced with the same decision as you about a year ago. I had an accident in May 2006 which resulted in me losing some bones in my left foot; they did their best to pin everything together again but ultimately I was left with permanent fractures. I walked on that foot from September 2006 until I had my LBK amputation in February 2008, using an aircast boot. I couldn't wear a shoe because my foot was so deformed and I suffered lots of pain. Every time I walked on my foot the damage increased, so it was like a race against time to make a choice. I always imagined that I could be put back together again. The surgeon suggested, initially, lots of surgeries but I could tell that he didn't think they would give me the result I wanted. Like you the skin was so poor, the damage so bad and the muscle waste so great in my calf that the foot and leg would never look or perform as normal or even close it. Despite this, when amputation was first suggested, I was horrified.

The more I thought about the surgeries, the lack of guarantees, the years that I would live in hope of some miracle, and the fact that with the amputation I could potentially get back to a more active and pain-free life, the more I saw the benefits. The choice seemed positive and optimistic. I met with a woman of a similar age to me and seeing her made me evaluate what I was losing: not my good, healthy foot but something that was not working any more and was causing me pain. I must admit I wished at this point that I wouldn't have to make the choice and that had I had an amputation immediately after my accident I too would be walking and getting on with life. Yes, it was my leg but looking at it and feeling it only reminded me that it wasn't working.

I feel like had I opted for the gradual surgeries I would now feel very disheartened. I have always been very upbeat about what happened but I was starting to get depressed about everything. I would still feel like I was "outside" my own life, waiting for something that probably would not be what I wanted it to. I had my op in February and I am now active, walking, returning to exercise and feeling much more in control. I think making this huge decision put me back into control of my life because unlike my accident which was outside my control, I was making decisions which could get me back to the person I was before. By this I don't mean to deny what has physically changed but more to establish me as the boss again! There are lots of frustrations which probably vary between people but overall the decision was positive for both me and my partner. Relying on a piece of equipment is always going to present issues... There are still challenges but they are part of a cycle of improvement rather than decline.

The most important thing is that you evaluate what you want and expect from both possible courses.

Good luck and very best wishes.

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I know a few salvage surgeries that went quite well, but they are very few. Most give up a year or more of their life trying to save a foot that will never function past 60%. Their general health can fail as repeated anesthesia is very taxing on the body. I feel that the amputation has me functioning at 95%. I tire easily, but I'm also extremely busy and not quite as young as I once was. Though it's a tough decision to have to make, I'm satisfied with the decision I made. Absolutely no regrets when you consider the alternative.

I have a friend that I'm counseling right now about amputation. His foot was ripped off when he fell from atop a ladder. It was bolted back together very successfully. He has barely a limp when he walks. All metal has been removed and things seem well. Except he is prone to sudden onset infections in the foot/ankle. His temp rushes to 105 in a matter of hours and is life-threatening. He is then on IV antibiotics and off work for months at a time. He is afraid of the day when the infection will kill him. One doc says yes to amputation, another says no.

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Thanks everybody for your replies to my dilema.

I went to see a chap that has already had the surgery I was offered to save the leg. He is however a year on from myself. I was taken back by how swollen it still was and how battered and scarred it was from the operation. He still cannot walk on it and is facing another 6 - 12 months of physio. His eventual mobility level is still unknown. It was interesting to hear him say that he hates it and knowing what he now knows he would have had amputation instead.

I think after reading all your comments and after seeing this guy I would be better off in the long run to amputate. I am nearly there in my head, I think..... I just have to get my head round being able to tell the surgeon the words "Cut it Off".... Lol

Again thanks to everybody for your support, I will post an update when it happens.

Jeff

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[

Hi Jeff

Luckily, I didn't have to make the decision you are having to make when I lost my legs as mine was down to accident and immediate amputation was the only option, however, can appreciate how you feel about having to make that decision because I myself have taken quite a time over the decision or not on whether to have a revision operation on one of my stumps, and its probably taken me about five years, since it was first suggested to me, to decide to finally have it done.

I have never had to live with fusion so know nothing about that, but have lived as a bilateral below knee amputee for nearly 40 yrs now, and can't say that life has been that bad, I am sure there are a lot worse things to live with, however, it is different for everyone, and sometimes there are frustrations, problems and difficulties with getting a good fitting prosthetic etc. that I am sure you are probably aware of if you have read some of the postings on this forum. I wouldn't say that being an amputee is completely problem free (otherwise I wouldn't be going for this revision now), but, like everything else you get used to it, and get used to regular visits to the prosthetic centres it becomes a way of life, well it has for me.

If you haven't already done so, I would suggest you look around at some prosthetic centres, take a look at the limbs, get to meet some other amputees to give you some idea of what to expect if you should go ahead. If you can, talk to prosthetists and consultants, get as much information as you can before you make your decision.

I wish you luck and hope everything goes well for you.

Hi,

Thanks for your thoughts... you say get used to regular visits to prosthetic centres?

Where are these centres? Every search I do online seems to only come up with centres in the US or Europe. I live near Deal in Kent. I had a referral to the NHS centre in Gillingham and was shown a basic government issue starter leg but I really want to see some advanced more technical ones and maybe meet some other amputees before I decide.

I was hoping it would be like a shop display showing all th latest innovations and designs and maybe the chance to talk to a man in the know that can give me some help and advice!!! Lol

Thanks

Jeff

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Hi,

Thanks for your thoughts... you say get used to regular visits to prosthetic centres?

Where are these centres? Every search I do online seems to only come up with centres in the US or Europe. I live near Deal in Kent. I had a referral to the NHS centre in Gillingham and was shown a basic government issue starter leg but I really want to see some advanced more technical ones and maybe meet some other amputees before I decide.

I was hoping it would be like a shop display showing all th latest innovations and designs and maybe the chance to talk to a man in the know that can give me some help and advice!!! Lol

Thanks

Jeff

Hi Jeff

Sorry if I didn't explain myself. You generally need to go quite regularly to the Prosthetic centre, where they usually make the limbs. In the early days this will probably be quite frequent as your stump will be changing sizes quite a bit. You generally go for a cast of your stump and measuring, then will probably need to go back for several fittings of the limb. I am in the UK too, and go to an NHS centre, which are generally attached to hospitals (I think) but there are ones where you can pay privately for limbs. I do know someone who has been to the one in Gillingham and think that is fairly good. I think generally with the NHS you will get a basic starter leg to begin with, you probably won't have this too long though because, as I said, your stump will change. This leg is just to get you mobile again. They might have other limbs they can show you, if you do speak to other amputees, try and speak to a few because their experiences might be different.

With regard talking to someone in the 'know', just ask to see someone in charge and keep asking the questions you need answers too.

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Hi Jeff, I really feel for you regarding the decision you are faced with. I spent the night before my op sat in the hospital car park wandering if I was dong the right thing. In the end I went back onto the ward - my legs were that bad I couldn't even run away. Since my amputation my life has improved, for the first time in over forty yrs I haven't needed operations or antibiotics to keep going.

The first thing my consultant did (when I agreed to the amputation) was organise a day at our amputee centre to meet the team that would be looking after me. This gave me and my wife the chance to ask questions and see other amputees.

Regarding the leg, my own experience with the NHS is you have to prove a need not a want.

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Hi Jeff, I really feel for you regarding the decision you are faced with. I spent the night before my op sat in the hospital car park wandering if I was dong the right thing. In the end I went back onto the ward - my legs were that bad I couldn't even run away. Since my amputation my life has improved, for the first time in over forty yrs I haven't needed operations or antibiotics to keep going.

The first thing my consultant did (when I agreed to the amputation) was organise a day at our amputee centre to meet the team that would be looking after me. This gave me and my wife the chance to ask questions and see other amputees.

Regarding the leg, my own experience with the NHS is you have to prove a need not a want.

I made the decision to have my leg amped after the first research I did into my "condition" of Charcot Foot/Joint. I broke-- and was misdiagnosed ---my left ankle foot (many bones) and the end of the tibia. I spent a year not walking because of this, I had a very serious skin infection that required many surgeries over a month in the hopital and using a KNEEWALKER for mobility. I am in the unique (sort of) position of knowing my "Leg Guy" prior to the amp as he made me a walking boot after the skin healed (after a skin graft---the MOSTpainful thing I have EVER done and I have now done it TWICE). I looked up what I was diagnosed with and was horrified to see that there had been ways to HELP and possibly HEAL this break IF I had been correctly diagnosed. But I was not. So I asked at my very first ortho appointment if amputation was going to get me "back on my feet". I was told--by a doctor I had trusted for YEARS---that this unacceptable and oh by the way you "CAN'T" do a below the knee amp on a diabetic. Huh???? Well it took many doctors and several hospitals and finally I really COULD not walk even with the boot. My husband was terrified that if I had the amp I would be forced to go back over and over for infections etc. Well I injured my leg---heel bone broken in three places, mid foot bones shattered and leaking marrow--do you know this can kill you?--and the end of the tibia had actually dissolved---in FEbruary 2007. I was told by the last two world class specialists that they maybe might with reluctence operate and do experimental ops that would result in serious loss of height; would involve at LEAST a year of non weightbearing; and in any case simply might not work. And I would STILL not be able to WALK on my own. I discussed this on a Thursday and had the leg of on Monday 28 January 2008 ---11 months after the original injury. I was surprised at how easy---and yet how hard---it was to walk with the first artil eg. I actually walked faster than my leg guy! Not too graceful--I have other issues here---but walked in anycase. I am now on my THIRD arti leg since March. I can tell you---for me---it was the right and only decision. I WISH I had been more forceful earlier but I do realize that for MANY of the ortho MD's amputation is a failure and they will do ANYTHING to avoid it. I GET this. But. It was not until a surgeon my husband really trusted wanderd by one day (he had been out of town when I was first injured) and my husband unloaded all of his fears and was reassured that probably I would not gradually lose more and more of the leg that he felt comforable enough to seriously discuss it. And I was very happy that he was reasured--after all he was going to have to live with me afterwards! But now he is very pleased that I can walk--not perfectly but I could't do that from birth anyway! We ride our motorcycle--- interesting to see me get on as I am VERY short and I use a small step stool--- but I RIDE A MOTORCYCLE. I can get the groceries into the house as long as you don't mind me bringing them in sloooooly and in stages. I can cook em too! I use a small motorized cart for those long events over uneven ground, I used it to take my grand daughter trick or treating! I also keep a folding walker in the car in case a floor is wet or I need to go over uneven ground---still working with a faulty balance mechanism that I was born with after all! Soooo---for me, this was a good decision. I see a lot of people worse off than me---in my eyes anyway---and wonder of their lives would be improved with an amp. I also knew someone who died because she would not have an ap and had gangrene. Everyone has to make their own decision (unless you wake up with no leg or arm--then I guess

G-d has decided for you!) but I think getting up and walking in a few weeks is so much easier and much les painful than trying to save an old bone and some useless flesh---which in my case is what the leg had become! Please let us know what you decide and how this works out for you. Good luck!!!!! Halleycomet

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Hi Jeff, Am a left below knee amputee for 9 years now. I did choose to have the amputation done after my last operation of an ankle fusion

3 years before. I was born with a club foot and had many different surgeries throughout my life. They would work for a while and then more problems

and pain would arise. I was in my early twenties at the time and constantly taking strong painkiller. The ankle fusion was the same it worked for a while and then I was back with my consultant discussing the next option. Which at this stage I was asking about amputation. My consultant arranged for me to meet an amputee at the limb fitting centre and this went ok but I then contacted a support group myself - The Murray Foundation (based in Glasgow), and they arranged for me to meet also with an amputee this was far more productive for me and I made the decision to go for the amputation. Jeff it wasn't easy but before my amputation I hadn't been able to work for 6 years due to pain. I went out to a full time job 1 year after my operation and am still working away am just waiting now hopefully to be promoted before the end of Feburary 2009. I have also married and my husband and I are in the process of trying to adopt a child. All of this am sure wouldn't have been possible for me if I hadn't decided to amputate.

After 9 years yes i still have a few difficulties with my artifical limbs and am in the middle of changing the system that i use to hold my leg on to a

whole new way for me and am hoping this will help me but i have got to say that it is nothing to the pain I was in with my own leg and I know I made the right choice and deep down Jeff which ever decision you choose will be the right one for you.

I wish you all the very best and good luck for your future.

Jules.

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Totally understand what you are going though,I was an avid motocyclist before

i contracted ostoemylits in my right foot which made riding unbearable especially in the cold weather ,

this developed into ulcers which were very painful when walked on and was not helped by my gait which caused me to walk on the outside of the foot so excascerbating the condition

I was offered the choice of amputation or have my ankle fused like yourself to reduce the weight bearing on the edge of the foot and to encourage the use of the whole foot

Unfortunately after 2 years the situation had not changed and the condition had worsen and I found myself in hospital with a bone infection again.

So finally opted for amputation and had to wait 6 months for operation. In considerable pain and discomfort and withoften times in a wheel chair and crutches.

within 4 weeks of op I was in less pain than ever before and started physio using a pam aid which is a plastic sleeve that you put your stump into which is then blown up with air ,and this then looks like a pillow this is wedged into a frame with a foot on the end and you can walk on it between parallel bars ,i recall the first time i did this was the first time i had walked pain free for nearly 2 years,i knew then that it was the best decision of my life.

5 Years on i have had incredible service from my clinic had about 6 legs and now use a suction system which now this enables me to walk,cycle ,work and even jog.

so i am never looking back!

hope its the same for you ,

what i have learned is that you must ask any questions you want and do a lot of reading and research into other peoples experience. such as Chris Moon's Book. & most importantly be in the best possible health before the op if you smoke it should be the best incentive to give up today,take good diet supplements,& look after your skin on your leg .

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Hi Jeff: My name is Dan i am from upstate new york, i was a truck driver for 20 years and one day i was run over by a car 12-22-04 merry christmas !!! While in the hospital i got and infection which ended up going to the bone, well i can say after 8 operations and 3.5 years in a wheelchair and was offered this fusion surgery i asked the doctor please please cut my leg off. This is a big deal and i don't take things lightly but this is my " life " and i want to work and play with my kids and we are talking quality of life here !! Jeff this is YOUR CHOICE i can only tell you where i was coming from and it's a lot of work but it's been 8 months and i just got my cleg, oh i am above the knee and things are very good. I can't say if this is for you but the fusion thing is also good for some. I hope that i have helped you in some way and sorry if my spelling and words don't make sense < brain injury also> Good luck to you and god bless. Dan

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Hey,

I just wanted to share my experience with this topic.

Well, I was ten when my parents, me and doctor from birth(3 months premature) made the decision to amputate just below the ankle. I thought my life was ruined. I was a ten year old girl raised in a house full of athletes and becoming one myself. I was told, if we did this I would never be allowed to play soccer after that. Well, I think it was a majority rules kind of thing and if I knew what I know now about things like the ACA and Lakeshore Foundation in Birmingham and the Paralympics I would have made the choice to amputate right a way. I wouldn't be who I am and have done what I have if it hadn't been for making this hard choice. Yea the first few steps are hard and rough road, but a few years down the road I was playing able-bodied(AB) sports and making people wonder how I do it, but it's what I love and know (because of being an amputee) I am playing wheelchair basketball and wish I found it sooner than I did because it's just that great.

Good luck with the decision and it's your life, live it how you think you want to live it. DOn't let an amputated leg/ or arm or whatever stop you.

Darcy

Alabama

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