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Heather Mills - Amputee Forum
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mikeybucs

Amputation surgery finally done!

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I am very relieved to be home from the hospital. My right above-the-knee amputation surgery was done this past Wednesday (06/02/2010). I was released yesterday afternoon, three days after the operation.

After speaking with the anesthesiologist about pain control options, I chose to have a spinal epidural plus a light general anesthesia for the procedure. I'd never had a spinal before, and it really wasn't bad at all. Once I was wheeled in to the operating room, I was asked to sit up on the gurney. I received a few shots in my back (minimal pain -- just a small stick from the needle). The next thing I can remember is waking up in the recovery room.

I had ZERO pain in the recovery room after the operation. I couldn't believe it. After noticing the absence of pain, I checked to make sure that my leg was gone (it most definitely was). The spinal epidural did its job and then some. I highly recommend this form of anesthesia to anybody facing an amputation (or a revision). This was the ninth surgery that I've had on my right leg. Far and away, this was the least amount of post-op pain I've ever experienced. I'm still amazed at how the doctors managed to accomplish this feat.

Once the epidural wore off (about a day after the surgery), the stump pain arrived. To be perfectly honest, it has been very tolerable so far. I was on morphine for about a day after the epidural expired (PCA pump). As I tapered off of the morphine, I found that I really didn't need much in the way of pain meds. As I'm typing this (four days post-op), I am taking about four hydrocodone pills per day. This is holding most of the stump pain at bay fairly well. I would rate my pain at 2/10 to 4/10 (it fluctuates). I'm not complaining. I thought it would be much, much worse.

With respect to phantoms, I'm definitely experiencing them. However, they're more annoying than painful. For example, the middle toe on my amputated foot has been itching pretty continuously for the past few days. I've also had Charlie Horse sensations in my missing calf. My missing toes often feel as though they are crossed with each other, and I want to uncross them, but I can't because they're not there. And I've had a pretty consistent background "pins and needles" buzzing on the lower right side. That kind of thing. Mostly just weird little episodes. No bona fide phantom pains as of yet (knock on wood). I'm taking Neurontin just in case.

All in all, I'm extremely relieved that everything is working out well. Still a long way to go with recovery and rehab, but it seems pretty realistic to envision myself walking again by Christmas. I am so happy that I decided to have the leg removed, and I have absolutely no regrets about going forward with the amputation. If anybody on the message board is facing an amp and has any questions about my surgery, please feel free to post a question or send me a message. This board was the single best source of information and inspiration for me prior to my surgery. There is simply no substitute for speaking with people who have "been there." Thanks for everything!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go recover. Somewhere, there's a C-Leg with my name on it (or a Rheo; or a Plie; or a 3R80 -- I'm not picky, I just want to walk). :-)

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I'm glad you're over that first hurdle. You are unique in that you got to choose to lose an already painful, useless leg. Some aren't so lucky and I believe that affects their recovery.

I didn't have the epidural, but I didn't experience stump pain after surgery. I was in a plaster cast from mid-thigh to the end of the stump (LBK). I just knew they had cut the nerves or something. I did have phantom pains. They are very hard to describe to the two-legged folks. It is hard to believe that one can still vividly feel a missing part. I don't know when the phantom pain began, but it ended pretty quickly after I started using a prosthesis. Remember that phantom sensations are good. They will come in handy when you start to walk. You're brain will still associate a foot down there.

So glad that you came through so well. You should be walking within a few months. You'll beat that Christmas deadline, I'm sure.

A good thing to do so that you don't jump out of bed some morning and try to step on the missing foot.....place a walker or small chair in the way. This way you'll have to think before you step. More amputees have landed on the end of their stump within a few weeks post-op simply because they forget that they've been abbreviated. Luckily I saw it coming the morning I did this and was able to tuck Stumpy in before landing on my knee.

Neal

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I am very relieved to be home from the hospital. My right above-the-knee amputation surgery was done this past Wednesday (06/02/2010). I was released yesterday afternoon, three days after the operation.

After speaking with the anesthesiologist about pain control options, I chose to have a spinal epidural plus a light general anesthesia for the procedure. I'd never had a spinal before, and it really wasn't bad at all. Once I was wheeled in to the operating room, I was asked to sit up on the gurney. I received a few shots in my back (minimal pain -- just a small stick from the needle). The next thing I can remember is waking up in the recovery room.

I had ZERO pain in the recovery room after the operation. I couldn't believe it. After noticing the absence of pain, I checked to make sure that my leg was gone (it most definitely was). The spinal epidural did its job and then some. I highly recommend this form of anesthesia to anybody facing an amputation (or a revision). This was the ninth surgery that I've had on my right leg. Far and away, this was the least amount of post-op pain I've ever experienced. I'm still amazed at how the doctors managed to accomplish this feat.

Once the epidural wore off (about a day after the surgery), the stump pain arrived. To be perfectly honest, it has been very tolerable so far. I was on morphine for about a day after the epidural expired (PCA pump). As I tapered off of the morphine, I found that I really didn't need much in the way of pain meds. As I'm typing this (four days post-op), I am taking about four hydrocodone pills per day. This is holding most of the stump pain at bay fairly well. I would rate my pain at 2/10 to 4/10 (it fluctuates). I'm not complaining. I thought it would be much, much worse.

With respect to phantoms, I'm definitely experiencing them. However, they're more annoying than painful. For example, the middle toe on my amputated foot has been itching pretty continuously for the past few days. I've also had Charlie Horse sensations in my missing calf. My missing toes often feel as though they are crossed with each other, and I want to uncross them, but I can't because they're not there. And I've had a pretty consistent background "pins and needles" buzzing on the lower right side. That kind of thing. Mostly just weird little episodes. No bona fide phantom pains as of yet (knock on wood). I'm taking Neurontin just in case.

All in all, I'm extremely relieved that everything is working out well. Still a long way to go with recovery and rehab, but it seems pretty realistic to envision myself walking again by Christmas. I am so happy that I decided to have the leg removed, and I have absolutely no regrets about going forward with the amputation. If anybody on the message board is facing an amp and has any questions about my surgery, please feel free to post a question or send me a message. This board was the single best source of information and inspiration for me prior to my surgery. There is simply no substitute for speaking with people who have "been there." Thanks for everything!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go recover. Somewhere, there's a C-Leg with my name on it (or a Rheo; or a Plie; or a 3R80 -- I'm not picky, I just want to walk). :-)

Keep that great attitude, and keep us all up on your progress.....

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Good Job! Aside from the level of amputation (I'm below-knee), your experience sounds much like my own. When you've been living with a painful limb for some time, the absence of pain can be a real surprise.

If you're lucky, you'll have very little going on with phantom pains. I know that I've been surprised at how few and how minimal my own pains have been! Neal is right, though: phantom SENSATION can be a good thing as you learn to walk with a prosthesis...that feeling that "there's still a foot down there" makes standing on the prosthesis feel much more "steady." My own phantom limb stuck around for most of my first year, post-amp. By the time it finally faded away, I knew beyond a doubt that my new leg was going to support me.

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That's great news. Glad all is going well, keep up the great attitude. you're actually using less pain meds than me right now. Been out for a week and a half and still on 6-8 oxycodone per day.... although I still have my leg so that may be why it still hurts. It wasn't infected but I swear if I need another surgery to try the next "small" thing it's gone.

Good luck on your recovery.

DJ

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Glad you're doing so well. I had phantom pain almost immediately, stabbing hot pokers in my big toe that wasn't there. No one had talked to me about phantom pain so I didn't know what the heck was going on! That was probably the worst I experienced so I have been lucky in that respect. After 6 1/2 yrs, I still have phantom limb and some buzzing, neither of which bother me. I do get the occasional zingers and zappers and once in a while the hot poker. It's nothing like some folks have. I've been very grateful for that.

Keep the positive attitude and let us know how you're doing.

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Thirty-one years ago I was where you are today. Since then prosthetic technology has advanced in sockets, feet, and knees. I do not know which knee or foot is best. I do know that my Otto Boch C-Leg is better than the Mauch knee I walked on for 28 years. As far as feet I cannot tell if the expensive Otto Boch foot that I am required to use is better than the cheaper one I previously used. I have always had a total contact suction socket and have no experience with the liner and pin system. My advice is to keep up the good attitude you have and the best of luck with your recovery and prosthesis.

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hi, glad you are doing well,like you & cherylm, i had the choice to lose my useless leg, & i agree with cherylm that it makes a diffence to the way you cope afterwards. i was glad to get rid of mine & start living again, i also had epidural for a revision i had done & i'd recommend it every time!! phantoms are continuing to be a problem, altho' not so bad since the doc put me on *lyrica*

keep up hte good work!

good luck

maggie

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