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Heather Mills - Amputee Forum
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Elective Amps?

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Hi.. My Name is Jenn. I am not yet an amputee but I have come to realize that I may have to amputate one day due to chronic pain I have in my left foot that resulted from a motor vehicle accident. I have had many surgeries to fix my foot which all have failed. Because my foot never healed properly I have what the doctors call RSD. RSD is a nerve disorder that causes chronic pain through out my foot. Apparently if I have an amputation I could get RSD in the residual stump. I was wondering if there are any amputees are here that have RSD have an amputation or if anyone on the site has had an amputation due to RSD. My main worry is that if I go thru with procedure the RSD will attack the residual limb and I will not be able to use a prosthetic leg. This is one of many worries I have with deciding to have the surgery.

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Hi Jenn,

I had an elective amputation in 1982. I was also in a motorcycle accident in 1981. I had crushed my foot and the doctors tried to rebuild it, But with limited movement and also some bone infections. I talked to a friend who was a physical therapist and decided to have an elective L.B.K.A. After the amputation I recieved my first leg and haven't looked back. I have some issues with it but no due to the prosthetic, due to other injuries that I recieved in the accident. Althought the pain went away, I still get phantom pains when the weather changes. But the pain level has lowered quite a lot since before my amputation. Before I could only walk with crutches for any distance, and know most people can't even tell tell that I'm an amputees when wearing slacks or jeans on. I haven't taken any major pain killers in almost 28 years. Drop me a line if you would like talk about it...

Jerry

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I severly damaged my L ankle and foot due to an underlying condition known as Charcot's Foot or Joint. This was not properly diagnosed for several weeks and so I kept doing more and more damage as I gimped along on it. After the diagnoses I was fitted with "special shoes" that basically destroyed the bottom of my foot leading to many painful surgeries---none of which was meant to FIX the broken bones. When this was looked at by a different medical team at a MAJOR High Risk Foot Center---if you want more info contact me at jmloebel@verizon.net for two great teams---anyways by that time I had not walked AT ALL for almost a year. The new x-rays revealed that there was NO ankle joint left and the mid foot bones were scattered and in bad shape. I was given the not--too enthusiastic option of trying to "fix" the ankle with rods and pullys and super glue and duct tape but both teams agreed that this was risky at best and pie in the sky at worst and I STILL might not be able to walk. That was the first week of January 2008 (Happy New Year to me---not!!!!) and I had it amp'ed 28 January 2008.

I wont say it has been "easy" cause I would be lying. But it has been MUCH easier than living with the pain and awkwardness of a swollen, open wounded, infection gathering foot that probably would have given me even worse problems for the rest of my life. Was this an easy decision? In some ways yes---the very first time I spoke to the first MD to "correctly" diagnose this I brought up amputation only to be greeted with shock and horror. I realize that their job is to SAVE limbs but here was one that wouldn't BENEFIT from saving. Basicly this guy wanted to confine me to a wheelchair or a scooter for the rest of my life BUT I would have a foot that "looked normal". Um---no.

I would try and get several more opinions on whether or not there is ANYTHING that might control your pain levels---drugs, drug pumps, electrostimulation etc---and try my damdest to get to a High Rish Foot Center---at major medical centers---these MD's have the experiance to HELP you with this. If you DO decide to have an amputation--and I completely understand this thinking----they can best support you in deciding how and where and who. Most insurance companies have provisions for "Second Opinion" payment where you might not need to pay ANYTHING out of pocket. Also bear in mind that if you DO have this surgery the cost of a prosthetic leg is well above $10,000. And insurance may--or may NOT---pay for any or all of it without a fight at best. And you will have to keep getting new ones or parts every few years, and adjustment appointments are not cheap either. And yes you might still have the pain.

I hope this is not too depressing! I don't mean it to be. Just the reality of a whole new world that perhaps you can avoid becoming a member of! BTw I also lost part of my other foot to an infection so I have only half a foot to stand on! Contact me for more info or to chat.

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Halleycomet makes a good point about working with a major-league specialist for whatever part of you appears to be the "problem area." I had major issues with both of my feet and ankles...after getting in contact with a real foot and ankle specialist, my right foot was surgically reconstructed and it's been a great success! My left foot...no such luck. After several repair attempts, I chose amputation. Even my specialist saw the value in that decision (although he referred me elsewhere for the surgery).

I truly believe that there are times when elective amputation can be a life-restoring procedure. I know it was for me!

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