Leg Amputation

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Wheelchair Bound
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 84
   Posted Today 11:17 AM (GMT -7)   
I am a forty four year old women who was diagnosed with diabetes in December 2006.  I had ignored it for a couple years not knowing for sure or wanting to admit that I indeed had it.  What finally made me see a doctor is when my vision seemed a little fuzzy.  Prior to this I had some problems with walking longer distances, anything more than a block or two and my legs would ache for hours. I contributed much of my legs problems to being overweight.  Before I went on a good diet in December 2006 I weighed almost 250# and was 5'10" tall. I have since lost sixty pounds, but still have leg problems. My doctor told me I had diabetes and my vision and legs would most likely become worse in time partially because I had ignored the early symptoms, and the fact that it runs in my family, both sides. Both my grandfather and my mother needed to have their legs amputated when they were in their fifties. My mother also had vision problems. It wasn't long after that appointment last year that I had to stop driving at night because of vision problems.  That was April 2007.  By July I could no longer drive at all and when I saw the doctor the end of July he told me I should invest in a white cane as my eyes were failing and it would be helpful to me to get used to the white cane before my vision got any worse.I If this wasn't enough my legs were causing me more problems than ever before. I can still see things up close, less than twenty five feet pretty good, but things get fuzzy after that.  In October 2007 I began using a wheelchair most anytime I left the house.  My legs were becoming unstable. So far I can see enough to get around in my wheelchair pretty well. The doctor gave me some more bad news just last week, 12/6/07 that in his opinon my legs were getting much worse than they had been just a month ago and I was going to have to decide very soon if I should have them both amputated while he could still save part of them.  The proposed treatment is to amputate both legs about a foot avove my knees.  Needless to say this turned me to tears.  Never did I think it would get this bad. He said it should be done soon. I asked him how soon did he want to do it  He said the for the best results it should be done in the next week, although it could wait until the week after Christmas without any more complications.  I told him that I wanted to get a second opinion, but he should schedule the surgery for the week after Christmas as I wanted to be home for Christmas. So here I am with amputations scheduled for December 27th. and have no idea what to do.  I know they must be done and can't be avoided.  I just don't know how I'll ever get around without any legs and being almost blind.  Has anyone out there got any ideas?  How can I use my white cane and push myself around in my wheelchair if I need to go some place? My vision seems to have stablized for now, but it isn't very good at all.  Would a power wheelchair be better, I could have one hand free to use my cane when I need it? I am lost as to what is going to happen and am not looking forward to having my legs amputated even though they cause me a lot of pain. confused   Please advice me if you can.  I don't like to think about what lies ahead. 
 
Wheelchair Bound

LanieG
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 5408
   Posted 12/11/2007 7:59 AM (GMT -7)   
I'm so sorry about this.  I know you must be devastated.  Please look for diabetes support groups in your area, through the hospitals maybe.  And ask your doctor's office to refer you to whatever organizations are available to you.  Many people use motorized wheelchairs for other reasons.  Support groups would be very helpful in very practical and emotional ways.  In the meantime, also look into disability benefits. Keep checking back here for other replies.  Some others might have more advice.  I'm sorry I can't help you more. 

Lanie
forum moderator - diabetes
"pre-diabetic" controlled so far by diet and exercise
following low/no carb diet, no meds


durejakk
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 12/12/2007 10:43 AM (GMT -7)   
Hello:

I am sorry to learn about your problems. It is my suggestion that you
urgently turn to 100% raw food. Please check various web sites related to
management of diabetes through raw foods. You need to bring your bg level
down and let your body heal itself. I hope and I pray that it helps.

gelchick
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 477
   Posted 12/12/2007 1:54 PM (GMT -7)   

Perhaps you should get a second opinion from an opthamologist. There are ways to preserve and even improve diabetic retinopathy. Laser surgery can stop bleeding microaneurisms, intra-ocular injections can reduce pressure on the retina. You may be able to save your vision.

sandy


I just want to live happily ever after-every now and then. Jimmy Buffett


Wheelchair Bound
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 84
   Posted 12/13/2007 7:30 AM (GMT -7)   

I saw the second doctor yesterday the 12th.  He said the same thing as the first doctor that both legs must be amputated fairly soon.  He agreed that the time my first doctor had scheduled me for right after Christmas was OK. He also said that they  are never sure exactly how much of the legs they will need to amputate until they get in there doing the surgery. He said it it could be more or less than what they estimate. I guess I have gotten used to the idea somewhat since my first appointment last week, afterall there isn't anything I can do about it the shape they are in.  The one good thing that should come of it according to the second doctor is my leg pains will be gone once my stumps have healed in about a month or so and I shold be able to sleep better.  He gave me the name of a specialist to see for my vision also.  He is booked up until after the first of the year, but I have an appointment for mid January to see him.  I hope my legs have healed enough by then so I can make that appointment.  I guess I've always had this feeling that I would loose my legs ever since I was first diagnosed with diabetes.  Afterall both my mother and my grandfather did. My mother lived for close to ten years after losing her legs.  Even then it was a brain tumor, not diabetes that killed her,  Losing my legs upsets me some, but not nearly as much as my vision problems.  I can get around in a wheelchair if I can see, but if my vision gets worse I don't know what I'll do. I'll keep in touch with all of you as this unfolds. 

 Wheelchair Bound


gelchick
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 477
   Posted 12/13/2007 7:54 AM (GMT -7)   
God Bless you Wheelchair Bound
 
I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.
Sandy
I just want to live happily ever after-every now and then. Jimmy Buffett


Jeannie143
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 6056
   Posted 12/13/2007 8:59 AM (GMT -7)   
WB,
You do not mention family. Do you have anyone? Also, what is your current diabetes treatment? Are you on insulin? What kind of food plan are you using? We may be able to help you with moral support and lots of food ideas. We are going to be here for you so don't feel that you are facing this alone. You are in my prayers.
~ Jeannie, Forum Moderator/Diabetes & Fibromyalgia
~Please remember that 50% of all doctors graduated in the bottom half of their class! Yours may be one of them...
"People are like stained glass windows: They sparkle and shine when the sun's out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is light within."- Elizabeth Kubler-Ross


durejakk
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 12/13/2007 9:53 AM (GMT -7)   
Hello Again:

Please do not give up. Nerve problems are NOT totally non reversible. Couple of years ago, I had amost lost my one
eye. But after bringing my blood sugar level down, that eye is becoming better and better. The main focus should be to bring the
Blood sugar level drastically down. Please note that our bodies are not designed to digest refined foods such as white sugar, white flour
etc. Even cooking is a amendment to the food. If you do not agree, take your blood sugar after eating 100g of raw onion and again after 100 g
of cooked onion. You will find lot of difference. All I am saying is that by consuming natural diet only, you can bring your sugar down
and let your body heal. Diabetes is a sort of revolt by the body against man made unnatural foods such as transfat. I again hope and pray that it works for you.
Please see the video Raw in 30 days which explains it more vividly.

ceebee
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 401
   Posted 12/13/2007 3:31 PM (GMT -7)   
I am sending lots of love and prayers to you. What has been done to try to save your legs? Have you had shunts put in? My sister had amputation but only after gang green set in. Keep working on getting your blood sugar down. The low carb diet is really helping me. Please stay with this group as everyone is so helpful and caring:) God Bless.

Wheelchair Bound
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 84
   Posted 12/14/2007 9:35 AM (GMT -7)   
In answer to a few of your questions. Yes I do have some family who has been very helpful in many ways.  My husband does whahever is needed to help me when he can which is most of the time, but he has a very busy schedule at work and must put in 45 to 50 hours a week. Sometimes a bit more. He is around in the evenings, early morning, and the weekends to help me if I need him to.  I try to be as independent as I can be.  He really needs to work that much since I'm not working at all the past few months.  I was getting to work either on the bus or medi van until mid August, just working twenty hours a week. Since my vision went down hill I was able to do the work.  I worked with numbers in my job and they had to be accurate.  When I started making too many errors my boss said that they would have to let me go so to speak. They were sorry about it and understood my medical condition, but had to have someone who could do the work I had done for the past fifteen years. I knew that was coming since I had gone from fulltime to part time in May 2007. They had tried to work with me as much as they could while I was still there this past year letting me do easier work that I could handle.  I hold no regrets from them.  I was able to on early disability retirement because of my time with the company and my medical condition.  I don't get as much as if I worked till I was 62 or 65, but every little bit helps. I also have two grown children who really are not much more than moral support as they both live out of town. They will help me when they are in town for a few days, but they both live over three hundred miles away so it's not easy for them either.  As far as my diabetes goes my numbers have been pretty good since the doctor put me on some other medications back in October.  They will run from 75 to 140 now.  Before they were over 200 at times. As I said before my vision has seemed to stabilized the past couple months.  I can see well enough to type and still look at the internet and many other things.  It's the small and more distant things, say over twenty feet away that are fuzzy and hard to see even with my glasses. They don't seem to help as much as they used to either. From what I've heard, both from the doctor and others is that they feel they can keep my vision from getting much worse, at least for a while.  The doctor told me that the eye specialist I'm going to in January has helped many people.  I'm just hoping he can help me as well.  As far as my legs go the doctors say they are beyond help.  I have very little feeling in my lower legs and feet.  My toes and feet have become discolored.  The doctor said being I've injured my legs in the past in a car accident about ten years ago, broke both of them in several spots and had plates and screws in my ankles to put them back together, my circulation was never as good as it was before the accident.  He says that is probably a contributing factor in why they are so bad now. In some ways I'm looking forward to the amputation of my legs.  In other ways I'm not.  If it all goes well when they amputate them after Christmas my pain should be gone according to the doctors. I guess they figure no legs, no more pain and problems.  I hope they are right.  The down side is I'll need to use a wheelchair for the rest of my life like my mother did.  I suppose if amputating my legs gives me a better life for a few more years it's worth the lack of being able to get around like most people do. Afterall my mother got around in a wheelchair for close to ten years after her legs were removed. If only the doctors are right and they can keep my vision from getting any worse.  Sorry to ramble on so today, but I needed to vent a little.  Wheelchair Bound

LanieG
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 5408
   Posted 12/15/2007 8:48 AM (GMT -7)   
Everyone needs to vent, so vent away!  I hope and pray your rehabilitation goes smoothly.  Taking care of your vision is also priority.  As others have said, your sight may improve or at least not get worse with some procedures and also with really good control of the blood sugars.  Take care.  Let us know what's going on.

Lanie
forum moderator - diabetes
"pre-diabetic" controlled so far by diet and exercise
following low/no carb diet, no meds


Wheelchair Bound
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 84
   Posted 12/16/2007 7:54 AM (GMT -7)   
My legs hurt so much last night I don't think I got more than a couple hours of sleep all night, if I got that much. I'm sitting in my wheelchair by my desk in the family room having a cup of coffee and writing some checks for some bills that needed to be paid and thinking that after my legs are amputated I will be without all the pain I have now and might be able to get a good nights sleep again. How nice that would be. I'm beginning to look forward to the 27th. when the doctors are going to amputate my legs. Things need to get better. No more leg pains and a good nights sleep is certainally better than what I have now, even if my legs are gone and I need to use my wheelchair all the time to get around. The wheelchair part won't be much different than now since I use it more than ninty perecent of the time anyways. I suppose though even as bad as my legs are now they do help me some when I transfer to and from my whelchair. Once they are gone I'll just get used to doing it whatever way I can.

Wheelchair Bound

gelchick
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 477
   Posted 12/16/2007 12:53 PM (GMT -7)   
Wheelchair
 
Are you a candidate for prosthetics? A fellow I knew in college lost his lower legs in an auto accident in his early 20's. He walked aroung like the rest of us to classes, up and down stairs, to the parking lots out in another time zone. His plan was to go into the research and development of advanced prosthetics after graduation. One night, when we were out at the biochemisty dept happy hour, I asked him why? It meant that he had to study biochemistry and engineering- a lot of hard work- sometimes not so much money. He obliged by lifting his pant legs- we were all blown away- not one of us suspected he was walking around on artifical limbs.
sandy
I just want to live happily ever after-every now and then. Jimmy Buffett


Wheelchair Bound
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 84
   Posted 12/17/2007 5:04 PM (GMT -7)   
At this point I don't know if they would work for me or not. The doctor didn't really say much about them when I last saw him. I think he is taking a wait and see decision on that as he doesn't know how much of my legs will be left when he is done. He said he would be amputating them about a foot above my knees, maybe less if things go well. If he takes them off that high or any higher it doesn't leave much to attach anything to. I guess I'll need to wait and see how it all plays out. I guess I've always figured that they probably wouldn't work on such a short stump and would always need to use a wheelchair. I'll talk to him about it on my next appointment on the Friday before Christmas.

Wheelchair Bound

tutorgirl
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 235
   Posted 12/18/2007 9:34 AM (GMT -7)   
Hopefully, they will be able to leave enough for a prosthetic. My sister had her leg amputated a couple of years ago above the knee and then they had to go in and take a little more, but she is still able to use a prosthetic. Takes a lot of work to learn to use them, and you have to get someone really good to fit them. The first guy she had did a terrible job and she had a tough time with it. I think now she is doing pretty good. Good luck and let us know what the doc thinks.
===================
>Karen<
~Forum Moderator/Diabetes~


Wheelchair Bound
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 84
   Posted 12/18/2007 10:38 AM (GMT -7)   
I think the reason the doctor hasn't talked to me about using prosthethic legs after my amputations is because I don't think he really knows if there will be enough of my legs left for me to use them. He told me he is not sure until he gets me in surgery how much he will need to cut off. He said it is possible they may have to amputate most all of my legs, he's just not sure . I don't think he wants me to get my hopes up before he knows what to tell me after the amputations have been carried out. I'm not overly worried about it. If it works out that I can use them great, if not I've got my wheelchair to use. I'd much rather have them be sure they got it all taken care the first time even if they need to take a little more to be sure than need to go through it a second time like your sister had to. My mother lived ten years after both her legs were amputated very high without ever being able to use any sort of prosthethic legs. She used her wheelchair when she went any place and used a very short pair of crutches or her arms to scoot herself around the house on her butt and what little she had left. I imagine I can do the same if I need to.

Wheelchair Bound

Diabetic1965
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 12/18/2007 1:38 PM (GMT -7)   
I cannot believe that this is the end result - have you had other opinions? That's so quick from diagnosis to amputation... I'd be very leary....

Wheelchair Bound
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 84
   Posted 12/19/2007 6:40 PM (GMT -7)   
I have been to two different doctors at compleately separate medical offices and received the same answers from both. They both said they need to come off. Neither one could say exactly how much. They both said they couldn't say forsure until they actually were performing the surgery. Both doctors said the amputations could be from 6 to 12 inches above my knees depending on what the tissue looks like when they get in there. I don't doubt the need for this at this time at all. You need to remember both my legs were crushed pretty badly in an auto accident about ten years ago. They almost amputated my left leg at my knee at that time. They were able to save them then only after several surgeries and using plates, screws, and rods to put them back together. I spent many months lying in bed with my legs in casts hanging from the ceiling. I have been able to walk pretty well since then until this past year even though I have always walked with a limp and put up with quite a bit of pain from time to time. The doctors said these prior injuries are part of the reason the amputations are needed now. The circulation in my legs was never as good after my accident has it was before. Combine that with diabetes that went undiagnosed far too long and amputations are what you wind up. The need for amputations seems to run in the family. Both my mother and my grandfather had there legs amputated above there knees when they were in there fifties or early sixties and neither one of them had the prior injuries to their legs that I had. The fact that I need to have it done sooner has been blamed on the prior injuries to my legs and my neglect to doing anything sooner for the diabetes. It was my failing vision earlier this year that really made me take notice that somethig was really wrong because I have had leg pains ever since my legs were injured ten years ago.

Wheelchair Bound

Wheelchair Bound
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 84
   Posted 12/21/2007 11:00 AM (GMT -7)   

Today is December 21st., six more days until my legs come off.  I'm kind of depressed thinking about it today.  confused My husband had to help me into my wheelchair this morning as my left leg seemed to be a little weaker today. After I'd been up a couple of hours it seemed better.  I was able to get up out of it by myself as I ussually am able to when I need to use the bathroom or want to sit on the sofa and watch TV. Both my son and daughter are coming home for Christmas.  I wasn't sure my daughter and her husband would make it.  My daughter is taking two weeks vacation from her job to be with me during and after my surgery.  This came as a very nice surprise when she called me last night and told me.  Her husband needs to return home before that , but he said he would stay until Saturday before returning to work.  He needs to be back to work for Sunday.  Maybe once my family arrive on Saturday I'll feel better, we'll see. My husband is taking our kids and me out for dinner Saturday night and that ought to be a good time.  In the mean time have a Merry Christmas if I don't post again before then.

tongue  Wheelchair Bound


LanieG
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 5408
   Posted 12/21/2007 9:21 PM (GMT -7)   
I'm glad your family is coming in. This is a difficult time for you as well as the family but somehow I see some strength and a positive outlook in you even facing this huge life-changing operation. I hope you have a nice Christmas and that all goes well with the surgery, with no complications. Please stay in touch and let us know how you're doing. Please do all you can about taking care of your eyes, too. Also, in the face of all you're going through, I hope your son and daughter are being careful with their own health. Have they been monitoring their blood sugar now? Diabetes also runs in my mother's side of the family. My grandmother died of it at 74, and my mother at 72. My mother had a leg amputated above the knee but then had a heart attack. We children though have better control of it and have changed our way of eating and lifestyle. Maybe we can break the cycle. Take care, ok?
Lanie
forum moderator - diabetes
"pre-diabetic" controlled so far by diet and exercise
following low/no carb diet, no meds


Wheelchair Bound
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 84
   Posted 12/22/2007 8:23 AM (GMT -7)   

I went to the doctor Friday afternoon. My last appointment before my surgery.  We went over some things he wanted me to know before the surgery next Thursday.  I need to check into the hospital Wednesday afternoon so I 'm there and ready for surgery early Thursday morning.  I'm actually beginning to look forward to my leg amputations.  This might seem weird to most of you, but the doctor told me today that it would put and end to the pain I've been having these past months from my legs.  I believe that is a good thing. I asked him if he thought I might be a candidate for prosthethic legs and he still says he can't say forsure until after the amputations have been done and he knows what is left of my legs.  He did say that if it was possible for me it would be a hard uphill battle to try to learn to walk again with prosthethic legs when both legs have been amputated above the knees. He told me less than 50% of double above knee amputees ever walk again, and of those 50% less than half can walk all the time even with the use of a cane.  The rest still use their wheelchairs to get around.   His information came from some medical journal he reads. He said in all honesty he thought I would probably fall into the later catagory of having to use a wheelchair all the time. He said he hoped he was wrong, but he was just going by his experiance with other patients and stating some statistics he had read. He ended by saying I'd just have to wait and see how the surgery played out next Thursday. I know he's just being honest and trying not to get my hopes up to high. I told him even though my legs will be gone and I probably will need to use a wheelchair all the time this is my lesser concern.  I'm really more concerned about my vision.  I don't know what I'd do if I go blind scool or my eyesight gets a whole lot worse than it is now.  He said the eye specialist I have the appointment with In January can do wonders for people like me.  He said my vision probably won't improve a whole lot with his procedures, but he can keep it from getting worse at least for quite a while.  I hope he is right.

Wheelchair Bound 


LanieG
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 5408
   Posted 12/22/2007 8:30 AM (GMT -7)   
What are your blood sugar readings now?  What meds are you on?

Lanie
forum moderator - diabetes
"pre-diabetic" controlled so far by diet and exercise
following low/no carb diet, no meds


*tears*
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 12/31/2007 3:03 AM (GMT -7)   
Hey Wheelchair Bound: My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family-hope to see postings from you soon.......
Lori MacNeil

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