I want to share a bit of an ongoing success story with you. I would like to start out by saying I have been sober six years now. Approximately four years ago I had what I thought was minor bunion surgery on my left foot. I was thinking, “Hey, great, I will be recovered and on the beach in six weeks or so,” being the positive person that I had been. I was fully independent in all areas of my life at the time of surgery.
Well, there were a few issues the surgeon encountered and I was admitted with the intention to stay a few days in the hospital. I am what I call the one in a million man due to the fact that I contracted MRSA during my stay. I went through approximately nine months of Vanco antibiotics and many other treatments including twelve weeks in a hyperbaric chamber. I was sent to a rehab while these treatments were done.
Now remember this was contracted in the hospital and that I had no idea how serious this would turn out to be. During these treatments there were approximately eight debridement surgeries and a wound vac was installed. I was not able to walk on my foot and was confined to a bed or chair and experienced chronic pain. After nine months the doctor and I had a talk. I told him this was way too much and nothing was working. He said, “Well we could do an amputation of the large and second toe,” including the side of my foot. At this time I made the decision to have an amputation and hoped I could move on.
All well and good –we did it. I was given a prosthesis to keep my ankle supported and my foot flat. I had lost my sense of balance due to losing the large toe. I was now home and walking with a cane. There was minor pain in the residual foot which was to be treated by my podiatrist. We tried creams, lotions, injections etc, all to no avail. The pain increased as the months went by.
Fast forward to the beginning of the fourth year in pain. I began not being able to do much in my life. I also took no pain meds due to being sober. I was not getting hooked on anything! So my pain meds were icing and elevation, five times a day. I went back to my surgeon and began exploring options. He sent me to four of his colleagues over the next six months, again to no avail. Back to my surgeon and we discussed a below knee amputation. I was not only scared but did not know if I could handle it mentally.
Having been in recovery for years, I decided I could handle what life hands my through prayer and faith in my medical team. This past August I made the decision to rid myself of the chronic pain. I began researching and communicating here on the Amputee Coalition Facebook page. Everyone here was so helpful and supportive. I had my surgery this past Sept 15th. Waking up from my surgery I felt automatic relief and no chronic pain. The healing pain was there, but it was minimal compared to what I had been dealing with on a daily basis.
Once the surgery was completed I was transferred to a very good rehab hospital in my area after four days in the hospital. While in rehab I worked four hours a day for 33 days. The rehab staff kept asking if I wanted extra time daily and I took it which has paid off. I am now home and awaiting my appointment to return for my two week training with my second prosthesis. I have been working at home with a therapist, prosthetist and occupational therapist. I use my wheelchair throughout the house and am also using my prosthesis and learning how to weight bear.
What the story is all about is that with the support of Amputee Coalition members and faith in my medical team I am on my way! Anything in my life is possible now and with minimal pain. I want to tell everyone I will be here for anyone in need like they are for me!