Amputation...transitive verb : to remove by or as if by cutting; especially : to cut (as a limb) from the body. This is how the fine folks at Merrium-Webster define it. This is the decision that I am facing. It's not even really a decision of if, it's more a decision of when. The reason I am facing this is that after the fall and subsequent surgeries I was left with Peronal Nerve Palsy aka Foot Drop. As I described previously this means that I cannot dorsiflex my foot, I have no nerve control or feeling below my knee. This is the result of compartment syndrome. I had so much blood drain into my leg that it compressed the muscles, veins, arteries, and most importantly the nerve fibers until they were no longer functional. I had resigned to the fact that I would have to have an amputation. We (my fiance' and I) had decided that we would go for the below knee amputation since my orthopedic doctors had decided that my knee was repairable.
My first orthopedic surgeon, decided to leave his practice without informing us. We recieved a call from the surgeons group who wanted to pile me in with a new surgeon. We decided to leave the practice and find another surgeon on our own. This lead us to a well respected surgeon at Jewish hospital. After evaluating my knee he decided he needed yet another MRI...wasn't too excited at this since I had a major panic attack last time. I made it through the MRI fine and after having it examined by several other surgeons it was determined that my knee is "beyond surgical repair." One of the surgeons actually asked my Dr if I had been involved in an IED explosion, since he hadn't seen a knee that destroyed since Iraq. This is what has lead to the decision that I will be having an above knee amputation. Originally he had told me that he could fix my knee, that it would take multiple surgeries, but he can fix it. Now he has decided that, yes he could do the surgery, but my knee would never be stable, and I would always be in pain.
So, that's where I am. I should find out soon when the surgery will be. I've decided that I want the vascular surgeon who saved my leg to be the one who removes it...kinda ironic and poetic at the same time. I figure he knows the ins and outs of the work he did on me and should be able to provide me with the best "residual limb" possible. I am trying very hard to remain positive through out all of this. I know that I am losing a body part, but when I really look at it, I'm losing a diseased part of me. No different than a person having a malignant tumor removed. My leg doesn't work, I fall several times a day because my knee can't support me anymore. I can't feel anything below the knee, my foot literally hangs there. So why not have it removed. I could look at this and decide that "Ok, this is it. I quit. I have no reason to try anymore, give me my disability check and I'll just sit here and wallow in my self pity" or I can take this hand I've been dealt and decide that I'm going to prove to everyone that just because I'm losing a leg doesn't make me handicapped, it just means I have to work harder.
OK...big appointment coming up this Friday (1/13/2012). I should get a surgical date, I'll let those of you who are following me on here know what is said. Also, I want to thank everyone who has donated money to help me keep my insurance and pay my bills while I'm off. Next entry I'll explain why I need the donations and where the money is going.
Until next time....Prosthetic Medic