At a Crossroads: Update


Talk about a difficult decision[1]! It isn’t easy to choose between keeping a body part…or not. But, after consulting with my podiatrist, my primary-care physician, and a wound care specialist, I have chosen to have a below-the-knee amputation. I believe I made the right decision.

I have had infection after infection in my foot, primarily in my calcaneus (heel bone). I’ve had two surgeries to remove parts of my calcaneus. At this point, the rest of it is infected and needs to be removed. All of it — that is, what’s left of it. You can walk without a calcaneus, with a brace. However, the soft pad of the foot begins to break down.

The infection has spread to someplace around my ankle. It’s begun to climb up my leg. Nothing I have done has stopped the infection from spreading. I don’t know if it has anything to do with the MRSA I had[2]. I do know that MRSA can invade your bones and cause osteomyelitis (a bone infection). And it’s difficult to get rid of. At any rate, it doesn’t really matter, does it?

I could have the calcaneus removed. However, if the infection is found to have spread to the talus — the bone in the ankle that connects with the lower leg bones to form the ankle joint — or some other places I forgot to remember, then I get an amputation anyway.

Oddly, I feel better now that I’ve made my choice. I have the name of a surgeon who is very skilled at doing amputations. I have an awesome husband and grandchildren to take care of me while I recuperate.

I have wonderful friends to do a little pampering (and cooking). One, a friend since we were 10 years old, wants to come here to help. My Sisterhood friends appear to be lining up to feed me. A quilter friend plans to make me a “recuperation” quilt. A green one. Green is not my favorite color. It has to do with me knitting her a blue sweater years ago. (Blue is not her favorite color.)

Everything I need in my house is on one floor. Well, besides the laundry room, which is in the basement, so I won’t have…er, get…to do laundry, but I think I can sustain my disappointment.

I plan to write about my experiences, because people with diabetes are at higher risk for amputations than the general population. Maybe what I am going through can help somebody else who will be having an amputation. Maybe what I am going through can convince somebody to manage their diabetes a bit better to lower their risk of having an amputation. Maybe somebody out there who has had an amputation will have some advice for me. (If so, bring it on!)

The appointment with my surgeon is Friday and we’ll go from there. In the meantime, I’m getting my house ready.

Please send up your best wishes for acceptance, for a successful surgery with no complications, and for a fast healing.

  1. difficult decision:
  2. the MRSA I had:

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Jan Chait: Jan Chait was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in January 1986. Since then, she has run the gamut of treatments, beginning with diet and exercise. She now uses an insulin pump to help treat her diabetes. (Jan Chait is not a medical professional.)

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