After two years and three surgeries, I'm opting for amputation

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In September of 2015, I fell 19' and broke my tibia,fibula, and blew a dime size hole thru my ankle.  I had three surgeries and the third was a success.  In that surgery, they did a bone graft as well as adding hardware.  After recovery and therapy, I had about eight months of decent days that the pain was bearable.  I currently can't walk unless I'm taking pain medication. I've exhausted all options that are viable for me.  I'm currently waiting on a surgery date for a transtibial amputation.  I know you may think that sounds awful, but I'm actually excited about it.  I'll be able to get my life back.  I won't have to be heavily medicated just to be able to walk.  I'll be able to run, hike, take walks with my wife, and do all the things that I miss so much.  I'm 54 and I'm not going to give up.  This procedure and getting a prosthesis is going to open the door for me to get back to all the things I've been missing out on for two years.  

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  • Posted

    Is an ankle fusion not an option? 
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    • Posted

      I went to foot/ankle specialist a few weeks ago and he suggested a fusion and a spinal nerve stimulator.  He couldn't assure me that this would take care of my pain.  Much of my pain is above the ankle where the bones blew out.  I've heard too many stories where the fusion didn't take care of the pain.   My surgeon, who has been in the orth trauma department at the University of Kentucky, told me that my injury was the worst he's ever encountered.  He suggested amputation in the beginning, but I wasn't ready to accept that option at that time.  I've spent two years in pain and not much activity.  I just don't want to waste anymore time gambling on a surgery that may help.   

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  • Posted

    Hello Phil,

    WOW .... I can't imagine how horrible things have been for you in your recovery journey.  I'm so sorry you've had to endure this and such a loss of everyday life and you're only 54.

    I pray that this decision will turn out to be the best thing for you getting your life back to normal.

    Very best of good wishes your way and a recovery that has you enjoying your life again, pain free.

    Good Luck Phil!

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  • Posted

    I applaud you for this. If my surgery doesn't work out, I'd do the same thing. People with prosthetic feet have more mobility than I do. I've considered it before my fusion as I had a hard time finding a surgeon who would operate on my feet. I was told basically to go home & learn to live in a wheelchair which was not an option for me. I will do anything to regain my mobility & if that meant amputation, so be it. Good luck & im excited for you. Please give me an update occasionally on how you are doing. I pray for success. 

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    • Posted

      Thanks Barb!   I'm looking forward to getting my life back.  After the amputation,  I should be walking/running within six months at most.  I'm very anxious to be finished with the pain.  There are days that I can't walk because it's to painful.   I would have it amputated today if I could!

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    • Posted

      Hi Phil. At 54 you know your own mind and going into amputation with a positive attitude is an option most amputees don't get. My brother is an amputee not by choice , a drunk driver made the decision for him ,he copes  well.  I wish you well and don't envy you the choice you've had to make but sometimes you do what you have to. At first my mind was blown by what you've chosen to do but I got thinking if I had bad boobs I'd have them off , at some point during our lives we choose to have bits removed for the overall health and wellbeing of our body. Be it a boob or womb, kidney ,bowel , hell if it's got to go. Kiss it goodby and soon you'll enjoy your pain free new normal. All the very best. 

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    • Posted

      Hi Jenni

      It's ironic that you said that about boobs.  My wife is a five year breast cancer survivor.  She had a bilateral mastectomy.   She has been a big inspiration for me in my decision.  She handled her situation with grace, strength, and optimism.  She told me that she knew if she was an emotional mess, that it would bleed over to me and my two sons.  She stays positive throughout her journey and it helped everyone.  If I can be half as strong as she was, I'll be proud.  I've made a difficult decision that had to be made.   My situation is affecting my family almost as much as me.  I'm lucky to have such an inspiration so close to me.  

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    • Posted

      What a lovely tribute to your wife!  Being a cancer survivor myself (thyroid), I understand the perseverance and strength it takes to wade thru this frightening time and that your attitude plays a huge part in your treatment and recovery.

      Now, after reading your post to Jenni, there is no doubt in my mind you will sail thru this process with your wonderful positive outlook.

      Wishing many many happy, healthy, pain free years to you and your family smile

      My hat is off to you Phil!   Cheers!

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    • Posted

      Deb

      Thanks again for such kind and encouraging words.  I was hesitant to join this forum, but all of you have made me glad to be a part of such a powerful therapeutic platform.  It really helps to be able to talk to others with similar situations.  I hope that I may be helpful to somebody out there with their journey.  None of us chose to be in this situation, but we must deal with it.  Information is a key ingredient for us to make the difficult decisions that we are faced with.  I read many posts on this forum before joining.  Some of the posts played a part in the decision I've made.  There are so many people that have had multiple surgeries and still suffer with chronic pain.  I don't want to be in that situation anymore.  

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  • Posted

    So sorry to hear about the struggle you've been through. Sounds like you've thought through your situation and I truly wish you and your wife the best. 

    Im six months post op for a tibia/fibula complete break. The road to recovery feels like forever. I'm on a cane now but that throws my back out from time to time. Learning to walk again is difficult to say the least. 

    I feel like the bionic woman with one rod, two clamps, and 15 screws.  I have a wonderful husband who helps me stay focused and tries to keep me laughing. 

    I was feeling pretty sorry for myself today but then I read your story and got over myself in a hurry. 

    You show tremendous strength and speak with such hope. Thank you for that. 

    Take care,

    Karen

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  • Posted

    Oh Phil I hope all goes well for you. I know what the pain is like but I have not had it long term like you. Good Luck and all the best. Do what you need to. Let us know how thing go XX
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  • Posted

    Wow that's horrible you have had to make a huge decision I hope it all works out well for you... I'm waiting on my third surgery I damaged my ankle 4 years ago and have been in constant pain ever since I have had 1 fusion but still pain and cannot take any medication. 

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    • Posted

      I'm sorry to hear about your situation Nat.   You too may someday have to make the decision that I've made.  I got tired of the surgeries and still being in pain.  Post traumatic arthritis is an ugly beast that's hard to overcome.  I know amputation is a scary thing for anybody, but if it means getting rid of the pain and getting your life back, it's a no brainer for me.  I wish you well and hope that you'll stay in touch and keep me informed of your journey. 

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