From Baltimore, Maryland, USA:
I have had diabetes for 20 years now, and during the last two years, I have developed Charcot foot. About a year and a half ago, I had an infection and had a mid-foot reconstruction. I also have neuropathy in my foot which made this problem undetected for many months, but now that the first surgery has healed.
Three months ago, I developed an ulcer from the rocker bottom boot that I was wearing, and now my foot has broken down again. The medal plates that were put in my foot back cracked, and the surgeon wants me to choose between of either an amputation of the right foot or reconstruction by taking out the metal plate and putting in a 12 inch screw. I'm lost as to what I should do and have a week to make a decision then I have to call the doctor back. Is there anyone with similar problems? Are there support groups? I don't know what my condition mentally would be if I had an amputation.
I am sorry you are having so many serious problems with your feet. The first thing that hits me as you describe your situation is that you need a second opinion. Even if you love your physician, you are in the process of making a tough decision. Obviously, anything that could be done to preserve the foot would be desirable. The person for a second opinion can be obtained through a variety of resources. You can use your own physicians, your insurance company, your local hospital, your local medical college, or other professional organizations. Just because something is hard and drawn out doesn't mean you should throw in the towel.
If you decide that you will accept the recommendation for amputation, I would request you get mental health follow-up with a psychologist or psychiatrist who can follow you through the process. I don't know of a specific support group for amputees but they may exist. I would ask your surgeon for more local direction. Unless infection is evident that cannot be controlled, I wonder where the time deadline of a week came from. Give yourself a chance to work this out.
Original posting 28 Jul 2002
Posted to Complications
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