Monday, November 18, 2013

Three Years Ago (Part 1)

Pictured above is a shot I took from the Emerald Princess cruise ship in November 2010.

It has been almost three years since the loss of my second leg. At this time three years ago I was preparing to embark on my first cruise to the Caribbean with my friend Shawn, his sister, Lisa and her husband, Dan. I was a mixture of excitement and a smidgen of angst. I had never undertaken such a trip before and having lost one leg at this point I was a little nervous. After much encouragement and reassurance from family and friends I was looking forward to the trip.

A couple of weeks before the trip I had undergone a test to check the circulation in my remaining left leg, I did not want any complications while at sea. Everything had checked out fine and I was doing well in physical therapy, in fact, I had been learning to walk with my prosthetic leg up and down sloped areas, soon I may have been able to dispense with the cane altogether. Alas, that was not to be.

I returned from the cruise on Saturday December 4, I was well rested, very tan, and excited to return to Cheetah gym and resume my everyday life. Things were going well and I was proud of my accomplishments having bounced back from the loss of my right leg just 18 months earlier. I was driving using my left leg, going to the gym 5-6 days a week and had even managed to work a couple of jobs, things were going to be just fine.

During the course of 2010 I had been battling to keep my left leg. Things took a turn for the worse December 27 2009, I had a blood clot occur during my visit Christmas 2009. My sister, Rhonda ended up taking me back to Chicago in her car and my brother- in-law, Peter, drove my car to Chicago. Fortunately my vascular surgeon, Dr. Chad Jacobs, was able to dissolve the clot through a procedure called a TPA. Again in April 2010 another clot appeared this time, however, the clot was not able to be dissolved and a bypass was performed. 

I remember while recovering from the  bypass my surgeon advised me he was not particularly pleased with my bypass and wanted to redo it so that it would hopefully last longer. I was upset and said I wasn't sure my body could withstand much more invasive surgery. He assured me that I was in fact physically capable of undergoing further surgery. We decided to redo the surgery in June. In May the veins occluded again unexpectedly, and I went in to have yet another by pass, this time something that had never happened before, occurred, compartment syndrome.

Compartment Syndrome is what happens when too much blood rushes into your veins too quickly and can rapidly cause your veins to burst. The emergency solution is to make long cuts into your legs to allow the proliferation of blood to escape. This procedure was performed successfully and allowed me to dodge the bullet and keep my leg.  I will continue this in my next post........

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