If anyone cares, my life change started when I was diagnosed with lung cancer in 9/08, which didn't really surprise me since I'd smoked for 25 years or so. I'd quit 16 years ago. I was 55 when diagnosed, the year I should have retired. I'd retired a couple of years before that, though, when my agency gave me an "early out". I took early retirement, getting a small percentage taken out of my pension, but able to keep my health insurance, thank God. So, I'd had a couple of good years of retirement before I got sick. I didn't get to vote in the 11/08 election, because 1/2 of my left lung was removed on Halloween, and I was still in the hospital on Election Day.
I felt fine. Every 3 months I'd have CT scans, and no further treatment was required. In Summer, 2009, my feet & legs began feeling numb, a problem I'd had on & off ever since I was in my early 40's, after I'd quit smoking. I'd noticed, on & off, that when I did aerobics, my feet became numb. I mentioned this to several doctors (ob/gyn, family dr, chiropractor), and was given instructions to loosen my shoe laces, get new shoes, new socks, stop doing the exercise when that happened, you name it. I started using an eliptical trainer and noticed that the same thing happened after 20 minutes or so. However, I walked miles every day, trying for my 10,000 steps, and walking as a means of dealing with stress. In the beginning, the numbness never happened while I walked. By July, 2010, I was beginning to feel real pain in my lower extremities, and by August, I was in agony. I moved out of our bedroom into another room so when I walked around at night, I wouldn't wake my husband. I went to a spine & joint clinic, where I got shots in my back, and electrodes put on my legs & feet to determine whatever! That doctor held my almost black foot (I am white) up near his face, and didn't comment on the poor coloring there. My family doctor sent me to a neurologist, who had a MRI done, but by the time the circulation problem was discovered, gangrene had set in.
I was admitted to the hospital that same day, and both my legs were amputated below the knee. I vaguely remember that was the verdict, but I was in so much pain that anything to make it stop was fine by me. I underwent physical therapy after the surgery there in the hospital, and went home to a ramp, bath chair, portable potty & a wheel chair. My house had been totally re-arranged to accomodate me in the wheelchair, and my life had been re-arranged, too.
I live on the coast, and the beach has always been a special place for me. I used to walk from home to the beach, several miles, and back every so often, and walked my dog daily in our neighborhood. Swimming, wading, boating, and just laying around on the beach were a part of my summers ever since I can remember. Walking was my way of dealing with stress instead of smoking or drinking. I'd walk when I was pissed, wanted to think, just wanted to walk.
Now I have prosthetic legs, have had them since 2/10. I do very well with them, but I still can't walk far enough to please me. I have water sleaves to wear swimming, but I guess I didn't get the seal right the last time I used them. They leaked a little. We have salt water at the beaches here - salt isn't good for prosthetics. They can't leak! My activity using prosthetics was sidelined when I had to have chemotherapy last winter. I was hardly able to sit up, much less walk! I started getting around again this past June, trying to make up for lost (muscle) time.
This is me. Although I've never been athletic, I've been active all my life. This is a walking city, and I always enjoyed walking on the waterfront & historic district. I'm happy that I can walk, and walk without much of a limp or anything, walk with a cane that I really don't need all the time. I can dance a few steps, and do a few yoga stretches.
It would be nice to be in touch with others who are amputees living life in their own way. Sharing information about prosthetics & exercise issues would be really nice. I'm middle-aged, but always felt much younger until I got sick.
Let me know if there's anybody out there I can talk to.