A story from Syracuse in the U.S.A
Helen Wase

I first received an e-mail from Helen back in March 2000. Due to stupidity on my part I've finally got around to getting the story off the computer and onto the web.
It's a long and tortuous story and makes fascinating reading.

Dear Slim,

I have been a regular visitor to your site since my Podiatrist (foot surgeon) told me about the Ilizarov method. He gave me a few hints about the process , but no practical information. I live near Syracuse, NY which is in the middle of the state, about 300 miles from NY City. As far as he knows, I may be one of the first in the area to show off my rings.
About 5 years ago, I broke my ankle in 6 places. Both sides of the ankle were involved. Many pins, screws and plates were needed to put me back together.
One year later, I noticed that my foot seemed to be turning left even when my ankle was straight. That little discovery earned me a proceedure called a triple arthrodesis.
After 4 months in a cast and 2 months in a brace, my foot looked and felt normal. One year later, the foot once again started to shift to the left.
Once again, a "modified" triple arthrodesis was performed, with 5 months in a cast and 2-3 months in a brace.
This past summer I started having some nasty pain in the foot, along with a large lump filling in where my arch HAD been. They discovered that some of the hardwear in my foot had broken off, and little screw heads were floating in my ankle and foot.
Surprise, another surgery to remove all but one piece of hardwear. The base of one of the screws was deeply embedded in the bone, so they left it in.

Since August, 1999, I was told that I now have a full blown Charcot Foot. I am a very mild diabetic and one of the doctors said that diabetics are prone to this.
So now my foot sugeon has gone for special training in Baltmore, Maryland, in order to save my foot.
I have been a fairly active person. I was a special education teacher and worked with many children who had physical and mental disabilities.
Ten years ago, I lost most of my sight due to glaucoma and retinal problems. I even have a big, beautiful, yellow, labrador retreiver guide dog, named Flicker.
I guess my reason for sharing my story is to find out if any other of your readers has had an Ilizarov fixator used for repair of a Charcot foot? My surgery will probably be in the latter part of April. The doctor said I will be able to walk right away, but I can't imagine walking on the foot, after he has removed part of my heel and a part of the bones on the side of my foot.
I expect I'll get a few stares as my guide dog and I take our daily walk. Any suggestions or links to Charcot repair with the Ilizarov fixator would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you so much for maintaining this site. You should get a medal of valor!
Sincerely,
Helen Wase

So I hunted around on the web and found some stuff to do with Charcot (or what I thought was Charcot) foot and passed that on to Helen who kindly kept me posted with current events.

Dear Slim,

Thank you so much for all the time you have devoted to my query. I've done a bit more investigatory work (or should I say medical detective work) and I have realized that a Charcot joint and Charcot-Marie-Toothe (CMT) are not one in the same.
CMT is thought to be caused by an heriditary factor. Someone with CMT may have a Charcot joint, but I do not have CMT, thank goodness.
My problem, a Charcot foot, refers to the fact that the bones and joints are deteriorating due to neurogenic arthropathy - which is defined as a destructive arthropathy of joints, with impaired pain perception and/or position sense Mine was probably caused by several factors... a serious previous injury , multiple surgeries on the foot and ankle, and diabetes. (phew-that was a mouthful!)

I saw my doctor this week, and they have tentatively set the surgery date for May 10th. I am now at the point where I can no longer wear a shoe, with or without my orthotic insert.
The bulge on the bottom of my foot has started to ulcerate, so I must wear a surgical shoe until the time of the surgery.
I've had to attend several evening functions dressed in one sneaker and one surgical boot.
I'm doing my part to help create a new fashion trend in the USA.

I felt so disappointed for you when I read of your latest postponement in having the frame removed. I know how exasperated I was when the plaster casts had to stay on longer than I had anticipated, but I guess when you have spent so much time waiting for a good result, you learn to be patient.

Another interestng fact I learned this week is that there will be three surgeons working on my foot when the fixator is attached.
I just hope I don't get three separate billings for the same job! I'm sure you're aware that the US does not have "socialized" or national health care.
I have private insurance and a government Medicare disabilty insurance, so I am allowed to choose my doctors and I do not have to wait for approval from any agency.
It must be very frustrating to not be able to schedule appointmets when it is convenient for you, nor to be able to choose your own psychologist.
Some people in NY and in most other states, who are on government welfare relief, Medi-caid, are given very few choices in their health care providers, and must go to clinics and doctors who are willing to accept less payment for their services. Frequently, these doctors are not the best in their field, so poor people tend to receive a lower quality of care. So I guess there are pros and cons for both our country's medical systems.

Again, thank you for all your help and continued success on your great web site. My guide dog Flicker sends his best to your dogs and hopes they don't knock you down again!

Sincerely,
Helen Wase

Then after I had my frame removed and had posted the info on the site, Helen mailed me again.

CONGRATULATIONS !!!!!!!!!!

I can't even imagine the joy and freedom you must be feeling.
My surgery has once again been re-scheduled. It is now set for May 24th. I was also told that my surgery will be done at noon and I will be going home that early evening- no time overnight in a hospital, unless a complication arises.
I have great confidence in my doctor, but the thought of walking only a few hours after this rather complicated surgery really amazes and frightens me.
I have 4 steps to climb in order to get into my house. I'm very poor at handling crutches, as my left thumb has severe arthritis and dislocates whenever I put much pressure on it.
I think my best chance of getting around is to learn to pole vault over any obstacles in my way!
Seriously, I plan to have a wheel chair on stand-by...just in case!

A couple of days later, in response to a question I'd asked, I received Helen's reply and an update on her situation.

Hi Slim! How are you doing? I keep checking the website to see your updates. I hope things are progressing well for you.
In answer to thequeston about the name of the Baltimore doctor, I don't know. My doctor attended a 4 day seminar or training session that was held in Baltimore.
I do not know the name, but I have come across a site on the web which tells about a hospital in Baltimore and about 2 doctors who head the orthopedic department, where Ilizarov surgery is performed. You might suggest to the person that they search for Ilizarov surgical techniques on their search engine, and this site will probably show up.

Last week, I received my very own pair of crutches and was sent to a Physical Therapist for training on my crutches. First thing he did was to adjust them for my height and the he taught me how to properly walk with them and how to go up and down stairs with them..
Luckily, I only have three rather low steps that I need to navigate to enter my house. The house is all on one floor, we refer to this type as a ranch style house. I have no attic or cellar area, but I do have an attached, large 2 car garage, which really stores a lot of stuff.

This Thursday, I have to go to the hospital for blood work and to meet with the nurses and the anesthesiologist who will administer the anesthesia during the surgery.
My doctor said the surgery will probably last about 3 hours. He also told me that I may not be able to put full weight on the foot immediately, as he needs to lengthen the achillles tendon.
My foot has been so out of alignment, that the tendon has tightened, causing pain to radiate up the back of my leg.
On Friday, I meet with my doctor to go over all the details of the surgery and then I will have several more x-rays taken of the foot. These will be his guide while performing the restoration of my foot and ankle (I hope! )
It seems like I have been waiting forever for the surgery to take place, but now that it is only 10 days away, I keep thinking of all the little things I need to take care of before the surgery, because I know I'll not be as mobile or clear headed for awhile.
My family doctor already wrote my prescription for pain medication. I am allergic to codeine and its derivitives, tylenol, and I'm not allowed to have anything that contains aspirin, so I am allowed to take demerol in pill form.
That's sort of like a morphine based narcotic. I've had it for the other surgeries. It dulls the pain to the point where you know that something is hurting, but you just don't give a "bloody damn" ,,,,to borrow one of your more colorful expletives!

Well, take care of yourself. I hope your dogs are behaving and are not pulling too hard when you take them on walks.

I'll keep you posted on my progress.
Best wishes,
Helen

In response to a few enquiries, I put a picture of the 18 steps to my front door which I had been negotiating all the time I wanted to go out when in a full leg plaster or the Ilizarov frame.
Helen took this opportunity to send a bulletin.

Dear Slim,
I'll never complain about my wimpy 3 steps again! Although my steps have had as much as a half meter of snow piled on them several times during the winter. The part of New York that I live in is famous for getting large amounts of snow. This past winter was very mild. We only had a total of 92 inches. Usuallly, we get more than 120 inches ( about 3 1/2 meters total) Thank goodness I won't have to worry about that now.

I had all my preliminary tests done on 5/ 18. One slight misunderstanding did occur. When I met with the anesthesiologist, he informed me that he was just going to give me a drug to relax me and then numb my foot with a local injection.
I almost fell out of my chair! He was very difficult to understand, due to a very thick Indian/Pakistani type accent. I asked him if he knew about the kind of surgery I was going to have. He replied, " Yes, a little surgery on your foot."
The only reason I didn't laugh was because it would have been rude and I didn't want to make enemies with the man who will be in charge of my breathing and pain control.
I tried to explain what the Ilizarov proceedure was and that it could take as long as 3 or more hours. I'm not sure if he understood my description or even believed me, but he finally agreed that I could have a general anesthesia.
I had to be awake when they put my severely broken ankle back together, and I will never forget the sound of the drills, hammers and the other tools. It sounded like a carpenter's workshop!

On Friday, I met with the surgeon and he took several x-rays and showed me where he was going to remove a wedge of bones in two sites. He also discovered that one part of the triple arthrodesis had separated .
I knew that I had been having quite a bit of pain in that area. I sort of assumed it was another stress fracture He will repair that as well as two hammer toes that have already been operated on 2 years ago.
My bones keep growing back after they have been removed. He said that he has never seen a patient have this happen before.
He said that he will also be lengthening the Achillles tendon.

So now all I have to do is wait until Wednesday morning. I'm trying to do all those last minute jobs that I know I won't be able to do for awhile after the surgery, like scrub down the floors, vacuum everything in sight, finish planting flowers, and taking my dog Flicker for long walks.
It wll be very interesting to see his reaction when I come home with all the hardware attached. He has always slept on the foot of my bed, but I'm a bit concerned that he might roll over on my foot, so I'll have to put lots of pillows all around my foot and leg, so he won't bump me.

Thanks again for writing so frequently, It makes me feel a bit more confident about the surgery because I have learned so much about it from you and your website.
I've even written to my friends about your site and given them the web address. It will be a lot easier for them to see pictures and read about it than for me to try and describe it.
Have a very happy birthday and if your local pub serves "LAUGHING LAB ALE" have one for me!
Best wishes,
Helen

Well despite Helen's wish for me to have a Laughing Lab Ale, I didn't get the chance as my Father suffered a heart attack at this time, so I was kept fairly busy.
Helen had her surgery and posted me almost immediately.

Hi Slim,!

I wanted to let you know that the surgery was completed Wednesday about 1:00 and I was home in bed by 5:00. It was very difficult getting up enough nerve to stand on the foot.
I have never been a follower of the Marquis deSade and his self-inflicting school of pain, so I must have had some pretty powerful drugs to get me to put weight on the foot.
I saw stars and twinkly lights and heard a dull, muffling sound filling my head. In other words... IT HURT LIKE HELL.!!!!!!

Two other patients had surgery the same day. They were kept over night, since they had to travel a long way to get home. Unfortunately, I live less than 10 miles from the hospital, lucky me.
The ride home never seemed so long, and all the potholes in the road managed to position themselves under our tires. But I did survive.

I am now the owner of a large horse - shoe shaped band of metal and a smaller half circle of metal anchored above the open ends of the horse shoe.
There are 4 thick wires which pass through the mid-foot and the heel area. These wires are attached to the other side of the horse shoe. There were a lot of bandages and gauze covering the whole foot and the metal, so I did not know exactly what it looked like.
The next day, much to my surprise, my doctor's nurse called to get directions to my house. The doctor made a house call (totally unheard of around here) and removed huge wads of blood soaked bandages
. A clean dressing was then applied. That was the first time that I was able to see what the foot really looked like.

I spend my days sitting in a recliner chair with 3 pillows tucked under my foot for cushioning. As you know, finding a comfortable position is almost impossible, though I keep trying.
Night time is the worst. When I finally fall asleep, I can't seem to stay asleep for more than 2 hours at a time. Muscle spasms have also added to the fun.

On Sunday, my father, who lives with me, was taken to the hospital with a severe infection to his left hand, caused by a tiny scratch from a tree branch.
He has a blood disease which causes his cells to die prematurely, so he is not able to fend off even a simple infection like this.
We have no idea how long he will be there. So now my mother, who is legally blind and very limited in her housekeeping skills, was left to help me as I recuperate.
Luckily, my sister lives very close, and she has spent a great deal of time with me. Tomorrow, I have a doctor appointment for adressing change. This time I have to go to his office, so I'm planning on a rather painful day.
When I step down on the foot, I feel very off balance as if I were walking on a circus high wire.
Well, I guess actually I am walking on 4 low wires! The "SHOE" I was given to wear is a block of foam rubber, about the size of typing paper, about 2 inches in depth. Two velco staps have been glued at both ends. This is supposed to be my shoe for the next three months, or so.
The nurses discovered, as they were trying to attach a shoe to another patient's foot, that the velcro straps are not long enough to reach across the foot.
My strap just barely meets, with about a centimeter to spare.
This so called shoe looks like a an art project that my nephew made in school at age 5. If I get the okay, I'm going to try to make a shoe, following the suggestions from your web site.

Well, it is time for a pain pill, thank God. I have been able to cut down to 3 a day, if I don't walk too much.
The first few days, I took one every 4 hours. The pain is still there, but I guess I'm able to handle it better.

I wish I had a scanner, so I could send you a picture of my metal footwear.
My dog doesn't quite know what to make of it. He has been fantastic about not bumping or rolling over on the foot.
I just feel very sorry for him because he really enjoyed our daily walks.
Perhaps I will be stable enough in a few weeks. , I can only hope.
I hope you had a nice birthday celebration.
Take care, Helen

Just as it seemed everything was going great for Helen, life played it's medical joker. Having been there myself, I know just how soul destroying this can be.
I remember sitting on my hospital bed after my readmission in May 1999 and my emergency surgery due to the massive Streptococcus B infection which had cost me all my regenerate marrow and the small bit of new bone I'd actually made. All I wanted to know was: WHY?
I'd done everything right. I'd not had a single pinsite infection. Instead I'd had this massive infection which, if I'd not listened to a concerned friend could have cost me my leg and, almost as easily, cost me my life.
And so, out of the blue, Helens recovery took a sudden downward turn.

Hi Slim....

I am about to relay to you how I have spent the past 2 weeks.....in a hospital !!!!!
Everything was going along just fine, until Sunday, June 4th, when I started to get chills, even though it was quite warm . That evening my fever was up to 102 F degrees about 4 degrees higher than my normal 97.3 degrees. The next day I was supposed to get the staples removed, but unfortunately, overnight, one of the staple sites had started to ooze.
The surgeon sent me home with a double strong dose of antibiotics and with the arrangement that I would see my regular internal medicine (family doctor). On Tuesday, she had me come to her office and when she saw my foot, she told me that I was going straight to the hospital. I pretty much was relieved, as by now, the whole foot had swelled up like a balloon and was bright red and even shiny.
The pain was so intense that I couldn't stand to have any one or thing touch the foot. My doctor was trying to prepare me for the possibility of amputation. After spending 7 hours in the emergency room, waiting for a bed to become available, I was wheeled to a room in the gynecological floor, where several women had been recovering from mastectomies. The nurses were a bit shocked, to say the least. Not one of them had ever seen, let alone taken care , of an external fixation device.

I was placed on 2 very stong intravenous antibiotics and blood and tissue samples were taken. I was being given demerol shots every 4 hours, but that hardly touched the pain.
On Wednesday, my surgeon scheduled surgery to clean out and debride the wounds, but leaving all the wires and screws in place. I now had a gaping hole in the side of my foot. It looked like a shark had taken a big bite out of my foot.
Right in the middle of this gaping hole, 2 wires were still in place, but with no flesh around them. I managed not to get ill from the sight of my foot. One of my friends came to visit and she actually fainted when she saw my foot. The nurses had to revive her.
On Friday, I was assigned to a doctor who specializes in infectious diseases. She was a super nice lady, with a glorious sense of humor. She asked if I had been swimming with some pirahna fish! She then told me that she had results from the blood cultures. I have a staph infection which had entered my bloodstream.
She advised me that I was going to get 2 different antibiotics, two of the most potent and toxic ones available. She said that it did not appear that the infection had entered the bones, but if it did, she would recommend that the foot and lower leg be amputated. I just laid in that hospital bed and began to quietly sob.
She and the surgeon had determined that an embedded screw that he used to anchor some bones was quite possibly the source of the infection. She also said that an air pocket may have formed, setting the stage for an anerobic bacteria growth. They had discovered 3 separate bacterias in the foot. She assured me that I had not done anything to cause it. I had been meticulous with cleaning the pin sites and the surgical wounds. For whatever reason, knowing that I had not inflicted this beastly infection in my foot, made me feel a little better.

After 10 days in the hospital, my surgeon scheduled another surgery on 6/16. He removed the internal screws and relaced them with 2 more wires. I now have 6 of these wires anchored to my horse-shoe shaped plate. He also changed the position of the old wires.
The infectious disease doctor wanted him to remove EVERYTHING, which would have left me with a totally un-structured foot, which could not be walked upon. If the surgeon had done that, I would have been placed in a plaster cast and about 2 months later, I would have had to undergo the same Ilizarov proceedure again.

Fortnately, the doctors compromised on a solution. He would remove only the screws, but I must remain on the intravenous antibiotics for at least 4 to 6 weeks, or longer if necessary.
I was told that I had to have a PICC line placed in my arm for the intravenous drugs. This PICC line is a catheter that starts at the bend of my left arm and is threaded through the vein, up to the shoulder and then down to the major vena cava area of the heart.
The drug I must take is so toxic, that it would eat through the regular arm veins. It can also cause kidney damage and hearing loss. They will be closely monitoring my blood levels.
Today, 6/17 , I was allowed to go home, but twice a day, a nurse will come to my house and hook up the intravenous line so I can get the medicine. It takes over 60 minutes for the treatment, every morning and night. This will continue for 4 to 6 weeks.
In spite of the infection, my surgeon said that x-rays taken 2 days ago, show that the bone is healing perfectly and faster than anticipated. He said I might be able to have everything removed in another 4 weeks. I'll believe it when I see it!

My sister brought my guide dog, Flicker, to visit me at the hospital..We had never been separated before, and he was becoming very depressed at home, with just my parents to play with.
He tried to jump on the hospital bed, but I was able to discourage him, by allowing him to give me doggie kisses on my face.
He hasn't left my side today, since I arrived home.

Thus is my tale of horror, which could still take a wrong turn, even with the medicine being administered daily.
If you want to post my saga on line, feel free to do so. Perhaps it might help others to recognize some of the danger signs before it's too late.
I hope all continues to be well with you.
Take care, Helen

And if it's not one thing it's another. Poor Helen, now back home comes down with a completely different complaint.

Hello everyone...I haven't been able to write much since Thursday because I developed a terrible case of hives, which has invaded almost my entire body. ( even the unmentionable parts, too!)
Every 4 hours I have to take benedryl for the itching and Mom helps me slather caladryl lotion all over. I am sure that having this much hive reaction would qualify as a torture proceedure in China or during the Spanish Inquisition.
The dr. immediately stopped both the antibiotics and on Monday, she'll be deciding what she will do next. My constant nauseau has stopped due to some anti-nauseau med and because we stopped the meds.
My foot seems to be doing quite well. I have very little pain now. I see the surgeon on Tues. , so perhaps he'll give me a clue as to when the wire pins will be removed.
I have been very fortunate to have visiting nurses twice a day who change the dressing on my foot and do the IV med ...but not since Thursday.
I try not to scratch, but when your entire body feels like an open buffet for mosquitoes, I usually have to give in. or I'll go crazy with the intense itching.
Hopefully the doctor will discontinue the drugs, but in case she doesn't, please send steel wool, sand paper, wire brushes and loofa sponges!!!!!

I'll let you know what's next.
Helen Marie

But there always has to be some light at the end of the tunnel (Even if sometimes it turns out to be someone with a torch asking if this is the way out....pure cynicism on my part).
And so Helen's story continues

Hi Slim......Well it is now 10 days since the hives explosion and I am still scratching, but not from the hives.
After all the hives exploded on my body, they started to turn into red blotches on about day 4. On day 6, all the blotches joined together and I then looked like I had been out in the hot sun for days. In fact one of the nurses asked if I had been using a sunlamp.
On Friday, last, all the red skin dried up and now I am peeling - actually its more like a snake shedding its skin. You can trace all my movements by the trail of dry skin I leave behind. The peeling skin itches a lot and I can't take a shower or bath as I can't get the foot wet or the arm with the IV catheter in it. So my new hobby is peeling my skin like a grape.

I do have some GOOD NEWS.
I saw the surgeon and he checked the foot and was extremely pleased with the healing and position of the foot. I can now feel the bottom of my foot and the huge lump is gone and I actually have a small arch indentation, something my foot has not seen in a few years.
He is planning on removing the whole frame and pins on Wed., July 12th. I have healed incredibly fast, much faster than the other 2 people who had the same surgery the same day I did.
He originally said I would have to wear the frame for at least 3 months and I'll have it off in just 6 weeks. I assumed that I would have to go to the surgery center for the wire removal. Surprisingly, the dr. said he will do it right in his regular exam room. I wanted to know if it would be very painful. He told me to take pain medicine (demerol- a relative of morphine) before I come.
He will be putting me in a walking cast. He's not sure if it will be a plaster cast or a removable walking boot cast, which I already own from my previous foot and ankle surgeries. He said it will depend on the x-rays after he removes everything. I won't complain about either one, I promise.
I guess all the setbacks didn't impair my bone growth ability. I just pray that the bones will not grow back, as did several other of my bones from a previous surgery.

I still do not know if the staph infection is still present in my blood. My "Infectious Disease dr." left on a holiday last week and one of her partners told me to start back on the pill antibiotic (Levaquin) but she did not want to make a decision about the IV antibiotic (Vancomycin) which I am obviously highly allergic to, now.
The only way they can tell if the infection is gone is by performing a blood culture test, which hasn't been done in almost 4 weeks. So now I just have to wait for the doctor to return from vacation.

I thank you for the generous offer of the wire wool and believe me if I thought it would help get rid of my snake skin, I'd use it. Also, thanks for writing. I do so enjoy your great sense of humor. I have a reputation for being the "comic" and always joking around .
These past 6 weeks have seriously tested my rather easy-going personality.
My father's illness is progressing much faster than we thought it would. Most days, he becomes very dizzy and loses his balance. My Mom and I beg him not to drive. His blood pressure is very low, and when he stands up, he must be very careful not to faint.
Hopefully he will get a few units of blood from a transfusion this week, which will make him feel stronger.
How is your Father doing after his heart attack? Alost 14 years ago my Dad, who is now 72, had 2 attacks and then had cardiac bypass surgery on 3 occluded arteries. We always assumed that would eventually cause his demise, rather than this horrid blood disorder.

How are your dogs doing? I'm sure they are happier now that you can actually walk about .
My sister and niece come over regularly to take Flicker for a walk.
I keep telling him that he'll only have to wait a few more weeks and then we'll be outdoors, walking again.
Take care of yourself and give the dogs an extra treat for me.
Best wishes, Helen

And then there was some good news which Helen sent me in an e-mail in July 2000

Well, here's some GOOD NEWS to share.
Dad was discharged from the hospital Wednesday night.
In the few days he was there, he received four units of transfused blood and IV antibiotics. He was sent home with a prescription for antibiotics for the slight pneumonia he still has.
He looks and feels much better and was extremely happy to get home so he could smoke his cursed cigarettes.

My good news is that early Thursday morning my nurse has been given the go ahead to remove the IV catheter that has been in my arm since June 7th.
This catheter goes from my arm all the way to the heart. It has been a real nuisance, as it has to be taped and secured to the forearm, and flushed out every day with heparin.
When I had the hives, they appeared under the tape and around the needle and I couldn't scratch it. That was pure torture. At last I will be able to wash, and scratch my arm. HURRAY!!!

I'll keep you posted on the further medical adventures of the WASE family.
Helen Marie

Of course, you get yourself all prepared for the frame to be removed and, and, and.....
the hospital decide to leave it a 'little' while longer.
But as is wisely said
Better another month in the frame than to take it off too early.
How very true. Helens next e-mail relayed exactly this occurrence.

Hello from Baldwinsville!
This evening, 7/12 , I had an appointment with the surgeon to have all the framework and wires removed from my foot. When I arrived, he took 3 x-rays of the foot.
A few minutes later he announced that he wanted to wait another week, as one tiny area still needed to heal further.
I was not a "happy camper" to say the least, but he also said that he really wanted to remove a screw that was embedded in the bone.
He could only do it in a hospital surgery, so he PROMISED me that next week, he would remove everything. The only advantage I can see is that he said I could have some anesthesia, so it wouldn't be nearly as painful as it would if he removed the wires in his office.
He told me that my foot looked fabulous, inspite of all the complications, and that I will have successfully overcome a serious Charcot Foot disability.

HURRAY!!!!!!

Now for Dad's update:
he continues to be dizzy and very weak. His weight is down to 165 lbs. He looks like a skeleton with sunken cheeks. His pneumonia has improved and Thursday (today) he has an appointment for a chest x-ray and blood work and then his doctor visit.
He is in bed about 15 to 18 hours a day and refuses to eat most meals. I wish I could be more optimistic, but he seems to have given up the fight.
Perhaps tomorrow, the doctor will have some positive influence and be able to encourage him to eat more nourishing food and get up out of bed.

AND THEN IT REALLY DOES HAPPEN!!!!
THE FRAME FINALLY COMES OFF

Monday afternoon, approximately 2:15pm, I was liberated from my metal framework.
All 6 wires were removed plus a screw, which was imbedded into bones of the foot. I was given shots to numb the foot and a drug to make me feel like I was in a peaceful dream.
I could hear everything and felt some tugging on the foot, BUT absolutely no pain.
I have a few staples that close a tiny incision where the screw was.
The foot is wrapped in a dressing and covered with an ACE bandage. I was able to walk with no pain and no crutches.
I will still be having a visiting nurse come for a few days to change the sterile dressing. I must also continue with the antibiotics for another 12 days.

My father has been doing considerable better since his doctor put him on prednisone, a metabolic steroid.
His appetite is better (last week he weighed 160 lbs) and he has regained some energy and appears to be less dizzy.
We don't know how long this miracle will last, but we're extremely grateful for it.
Take care and write when you can.
Helen Marie

And at long last things start to settle back into a degree of normalcy for Helen. And about time to, she deserves it.

Hello from soggy Baldwnsville. I have some very good news to share.
I had a check up and x-rays of my foot on Monday, and everything is doing just fine.
All metal is out and I can wear my own shoes and walk without a cane. I'm even walking Flicker in harness.
The pathology report showed that all signs of infection in the foot and the bloodstream are gone and I am finally through with the antibiotics.
My foot is still a bit swollen, which is expected, so the only discomfort I have is from the shoe being a bit tight....and that is no big deal.

Dad has been on the prednisone for almost three weeks and has shown a great change in appetite and ambition .
He's gained over 10 pounds and seems to be much stronger.
His endurance is better and so is his energy level. His blood counts are holding steady, with an increase in his platelet count.
He still receives a weekly shot of procrit to help with red cell count.
He still has an occasional dizzy spell, but nothing like it had been. He is able to drive, take walks and even go grocery shopping.
Our home life is starting to have some normalcy return to it. We're enjoying it and are very thankful for everyone's kind words and prayers.

Take care and write when you can. Helen Marie

It's so good to see stories reaching happy stages at long last. Congratulations Helen.


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