7" of tibial regrowth
Laura Lazar

Hi Slim,

I must say that your website is a wonderful resource for anyone who is going through or has gone through the pains and trials of wearing an Ilizarov frame.

My name is Laura, and I have had an Ilizarov frame on since December 1998.
While on vacation in Hungary in August 1998, I was hit by a car while walking in Tihany (the man supposedly fell asleep, but for some nasty reason I think he was drunk and paid off the Hungarian police...).
I was in the hospital in Budapest for 3-1/2 weeks and went through a horrible ordeal which would have been MUCH worse had it not been for the wonderful doctor I was lucky to meet during my stay there.
Because of the seriousness of my injury, I lost practically the whole front of my leg (between the knee and ankle), lost 7" of tibia, and had such a horrible infection that I missed amputation by the skin of my teeth!
I can truly say that it was my determination to keep it, and my doctor's fight to keep his original promise to me (to save my leg) that gives me the opportunity to say that today I still have my leg and this ordeal is almost over.

I have regrown the 7" of tibia, and now had a foot frame added just last week.
After the original transport of 17-1/2cm, my leg was still 5cm shorter (they had shortened it for stability in Hungary).
The doctor wanted to have the frame removed and have me wear a shoe with a lift for a couple of years to let the leg heal, and then put a frame back on the lengthen the remaining portion....well...I bothered him so much about not wanting a shorter leg that he actually decided to do the entire process consecutively. (Talk about determination!)
My left leg is now even with the right (give or take 1mm - no big deal), but the stretching of the Achilles tendon made my toes curl and my foot drop - hence the foot frame. I now have 10 pins going through my foot (quite painful still) and am in the process of turning the screws to bring my foot back up and flat like it's supposed to be.
Amazing how we can be so strong if we really want something bad enough. I, like you, thought I was a wimp before....but now I think otherwise!
I have had 2 muscle grafts (my right latissimus was first used on the leg, but I then had a flap failure due to an allergic reaction to Clyndomicin); the flap that is now on my leg is actually my right abdominal. It's been on for over a year now and doing great. Of course, forget the leg contests!
The scar is horrible, but at least I have my leg. They also took bone graft from the left hip, and have taken skin graft from both my thighs. Like I said, I practically lost the whole front of my leg.
I also can't move my ankle upward (not even before the frame) because my ligaments and tendons were destroyed...I'll probably need a foot brace to walk after all this is over, but I have accepted it and frankly only care about walking again - which I plan to do WITHOUT a limp. :)

Your website was truly inspiring and strengthening - it kind of makes you feel better to see what others think and feel when they are going through similar injuries.
Personally I look at other people's legs with frames on and they all look prettier than mine, but at least I still have mine, right?
Who knows, maybe I can get some hardcore cosmetic surgery 10 years from now and have a perfect leg again!
A shot of Laura giving the thumbs up
But the important thing in this matter is the after all is said and done, any kind of trauma like we've experience is a strengthening experience.
We learn to appreciate life and others, and we build our self-esteem until we reach the point where we accept what has happened and can survive it all with a smile.

I have a picture I would like to share with you - It's a picture of me last October (prior to the foot frame) and I'm giving a thumbs up. It's not always easy to stay positive, but I find that in this last year and a half of this ordeal, a positive attitude is what has kept me sane.
Thank you for your wonderful website. I would love to correspond with others who may have questions or similar situations, so you are free to post my e-mail address for anyone who is interested.

Thanks again,

Laura

E-mail Laura Lazar

Life is not the way it's supposed to be.
It's the way it is.
The way you cope with it is what makes
the difference.
                    ~ V. Satir


I recently received the following from Laura, giving me an update (with pictures) about what's happening.

Hi Slim,
I just wanted to send you a couple of new pictures of my leg. They're not the best because I took them with a web cam, but at least you see the new apparatus they added on my foot a couple of months ago.
I should have this foot frame on for about another 2 months, and then the doctor is taking it off (but keeping the main frame on). He is waiting for my bone to harden enough so that he could take the big monster off.
In the meantime, he may be scheduling me for surgery in the next month to straighten out my toes which curled when he lengthened my Achilles tendon.
Just call me the Metal Woman! ha ha

Hope you are doing fine!

Laura

One of the latest shot's of Laura's leg Another one of the latest shot's of Laura's leg


Laura has kindly been in touch again with a brief note and another picture (see below)

Hi Slim,

I was able to scan a picture of what my leg looked like about 2 weeks after the muscle graft (after seeing Jock's pictures, I was inspired :) This was in October 1998.
I'm attaching it...believe me, my muscle was looks 1/2 as big as Jock...I guess it's because he's a guy. (Maybe it was my 300 situps a day prior to the accident...ha ha)

Laura's leg showing the muscle graft
The Jock that Laura refers to is Jock Dunkley from Australia who suffered a similar injury to hers and also had huge muscle grafts.
Read his story from the 'Other people's tales' pages on this site.


Laura has been keeping me posted with the ongoing saga of her leg and has recently sent me some up to date photos. These include one of her doctor and one of the pins that have been inserted into her toes (ouch!) to help straighten them back up.

Laura's foot showing the pins Dr Hutson & Laura's x-rays.

Laura added the following info for the site.

Hi Slim,

Hope you are doing well in your recovery. I'm almost at the final stages of my frame....
I just got through with my "last surgery" before the removal of the frame.
Two weeks ago, I had surgery on my toes to correct the "Claw Toes" condition that resulted from the lengthening of the Achilles tendon (all my toes except the big one curled down).
Now I have nice little pins on my toes that look like sewing needles. I will hopefully get these off in about 3-4 weeks, and then perhaps Dr. Hutson will set a date on the removal of my frame.
At this point, he is just waiting for my fracture below the knee (the joining point of the transported bone) to heal.
I'm including a "PINFOOT" picture, as well as a picture of my doctor (Dr. Hutson) with my x-rays.
You can REALLY see the new bone and it feels great!
Take Care,

Laura


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