Archive for December, 2010

Charcot Awareness Education Foundation: A Year In Rview


P1010012 copy2010 began with many hours working to find a theme for a website. Thanks to our son, Justin, we were able to work throught the process. This also meant coordinating business cards and stationery. Then February 4th came and the first article was to be posted. I was a nervous wreck. It was viewed by 2,866. I was pleased. Now, December we have been viewed by 53,078. It is exciting to know it is viewed by people in nations around the world. We really hope we are able to help everyone understand more about Charcot Foot and seek a solution to this devastating foot problem.

We have met with diabetic groups and individuals explaining and showing my own personal story of my experience with Charcot Foot. My husband and I have sat an Older Americans Conference to let people get more information. We have handed out many, many brochures, not only here, but nearly everywhere we go. They have been handed out in most states this side of the Mississippi River. We appreciate the positive and constructive comments. It is rewarding to hear the site has been of research value. A special THANKS to those of you who have contributed to help us further our Charcot Foot Awareness Education goals.

Because of questions continually asked, it has shown us a need to repeat some of our most popular postings of 2010. We hope they will be of interest and help to you. These will be followed by Boni’s story. This should be another perspective to Charcot Foot and what can happen and what it is like to live with an amputation.

May 2011 bring health and happiness your way. Let answers to your questions come to you. May your quality of life improve.


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I want to send our Best Wishes to all of you who read and support our Charcot Awareness Education Foundation, It is so exciting to know we have friends around the world. We hope those of you who are experiencing foot pain or are going through foot surgery find the awesome doctor and answer to your problem.

Also take time to reach out to someone you haven’t touched base with in many many years, or someone who is alone much of the time. Your smile, presence and warmth will make a difference in their life.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Humor: A Happy Prescription

Laughter is a good form of medicine, in fact one of the best. Put a smile on someone’s face and many problems disappear. We found this to be true when my husband, Max, was undergoing his x-ray treatments for prostrate cancer. Walking into the waiting room finding everyone in doom and gloom, he decided to bring in some jokes and give them to the nurses. They hated to see him leave after his thirty fifth visit. They said his humor had really made a difference both for them and the patients.

Ken ShawMy father was one who loved to laugh. His ability to remember jokes was amazing. He was a farmer in Nebraska, an occupation that had lots of times when a mental pick up was needed. He had heart surgery in Seattle, his grandson, Justin, told a joke to his surgeon that turned a frown to a smile.

The entire time I worked with Dr. Roukis and his staff with my Charcot Foot, we exchanged humor, including teasing. This always seemed to eliminate any stress that might have been.

It has been proven that laughter is very good medicine. Norman Cousins (1912-1990) was editor-in-chief of the “Saturday Review”, advocate for world peace and later dealt with the issues of illness and healing. Cousins, himself, faced numerous health issues. In 1964 doctors discovered the connective tissue in his spine was deteriorating. The condition was called ankylosing Spondylitis. Chances of survival approximately 1 in 500. Faced with this, he needed to figure out his roll in his own recovery. He eventually did three things, not necessarily what the medical community wanted to hear.

First, researched all the drugs he was on. They were depleting his body of Vitamin C. Doctors Norman Cousinsagreed to take him off several of the drugs and inject him with large doses of the supplement.

Second, he decided to check himself out of the hospital and go to a hotel. All of the hospital practices he determined was not an environment that would contribute to his healing. I believe, because of Cousins actions, Cousins found after laughing so hard many things changed in the hospitals, such as hygiene practices, over medication, as well as, negativity.

Third, He got a movie projector and a large supply of funny films, including Candid Camera tapes and old prints of Marx Brother’s movies. Cousins found after laughing so hard at the films the first night in the hotel, he slept several hours pain free. when the pain returned he simply turned on the projector.

1 Smiling CatNow off the drugs, taking Vitamin C and laughter, Cousins described being in a state of euphoria and as he continued to laugh, within a few weeks he was back at work at the Saturday Review. He continued to heal.

There is much written on Cousins and laughter as healing. you could check out the web site TheHealingPoweroflaughter, His book Anatomy of an Illness is enlightening.

Keep laughing. Stay positive. Take charge of your own health.

A Hug From The Heart

Let me introduce you to Bonnie. We should have known each other a long time before we actually met since we grew up the same area and were both farm kids. We went to high P7310525schools about 14 miles apart. Anyway, after my Charcot surgery we were in Gering, NE at a bank where we both do business. We were explaining Charcot to one of the bankers when she said she thought she knew someone who had the same thing. She was in a wheel chair and was an amputee. She eventually got Bonnies’ info to me. I called her and we went to her home to visit and we have been good friends since. Bonnie is a delightfully warm individual. Her personal story will be informative and interesting.

My name is Bonnie Ribitzki am 69 years young, I was raised as a Christian  in western Nebraska, my story as a diabetic/Charcot amputee will begin on this Charcot Awareness Education Foundation web site in January 2011.
The following is my adult years as a Christian.  I was married (in the church) at age 20. Not long after marriage my husband joined the U.S. Air Force and we were stationed in Anchorage, Alaska. For whatever reasons, we did not get set up in a new church, not that I had any reason, or lost my Belief in God.  Years rolled by. My two sons were born and I still had not returned to the church. My marriage collapsed after 13 years. I was totally devastated. Still I did not return to the church. I worked in the airline industry where you worked seven days a week, 365 days a year and you had shifts running pretty much through the 24 hour period. Using the excuse I was a working mother raising two youngsters – did not have time for the Lord. Although, in my own way, was saying silent prayers always. In 1978 I met and married my second husband, Tony, We had 28 wonderful years together.
In 1990, I was diagnosed with adult onset diabetes (type 2). My mothers side of the family had/has diabetic members.    Being in the airline industry, I was on my feet at the ticket counter and later years as a trainer. My feet were swelling/hurting always.  In October of 2003, I got up one morning, set my left foot on the floor to see blood going all over. Still, I had not returned to God.  Details of all will be in my up coming original story.  While I was in the hospital recovering from amputation my dear friend Sharon (who had been with me through all) brought her Pastor Suzanne to visit me in the hospital and would pray and talk with me.

I was in the hospital for 4 months( amputation, renal failure 7 weeks, pneumonia twice, and mersa infection). My minute by minute prayer was “The Serenity Prayer”. I can actually say my P7280312“Return to the Lord” was when I was in ICU for 5 days, after kidney (renal) failure. I was praying and told The Lord if it is my time I am ready, but I wanted to get well and I would be a better person. Through prayers from family, friends and a new church, recovery started. Only by my newly return “To believe in God and Lord Jesus and the  Power of Prayer, I recovered.

I thank  My Lord and Savior for my life today all through the day.  My thankfulness  to the Lord continued – My husband, Tony, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer on December 20, 2005 and given 7 months to live – he died on July 26, 2006.    Because of our new found faith, we were able to accept Tonys fate, through prayer, talking, and lots of crying.   I really do not know how I got through those first months – God was there always. I knew as an amputee I could not continue living in Alaska and with winter coming I had to make some big decisions quickly. Against the advice of my dear friend Sharon, Pastor Susanne and many other friends, I started working on returning to western Nebraska to be with my Mother and family.

The Lord was with me every step of the way, after 46 years in Alaska, I departed NovemberP7280336 6, 2006.  I had 3 beautiful years with my mother who just passed this last May, am able to live with help from many new friends and family in my own home with my best friend Tuk ( 6 yr. old Pug) . I go to bed Thanking the Lord for my day and every blessing received – I sleep peacefully and wake Thanking the Lord for the blessing of this day and what the day will bring.  My home is on the edge of town facing south to look at a corn field (feels like I am back on the farm).

Believe me the next Prayer of the day is to Thank  God for all his beautiful creations. I am also very thankful for meeting Max and Annita Shaw CO-founders of Charcot Awareness Education Foundation, a very special couple who have become dear friends. 

Wishing each and everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy Healthy New Year.

This post was written by Bonnie Ribitzki a friend from Gering Nebraska

A Gift Of Healing

When one looks back over the years and you think about those things that impacted your life several things come to my mind. In 2007 after surgery during my first visit with Dr. Roukis, I remember his turning to my husband, Max, and say “Do you smoke?” Of course the answer was yes. Max had smoked most of his life. When he retired from the Navy, he was smoking four packs a day. He decided then we probably couldn’t afford that much of an expense and decided to switch to the pipe.

I was glad he did that, but I really wanted him to quit completely. I chose not to bug him about it however. He did choose to smoke some really good smelling tobacco and it never ceased to amaze me how many women told him how nice it smelled and asked what it was. I always felt this was encouraging him to continue to smoke.

Dr. Roukis went on to say he really didn’t care if he smoked. “BUT you won’t smoke around her!” he said. We were both quite surprised and wanted to know why? He was very clear about the fact that I was a diabetic and diabetics don’t have a good history of healing well or quickly. He said the smoke makes it even harder for one to heal. If Max chose to smoke he could do it outside and away for me, but not around me at all. Max agreed to do that.

However, on our way home he lit the pipe as soon as the traffic grew heavy. After some time I realized that when he drove he was stressed and the smoking began. What was bad about that was the fact I sat behind him and even though he usually had the window open, the smoke found its way to me. He really tried his best, but it was really hard for him. When at home it wasn’t too bad. He didn’t smoke in the studio at all. He did smoke while he worked on his computer and outside.

On our next trip, 2008, to the farm in Nebraska, he was realizing it was harder to breathe at the higher altitude. He began to smoke less. Since we were living in the RV, he had to go outside to smoke. He decided he would quit smoking all together. Once home, he did just that. He said this was easier than quitting cigarettes. He used cinnamon disk candy to help him quit. He did gain some weight which he has started to loose now. We also try to exercise four or five days a week. He works in the gym and I exercise in the deep water pool.Max in chair

Unfortunately, the smoking did damage after all those years and he is now on oxygen at night and during the day is necessary.

My healing went well. It was even a bit ahead of schedule. I am very thankful for Max’s commitment and stopping smoking as I believe we will have many more years together. Hopefully, we will be able to help others conquer their fears and fill some of their dreams. His gift to me, though not a lavish one, certainly holds a great deal more than money can buy. It was sent from the heart with love.

May the meaning of this Holiday Season take away the silent shadows in your world.