Archive for September, 2013

Let’s Take Another Look At Charcot Foot

Since I was diagnosed with Charcot Foot, I have marveled at my findings. Such as, those in the medical field that do, or do not seem to know about Charcot Foot. I have found those with experience in fitting people with orthotics, or prosthetics seem to be able to identify those with Charcot Foot best. They probably won’t tell you what the disease is, but will refer you to a Doctor, or clinic that will.

Symptoms of CharcotI, like many I have talked to, had no idea when diagnosed with Charcot had any idea what it was. The first response was shocked silence, then “And that is what?” The explanation I received was that is was a bone deterioration disease. Nothing could really be done to stop it. No pills and surgery wasn’t recommended. Since I had the pain, discomfort and deformity coming on, and Neuropathy masked much of the problem, I didn’t really think it was too serious. I guess you could say I was in denial, but not completely as I had my husband Max research Charcot on the computer. We found very little information. Just enough to have a doctor refer us to the limb preservation clinic at Madigan Army Hospital where the man who fitted me with my orthotics had said I needed to go months earlier.

Over the past, nearly, four years I have learned a number of things positive and negative. There is help out there for those with this devastating disease. Your best bet is to find a good foot and ankle surgeon. If you are a diabetic, using corticosteriods, or an alcoholic, these are the top three diseases that accompany and expedite this malady. You really need to talk with your doctor and get those under control, so your health is stable.

Others, I have talked to, were told by their doctors the amputation is easier to deal with Foot Care 2than the recovery time from an operation to repair or rebuild the foot. They were also told surgery won’t work. Since my surgery in 2006, I feel so much better and am able to walk. I know of another Charcot patient who had surgery 25 years ago and he walks well. Some of the specialists would rather cut toe nails in the “old folks” home than use their skills and training to help the Charcot patient have a better quality of life. Statistics say there are approximately three million diabetics in the USA alone that have Charcot Foot and aren’t being diagnosed and will loose their feet to amputation. Amputees can still walk, but the majority of those I have met with Charcot use a wheel chair because it is easier than learning to walk with the prosthesis. They can transfer to a chair , the toiklet or a bed. Most are over 60 years old and not flexible as a younger person.

Your feet are so important to your independence. Charcot Foot results in a severely deformed and disabling foot that is difficult to shoe and brace properly. You could have recurrent infections and ulcerations with a final result amputation. Check your feet daily, note any changes and keep them healthy. Contact a Charcot knowledgeable professional if these things happen.

This weeks article was contributed by Founder Annita ShawBrought to you by Charcot Awareness Education Foundation

PEOPLE WANT TO HEAR YOUR CHARCOT STORY; Do you or a loved one have Charcot Foot? If so…..Please share your story?

Believe it or not, I have found Charcot patients in wheel chairs in the grocery store, Office supply places, doctors offices, the bank, at the casino and been told about others by friends, or relatives. I will again post a story of a person who has Charcot with a very different story from mine. However, I am hoping to write up a couple of others before it. Some will also tell us a positive account from their experience with Charcot Foot.

I have had several reponses form our readers who have expressed how thankful they are for the website and the information given out. I have to thank the medical professionals that have supported me in thiss effort along with those who have shared their information, or stories. You have made a huge difference for those with Charcot Foot.

I am now asking for your stories, or those of loved ones who have, or been recently diagnosised with Charcot Foot. We need to share our stories as each has similar, but very different experiences. Those of you who have e-mailed me have also, expressed the need for this and more information.

I am so excited about this site. I am proud to say it is reaching people all over this beautiful world of ours. I want more people to benefit from it. Your stories will help others find answers they are seeking, or act as a support for someone who has Charcot and is going through some of the same things you are or did.

When we started this website I was so proud to get 1000 hits and be in 45 countries and last month we had over 107,000 and in 178 countries. We will soon have our 1000000th hit. You really do make a difference. Please join me and let me tell your story to help even more people. Let’s help people avoid amputation.

Your comments have made my work here worth every minute. Hopefully we can continue to help those that have Charcot by giving a ray of hope. We hope to be able to be a support group, and be able to help people cope with this devastating disease. We hope we can help one find help before Charcot takes its toll on the foot, to be able to keep their feet and be able to walk.

We need storiesPlease e-mail me your story. I am willing to help you edit it. If you have pictures they really help with understanding. Please let us know how you found out you had Charcot. What were your symptoms? How did your feet feel? How did they look? Your pictures would be helpful, but not necessary. Give us the best description you can. I will read your story and offer suggestions, or questions to be answered, if necessary

I am really looking forward to hearing from you. E-mail your stories to: mashaw @ mindspring.com. It is a protected web site. If asked to fill out a form please do so. Please reference your subject as Charcot Foot. I will be more than happy to help you write your story and talk with you on the phone to make it happen.

This weeks article was contributed by Founder Annita ShawBrought to you by Charcot Awareness Education Foundation

Listen To The Story Your Feet Are Telling

I first learned I had Charcot Foot, I had toP5260022 copy work at getting my feet healthy. I had calluses, but no open wounds, though I did have a sore toe which we learned was infected. I was instructed to get my feet healthy. Keep them clean, dry and soft. I used lotions morning and night spending a lot of time caring for my feet. Soon they were soft, no cracked heels and feeling much better. My feet had begun to deform, hammer toes and a small bulge on the inside of my right foot was showing.

However, when talking with Bonnie, she didn’t have the ulcers, calluses, or deformities. Yet, she had the same pain and difficulty walking that I did. She had taken better care of her feet. Apparently, the destruction was internal, inside her foot. The bones were deteriorating and becoming weak. Thus the broken bone that led to amputation.

None-the-less, foot care is really important. I just returned from my appointment with my poditrist. I have him check my feet and trim my toenails because I managed to cut the end of one of my toes off several years ago because I could not feel the end of my toe. Seeing the blood gush from my toe convinced me I should not try this again. P2170016Plus the nails were getting thick and hard to cut. Anyway, I told him the end of my big toe was hurting some this past week. He said my toe nail was growing in such a way that I was getting an infection. That, I definitely did not want to hear. Fortunately, after he worked on my nail, it felt much better. I think it was rubbing on the inside of the shoe which didn’t help.

My next step, now, will be to go to the orthotics clinic. I had noticed a small callus starting on the ball of the left foot. The podiatrist gave me a prescription to get new orthotics. I see the podiatrist every three months , or sooner if necessary. After the appointment, he said my feet were stable. This was good to hear, as I am doing more walking and exercising.

From what I can tell, most of us that have had, or do have foot problems wait too long to seek help. When we do, the person we go to often doesn’t have the knowledge about the problem, such as Charcot Foot. Then the out come is the fact we are so bad that amputation is the result. They find it is easy to blame your weight if you are over weight. Then tell you, you need to loose weight, or diagnosis you with something that has similar symptoms.

Please use common sense and find the knowledgeable provider. Seek medical help as soon as a foot problem develops. Do not wait until you have to go to emergency, or urgent care for treatment.

This weeks article was contributed by Founder Annita ShawBrought to you by Charcot Awareness Education Foundation

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,blogspot.com/2007/17/how-marx-brothers-brought-norman His book Anatomy of an Illness is enlightening.

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

This weeks article was contributed by Founder Annita ShawBrought to you by Charcot Awareness Education Foundation