Archive for December, 2015

Happy New Year 2016

Christmas Post PixI’ve always thought my life was on a path I could control at times, but other times I had to go blindly and it would work out. When I found out I had Charcot Foot, I had no idea what it was. Funny, but I wasn’t devastated when I learned the news I just trusted in God and those around me to help me find a way to cope and deal with this disease. I didn’t realize at the time I would take on a new destination, one to help others with Charcot Foot (or Charcot Joint) and to educate others about the problems associated with it.

2012 brought more people to touch my life and educate me about Charcot. I learned it doesn’t affect just the elderly, or those with diabetes, or another disease. I learned peripheral neuropathy is a main factor. In fact I, recently learned, from a nurse that a person with long term peripheral neuropathy will have Charcot. I should have realized it upon my diagnosis. I was told I probably had this when I was 10. (I was thrown from a horse at that age) and have had the neuropathy for a long time. Our heart goes out to those who have lost family because of Charcot. Just one more reason why more people need to u nderstand this disease so they can be helped before it is to late and other complications take over such as an amputation.

I really want to stress, find a Charcot knowledgeable foot specialist, or surgeon. Take time to research and get to know them, and believe in this person and his/her ability to help you get well, walk again, or comfortably deal with your situation.

I would love to chat with you and help you tell our readers your story so they understand what happens good, or bad so a solution will be a positive one for you. Don’t wait, or put off finding a solution. I appreciate those of you who have shared with me, contacted me for help, or have told me what has happened in your life. I hope more of you will contact us and share your story. Sharing really gives others encouragement. Or, if you need help, please contact me and I will do what I can to help you. We really hope, we are able to help everyone understand more about Charcot Foot and seek a solution to this devastating foot problem.

You can be a part of the team makeing a difference because you have told others about Charcot Foot, or asked your physician about this disease, more professionals are getting the word out and there is more information about it than when I was diagnosed on 2005. THANKS!

Though this is still a tough time around the world economically, you can still attain better health. We are looking forward to another informative and exciting year. If you would like a brochure on Charcot Foot, or a Charcot Foot Deformity Fact Sheet, please contact us through the website, email, or contact us at: Charcot Awareness Education Foundation, P.O. 3902, Silverdale, WA 98383-3902. We are a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit foundation. Your gift is tax deductible. Thank you. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Brought to you by Charcot Awareness Education Foundation

What Makes A Perfect Gift?

White Poinsetta temp.This is the time of year many people around the world celebrate religious events. Now, a time to reflect on the past and give thanks for the blessings that have come along. A time to thank a higher power for guidance and assistance to achieve. If you have read Bonnie and my stories over the years, I’m sure you have noticed we are both very thankful for the blessings we have been given as people with Charcot Foot. The newest discovery is that people with Charcot have peripheral neuropathy and with early dectection do not have to loose their feet to amputation. This impacts 10 million diabetics alone. Not to mention the other nearly 30 diseases that also has peripheral neuropathy as a symptom.

I was raised on a farm in western Nebraska by Christian parents, though quite poor by today’s standards. I had no idea we were poor. It wasn’t an issue. We merely did with what we had and no one felt sorry for anyone. In fact they helped each other. Something that seems to be missing today. There seems to be more interest in the latest violent event often labeled terrorism. Pointing fingers at who is to blame. My father often used the example by pointing having you point a finger at him saying “and how many fingers are pointing back at you?”

My mom made many of my clothes. We didn’t go hungry as we raised our own cattle, hogs and chickens and a large vegetable garden. She sold tomatoes, cabbage and lots of sweet corn. She saved this money for things we needed during winter and spring. Mom canned most of our food until the home freezer came to be. We did freeze beef, pork, chicken and corn, but that was kept at our local turkey processing plant that had wire cage storage boxes that people could rent to store their frozen food. That meant driving several miles to get it. Our refrigerator was an Ice box. Men in the area would cut ice on the river and store it in an ice house near the river. Those that helped harvest the ice could get the ice at the ice house to put in their ice box when they needed it.

I was just big enough to look over the edge of a table when my parents had butchered a hog. The meat was on a large table in our basement and my parents were wrapping the meat to take to the turkey plant to freeze. It was near Christmas and I was so excited every time I saw a present. I was told we didn’t have money to buy gifts for everyone, sooo… As I came down the long stairs to the basement, I saw all those packages. I wanted to give one of them to an elderly couple I had adopted as my grandma and grandpa. My parents tried to discourage me as they told me the package I had picked out had pork chops in it and it wouldn’t make a very good gift. Apparently I liked pork chops and wouldn’t agree. They finally gave in. We got into the car and drove to their home. I presented them with my gift. They were thrilled. However, I didn’t learn until later that was the first meat they had eaten in weeks. They had canned dandelion greens from their yard and were living primarily on that. Need I say when the word got out, the neighbors and friends saw to it that they were fine from then on.

As I look at our world at this time, I really wonder what has happened. Who or what has gotten in the way? I look at all the rules and regulations that have come about to “help or protect” us from ourselves. I wonder if the “Greatest good for the Greatest Number was really the answer to many probems. People afraid to say something for fear it will offend, or it will be taken “wrong”. Where is the trust and the true helping hand?

My dad told me a story about the time I was going out on my own to find a place to live. He told of a man searching for a place to relocate his family. He stopped a man on the street and asked, “What type of town is this? The man said, “What kind of a town did you come from?” The man replied, “The people were terrible, They were greedy, mean and unfriendly. The man then said, “That’s what they are like here too.” The man moved on. Soon another man came to the town looking for a place to move his family. He happened upon the same man on the street and asked, “What kind of a town is this?” Again the other man asked, “What type of town did you come from?” His reply. “Oh, the people were kind, helpful loving people.” The man said, “That’s the type of people you will find here.”

You make the difference! And the only way I can say it, as a Christian, is “Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year” to each of you.

If you want to help more people avoid amputation please send your donation to Charcot Awareness Education Foundation, PO Box 3902, Silverdale, WA 98383-3902. We are a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit Foundation.

Brought 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, 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

Listen To The Story Your Feet Are Telling You

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

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