Archive for May, 2016

NORTH TO ALASKA & Charcot Foot

NORTH TO ALASKA & Charcot Foot 05/26/2016

It is with great pleasure that I will be able to share Bonnie’s story with you over the next few weeks. Bonnie will share her experiences with Charcot Foot, how it changed her life and how she dealt with this devastating disease. It isn’t enough that Bonnie has to deal with Charcot Foot, but life becomes very complicated because of it and also because of news she and her husband, Tony receives.

I am proud to say Bonnie has joined the CAEF board of directors and is actively helping educate everyone about Charcot Foot Deformity.P7310525 copy

Before I start my story, I need to acknowledge several people who helped me tremendously to continue living and not become a recluse. My dear husband Tony, mentor/friend Sharon McKenzie, dear friend Bonnie Jackson ( met her after my first surgery ) and my extended family and friends, without them I would not be here today. The reason I mention these friends is because my immediate family lived in the lower 48, however I am living proof of the power of prayer for that was their gift to me, plus hundreds of cards and calls. I was raised in a Christian home and felt I was a Christian although had not been a practicing Christian since moving to Alaska in 1962. During this illness I renewed my faith and believe it is God’s will that I am able to have a very normal life.

I was born and raised on a western Nebraska panhandle farm. Being raised on a
Riding Diamondfarm, you normally have a few bumps and bruises etc. Well, I was fortunate, no broken bones, but falls from riding horses many times. No major illness or surgeries, just tonsils and appendix.

My teenage years were great (1950’s), I attended the same school from kindergarten through twelfth grade. Graduating in 1959. Good old Lyman, NE., a town of about seven hundred population. The school had about 300 pupils. My graduating class of 1959 was 16 students. You knew everyone. You were able to participate in so many school functions. There was a place for everyone in multiple activities church and school. I participated in band (playing the clarinet) in marching band (I was drum majorette), chorus, school plays, county government days. Outside of school, church youth leadership, Jobs Daughters (part of Masons). In my spare time (ha ha) worked on the farm with family. Never thought of this as a special lifestyle, but, oh how I do now.

B@11, Donna-QueenieAfter graduation, I worked in a nearby town, Morrill, NE. (pop 900), started as bookkeeper at a local Pontiac car sales, where my father always bought his new cars. A year later (1960) became a telephone receptionist at Chester B. Brown CO, now Kelley Bean CO. (a dry bean company) .

May 1961, married my high school sweetheart, Gary Foland, from Morrill. He was working in Denver, CO. at the time. We moved to Denver. In November of 1961, Gary joined the Air Force. I stayed in Denver working as a bank teller. In March of 1962, I followed Gary to Wichita Falls, Texas. In June of 1962, he was assigned to Elmendorf Air Force Base, Anchorage Alaska. I stayed in Morrill until Gary could find an apartment for us. By August of 1962, I had prepared a pickup truck (which Gary had purchased and built a camper for carrying our belongings). My brother Jerry (age 18) and I drove from Morrill, NE to Seattle, WA. (Oh, yes, my little Pug, TyeTye, was with us). Quite an experience for two farm kids. Believe me, God was with us all the way. Brother Jerry returned to Denver on his first airplane ride and I flew on my first plane ride from Seattle to Anchorage, with dog in tow.

Bonnie a personal friend will be sharing her story over the next several weeks.

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

Brought to you by Charcot Awareness Education Foundation

Bracing the Charcot Foot

In reading some of the information and learning about surgery on the Charcot Foot I am surprised I qualified for the surgery. It was done on both of my feet. The Right foot was reconstructive surgery. We actually prepared for it for nearly 2 ½ years and I had about two years of full recovery though I began light weight bearing after 6 months. The Left foot had a day surgery, including lengthening the tight Achilles tendon. Both were very successful. Most people are amazed that I walk normally even after 9 years.

I just ran across an article that was written by Alan Banks, DPM, FACFAS in March 2013. Podiatry Today
He discusses the fact that surgery isn’t for everyone with Charcot Foot and talks about various forms of bracing that works well for others.

Some patients had serious infection issues compromising their feet. Many surgeons would have considered their feet beyond salvage, thus requiring amputation, but were placed in a brace that ultimately saved their feet. He admits that many of the podiatrists have received little if any formal training relative to bracing. Through 30 years of experience, he has learned many of his patients have achieved enhanced function and mobility without surgery.

If the Charcot foot is inactive, then the patient will need to be immobile and non-weight bearing until the active inflammatory process has resolved. The foot should be stable, retain mobility and a stable range of motion. One that is unstable is hard to brace.

The diseased foot or neuropathic foot have shearing, bending and vertical load that disrupts its healing. One of the first steps is to accommodate with orthotics in the shoe, Clinicians also use the AFO easing shearing forces. I mentioned this last week. After Achilles tendon lengthening a post-op bracing may help protect the foot.

There are many different bracing options available. Each physician should help you find the bracing that works effectively for you. There is the Patellar tendon brace works well helping to reduce vertical load to the rear foot. The CROW (Charcot restraint orthotic walker) device is one you see quite often. It more closely reproduces the fit and function of a cast. It can have a rocker sole added to facilitate weight bearing. It is bulky and is sometimes hard to fit.

After an amputation of her left foot and

Bonnie with CROW boot and Prothesis making a fashion statement.

Bonnie with CROW boot and Prothesis making a fashion statement.

many complications, Bonnie learned she had Charcot in her right foot. Upset, she was finally convinced by her doctor she had many good years left in it if she would consider a CROW boot. She did. She now looks back on that time with humor saying she really made a fashion statement. Bonnie with CROW boot and Prothesis making a fashion statement. A prosthesis fawn color and a black CROW boot. That was 12 years ago. The CROW has kept her foot formed correctly and is presently doing well. Oh by the way, her latest CROW is white.

Dr. Banks concluded that he is now using a device known as the TORCH, “which is a true problem solver and patients and doctors appreciate the results.” The TORCH is made by American Orthopedics (Mount Vernon, NY)

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

AFO An Option For Charcot Foot

AFO An Option For Charcot Foot

I was a candidate for Charcot surgery which was very successful, but not everyone is a candidate for this type of surgery. Recently, I interviewed a man who had restless leg syndrome and was diagnosed with Charcot Foot Deformity. He had gone through bracing which worked very well. He said this was the first time in many years he had been able to walk without pain.

I then began to read through my emails and found a series of messages from a mom telling me about her seven year old daughter who had just been diagnosed with Charcot Foot. She said she had been diagnosed with some sort of genetic neuropathy. Her foot was so bad that if it continued to deteriorate at this rate she would have to have an amputation within two years. They put her in a cast and non weight bearing. While in school she was in a wheelchair. It was decided to have an AFO brace made so she could do some walking as the boot wasn’t sufficient. AFO stands for Ankle and Foot Orthoses. She was finally diagnosed with Autonomic Neuropathy. Her mom also stated that neuropathy was the cause of Charcot Foot. The neurology specialist gave her this information.Child's foot right side

In my work with a retired diabetic nurse educator, I learned that peripheral neuropathy was, in fact, the cause of Charcot Foot. We developed a Charcot Fact Sheet which has been received very well by the doctors who have seen it.

Unfortunately, Diabetes has taken the blame for Charcot Foot. People’s first response is “Well, I don’t have to worry about it. I don’t have Diabetes.” Neuropathy is strongly prevalent in Diabetes. Thus, it is the number one disease for Charcot, but not the only one. There are at least 30 other diseases that have neuropathy associated with them.

The seven year old is now four years older. Her situation is pretty stable. She continues to use the AFO brace and wheel chair when necessary. Her knees are at risk for Charcot also, so will be dealing with this the remainder of her life. She swims and stays positive. She has a wonderful supportive family which helps greatly in the healing process.

Next week I will continue with the AFO and information from a noted podiatrist.

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

Charcot Donors are Awesome!

Logo Thank you Card copy
Great Give Logo 2016 copy

May 3rd was the Big Day for Giving. As you already know we took part in the Kitsap Great Give. It was a successful time. There were some technical difficulties that hindered everyone for several hours so the deadline for giving was extended through the next day. Everyone was pretty patient. CAEF had quite a few new donors. Welcome! And thank you for becoming part of the Charcot team.

Since the April 28th posting things have already begun to happen that were only a dream then. In June we will be able to purchase a lap top computer for CAEF as we have been using the Shaw’s computers. This allows us to have everything related to CAEF in one place. A time saver and much more efficient. Then this past week we may have a lead on a publisher and we have also found an editor for the publication that will come from the Charcot patient’s point of view. We have also come to a fairly close cost related to diagnosing Charcot Foot.

Again Thanks for your Helping Hand.

Our next postings will again deal with Charcot and related information. If you have any questions or have a suggestion for a posting please let me know.

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