Archive for the ‘Reviewed Posts’ Category

Assisted Living & Rehabilitation

After spending five days in ICU, and finding that I had Renal Failure (kidney’s had failed). I was placed on dialysis, possibly for the rest of my life. My mental attitude was not great. I was placed at Providence assisted living/Rehab facility. This facility was about 25 years old. The rooms held two persons and not very much room and not very private either. I was not wanting to socialize with other patients. Most were elderly with terminal aliments. I just knew this was to be my life for the rest of my days. Yes, I was very depressed.

My renal (kidney ) Doc., Dr. Gittimer was very positive my kidneys would return to function normally. This became my continual prayer to God minute by minute. Rehab was slow, as I had all my muscles to build up after such a long time of laying in bed. But slowly through the month of March, I got stronger muscular wise. The trips to dialysis were awful. It was cold, snowy and dark. The Renal center had approximately 30 dialysis machines that were busy from 6am to 11pm. Children, teenagers and adults used the facility. It is amazing to know this machine is such a life giver, but the process to me is plain scary. I saw horrible things from some dying to a persons blood flying to the ceiling. The personnel are so well trained, and very consoling and patient. Some people are on the machines for three hours, others four, I was on the machine for 4 hours. The chairs you sit in are very comfortable, vinyl covered, recliner type. You can bring blankets, lunch or snacks. Each chair has a small TV to watch.

This routine was going along through March, my 63rd birthday was March 28th. Tony and Sharon were planning a surprise birthday party for me. Well, I surprised everybody. I had not been feeling real great, so, about the 23rd of March things went down hill again. I was rushed back to the hospital with pneumonia on the 26th of March – no party for me.

Back to antibiotics, oxygen and not remembering much. Tony complained to the nurses that I was always so lethargic and they told him I was asking for pain medication continually. He asked who authorized the pain medication that often. Their reply was at the patients request. Tony got very upset and asked how I was able to decide this, when I didn’t even know who I was. After a big meeting with doctors and staff, I was not given any medication that Tony, or Sharon were not aware of. While fighting pneumonia, a marvelous God thing happened to me. My kidneys started to function, UNBELIEVABLE, I KNEW DOC GITTIMER WAS SURE THEY WOULD FUNCTION AGAIN, BUT I DON’T THINK I DID.

Amazing recovery! which I made in a few short days, and within a week I was moved to the main floor of rehab in the main hospital. Rehab started with a vengeance to get me out of that place and ready to prepare for life at home. Prayers of Thanks to God, our father, for his blessings upon me. I could see home in my future now.

Bonnie’s continuing story.

Brought to you by Charcot Awareness Education Foundation

Blood All Over The Bed

Anchorage, in 1962, was pretty frontierish, but beautiful. I fell in love with the city and surroundings. In a very short time, I found a bank teller job at the bank on Elmendorf Air Force Base. Loving the outdoors, we did camping, fishing and sight seeing. In 1963, I became pregnant with our first child. Pregnancy was easy for me. I felt good and continued to work, but in February my doctors visit confirmed that the baby was breech and not showing any signs of turning. I was put in the hospital for observation on March 10th, so I could be monitored. This was to see if I could have a child naturally, or by C-section. March 17th the baby decided he would meet this world feet first.

The decision to do a C-section was made quickly. We were very blessed with a perfect 7 lb. 3 oz. boy, Shannon Duane (had to be an Irish name of course). Back in those days C- section patients were kept in the hospital for a week. Well, being different, I acquired an infection in the incision and had to stay longer. Finally, the good Lord decided it was time for me to take my baby and go home. However, at 5:36 pm the Great Alaska Earthquake shook things up pretty badly. It was classified at 9.3 on the Richter scale. The 7 story hospital sustained a lot of damage, but not a patient, nor baby was injured. I was scared to death, afraid I would fall and break open my incision, I did fall several times, but was not injured.

Life settled into a busy family life of baby care and working to restore community. I went back to work in a month at the bank. Many wives returned to families in lower 48 (USA). I did not want to leave and found a retired nurse to take care of Shannon. In 1967, I went to work in the airline business as an airport ticket agent. In order to work at the airport, part of the uniform was 2 inch heels. My feet were always hurting, probably from concrete floors with very thin carpet on them.

I became pregnant again in 1970 with 2nd son, Chad Eric, another perfect little boy 7 lbs 8 oz. Since I had first child C-section, the doctor decided to do this pregnancy the same way. However, Chad was in the normal position for birth. Delivery by C-section went very well. As you can see the births were 7 years apart. Yes, I had gained weight. From age 23 to 30 I had gained probably 40 Lbs. When I was pregnant, both times, I was working and gained the normal weight, but after each pregnancy I could not lose that gain. I was always fighting to lose weight . (my height 5″ 2″) Tried all the fad diets. I would lose and gain.

In 1972, Gary and I separated. We were divorced in 1974. The break-up was very difficult for me, as far as mentally, felt I was a failure as wife/mother . I continued to work and take care of the boys, but the one thing that had been lacking in my life the previous 15 years was God. This continued into my single Mom life. Busy with two active boys, working and keeping a house, I took the easy way, or so I thought. I did not include God in it except for occasional prayers.

Except for my weight problem and swelling achie feet, I did not have any major health problems. Gary remained a big part of the boys lives. Our oldest son, Shannon, lived with his father from age 12 to adult. With both parents living in Anchorage it made it easy to be involved with their growing up.

In June of 1978, at a garage sale, I met my second husband, Tony. We were married in Las B:Tony Jan'90Vegas February 24, 1979. Tony was from Texas and worked at Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, his work shift would vary two weeks on two weeks off, or 30 days on, two weeks off. Life was still very hectic, and we decided I would work part time and see if, at age 39, we could have a baby. He did not have any children of his own. I became pregnant but miscarried twice, OB/GYN doctor advised at my age/weight (180) should not try again.

1984-1990 I was property manager for Boomfield Company. I managed 12 buildings meeting with the tenants and relaying their concerns to the owners. This was a lot of walking up and down stairs.

1990 I went back to work full time, Customer Service Teacher/Computer Trainer teaching classes of new employees for airport customer service. I worked in the airline industry 40 years. I was on my feet long hours including in the early years (60-70’s). In my late 30’s early 40’s I started having swelling in my feet/ankles. They became very painful. My OB/GYN Doctors blamed my weight and really checked no further. In 1990, at age 49 I was diagnosed with adult onset type 2 diabetes. I was able to control it with diet and pills, but my feet and ankles just kept getting worse. I could not walk easily. My weight and the fact I was on my feet all the time was blamed for my discomfort. while working, still in airline industry. In 2003 pain/swelling was to the point I could hardly walk. Diabetic doctor sent me twice to a pulmanologist who said my blood flow to feet was perfect, last time I saw him was August 2003. Diabetic doctor was very perplexed as to the problem and why the pain was increasing. Walking was very difficult. First part of October 2003, I woke one morning with blood all over the bed and a hole in bottom of my left foot.

Continuation of Bonnie’s story.

Brought to you by Charcot Awareness Education Foundation

North To Alaska

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.

NORTH TO ALASKA

P7310525 copyBefore 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 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 of 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.

Brought to you by Charcot Awareness Education Foundation

Charcot Foot Instability

This was the posting that was viewed by the most traffic. We hope these have helped everyone gain a better understanding of Charcot Foot a devistating bone deterition disease.

Founder Annita Shaw and husband MaxI was diagnosed with Charcot Foot after having diabetes for over 10 years. I had never heard of Charcot Foot (Charcot bone or Charcot joint, a bone deterioration disease). In researching, I found nothing, or very little information about the disease. As a teacher and quite social, I wanted to share this information with interested individuals and those who may have the disease. Our lawyer suggested we put together a foundation. Because I was in a wheel chair with an orbital fixator on my foot and leg after surgery, I had plenty of time to tell my story so that others could be diagnosed properly by qualified medical doctors in time to save their feet from amputation.

The Foundation’s first charge was to put together a tri-fold pamphlet. After handing out the pamphlets, we learned three million diabetics, most likely, have Charcot Foot and are not being diagnosed correctly. 23 other diseases cause Charcot Foot to get worse. The foundation, Charcot Awareness Education Foundation, received word July 9, 2009 that the nonprofit foundation was approved, back-dated to July 2008 as the beginning date. We are excited about the potential and the response to our efforts. We hope it will be a great educational resource for everyone interested in Charcot Foot and that those who have it can find help.

The Foundation is expanding by use of a web site, sharing information at gatherings for the ADA, health fairs and anywhere we can.

YOUR FEET ARE YOUR FOUNDATION

Charcot Awareness Education Foundation Begins

Thanks: To our lawyer for encouraging us to create a foundation; To our son for helping to set up the website; and To those I met while in a wheel chair. Through the website and a brochure it is great to know that we have been able to inform people around the world.

Founder Annita Shaw and husband MaxI was diagnosed with Charcot Foot after having diabetes for over 10 years. I had never heard of Charcot Foot (Charcot bone or Charcot joint, a bone deterioration disease). In researching, I found nothing, or very little information about the disease. As a teacher and quite social, I wanted to share this information with interested individuals and those who may have the disease. Our lawyer suggested we put together a foundation. Because I was in a wheel chair with an orbital fixator on my foot and leg after surgery, I had plenty of time to tell my story so that others could be diagnosed properly by qualified medical doctors in time to save their feet from amputation.

The Foundation’s first charge was to put together a tri-fold pamphlet. After handing out the pamphlets, we learned three million diabetics, most likely, have Charcot Foot and are not being diagnosed correctly. 23 other diseases cause Charcot Foot to get worse. The foundation, Charcot Awareness Education Foundation, received word July 9, 2009 that the nonprofit foundation was approved, back-dated to July 2008 as the beginning date. We are excited about the potential and the response to our efforts. We hope it will be a great educational resource for everyone interested in Charcot Foot and that those who have it can find help.

The Foundation is expanding by use of a web site, sharing information at gatherings for the ADA, health fairs and anywhere we can.

YOUR FEET ARE YOUR FOUNDATION

SECOND SURGERY: Orbital Fixator Removal and Hammer Toe Straightening

Because of the Orbital Fixator, my foot and leg had time to heal. With the surgeon’s skilled work on my toes, I’m thrilled to be walking normally.

P8160028Just to give you an idea about Dr. Roukis’ sense of humor, when it came time to do the removal of the Orbital Fixator, we had to do the usual paper work connected with surgery. He just had to contemplate whether he should, or should not remove it. As if I didn’t need, or want this to happen.

Fortunately, I only had to wear it two months as the healing went well. My glucose had been well under control as a diabetic. This and all the positive things in my life, I contribute to the healing. The surgery was scheduled for August 29, 2007. Pre Op went fine. Dr. Roukis just wanted me to talk with the anesthetist and make sure they gave me something that would keep me from vomiting during surgery as had happened before. When I asked the anesthetist about the medication, he said I hadn’t had a problem. However, after he read the doctors report he gave me some medication to take before coming in for surgery.

This was a day surgery and would not require staying in the P8220017hospital. Time came, this time, very early AM as we had to check in at 6 AM. We had about an hour 15 min. drive to the hospital. Max had to load the wheel chair in the back of the van before we could leave. It was the last trip with the fixator.

After checking in at Surgical Services, doing all the “stuff” they wanted, I was then sent to OR Reception. One of the patients was a medic that I had seen in limb preservation. He recognized me saying, “Aren’t you one of Dr. Roukis’ patients?” With that we visited a bit. As we headed off to our surgeries we wished each other luck. Just one more thing that tugs at my heart strings.

P8160023 copyOnce in my gown and robe, then to the bed and waiting area prior to surgery. Dr. Shade, Dr. Roukis’ assistant, came to sign my right leg with her initials VLS and the other leg NOT! We laughed. Dr. R came in and went over everything with me that was to happen during surgery and after. When finished he excused himself to get the operating room ready.

The anesthesiologist did a great job, no bruises, and no vomiting in OR. They gave me a shot to “relax me” and left to check if they were ready for me. I watched as everyone was moved to their destination. There were eight of us. I was the only one left. Two guys came bouncing in, surprised to see me there. They said, “Did they forget you. There’s no one else here…..” Who knows what else they said as I went out like a light.

When I woke, I was in recovery. I thought I was awake, but I couldn’t understand what was being said until they moved me to another location. I had a doozy of a sore throat. Max came in. They gave me ice chips for my sore throat and a couple of wrist bands to help control nausea. Because Internal Medicine was concerned about my “High Blood Pressure” I asked the nurse if my blood pressure was high. He said. ” Hardly” and proceeded to tell me my oxygen was 97-98% and blood pressure 104 over 45. Not bad. As soon as I could get up with my new splint cast, I hopped into the wheel chair. We then headed home.

Next week, I will share what happened during surgery and the photos I was given.

FLASH BACK: Correcting The Toe Problem

When I look at my left foot it is great to see a very normal foot and walk comfortably

1 Foot beforeDr. Roukis shared the following operating room pictures with me. I will share them with you. You will see the tools and how and where they were used.

They removed the Orbital Fixator. Then worked on my hammer toes. Since the second toe was so long, it was decided to shorten it. This would give a good contour allowing for my foot to fit into a shoe without rubbing the end of it causing an ulcer that could be problematic. After the removal of part of the toe bone, the skin was rolled down and stapled in place. I called it my Chinese Sharp-Pei toe, or “dog toe”.

2 Tools Used in surgeryFrom the looks of the pictures, the third toe was a lot of work and difficult to straighten. In fact it still isn’t straight and Dr. Roukis frowns at it each time he sees it.
Third toe
The big toe was beginning to turn in. Not sure what they did to 3 Stapled toesstraighten it, but I know they drilled holes using a small drill and a template in05AANNIT order to insert the staples. The little toe posed another problem. It had had an ulcer, but it turned into somewhat of a callus upon healing. It was decided to amputate that bulge so it would not be likely to form another ulcer.

I am amazed when I look at my feet now. It is difficult to believe all this work was done as scaring is nearly impossible to detect. Seeing the pictures of them using a hammer and chisel, all the clamps, staples and other little metal pieces to fuse my toes to my foot was certainly interesting and educational. I can wiggle my toes, but they are quite stiff and probably always will be. All the Wrapped up aftermetal and staples that were implanted will stay in my foot.

Now for the challenge of splint and plaster casts.

Year In Review – 2010

It has been suggested that before I begin Boni’s story I reprint the five most viewed or requested posts. They will appear for the next 5 weeks. We will begin with:

MY CHARCOT SURGERY

July 5th came and we headed to McChord Air Force Base (AFB). Max drove the RV and I followed in our van. It was a pretty day. We settled in and relaxed as we really didn’t know what was ahead of us.

July 6th, I checked into the hospital at 6 AM. Once through OR Reception and dressing for surgery I went into OR Patient Holding. Max was with me, along with the student intern, the assistant surgeon, who signed my leg for surgery, and a National Guard Reserve who put in my IV. She said, “I’m going to give you a little something to help you relax”. I went out like a light. That was about 7:30 AM. I didn’t wake until about 4:30 PM in my hospital room.

The only thing I remember from the surgery was waking up wondering why they were working in my mouth. Thinking they were supposed to be working on my foot, not my mouth. I learned, later, that I started vomiting, apparently because of the anesthesia.

My surgeon allowed me to document this entire process with Charcot Foot. We have shared photos. He shared many of the surgical photos with me. I will share some of those with you now. Remember each surgery will be different and these are from mine.

The first photo shows where they put in two rods, one from the little toe toward the heel and one from the big toe to the heel. The x-ray shows the rods.
1 Surgery

They also used artificial bone in three areas. The pictures show the chisel being used and the fact that two people worked to add the artificial bone.
2 Surgery

They lengthened the Achilles tendon. No actual picture of this, but Surgery 3you might be able to see the area on the back of the leg in the picture of the leg and foot in the orbital fixator. There is a picture of the x-ray showing the rods ,staples and what I call the hinge that allows the foot to move up and down, but restricts movement in a rotational sense. Since my toes tended to straighten when they raised the arch, they decided to work on the toes when they remove the Orbital Fixator.