: Amputation

04-07-10, 09:50 PM
As a few of you may know my dad has serious diabetes and he likes to play games with it.
A few years ago he broke his foot in an innocent accident and he started down a long road of ignoring it because he couldn't feel it and abusing his blood sugar. He had a reconstructive surgery and was healing but he fell and damaged the repairs. He had problems after that including other injuries but he recently had a skin graft on it and went in to remove a bone spur.

While he was in the hospital for the surgery the totally effed up his blood (he lost tons and they didn't replenish it) and gave him two horrible infections. Also whatever they did caused the old repair to come undone and a 70 year old man who has no feeling in his feet was dying in massive pain from an infection in his foot!
Saturday my mom forced him to go see the doctor and an orthopedic specialist said it was beyond help.

They amputated his foot on Sunday and took his lower leg up to about 6 inches below the knee.
He is off his IV pain meds now and taking the oral stuff and he's off the other IV medications too. He is now in a rehabilitation center getting ready to learn to walk again and he is terribly weak from a long bout with these issues including the loss of nearly one hundred pounds.
My mom is finally able to breathe a sigh of relief and get some rest but my sister and I are too wrapped up in work and strapped for cash to go see him.

Anyway, just wanted to share for those of you I consider to be my friends.
I appreciate any thoughts or prayers if you feel so inclined and thank you in advance for your support.

I can't say that I didn't see this coming knowing what I know about him and how he treats his diabetes. If there is a lesson to be learned here it is that it can be a lot more serious than you think and not to ignore it if you have it.
I just hope he can recover. He has a strong spirit but he is prone to depression and this will either save his life and give him a challenge to live for or it will kill him. I am hoping for the former.


04-07-10, 09:52 PM
So sorry -- for him and your mom -- it will be really hard on her as well.

04-07-10, 09:56 PM
That's terrible. Sorry to hear that Bill.

04-07-10, 09:57 PM
I wish the best for your dad and your family.

04-07-10, 10:00 PM
Words can't help much but you and your family will be in my prayers.

04-07-10, 10:22 PM
Part of my job is Diabetes Management and it is really sad how common this can be. There is a lot more research nowdays into how up to 80% of people dealing with chronic conditions also battle depression in some form. I do want to wish you and your family best of luck! If your father is open to it United Way offers some amazing resouces along the lines of Diabetes Management. All you have to do is call 211 from any land based phone and they can offer a number of free resources including online/phone diabetes counseling. They are generally VERY helpful. The diabetes website at Diabetes.org is also a great site for diabetes info and nutrition in general. If he is open to resources and I can be of any assistance feel free to contact me!


They also have free support for family members dealing with relatives with diabetes and free menatl health resources....

04-07-10, 11:56 PM
That's really scary, it's almost an EXACT copy of what my grandmother went through. Her leg was amputated in the same way. I think some of her problem though was sheer depression at the fact that my gradfather had passed away nearly 12 years before though. She was never quite the same person after that.

Best of luck to your dad and a speedy recovery, and may his strong spirit prevail.


04-08-10, 02:25 AM
Prayers for your family, Bill. :heart: (I hope that you include a fasting glucose test in your medical checkups! The marker for diabetes is inherited, and knowledge is power where diabetes is concerned.)


04-08-10, 06:37 AM
Sarah, I keep a close eye on my blood sugar when I go and I am pretty good with my diet. The doc says all my numbers are good except one.
I have a triglyceride problem, my numbers are high but they seem to be stable so my Doctor told me just to try eating like a diabetic so I don't become one.
I rarely eat anything with sugar in it and these days when I do it almost makes me sick. I quit drinking soft drinks a long time ago too.
Last year I shed 30 pounds although admittedly some of it has come back. I am going to go after that and a little more this summer.

I talked to my mom last night and had her laughing, I told her about Vladimir's potty training and how silly he is and she had a friend over to visit last night.
She feels a lot better now that dad is out of the woods but she has a long road ahead.
It is all up to him at this point.
Thanks for the encouragement everyone.

04-08-10, 08:49 AM
Good luck with your father ewill. Sorry to hear things reached this point, but it can serve as a wake up for him and help him to watch things more closely now. I'll be sure to keep him and your family in prayers.

04-08-10, 11:59 AM
Yeah Bill, my father has diabetes as well. And while I'm actually surprised how well he has adapted to the lifestyle, he still will get working and not watch himself closely at times.

And here I am at 36 and overweight and know what's coming. Someday...

04-08-10, 12:10 PM
Very sorry to hear about this, Bill. I hope his recovery goes well. Good to hear you got your mom laughing; she needed that.

04-08-10, 12:22 PM
My prayers are with you and your family Bill.

04-08-10, 12:32 PM
Stubbornness and diabetes is not a good combination. I wish the best for your family. I've seen people go both ways on diabetes; some knuckle down, follow the rules, and thrive. Others bow their heck and try to fight it. The results are not good as you have seen. You're in my prayers.

04-08-10, 12:41 PM
Stubbornness and diabetes is not a good combination.

Truer words have never been spoken on this forum, I don't think.

04-08-10, 01:12 PM
I know you have an adopted son, but if you have any biological children, you should make sure they get tested as kids and keep an eye on it when they get older. It can definitely skip a generation.

04-08-10, 01:58 PM
That's really rough, Bill. Hope all turns out for the best.

04-09-10, 04:34 PM
So sorry to learn of the news. Please know your dad and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. May he be granted comfort and strength in dealing with his new challenges.

Diabetes is a cruel disease.

04-10-10, 12:37 AM
The disease is the kind where you're just comfortable enough to ignore it until its way too late. I'm very sorry to hear about the pain and suffering he has endured.

04-10-10, 06:58 AM
He is in a rehabilitation facility where I guess they will keep him and work with him to get set up with a prosthesis. It is my understanding they are treating his limb and keeping it in special bandages to keep the muscles intact and then he will learn to walk on his temporary limb until he can get fitted for a more permanent one and learn to use it.
I haven't talked to my mom much this week as she has been busy, as I am sure you can imagine.

04-13-10, 05:54 PM
Prayers, thoughts and patience for you and your family.

You are not alone. I am going through the same thing with my mom. However, we do not know how her leg got infected. She doesn't have diabetes and they did want to amputate. I stood my ground and refused. ( This is how her mother died she went into operation, when she was out and began waking up and saw her leg ...she went into shock and died; and I know it sticks in my moms head to this day. ) Anyway, This has been since January. She is still in "rehab" nursing home. She is 80. I really don't believe she will ever walk again. The infection and antibiotics and lack of GOOD nutrition really took its toll. Now add a little dementia....I could go on....but I'm not hijacking your thread.

04-13-10, 09:26 PM
It's nothing to play with that's for sure.

So sorry to hear about that but you really cant fool around with diabetes

04-14-10, 08:28 AM
I talked to my mom's friend Judy last night on the phone and she said that dad is doing fantastic.
He seems really motivated and he's working very hard.
Due to the change in his activity level they are having problems stabilizing his blood sugar but she said he is really doing well and feeling much better now that the offending foot is gone.
I am not even sure which foot he lost, but I think it is his right foot.

Mom was asking me about helping her find a small SUV that they can get to make it easier for him to get around and maybe haul a power chair or something.

Thanks again to everyone, so far it seems like he is up to this as a challenge and not a burden.

04-14-10, 03:33 PM
Wouldn't an SUV, even a smaller one, be too tall though?

This looks like a job for a wagon! [/shameless plug]

But seriously, it's good to hear his activity and spirits are up. I hope the best for the situation in the coming months. :)

04-14-10, 03:37 PM
There are kits available for a lot of vehicles to make them squat for wheelchair access.

04-14-10, 04:33 PM
That's excellent news, Bill.

As for cars, you might want to consider a Chevy HHR. My Dad rented one a few years ago, and it worked great for transporting his nearly-90-year-old mother (who was using a walker). Low step-in height, so it was easy to get her in and out and plenty of room for the walker. He liked the HHR so much (good gas mileage) that he bought one. My mother hates it because she thinks it looks goofy, but she has her Buick.

04-14-10, 08:43 PM
I'm not sure they can even afford anything.
All they have is the Aurora which is an '01 and my dad has like a 94 or something like that S-10 that he won't be able to drive anymore.
(I think they took his right foot)
They both are drawing social security and my dad's retirement (20 years USAF). My mom works part time for Bass Pro Shops in their travel office and they have all they can do to keep the bills paid.
I'll keep everyone posted.
Thanks for the support and the ideas!

04-14-10, 08:51 PM
Oh, then my idea suddenly just got way more practical. Sell the Aurora and find a nice RMW. Fit the wheelchair easily, and no higher than a regular sedan anyway.

Yay, wagons for all!

04-14-10, 09:40 PM
Glad to hear he's progressing well, Bill. Best of luck to you all. :)


04-18-10, 05:01 PM
Sarah, I keep a close eye on my blood sugar when I go and I am pretty good with my diet. The doc says all my numbers are good except one.
I have a triglyceride problem, my numbers are high but they seem to be stable so my Doctor told me just to try eating like a diabetic so I don't become one.

Bill sorry to hear about the amputation. I can't even imagine what that must be like.

Regarding your triglycerides, no matter how high they are they will drop like a rock (to under 100) if you cut out carbs down to 50 grams/day total or so, in a matter of a couple of weeks. I believe that triglycerides are a more important risk factor for diabetes/heart disease than cholesterol ever was. (trigs over 100 usually mean that one has pattern B or small, dense, LDL particles--these are the worst!). Cholesterol in it of itself is a pretty useless number that is not really associated with heart disease in any significant way (half all heart disease folks have normal or low LDL).

There's a book called Good Calories, Bad Calories, by Gary Taubes who is an award winning journalist that wrote an article for the NY Times Magazine and restarted a low carb craze at the time. It's basically an in depth look at the science behind low fat and low carb. The summary: low fat is more likely to cause diabetes because to replace fat one eats more carbs. Blood sugar disorders are very closely linked to many endocrine (hormonal) cancers, as well as heart disease. Flawed incomplete science lead to the low fat craze and to badmouthing saturated fat which if you ask any chemist is the most stable (less reactive, less likely to cross-link) vs. monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.

Because the diabetic population has over half the heart disease of the country, the diabetes association and heart association tells them to be particularly weary of saturated fat and fat in general (this means more carbs... vicious cycle...). The type of damage that leads to amputations and heart disease and eye disease is vascular damage caused by AGEs (advanced glycation end-products). These are basically glycated (ruined by sugars such as glucose and especially fructose which is not measured routinely) fats and proteins that end up in the tissues (cataracts for instance). These also start lesions (response to injury) in the endothelium (artery wall) and destroy the glycoccalyx (protective barrier of the artery wall) along with high glucose itself.

So what fat is most likely to be glycated? those with double bonds, or the "unsaturated ones" (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.. aka margarine, I can't believe it's not butter, vegetable spreads, fake popcorn butter, etc)... which sadly are the ones eaten by most conscious folks that follow the advise of the big associations.

check out http://heartscanblog.blogspot.com, http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com, http://animalpharm.blogspot.com, http://www.proteinpower.com/blog/drmike and for more technical info http://high-fat-nutrition.blogspot.com/

and if you want to know what's really at stake get the GCBC book above. Start with the article "what if it's been a big fat lie?" http://www.nytimes.com/2002/07/07/magazine/what-if-it-s-all-been-a-big-fat-lie.html

Another great book is any of the Protein Power series.

be well.

04-19-10, 06:50 AM
Thanks for the advice.
That is a lot of reading for someone who hates to read as much as I do. :lol:

Sad to say though that most of what I eat is lean meat and pasta. I need to up my veggie intake, but I never use that fake food crap.
I eat eggs, butter, and pretty much whatever in the traditional style and when I eat sweets I just eat them.
I have always been put off by fake sweeteners and the like, I eat only real foods but I try to control how much I eat.
Last year I shed 30 pounds but I put a little of it back on due to recent stress. I am holding right now but working to get back down but as I said, I do it mostly by just controlling how much I eat and I try to adjust things to be a bit healthier.
I used to live on McD's, pizza, and a gallon or so of soft drinks a day, now I can't drink caffeine without getting sick and I won't even take my kids to McD's.

Anyway, thanks to all.
Mom said Friday that he is doing very well. He seems to be in good spirits and apparently being around other amputees is inspiring him even more. I talked to my older son about what happened to Grandpa' and he seems to understand pretty well, although his eyes sure got big when I told him they had to take Grandpa's foot off.
If dad stays motivated I think this will really work out.
I keep thinking it's like a lot of alcoholics, they have to hit bottom before they wake up and turn it around.
Hopefully that was the bottom because if he got any lower it would be 6 feet under.

04-19-10, 10:22 AM
Thanks for the advice.
That is a lot of reading for someone who hates to read as much as I do. :lol:

Sad to say though that most of what I eat is lean meat and pasta. I need to up my veggie intake, but I never use that fake food crap.
I eat eggs, butter, and pretty much whatever in the traditional style and when I eat sweets I just eat them.

I have always been put off by fake sweeteners and the like, I eat only real foods but I try to control how much I eat.

Eggs and butter and meat are good, whole foods, that have been tested by time and sustained many generations. Whole foods are definitely the way to go for the long run.

Regarding the change, reading etc, it's not easy. But I believe it's our own responsibility to take care of our body, kind of like taking care of our car. The body is a whole lot more complicated though. Reading these books would be similar to reading the factory service manual to understand how the car works etc. They've helped me see that most of the blanket dietary recommendations were made before the science was in--there's little data to back them up.

Regarding artificial sweeteners, I don't like them either. But I have yet to hear of fake sweetener use resulting in the kind of damage and complications that sugar is responsible for. While sugar is natural, the amounts that we eat are not (fruit juice would be as bad as a soda).

Fruits and veggies are overrated. Noone is going to prevent diabetes or heart disease or any other disease by eating fruit or vegetables. Many populations lived quite healthy without ever eating them. For most, they weren't available year round. That said, there's nothing wrong with eating them (except starchy ones like potatoes etc, if you are overweight or have a family history of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, etc). They should be our "pasta." And speaking of pasta (and bread, starches), I don't think it should be considered real or even whole food. It's junk no matter which way you look at it (turns to sugar, raises insulin needs, results in insulin resistance).

You lost weight because your insulin was down (lower/less glucose highs), probably from eating less carbs.

Here are some clips that may increase your interest.




04-22-10, 11:22 AM
Bill I kept thinking about you and how to avoid a similar path. If you're a visual person here are a couple of really cool slides that summarize a lot of information into simple flow charts. These are stolen from http://high-fat-nutrition.blogspot.com/

So a doctor specializing in diabetes (or family doctor/internist) will tell you to avoid fat especially saturated so the patient ends up with margarines and vegetable oils/spreads (so-called "heart healthy" unsaturated fats)... resulting in liver damage, worsening the diabetes. More consumption of bread and pasta ends up with more damage to the liver via intestinal damage, and consumption of fruit and sugar and alcohol worsens fatty liver, again more liver damage (fructose is AS damaging as ethanol [alcohol])... this too ends up worsening the diabetes (high insulin level, lots of insulin resistance--the insulin not working efficiently anymore).

High insulin (overweight/type II diabetes/ high triglycerides) results in inability to use body fat for energy (hungry for snacks and carbs), tiredness and inability to lose weight. The traditionalists who believe in calories in calories out, figure that overweight people are fat because they eat too much and they're lazy.

This is a confusion of the symptoms with the causes. It's not the patient's fault... it's what they eat/the advise they get that's causing/worsening the problem.

05-10-10, 08:45 AM
Just an update.
Dad is at home and being fitted with a cup to help form his leg to prep him for his prosthesis.
Mom says he is starting to act like the guy she married again and he seems to be pretty motivated.
I have talked to him a few times and I think this was really good for him.
I think the relief from dragging around a dying foot is pretty uplifting for him.
Thanks again everyone for the well wishes and the prayers.
I hope he continues to improve as he has been.

05-11-10, 07:20 AM
Good to hear ewill. Glad to see he's home now. :)

05-11-10, 12:14 PM