Well as we all know, I lost the bottom half of my lower left leg and foot back in April 2020. This Friday I will be going to the prosthetist to take my new leg for a test walk. They need to make sure the cast they took and the resulting socket created by it fits correctly. (Video(s) of me walking to follow.) . If all goes well and the socket is a good fit I should have my finished leg within 1 to 2 weeks. I absolutely cannot wait. It’s been a long 25 weeks or so of using a wheelchair and walker to get around and frankly I cant wait until i can stand without the use of a walker and take a step forward on my own. With all that said that doesn’t mean that once I have my new leg then, BOOM, I’m all set for the rest of my life. Far from it. There are many considerations I need to weigh in order to be able to live a long and happy life. So let me begin explaining these.
First, There’s glucose level control. I am a diabetic and to further avoid complications of diabetes (Amputations being one of them.) I need to keep my sugar levels in check. A big motivator in this besides just better health is a little nasty research study from the European Journal of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery done in 2016 that concludes that 50% of all amputees with diabetes will die within 2 years of the amputation. I don’t plan on being dead in the next two years, far from it but to beat the odds there are alot of things I need to do. The most important of which is to gain strict control of my diabetes and glucose levels. I fortunately now have access to unlimited glucose testing strips and that goes a long way in keeping my sugar levels in check. (It use to cost me $70 for a supply that didn’t even last a month.) Not to worry though, I am a pretty stubborn man and I fully expect to live at least another twenty years. Besides, through the course of my life I should have died a few times already but I’m still here because I always choose to fight and not give up.
Next, I need to take extremely good care of my right foot to avoid having that foot amputated. I need to check it daily to look for cuts, scrapes and wounds. because I have neuropathy I may not feel a cut or scrape so I need to visually check my foot. This is very important as a cut or scrape could become infected and lead to a foot ulcer which is what got me into this situation to begin with. I also apply Aquaphor to my foot daily to keep the skin moist and pliable. I don’t need dry skin cracking and causing an ulcer. I’m very grateful for prosthetics but in my view one is enough. I don’t need or want two.
During the time i was ill with sepsis and spending the majority of my time in the hospital I lost alot of weight, way too much, about 60 pounds. Alot of that was muscle mass. I need to gain weight in the form of muscle, not fat. I have been working out from home with resistance bands Not always easy to hit all the muscle groups from a wheelchair even harder for developing the legs. This will be easier once I have my new leg but it has been frustrating me a bit as I want my good leg and what is left of my left leg to be as strong as possible, leap tall buildings in a single bound strong. I may also join a gym, Covid permitting, once I have my new leg in order to access muscle building equipment. Gaining back muscle is important but I have a disadvantage in my legs. I have PAD (Peripheral Artery disease and my blood flow to my legs is not where it should be. I can improve it with exercise as our bodies will grow new arteries and veins to circumvent a blockage but you need to be exercising alot for that to happen. The other alternative is to have surgery and stents put into vessels to open them up again and allow normal blood flow. This is an option that for me I will do if needed but I am going to try exercising first.
In order for the exercise to be effective I need to eat right. This sounds simple but as a diabetic not so much. There are alot of things I need to take into consideration before I put food in my mouth. The biggest being how many carbs I am about to eat and what steps (How much insulin I need to take.) I need to take to keep my sugar levels in check. As I stated above I need to put on muscle mass which means I need to make sure my Caloric and protein intake is high but I also need to eat more carbs to put on weight. Caloric intake is very important to me right now but it has to be the right mix of protein, carbs and fat along with the right amounts of insulin so that my body can properly utilize the food to attain my goals. Carbs turn into glucose (blood sugar) which provides the energy your body need to function but too many carbs and not the right amount of insulin will create high sugar levels which can damage your body in so many ways and too much protein can damage your kidneys It’s a balancing act, one I will be on for the rest of my life.
All this and more is what my life is about going forward. It’s not as easy as some might think especially for someone who has had alot of bad habits over the last decade or two. But it is doable so long as I stay vigilant in my quest to become the best me i can possibly be. Again, I am a fighter. I won’t give up. I won’t take you can’t do that for an answer. Everything is possible.