On one visit, I saw my surgeon and told him that I had ‘had enough’ of my ankle, he asked me to explain what I meant, and I said I was at the point where amputation seemed the best option. He was very receptive and said that as a surgeon his job was to do whatever he could to fix what was already there, sometimes more focused on fixing, rather than what the patient wants.
Of course this conversation was not out of the blue, my wife and I had discussed the possibility of amputation in some depth many times.
The following day I emailed the surgeon to confirm what I had said verbally, and from there things were put in place to enable me to visit and see other departments such as the limb fitting service to see if I was suitable for a prosthesis and to discuss in more detail with a specialist.
The visit to the artificial limb centre was a big eye opener, they checked that I was suitable for a prosthesis and that I had enough upper body strength etc. they also showed me an example of what sort of limb to expect, and because my left knee is not overly stable, they could make the sides higher to provide more stability.
After many appointments with my surgeon and his colleagues, I was then referred to a vascular surgeon who would discuss and potentially undertake the amputation. I had seen this surgeon before on a previous visit to hospital, he had installed and removed my groshong line.
It was extremely helpful that both my current surgeon and the vascular surgeon were very approachable, easy to talk to and I also trusted them.
After many discussions with the surgeon, my wife, my counsellor, my GP and other members of my family, I agreed to the amputation and a date was then set. April 30th 2014
During this time I was also seeing a counselor to help with depression, it was very reassuring to be able to discuss what was happening to someone who was not emotionally attached. I would recommend this to anyone. As long as you remember, they don’t have the answer, they help you find the answer.
Although I could refuse surgery at any time, I had decided that once I had been admitted to hospital, there was no turning back.