“We need to amputate your great toe on your left foot.”
I remember thinking it's not so great is you need to take it off, but that was my reality just a week into my diabetes diagnosis. My world changed in that moment.
I get a lot of questions about my toe amputation. So as the 5th anniversary of that event approaches, I thought I would try to answer some of those questions in this post.
Did I blame myself?
Yes, I did. I hated myself for months, maybe longer. I found many ways to blame myself. I went through all those coulda, woulda, shoulda thoughts. But, I've come to a place of forgiveness. The past is over and I say this affirmation to help myself let go of the inner resistance I have toward it …
I release all patterns within me that created diabetes. I love and approve of myself. All is well in my world.
None of us created diabetes on purpose. None of us set out to lose a toe. Not you. Not me. We have to move forward and realize that no one is perfect.
How long did it take to heal?
For me, it was a long time. My foot was sore for many, many months. When my toe was amputated, they did not stitch it closed because the staph infection had started to travel into my foot. They did not want to trap anything in there.
I had the wound vac but I quickly learned that I was allergic to the adhesive tape used to hold it on. So, I had to go to wet/dry dressings stuffed into the crater that was where my toe was. Yes, it did hurt. The nerves in my foot were alive and it hurt like heck when the bandages were changed. My husband helped me do that because I was just unable to look at it for a while.
After that healed, I was left with soreness on the fleshy part of my foot under where my big toe was. It felt like a really deep bruise. That took quite some time to heal. I would say at least a year for all the tenderness to be completely gone.
What about orthopedic shoes?
I tried them and hated them. I got a pair of tennis shoes and the orthopedic inserts to go in them. About $300 later, they hurt my feet and I was afraid to wear them because a blister was where my whole roller coaster started. Fear won out on that one. I started wearing Crocs. I found that on www.Crocs.com website, they have a collection called Rx that are actually made with us in mind. They have never caused me any problems. They keep coming out with new Crocs styles and I have some to wear for just about any occasion. I don't wear the inserts because I get such a great fit with the Crocs. I've found that I love wearing spa socks with them.
Do you have trouble walking?
No, not really. The only time I have trouble is on uneven ground. I get a little off balance. If bending forward, I find that it's hard to stop that forward momentum sometimes. Your body eventually relearns your new center of balance. It's kind of like being a bull rider. With practice their bodies remember how to stay on the bull and it becomes second nature. I've found my body has done the same.
If you didn't know I was missing a toe, you would never guess I didn't have one.
What about physical therapy?
I never had any physical therapy. It never came up really.
What about a prosthetic toe?
I've never had one of those either, and to be truthful, I've never researched it.
Life without a toe is doable. It definitely was a wake up call for me. I went from a blister, to a staph infection, to a diabetes diagnosis, to a toe amputation in 7 days. The main thing I want to say to you is to not blame yourself like I did. Stressing over it does not make anything better. What's done is done. Find a doctor your trust. That's been the most important thing for me.
If you have anymore questions, please don't hesitate to ask. That's the whole reason I do this blog. I want to help others.