I’m healed of feet ulcers at last!

Released from care!


Eight days ago I was released as a patient by my wound care doctor.  This ended  an 8-month journey of severe pain, great fear of amputations and searching for correct care-givers.

I can’t explain the sheer joy I’ve felt from being declared “healed” after all this time and all I’ve been through during this period.  But to be sure, I’m very happy to be able to get on with my life.

I’ve learned a lot through this ordeal also, about paying attention to my body, my diet, exercise and who to choose as a care-giver.

My journey started with a red rash that covered both feet, legs, forearms and my tummy.  I first visited my family doctor, who sent me to a dermatologist who diagnosed me with vasculitis and began treatment;  then I visited my hematologist who sent me to yet another dermatologist.  Several months later, now with painful, non-healing, open ulcers on my lower legs and feet and the fear of amputation in my mind, I saw my rheumatologist who advised me to go to a wound care center.

Fortunately, after an emergency room visit because of one of the ulcers tearing open and ER docs also advising me to go to a wound center, I made an appointment with our local wound care clinic and met Dr. Bennett who took over my care, prescribing more prednisone and both medical and surgical debridement of the wounds.

From that appointment forward, I made good progress toward healing.  I had more than 15 ulcers on my feet and legs and one by one, they began to mend together and heal.  My experience with the wound care center was very positive, although I admit the first couple of debridement’s were extremely painful.  But Dr. Bennett did prescribe me pain killers which my dermatologists refused to do.  So finally after months, I was able to sleep at night again instead of spending hours battling the pain of severe neuropathy and praying for God to take me home.

Lessons learned

From this ordeal, I’ve learned to take care of my feet every day, looking for sores and wounds and using lotions to keep them smooth and crack-free.

I’ve also learned that when one doctor is not working for you, don’t just suck it up and stay – find someone that can help.

Also, from now on, I believe in Wound Centers and Clinics.  They are more likely to be up on the latest method to heal nasty wounds.

 

Comments

Thanks for looking at my site and coming to this page. I would love for you to leave any questions or comments below.  In addition, I’m open to new topics to research and comment on as they pertain to my own health and experience living with diabetes.  Please share your interests and questions in your comments.  I also love to hear others stories about how they handle their own diabetes issues.

– Shirley

Time flies when you are in pain!

Time is passing


Back on December first, I really thought I was turning the corner on this case of leg and feet ulcers, but boy was I wrong.  I’ve had three more months of pain and worry since then.  The only moment of light was when I visited my rheumatologist and after telling him about the awful pain I was having, he prescribed Tramadol for me.  That allowed me to begin to get some sleep at night and be more comfortable during the days also.

Then, two weeks ago, I had an ER visit when one of the largest ulcers split open to become a 4″x1″ wound and was hurting a lot.  The ER docs told me I needed to start care at a Wound Center and so the next day I made my first appointment at the Pine Bluff Wound Clinic.  At my first session, I met Dr. Keith Bennett, Board certified 3 times over (Family Medicine, General Surgery and Plastic Surgery)  and over 25 years experience in surgery.

That first visit, he debrided several of the ulcers (I have over 10 of them) to remove all dead tissue.  Wow, lots of pain and blood everywhere.  The only good thing was that he was very quick with the knife and he did prescribe pain meds for me to take afterwards and before my next visit.

He felt the ulcers were more typical of diabetic ulcers than caused by my chemo drugs.  I was also shown how to dress the wounds and apply a compression dressing and was put back on prednisone (more chipmonk face… uhg!).  I was told that the prednisone, compression bandages and keeping my feet elevated over my heart was very important for my healing.  I’m also to really work on keeping my BGL down below 200.  So I’m being a good girl.

The second visit was more of the same, but I made my dh drive me to and from the Clinic so I could dope myself up with codeine before the debriding; it still hurt a lot but less blood this time.  The ulcers are looking much better and several of them were reduced in size.  We discussed using a type of growth factor/chemical on the wounds to help the healing and even if it costs us several hundred dollars, both my husband and I are ready to go for it.  Maybe we will learn more about this next week.

There are several ways to clean/debride the wounds:

Image of scalpel, copyright Microsoft
Image of scalpel, copyright Microsoft
  • Autolytic debridement.  This method basically allows the body to degenerate all the dead tissue on its own, keeping the wound moist and then allowing it to regrown.
  • Chemical debridement.  This method  promotes the break down of dead and damaged tissue by using a chemical enzyme debriding agent. (I’m using this method also and applying the special cream to my wounds during re-dressing.
  • Mechanical debridement. This method using saline and gauze dressings which stick somewhat to the dead tissue and when peeling off, take the dead tissue with it.
  • Surgical debridement, In this method, the surgeon is using a scalpel or scissors to remove dead tissue.  (This is the method Dr. Bennett is using on me and boy is he quick with his scalpel)!

Continue reading “Time flies when you are in pain!”