I, also, need leg surgery

Geoff_the_Beard

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#1
Having mentioned it in Steven's thread, I guess I should give more detail.

A little over three years ago I started experiencing severe pain in my right leg. My GP looked at it, and couldn't find a pulse in it, so she referred me to Southampton General Hospital. They did a number of tests including a CT-scan and decided that there is nothing wrong with my heart, but the main femoral artery was extremely clogged. The problem worsened to the extent that though I could just about hobble around the house hanging onto things, to leave the house I needed a wheelchair. In September 2012 they performed a femoral bypass, taking a vein from mid calf to my groin on the inside of that that leg, and putting it into the outside of the leg as an artery from my groin to the calf. The effect was amazing - a strong pulse in my right foot immediately! They had me up and walking the next day (the operation had taken all day), and though there was still pain from the surgery itself and the damaged tissue in my foot I was mobile again.

Sadly, six weeks later the severe pain returned. The hospital confirmed that the bypass had failed, and said they would have to start again. Unfortunately my appointment for the fresh surgery was cancelled at the last minute three times because of emergency admissions needing the operating theatre. That time the deterioration worsened to the extent of gangrene starting in five places on my foot, and I couldn't manage the stairs at all. They did take me in as an inpatient while I waited for a theatre to become available. I had the second operation on 3 December, that time taking a vein from my right arm, wrist to shoulder to put into my leg in the same place.

That seemed to work. I did go back monthly for ultrasound scans, and in April last year they performed an angioplasty to open the new "artery" up a bit, and inserted a couple of stents in the joins between the new and the original. They decided I wouldn't need to go back again for any more checkups.

A few weeks ago on 10 July I suddenly got a sharp pain in my right leg for no apparent reason, but five minutes sitting down with my right leg elevated made the pain go away. The next day I had to take my car in to the garage for something minor, but they said they wouldn't be able to fit that in for a couple of hours, so I decided to go home and come back later to collect it. The garage is only just over a quarter of a mile away. Halfway home I got severe pain in the leg. I was in front of a low wall, so I was able to sit down and elevate it, but it took around fifteen minutes for the pain to subside. When I got home it occurred to me to check the pulse. That was easy to do - the new artery is only just below the skin. I couldn't detect one!

I called my daughter to ask her to help me collect my car, but as luck would have it she had gone away for the weekend 100 miles away. I had no option but to hobble painfully on foot (this time with a walking stick!). I sent my GP an email describing the symptoms, asking for another referral. I discovered later that she was on leave that week, so didn't see my email! I did get an appointment to see her the following Monday, when she confirmed my diagnosis and called the hospital while I waited. She was only able to talk to a junior doctor, who promised a return call from one of the consultants during the afternoon. When he did call back late in the afternoon he told me to come in the next morning, which I did.

He examined me and said he thought that he would need to do the complete bypass again, and mentioned that I am running out of suitable veins to use! I asked about the possibility of another angioplasty, and he said that although that was possible, it would be more risky than the full surgery - they would have to scrape the artery to open it up, and the debris might travel to another part of my body and create a new blockage, possibly in my brain. I see his point. He said he needed a new CT-scan to establish the extent of the problem, and asked for my mobile number because he WOULD arrange that for the Wednesday or Thursday. I eventually got a call from radiology on my landline, with an appointment for the following Thursday.

I have had the CT-scan, and am waiting for a call to tell me when they can take me in. With the aid of a stick I can hobble around, including driving my car and getting around a small supermarket to buy groceries. The pain is still not as bad as it was when I first saw the vascular team over three years ago. I am just hoping that they can fit me in before it deteriorates. I am well stocked with pain killers.
 

muchtrouble10

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#3
Too bad they can't prevent it from all going down hill once it is fixed! Of course you know you are in my thoughts and prayers, Geoff, and with a bit of luck, maybe this time will be the last time you need it! (Keep staying off the cigs!) :kisses:
 

squirt

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#4
thank goodness for the medical marvels age! :zebrahug:

I hope all goes as well as possible and I will keep you in my prayers! :pray:

:blowkiss:
 

KingHomie

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#5
Oh my gosh Geoff,, I am so sorry to hear of all the pain and inconvenience you gone through over the years. It is very frustrating to have to wait when your in such pain. Keep us up to date and know your in my prayers for a quick and lasting procedure.
 

Manzy

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#7
Sometimes it helps by just sharing with others! Please keep us posted, nowadays like Squirt says the medical world is amazing!

:hugs:
 

Goodgrief

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#8
My thoughts are with you Geoff. We all did terrible things to our bodies when we were younger. But we had fun! Having issues with circulation as well. Tests upon tests, but no immediate remedies or actions. Be thankful you have doctors who seem to want to help you. So far, I have only bible thumpers. Good luck to you! I like you!
 

Bamber

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#9
It's a bugger when your body refuses to cooperate. Keep with it Geoff, here's hoping that it works permanently this time.
 

Romford Lad

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#10
That's one hell of a trial you've been going through Geoff ~ I do so hope and pray that this time, the outcome is as you [and all of us here] sincere hope for.
 

Geoff_the_Beard

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#11
Thank you all for your kind thoughts. I have just been given an appointment to see the surgeon in outpatients next Thursday afternoon, so I guess they don't consider it urgent. At least I will get to hear what their plans are. I am in quite a good mood; I can still manage almost everything I want to, if I am careful.
 

Geoff_the_Beard

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#12
At outpatients they gave me good news and bad news. The good news is that they are going ahead with the operation. They have identified a suitable vein to take from my left leg, to use as an artery in my right. They think that will probably be in a couple of weeks.

The bad news is that when this bypass fails, they will not be able to perform any further similar operations. They did mean when - that might be two weeks, it might be two years, it might even last five years. I asked if the alternative was amputation, and was told yes.

For now, I'm just concerned with getting this operation done. MT is getting me to do some research about other possibilities, but if it comes to amputation I will learn to live with a wooden leg. Lots of amputees manage a full life.
 

Bamber

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#13
I hope it last a long rather than a short time Geoff. My friend Skip managed for most of his life with only half a leg. He walked a lot more than many able bodied people I know, even though he had two prosthetics.
 

squirt

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#14
yep, don't borrow trouble from tomorrow, today's got enough of it's own
the big picture can be scary, that's why it's best to focus on what's next :zebrahug:
who knows what medical advances will happen in a year, 2 years, 5 years
you remain in my prayers! :pray:
:blowkiss:
 
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#15
Geoff I am not going to give you "empty" words just to make you feel good....as I have no idea what will happen. No one knows.
We have a saying back home.....if things can't be changed then accept it and make the best of it.
We never know what life throws at us......and all we can do is make the best out of every situation.

One other piece of good advice......whatever MT says....listen to her.....she knows best......after all she is a woman
And if she doesn't......then still agree with her.....or else this operation is the last thing you need to worry about.
:teeth:
:hugs:
 

Geoff_the_Beard

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#17
I will be going in to the hospital at 3 pm on Monday, 28th September, for the operation the next morning.. The letter estimates that I will be in for seven days, but I suspect they will will discharge me in five, on the Friday. I am certain that they will have me up and walking on the Wednesday. Unless there is a worry about the wounds failing to heal normally, there won't be anything more they can do.

Because they will be operating on both legs, it is possible that I may need the assistance of crutches for a few days. My wheelchair will be in the car that collects me, just in case.

I won't be able to post here while I am in (there is no WiFi), but I will be keeping MT informed by phone, so she will be able to post should anything unforeseen occur.

(Yes, LMP, I will be taking MT's advice in all things)
 
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#18
:headtap:
Nothing better than an obedient man. :teeth:

Good luck with everything Geoff.....and take care.....and I'll be thinking of you.
And know,...that I never say anything what I don't mean.....unless there is tons and tons of money involved. :teeth:
And as soon as you get back home and be able to......let us know how you are doing and what all happened.....
But could you please give me a warning in advance if you are going into bloody details because I don't want to pass out behind my computer. :huh:

Again good luck Geoff.......but I will say that again over next week because it is not the 28th yet......
(Btw you got me confused and doubting myself with the date
. :headslap: )
 
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Geoff_the_Beard

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#19
:oops: I did mean 28th

There won't be any gory details - I won't know them, under the anaesthetic. I haven't asked HOW they get the 'new' artery in just under the skin, with only two incisions - in my groin and upper calf. The last one was about 600mm long.

Luck will have little to do with it. They are a very experienced team, and the whole ward (about 30 beds) is for exactly this type of operation.
 

squirt

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#20
you seem to have a great mental attitude, that's more than half the battle :zebrahug:
we'll hold onto MT while she holds on to you!
:sendinglove: