Diagnosis: Like most guys I ignored what I thought was a bunion for at least a year. But the thing on my left big toe got as big as a golf ball. The podiatrist, and the initial bone scan, x-rays and the wisdom of the Atlanta medical community was osteomyelitis. Good thing they threw it in the bucket and took it into pathology.
Thanks to my nervousness about the podiatrist who said “I will repack it and probably not even send it to pathology; I’m so sure of what it is,” I got an orthopedic surgeon who probably saved my life.
Because of all the uncertainty, I went to Moffitt at the University of South Florida, M.D. Anderson and had treatments at Emory here in Atlanta.
I mean, when you’re an athlete, you really don’t want to loose a foot.
Treatment: Once the diagnosis was finalized, it was all good from there with regards to hospitals and doctors. I had 4 rounds of cisplatin, ( what , what did you say?- lol) ifosfamide, and adriamyacin (I can’t remember, what was that?) then the scene from GONE WITH THE WIND, no doc, no,no. No, actually, it wasn’t that bad- I went in a 4 o’clock on the day before Halloween and was out at 9 am the next morning.
My below-the-knee amputation was at Emory, and when I got out of surgery and woke up I was knocking down some Chick-Fill-A, I could actually taste, and then after about 8 pounds of chicken a nurse walks in and says “you shouldn’t eat that, you will vomit” , dang, sure enough, I did.
I was supposed to do 4 rounds after surgery. I did two and then I decided that it was the first of the year and I had had enough restrictions on life.
My thanks to Dr. Doug Letson at Moffitt, an entire orthopedic oncology team at MD Anderson who spent half a day with me, Dr. David Monson the man with the saw at Emory, Dr. Raju Vanapalli at Resurgence Orthopedics for following his own gut and going to pathology, and last but not least, Dr. Daniel Carr of Georgia Cancer- you’re the man.
Recovery: I am in the strength and conditioning business so I choose to do it myself. I have had little issues with my prosthesis and my guy, Dan Zenas at Georgia Prosthetics is good!
I am four years afterwards, I run, squat, jump, and do everything I did before. In fact, I will be doing my first bodybuilding show since all this happened in about 3 weeks.
Gotta go run, still got some fat cover. 🙁
Life now: Your attitude affects almost everything and I had no choice but to use this experience as a way to help others, and a way to help myself. I won the 2004 amputee coalition “role model of the year” award (yea!), and I have been featured in a lot of regional publications.
I am still in the business I love, which is fitness, and for the most part, the business has been accepting of me.
I still go dancing, still drink yager shots every once in a while, still say “What are you looking at” when I feel bullet proof.
My life is better because of this.
Thoughts and hints for new patients: Yes, you can.