Hi Everybody, my name is Justin Abrams and this is my story.
8 years ago I was bitten on my right foot by what was suspected to be a violin spider. This resulted in my foot developing large necrotic ulcers covering approximately 50% of my foot. I underwent numerous surgeries to remove the necrosis but every time the necrosis would reappear after a few days. After almost 18 months of repeated surgery and failed skin grafts the doctors managed to get the ulcers to heal and the wounds to close. Finally I thought the pain and suffering were finished and that i could continue with my life. Even though my toes no longer worked life would be okay. This was not to be.
Last year October my foot relapsed and within a day or 2 my foot was once again covered in necrotic ulcers. and i underwent multiple surgeries once again. This time the surgeons were able to get my foot to heal in 5 months and the skin grafts worked. With the wounds closed and healed i was once again able to continue to lead a fairly normal life, albeit with constant pain and my toes still not working. Finally it was over, or so i though. How wrong i was.
On the 1st of September this year i noticed a tiny blister around the size of my pinkie nail on my heel, accompanied by more than the usual pain. Immediately i rushed to the doctors who put me onto antibiotics with strict instructions to keep a very close eye on it. By the next morning my foot had once again developed necrotic ulcers covering my entire heel and spreading up the side of my foot. Within a a week the ulcers had spread across my entire ankle and down the top of my foot. 2 days later these ulcers became gangrenous and i went into septic shock.
I was admitted to hospital and underwent emergency surgery the same day. The ulcers were surgically cleaned and the gangrene and necrosis were removed. Within 2 days the necrosis and gangrene had returned and I underwent a further 5 surgeries in the next 10 days. More tests and scans were done and it was discovered that the bones in my entire foot and ankle had a chronic infection. Due to the infection and gangrene i had also lost all ability to use my foot. I met with the specialists, surgeons and psychologists to discuss what would be the best procedure to follow, the best and safest option was to amputate the leg below the knee in order to remove any chance of reinfection and to give me a better quality of life.
On the 23rd September my right leg was amputated. 4 days later i was discharged from hospital and sent home. Since then the leg has begun healing well and I have now started the long road to recovery.
This brings me to the crux of my story, and my request to you the reader. Yesterday i saw the Prosthetist to discuss what type of prosthesis would work for me in order to continue with my life with minimal impact to my lifestyle. I am a very active person with a physically demanding job. I am an avid kayaker / canoeist and have completed the 3 day Dusi Canoe Marathon 5 times and have kayaked all over South Africa. I am also and mountain biker and a runner, i have completed numerous marathons and ultra marathons including the Two Oceans Ultra Marathon. Additional to this I walk on average 6-8km a day at work and am required to be on my feet for most of the day in order to do my job.
My employer has been more than understanding and is helping in my recovery in every way they can. In order for me to continue with my current employment and to lead an active and productive lifestyle i will need a prosthetic leg. Unfortunately my medical aid is only willing to pay R10000 towards a leg and even a basic leg of decent quality that would allow me to continue with my job costs in the region of R75000. Financially i am unable to pay for this myself and I am therefore asking for your help in order for me to realize my dream to to continue with my life.
Thank you for reading my story.