Amputee's story a warning for other diabetics

HEALTHY FEET: Vikki Dwyer advises diabetics to take good care of their feet after five of her toes were amputated.
HEALTHY FEET: Vikki Dwyer advises diabetics to take good care of their feet after five of her toes were amputated. Yvonne Gardiner

VIKKI Dwyer considers herself lucky to have only lost five toes on her left foot due to complications with Type 1 diabetes.

She'd been living with Type 2 for 18 years, and apart from that enjoyed good health, until a blister appeared when she'd been wearing new shoes.

"I thought it had gone away and then I ended up with the flu," Vikki said.

She was admitted to hospital with high blood sugar.

"They took my big toe and the second toe," she said.

"At this stage the infection was still there and the surgeon was debating whether I needed to have a half-leg amputation.

Fortunately that was unnecessary, and the remaining three toes were removed.

"I was in hospital for three weeks and did eight weeks of rehab," Vikki said.

"I lost a lot of weight when I was first diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

"I have to be more conscious of making sure I eat regularly.

"It's been harder with one foot.

"I'm just lucky I've still got half a foot, and I'm still here.

"There's so many complications with it."

The 48-year-old child care worker had experienced symptoms of the disease, such as tiredness and thirst, as well as weight loss.

Other than that, she tended to be healthy.

Vikki now has a silicon synthetic left foot, and life is made easier with an insulin pump.

"I was going five to six needles a day, now once every two days with the pump," she said.

"I knew some of the better-known diabetes focuses such as diet and exercise, but was unaware of the importance of caring for my feet.

"I was fortunate to be introduced to ProMed Podiatry Clinic back in 2015, a month after I had to have my left forefoot amputated.

"Raechel and the team have caught various minor ailments and treated each of them before they became a high-risk situation. They literally keep me on my feet."

Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes cause damage to blood vessels and peripheral nerves that can cause problems in the legs and feet.

ProMed clinic owner Raechel Farquharson says patients range from toddlers right through to veterans in their 90s.

"Our diabetic patients require regular and close monitoring," she said.

"In addition to looking after any visible concerns such as blisters or calluses and corns, we also treat the more 'hidden' issues associated with their joints and the fluid build-up which can occur as a result of poor circulation.

"An easy and painless foot assessment by a podiatrist can help detect and treat many potential problems before they become serious issues."

Topics:  diabetic general-seniors-news health type 1 diabetes type 2 diabetes wellbeing

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