No regrets for mother of two after life-altering surgery
Melissa R. Shelmidine just wanted to live a normal life.
“I wanted it done. I practically begged a doctor to do it,” she said, Miss Shelmidine, a mother of two active, young children, a swimmer and a former high school athlete is, at the age of 24, learning how to get back up and running after having her left foot amputated. Miss Shelmidine was born with an abnormal connection between the arteries and veins in her foot, an abnormality called arteriovenous malformation. The condition went undetected for most of her childhood, getting progressively more painful and debilitating into her teen years.
“What would happen is it would cut off circulation to parts of my foot. It was so painful,” she said.
The condition left her toes swollen, numb and discolored, lacking blood circulation. She eventually opted to have her big toe amputated, hoping it would relieve some of the pain. Her foot never properly healed.
“I had my toe amputated, but I also had more than a dozen embolizations done to try to minimize the problem,” Miss Shelmidine said. “Nothing was helping. So I met with my doctor and talked about having the foot taken off.”
Ninety percent of people with AVM have it in their brains. Though she suffered through her toes dying due to loss of circulation, she considers herself lucky. Losing one’s foot seems traumatic and scary; Miss Shelmidine is upbeat about the life that follows her surgery. She talks about the amputation surgery as if it’s a dental cleaning. The surgery itself took less than two hours.
“My children understood the pain that I was in, that I couldn’t run around with them because of the pain in my foot, so they understood when I told them that I was going to be getting a new leg,” she said. “When I was at home recovering, my prosthesis hadn’t come yet and my daughter was a little confused and asked where my new leg was.”
Miss Shelmidine said she does not regret her decision.
“I didn’t have any depression, nothing. It’s been great. I was just so happy to get rid of it,” she said. [Read more...]