Suggestions on coping ....

By Pattex Latest Reply 2013-04-07 19:21:02 -0500
Started 2013-03-14 23:51:21 -0500

I'm new to this site and I am the one family member that isn't diabetic. I help care for my elderly mother who has the worst diabetes of the 3 that have it. Recently the heel sore (and another leg sore) showed signs of not healing and they're talking about amputating below the knee. I'm terrified for Mom and I'm sure she's terrified too, but how does one cope with this BIG change and continue going forward with physical and emotional changes? Just wondered if any one can offer some thoughts or ideas that my sister and I could share with Mom to help alleviate her fears as well as ours.

39 replies

wifemotherngrannie 2013-04-07 16:48:07 -0500 Report

wow, i am new to this group and i have found some amazing information. i am not diabetic, however, my husband is. he was diagnoses about a year ago. he was doing great and now he's sliding downhill. he has gone off most of his meds, gained a lot of weight and sleeps most of the time. is there a support group? i would be grateful for any help.

jayabee52 2013-04-07 18:51:38 -0500 Report

Well this IS a suport group WMG (wifemotherngrannie).

I just answered your new disussion as have several others already, so I won't repeat that here.

If you are looking for a physical support group you need to let us know your locale. There may be a support group at a hospital or clinic or something like we have in Las Vegas, a support group which meets in a library. You may perhaps be in the best position to access that information through a Dr, or through a clinic or a hospital. A phone call to your county health dept may also unearth that information.

However you hubby may have fallen into depression (which is not unusual for People With Diabetes {PWDs}) and may be resistant to going with you to a physical support group. "After all I can do it on my own." is a typical male response!

If you possibly can, please support him by going WITH HIM to the Dr for his checkups. And actually go with him in the exam room. You can then tell the Dr what you are observing about his behavior regarding the managing of his DM.

Praying for his healthier life


katcot2152 2013-04-07 15:57:49 -0500 Report

Pattex, my father had to face that same dilemma and in his case, gangrene had already set in!!!!! However his PCP wasn't convinced that all could be done to save the leg. so he sent my father to Beth Israel Hospital in Boston. The surgeon there did a by-pass and that helped increase circulation. So, if they haven't looked into the possibility of a by-pass, then perhaps that is worth suggesting! But do it fast so that the infection doesn't spread further.

Pattex 2013-04-07 17:09:43 -0500 Report

Because of my mom's numerous other health troubles they didn't want to put her through another procedure. I threw out all these ideas and none of them were acceptable. Bone was sticking out of her heel sore but we didn't even realize that gangrene had set in…

katcot2152 2013-04-07 18:02:18 -0500 Report

So how is she doing now? I hope a lot better!!!

Pattex 2013-04-07 19:16:56 -0500 Report

Thank you for asking. She is doing much better. They have her on antibiotics for pneumonia (minor setback) but the leg itself is doing very well. She gets her stitches out on the 12th but she was sidelined by the pneumonia. I think she is going back to the rehab facility in a few days

Jan8 2013-04-07 10:17:43 -0500 Report

I worked as an RN on an amputee floor and was so very amazed at my patient when he walked onto our floor wearing a suit and tie . Would never guess he had a below the knee and above the knee amputation. He was so tall. I had only seen him in bed before that and was there during his surgery. It's amazing the progress they have made since then. Blessings to your mother . It's also very nice after the stumps are healed not to have to go through those painful dressing changes that took place before the surgery. Also the care is lots easier when the patient just puts on the prosthesis by herself. If you can see this way to the other side of things and the progression she will make I think you will be grateful. The best of luck to both of you and to the 2 others in your family.

Pattex 2013-04-07 14:14:42 -0500 Report

Thank you, Jan8. Everyone here has been so encouraging and uplifting. I was completely surprised that my mom has a really good attitude. I think she realizes that her health really suffered with the infected leg. She is glad to be alive and she's had a few setbacks but the surgical site is fine and they say healing pretty good. I really appreciate your feed back.. big hugs!!!

liquorish 2013-03-23 22:41:11 -0500 Report

Wow. What wonderful replies you have gotten. That's what I like about this site. I can't add anything more. Except to make sure you eat right and get some sleep, and help your mom to adjust to the idea of a prostheses (sp?) or chair, or whatever she has to do, and take her out and continue to do the things she always liked to do. God will surely bless you and your sisters for your help and support for your mom at this time. He says to store up treasures in Heaven. Ya'lls mansions will be "brim full". Liquorish

Pattex 2013-03-24 00:34:16 -0500 Report

Awww, I like your post too. Thank you Liquorish. I really like this site too.i figure diabetics have the best insight for me becasue i don't have it, but my mom and sister do.. My father had it as well but the effects of the disease are awful. It is tragic to lose a limb and God bless Mom, she has a good attitude..I think that is my main focus, to show her that nothing will change,shes stil mom and we love her dearly. My husband has been my rock and he motivates us both.
I do my best to take care of myself and help keep my sister from burning out. I have to say that i've gotten alot of strength and uplifting suggestoins from wonderful people i've met here. .What a blessing!!!
Best to you,

Stuart1966 2013-03-16 21:22:15 -0500 Report

Fear of anything gets bigger when we give it "fuel". Fuel comes from hiding them, suppressing them, pretending they are not real, wishing they disappear.

Say them aloud, discuss them and I propose they change…

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2013-03-18 11:52:10 -0500 Report

Very well said Stuart. It seems people are more apt to "fuel" fear than to ""fuel" courage and strength. People won't fly because they fear the plane will crash. The reality is more people are killed in car accidents per year. Plane crashes do not occur on a daily basis. People will only travel the roads they know our of fear of getting lost. They have no sense of adventure. For me getting lost is finding a place I didn't know existed.

Fear is a learned behavior and has many causes. What is even worse are parents with fears who teach their children to fear things. For instance my neighbor is afraid of every animal on earth and has never had a bad encounter with any of them. She had her 8 year old son the same way until he said to her one day. Just because you are afraid of everything why should I be. I hugged him. He told her that if he were afraid of everything I won't have a life and be unhappy like you. I hugged him again.

Facing fear isn't always easy but it can be accomplished. When we hide things or hide from something we are simply fueling the fear. You have to get the fear out in the open to make it go away.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2013-03-16 19:12:32 -0500 Report

I think that you have to become even stronger than you may be or feel during this time. Don't let her see your fear because she will become more fearful. You have to let her know you will be there for her every step of the way.

From my experience in caring for my mom we let her do all she could do for herself up until the day she died. She didn't want to feel like an invalid even though she was on oxygen and needed a wheel chair.

From working in a rehab hospital, seeing the improvement of patients with brain/spinal cord injuries, paralysis and lost limbs, the one thing I learned was the patients with friends and family members who cared, recovered faster, were more willing to go to therapy and psychological sessions and excelled when family was in therapy with them, encouraged them and cheered them on. It wasn't always easy but the patients kept going.

Do things with her and help her but let her help herself as much as possible. Good luck to all of you and stay strong. You mom will do better than you think. She may end up being the strongest of all of you.

Pattex 2013-03-17 18:48:21 -0500 Report

I couldn't agree with you more Joyce.. I know what you're saying makes absolute perfect sense. We got the word today that it will happen sooner than later and although Mom took it pretty hard, she's encouraged by our encouragement and that we are there every step of the way.. I am also confident that she will "out strong" all of us.. Thank you so much for your feedback and words of encouragement.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2013-03-18 11:43:31 -0500 Report

Pattex sometimes we think the person having the problem is not strong enough to handle the problem. I agree your mother will more than likely "out strong" all of you.

Pattex 2013-03-18 11:52:00 -0500 Report

I do believe in Mom's strength. I will continue to inspire her, she is stronger than even she thinks.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2013-03-18 12:04:49 -0500 Report

That is great you have to inspire her and make sure she doesn't become depressed over her change in life. Depression makes it harder to heal and bounce back. Keep up the good work and when she is able to do so take her out and treat her to something just for her.

Pattex 2013-03-18 12:08:26 -0500 Report

I can't wait to do that.. I know its a scary thing for her, but she's bounced back from difficult things Many times.. I know she can do it.. I thank you for your encouragement and the response on fear.. it really does make sense.

Tony5657 2013-03-15 13:51:32 -0500 Report

All 3 of you "saints" who have replied so far have truly blessed me and you surely have blessed Pattex. I join in prayer for all of you & Pattex's mother, for physical healing, strength, wisdom, discernment, courage, peace and for all that's involved in keeping on, keeping on.
Mark 10:27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

Tony5657 in New Braunfels, TX

Pattex 2013-03-15 15:34:33 -0500 Report

You're simply wonderful, thank you Tony… Can use all the prayers I can get.. Mom has the utmost faith but I think she's terrified of the physical change.. I absolutely positively believe with God all things are possible. BIG hugs to you.

Lentyl 2013-03-15 15:18:05 -0500 Report

Wonderful Tony. I'd like to add Matt. 8: 1- 4 and Matt. 7: 7 - 8. God is ith you and your family, Pattex.

Pattex 2013-03-15 15:35:54 -0500 Report

Thank you as well Lentyl.. Really feeling sad today but praying for uplifting positive vibes that will make everything go well and improve Mom's life and health.. Best to you!

GabbyPA 2013-03-15 01:26:31 -0500 Report

Be her rock for a while. It will mean the world to her. It is frightening to see a parent go through so much, but if you take it one day at a time and keep a positive focus, it will help everyone. I can't lie, you will feel helpless and sad at times, but if you are proactive and trying to do things, it really does help.

My mom recently went through radiation therapy that has effectively destroyed her pelvic bones. Her independence, while not as drastic and an amputation, is still affected and it has been a struggle for her. She had moved far away, but now is back living with me. I think we are both relieved. I can help her, and encourage her, and those little things mean so much.

Pattex 2013-03-15 10:14:18 -0500 Report

Hello Gabby, thank you for the kind words and the response.. I do feel helpless right now. We have tried really really hard to keep the wounds clean and dry but i think I'm angry that its not working. I feel a bit like we're failing mom. I think its being proactive trying to gather ourselves and talk with Mom this weekend about having to make the choice. Although terrifying It may save her life. I'm trying to get an idea of what to expect but I really don't know. I know that I would never abandon my mom so I'll just have to be strong and help her and my sister cope.

You are also a wonderful "rock" for your Mom. I'm sorry to hear what she is going through but I'm sure your love and support pulls her through. I hope I can be that same rock for my mom. :) Blessings to you both.. and thank you for the encouragement.

Danny1966 2013-03-15 10:27:09 -0500 Report

I will pray for you and your dear mom. Your story seems so much like my own as I walked the exact path you are walking with my own mother. I know that it is not easy at all. Past that, I do not know what to say except that I believe you will walk with her through this no matter what comes.

Pattex 2013-03-15 11:33:19 -0500 Report

Thank you too Danny. Has your Mom had surgery? I'm curious.. To me it feels like we're giving up, but I understand that holding on to an infected foot, or limb, is serious and infection can threaten her life. She's already living with a compromised immune system. :( I wish there was another way. Blessings to you as well.

tinkerbell54 2013-03-15 11:48:02 -0500 Report

I know how it is my MOM had diabetes for 20 yrs . she was a doubt amptee. We did all we could to save her when it started with just her big toe. but the problem got worst it went to leg . Then the problem statred on the other leg. thento the leg she had 6 " below the knee., on both her legs. be 4 the secong had problems she had A leg made by the Hanger company . she got around great. when the second had the problem she was in a wheelchair butvthat did not stop her. Tinkerbell54

Pattex 2013-03-15 12:20:38 -0500 Report

Thank you Tinkerbell, I guess that is what I want to hear is that losing a limb won't stop her from living. She took the news really hard when she got it the other day. Your mom sounds phenomenal.. serves as an inspiration to me.. as do you.. THANK YOU…

tinkerbell54 2013-03-15 12:25:38 -0500 Report

my MOM a great christian Woman . who never let her amptation get her down, it was her faith in GOD that kept her going. My MOM has been in Heaven since 1983 .She was my best friend. I wish she was her with me since i 2 have diabetes type 2. I miss her so much. Tinkerbell54

Pattex 2013-03-15 12:32:45 -0500 Report

I'm sooo sorry Tinkerbell.. Sounds like she was a pretty great lady.. Since you are here helping others like myself, I'd bet you got your good heart from your Mom. :) BIG hugs to you.

tinkerbell54 2013-03-15 12:43:29 -0500 Report

some days I miss my MOM so much she missed out on my wedding & the seeing Rain being born.Because she died inApril 1983. & i was married in 1988 & RAIN was born IN 1996. Tinkerbell54

Pattex 2013-03-15 13:10:23 -0500 Report

by the way, I sympathize. My father who was also diabetic passed away 9 months before i got married. It broke my heart to go through with it, without him, but Id like to think he was there in spirit.

Pattex 2013-03-15 13:02:13 -0500 Report

My sister and I take care of mom, although my sister lives in Mom's house so she is the full time care taker. I am the other helper and chief motivator.. :)

Pattex 2013-03-15 13:09:08 -0500 Report

You woulnd't believe how much its already helped me. I'm terrified for Mom but I also realize that its necessary to possibly save her life. I really appreciate how supportive everyone here is.. a million thanks to you and this lovely community.

tinkerbell54 2013-03-18 11:59:02 -0500 Report

GOD will give ur MOM the strenght to handle this problem of the lost of her leg. is ur pastor or priest coming to have prayer with her before she has the surgery? Tinerbell54

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