Elaine Albertson

I'm now 62, and living on Kaua'i Island in Hawai'i. I'm thankful everyday for still being alive, and the massive scars and missing two centimeters of my left leg are constant reminders.People ask questions.It used to be that I would avoid talking about it, but now I find that it helps, and people need to know so that they don't ignore situations that could lead to NF In 1970 I was in a motorcycle accident in Phoenix that crushed my left tibia, and had problems with it healing. Eventually it came back together, but with problems in joint alignment, etc. In 1974, while living in Portland, Oregon problems with the tendons led to a surgery tore-break the bone, straighten, and lengthen it. The surgery apparently went well, and I was up and walking (much better) on the leg after only a couple of days.However, when I visited the reconstructive surgeon ten days later to have the stitches removed we found a massive necrotic scab under the bandage. It covered the entire front of my leg. I found myself in an isolation room at the hospital almost immediately. What followed was over a month of the usual constant debridement,trying all sorts of antibiotics (I'm allergic to penicillin, but that would not likely have helped anyway), and massive amounts of pain meds. At one point after that month, the physicians felt that it was not controllable, and to save my life they needed to remove the leg. I signed the consent, but that evening before the scheduled surgery there was what could only be called a miraculous turnaround in that the usual morning treatment showed, rather than active necrosis, active granulation tissue. The amputation was cancelled.I spend the next eight months in the hospital enduring numerous grafts and other procedures, along with constant IV antibiotics, until finally being released.The leg was again just as short as it had been before the attempted correction,but it was at least still there (there was alot of nerve and muscle damage,but it still works well enough to walk on) and I was alive. Today I try to gently remind people to take care of what they feel maybe "minor"scrapes and other wounds.These are the tropics,and NF is more common here than in most locales.