I Got A New Leg

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So on Thursday the 16th of May, thats yesterday for those who are brain dead, I received my brand new carbon and titanium prosthetic leg. The entire process for a new limb is daunting to say the least, and at best, going through the fittings process for the man made limb can be stupid to those who use common sense on a daily basis.

I have the new limb and I am learning to walk all over once again.

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It took me almost 4 months to reach this point of losing my leg and getting this replacement. I’ve been battling this outcome of losing my right leg since August 15th of 2018 all because I was hardheaded, stubborn and stupid in my decision to “Ignore Diabetes.” Now had I been intelligent, which my IQ test convinced me I was, I would researched diabetes and followed conventional wisdom and sensible choices to slow down the deterioration of my leg.

I did not do that.

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This is me now, for the rest of my life. I am currently learning to walk again. Teaching my left leg to walk normal because since January 31st of this year, my left lag has not been walking normally but instead hoping, as I learned to use a walker to move from room to room.

I am currently teaching my left thigh to assist my prosthetic in responding to my mind sending signals to my thigh, to make my prosthetic move like my left leg. Thats hard work. The mind and a normal leg communicate in unison to one another, without there being a nano second between the mind signal and the legs reaction.

The prosthetic does not recognize any signals from my brain. So there is a time lapse between what I want my prosthetic to do and when it actually does what I want the prosthetic to do…and when my thigh makes the connection between both actions. In other words, the instantaneous connection between mind and limb, is gone. Forever.

So I’ll be learning to walk as if I was a 8 month old baby, I’ve reverted to being a toddler. All because I ignored diabetes. 

The good news is I met a wonderful human being and SHE has decided she loves me. This magnificent lady has stood by me from start to now as I travel this road of being an amputee.

Allow me to introduce  you all to Grace…..

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This woman is why I am alive. She is why I survived the amputation. Grace is actually what keeps me going. I plan to walk down an aisle somewhere in some island one day when I learn to walk again, to tell her I Do.

Anyway…..I now have a new leg. I now no longer ignore diabetes. Too little too late to be honest. So I close this blog post with my usual warning: Do NOT be stupid like I was. Do NOT Ignore Your Diabetes. Research the disease. Investigate the disease. Learn about diabetes. Do whatever is necessary to never end up like me……

Like THIS…..

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Ignoring Your Diabetes…… DON’T IGNORE DIABETES.

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Being Hardheaded With Diabetes

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I’ve never been a fan of the medical profession. I don’t trust many humans and doctors are very high on my list of those who lack my trust. Most doctors these days have a mindset ruled by two things…… bottom line profits for themselves and profits for the big pharmaceutical companies who pay these doctors to push their pills, medication and drugs.

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Since my diabetes diagnosis in 2008 I have learned that the average doctor has no interest whatsoever in curing disease. Lets be real and honest, if a doctor cures a disease or ailment then he loses a customer. The medical profession lives on repeat customers.

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No money can be made if doctors and medical professionals cure what ailed us to begin our visits to doctors offices. The goal of MOST doctors is not to heal, but to make whatever “condition” we have something we can live with AND keep us returning, for that every 3 month office visit.

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I said all this to kinda explain what my mindset is/was about the thought process that led me to ignore my diabetes. I do not preach to people about anything but…..if you have a diabetes diagnosis and do nothing to manage your diabetes, you are headed to the exact same place I am in right this second…..

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Now the good news in all this for me is I am recovering in spectacular fashion. It has been just 85 days, from the amputation surgery on January 31st, 2019, until May 2nd, 2019, when I visit my prosthetic designer. I will get my first look at and wear for the first time, my new prosthetic limb. 

I still do not trust the motives of all doctors. I have horror stories to tell that would curl your toes in disbelief. All in all I am coming through this experience in great shape.

All this for me could have been avoided had I taken my diabetes diagnosis seriously, NOT been my usual hardheaded self. I DID NOT LISTEN to doctors and paid no mind to the warnings I received. 

The bright side to the past 9 months is I met a wonderful woman, who decided to love me, hard head and all, and stick by my side through every nanosecond of this ordeal.

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In upcoming blog post I will detail my journey and the unnecessary things I had to endure at the hands of incompetent doctors, unprofessional medical staff, and insurance companies that should be behind bars for the way they treat customers. I will relate my experiences to you in hope that my experiences will help you navigate the waters of what happens if, when, you decide to ignore YOUR diabetes, and end up like me.

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Ignoring Diabetes Gets Me A New Leg.

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I was supposed to write this blog from the start of my journey when I started “Ignoring My Diabetes”, but as per my usual with things I’m supposed to do, I’ve changed how I am going to do this. Instead of any clear format I am writing blog post as they come to me in no particular order whatsoever.

Makes it all the more interesting.

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Yesterday I was fitted for my first prosthetic leg by a prosthetic company. Now one would think getting a limb to replace the limb amputated would be a simple process. Fit the stump, order the prosthetic, make sure it fits properly then start physical therapy to train the mind and body to accept and use the new limb. NO.

I had to take an AMP Test. In order not to confuse you with the information contained in today’s installment about Ignoring Diabetes and what happens when you Ignore Diabetes, read along with the following information on what an AMP Test actually is and why it’s needed before a prosthesis can be given.

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Few things are as frustrating as having an insurance company refuse to cover equipment or services you know your patient needs. This is especially true for prosthetic devices, because they have such a huge impact on mobility and quality of life. One of the best things you can do to help your patients is to clearly document their current and potential functional status. And if they need a lower limb prosthetic, the best way to do that is by communicating their K level.

Medicare established K levels, also called Medicare Functional Classification Levels (MFCL), in 1995 as a means to quantify need and the potential benefit of prosthetic devices for patients after lower limb amputation. The rating system is still used today by Medicare, Medicaid and many other insurance companies to determine eligibility for payment or reimbursement.

As mobility specialists, you (PTs) are often the most qualified member of the rehab team to establish a patient’s K level. For you this means two things: 1) You need to document your patient’s K level and 2) You need to pass that information along to their referring physician and their prosthesis. Below are Medicare’s descriptions of the five (0-4) K Levels:


K Levels

Level 0

Does not have the ability or potential to ambulate or transfer safely with or without assistance and a prosthesis does not enhance their quality of life or mobility.

Level 1

Has the ability or potential to use a prosthesis for transfers or ambulation on level surfaces at fixed cadence. Typical of the limited and unlimited household ambulator.

Level 2

Has the ability or potential for ambulation with the ability to traverse low level environmental barriers such as curbs, stairs or uneven surfaces. Typical of the limited community ambulator.

Level 3

Has the ability or potential for ambulation with variable cadence. Typical of the community ambulator who has the ability to traverse most environmental barriers and may have vocational, therapeutic, or exercise activity that demands prosthetic utilization beyond simple locomotion.

Level 4

Has the ability or potential for prosthetic ambulation that exceeds basic ambulation skills, exhibiting high impact, stress, or energy levels. Typical of the prosthetic demands of the child, active adult, or athlete.


According to the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists, no one method is considered the gold standard for establishing K-Levels. The rating is left up to the clinician doing the assessment, and unfortunately, many consider it over-simplified and too subjective.

According to a 2016 survey of prosthetists, published in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 67% of respondents didn’t think the K level could accurately capture a patient’s rehab potential. For this reason, many clinicians turn to more established clinical outcome measures (OMs).

Outcome measures commonly used to establish K levels include the following:

  • Amputee Mobility Predictor (AMP)
  • Patient Assessment Validation Evaluation Test (PAVET)
  • Prosthesis Evaluation Questionnaire (PEQ)
  • Timed Up and Go (TUG)
  • Timed Walk Tests
  • Distance Walk Tests

The Amputee Mobility Predictor (AMP) is the most frequently used outcome measure by far (by a factor of 2, according to the survey just mentioned). The AMP can be administered in as little as fifteen minutes on patients with (AMPPro) or without a prosthesis (AMPnoPro). A simple conversion table (DOCX) allows for a quick K level determination. The AMP’s use for assessing functional status of lower limb amputees was validated by researchers at the University of Miami School of Medicine in 2002, and you can find a copy of the test and its instructions in their paper here.

Whichever method you choose to determine K level, it is important that you take the initiative to communicate your assessment to both your patient’s doctor and their prosthetist. This will help increase the odds this information will be used to justify medical necessity. You can learn more about how to do this in this detailed guide created by the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists.

You also want to make sure you educate your patients. The Amputee Coalition, a non-profit “dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for amputees and their families,” emphasizes the importance of patients knowing their K level. They offer a patient-friendly handout, Do you know Your K-Level?, as a free download.

Ottobock also offers a free download, Documentation Tips: Justifying Functional Level, to help ensure your patients get the devices they need.

My AMP test score was a 27, which falls, BY ONE POINT, short of K3. I am classified as a K2. The real purpose of this K rating system is to determine how “Good” of a prosthesis I will get. It’s a very ass backwards process because the higher the score one gets on this AMP test, the more technology advanced prosthesis you qualify to receive. In other words, normal people who have an amputation, and who need a better/best prosthesis, get the worse quality prosthetic if they get a low score. High AMP test scores are usually attained by world class athletes or people who train daily such as firemen, soldiers, athletes and so on.

Now one would think, using logic and common sense, that a person not so athletic, someone not in the best shape, one who has issues with balance and Equilibrium because of the lost limb, would be the ones inline for the top notch prosthesis. NO. Those who need the most technology advanced prosthetic limbs are not able to qualify because their K scores are lower than the people who score higher on this AMP test.

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The entire process from being tested to determine what quality prosthesis I qualify to receive, along with seeing an orthopedic surgeon/doctor so he can sign off on the new limb {that pesky insurance guy needs a “real doctor” to write the order}, to being fitted for the prosthesis, took 3 hours. I have another appointment set to see the prosthesis maker in 2 weeks to get a look/feel/tryout, for what is to be my new appendage. At this appointment I see how well the cast was made, how comfortable the limb fits and if I am able to make the leap from my leg to my bionic limb.

To be totally honest I went through this entire amputation in a breeze. I had no pain after the surgery. I took no pain killers. There was little or no swelling. Upon discharge 4 days after the surgery, I was able to transfer and ambulate on my own and had no issues with doing things like dressing myself or other activities of daily living. I had this surgery on January 31st. Went home on February 4th. Measured/cast for my prosthesis on April 17th. First fitting/wearing for the prosthetic limb is May 2nd. In 92 days I went from having a lower leg/ankle/foot the size of a tree trunk, filled with infection, a condition called Osteomyelitis which is an infection in the bone……to having a new limb and starting to walk as a “normal” human being.

WARNING………. The images below are gross and real. This was the condition on my right foot/ankle/leg from August 14th, when the swelling/infection/osteomyelitis was first diagnosed…. until January 31st, when the infection was removed along with my foot/ankle/leg in what is known as a below the knee amputation.

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Now one would think this ordeal would push me to the point of never allowing my diabetes to go un-managed, knowing this would be the end result. I can not honestly say that if I knew for certain, back in 2008 when I was diagnosed with type two diabetes, that I would end up here, where I am now, if I did not manage this disease correctly….that I would change a single thing. Do anything differently. I asked myself this very question a few nights ago.

The answer is …… I’m not 100% sure I’d change a single thing to prevent this amputation.

DO NOT BE LIKE ME. Manage your diabetes. Prevent a hard head or that “not giving a damn” mindset from doing this to you.

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2008. Life WAS Wonderful.

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2008. I’m enjoying life. In 2008 I’d been a chef for 26 years. I could have chosen a plethora of careers but decided on being a professional chef, or glorified cook depending on the address of your employer, because I absolutely love traveling.

After high school, a stint in the military and during college, I thought it over and went straight to the culinary world. I was taught to cook at age 8 by my grandmother, it started with biscuits every Saturday morning. Cartoons were playing on the kitchen TV whilst I watched Granny make her biscuits from scratch. Soon after that first month of watching her, the TV was never on again while she was teaching me how to prepare food from scratch,

I never really “loved” cooking, as some/most chefs will tell everybody who listens to them go on and on and on about their love of cooking. I didn’t love cooking for total strangers who on most nights didn’t have a clue what actually goes into preparing that magnificent dish they just scarfed down as if the restaurant was on fire.
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 have a spectacular talent for cooking and I have a vision for making new dishes, but love cooking……..No. I did however have an idea that cooking would get me into traveling, which I did and do love.

So cooking while traveling the world over, was my calling.
In 2008 that all came to a screeching halt.

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I was in an American city in the Midwest, just arrived for a new gig in an upscale chop house that served overpriced steaks, overpriced chops and overpriced dinner checks. I had been working there for 3 weeks when the great flood of 2008 hit this city. That chophouse was flooded closed. Never reopened. I was officially unemployed. I was not too concerned.

One of the things I adored about traveling for my career was the newness of each city I’d work in. I’d arrive, visit the new restaurant and immediately start exploring my new temporary home. Walking is/was the very best way to learn a new location.

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Driving is cool when you know your way around and know exactly where you want to go…….Walking is the absolute best way to learn your way around a new place. The best way to discover all the great things about each new place you live.

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I LOVE walking my way around town. So imagine my shock and surprise when my leg/thigh was as swollen as a small oak tree trunk, upon waking from a deep relaxing sleep one July afternoon. It was literally the size of a small oak tree’s trunk. I went into an ER a few days later, yes, it took me a “few days” to get time away from the kitchen before going to the ER.

It appears that all this walking I love doing gave me a blister which got infected and could not heal like a normal blister would heal, due to my diabetes. Had I been healthy and not a diabetic, this blister would have burst, healed and end of story. Being diabetic means no wound or sore on the lower extremities ever heals in a normal fashion. Diabetes slows or stops the flow of blood, which makes healing near impossible if you do NOT manage your diabetes.

So, on a warm July afternoon I was diagnosed with type two diabetes. I knew what diabetes was but I did not know about diabetes. Here’s something I did know, for certain, I was not about to stop my life or change how I lived my life over diabetes. How wrong was I going to be about that, in the long run.

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My trip to the ER for this swollen leg was an eye opening moment. A revelation if you will. The doctor informed me, after doing blood work, that I was diabetic, had type two diabetes and was going to have to make some lifestyle changes to live a rather long and healthy life,

I had no intention of making any “changes” and as far as I was concerned, my life was completely healthy. Already. My Granny used to say to me, when I was hard headed and didn’t listen to her…. “hard head makes for a soft ass.” I never knew what she meant, AND my ass should be like cotton, due to my hard head…..but it’s not that soft at all.

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Ignoring my diabetes diagnoses got me this……

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In case this image escapes you, it’s whats left of my once healthy lower leg. I now have a stump where my leg below the knee, including my size 13 foot, were once located. NOT listening to the doctors way back in 2008, and ignoring my diabetes, brought me to my current position, which is on my ass or in a wheel chair….. until I get fitted later this month for a prosthetic limb. Then I’ll be learning how to walk, all over again, like a newborn.

Hard head makes for a soft ass. 

NOW I know what that means.

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DO NOT be a fool like me, manage your diabetes.
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Diabetes ain’t nothing to ignore.

This is my very first installment in a series of blog posts about my journey from able bodied man to….. amputee. A Below The Knee Amputee. All because I was hard headed, refused to accept that ignoring my diabetes diagnosis was stupid, and thinking I knew better than the doctors.

Do NOT Be Me.

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Hard Headed…..Like me.

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Do whats right.

Some of you may know me as The Militant Negro. My blog under this name was in use since 2011. In 2008 I was diagnosed with type two diabetes. As you may have guessed from this new blog name……I choose to ignore my diabetes diagnoses and did jack shit to prevent myself from ending up as I am now.

I am currently in a wheelchair with a BKA…..that’s a below the knee amputation.

The purpose of this blog is to educate, in my own way, how those who have diabetes can avoid my mistakes by NOT ignoring diabetes. I will NOT be preaching, judging or telling those who choose to follow me here on this blog, what to do. I WILL be passing on information, but mainly I will be sharing with those who are interested…… WAYS NOT TO END UP LIKE ME, with the loss of a limb, or worse, BECAUSE YOU ARE HARD HEADED……like me.

On January 31st of 2019, I had my right leg below the knee removed, or amputated is more accurate. This happened for a plethora of reasons but mainly because I was HARD HEADED and ignored doing what I should have done, knew I should have done, from the start.

Now maybe, just maybe, someone out here in the Worstpress community might benefit from my hard headed ass, and do the right thing when it comes to diabetes. The gist of this blog will be Me, sharing my journey from 2008, when I was first told I was diabetic, until now, when I reached this point where my hard headiness has taken me.

Do NOT end up like myself, waiting to be fitted for a prosthetic limb. Which by the way I am scheduled to be fitted for on the 17th of April.

I am doing exceptional at this point, both physically and mentally. But this journey is totally unnecessary. I ignored everything, and when I didn’t ignore everything, I half assed did what I was supposed to do to control/manage this disease.

Took insulin when I was good and damn ready, or didn’t take it at all.
Did NOT follow doctors instructions.
Ate what I desired, regardless of the ramifications of doing that.
I suppose I didn’t give a shit back then. Then I met a Goddess who loved me, even as I was before the amputation…..and that changed my perspective on life and living life.

BUT by then it was too late to save my lower leg.

This blessing you see above is that Goddess. The reason I am now fighting to be healthy.
She is what makes me do the right thing daily. She has me fighting to survive my stupidity in treating my diabetes.

SO, in closing, I am starting this blog today, Sunday the 14th of April, to allow others who might be like me, to see where you could, might, end up if you have a hard head……like I do….did. I’m still hard headed like usual, just not about diabetes.

This is a totally new blog venture. I am starting out with a free, plain blog until I decide where and how I wish to do this blog thing. It’s not my usual flamboyant blog, it might get to that point someday but for now this is what this blog looks like. Plain and “normal.”
I will be writing about all the things I’ve done since 2008, to end up here, so you don’t end up here.

Hope it helps someone, just one someone, to not be hard headed, like me.

Diabetes illness concepts word cloud illustration. Word collage concept.