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Minnesota Musings

My Left Foot – An Amputation Story

By February 22, 2021One Comment

I lost my left foot to amputation and like a car accident you couldn’t turn away. You just had to look didn’t you.

I am closing in on fifty-six years on this earth. That’s a lot of days in a row to be breathing if you ask me. Don’t get me wrong I am grateful that breath still comes. But along with age comes the decline of health. Again, don’t get me wrong I lead a healthy life that provides more than a modicum of well-being. But even that cannot prevent the decline–Only slow it down.

This isn’t a post complaining about my physical health, which old-er people tend to do, rather about mental health, specifically the mind–A powerful place to live if you so choose.

I won’t go into the few health issues that come with nearly being fifty-six years of age, but there is one that captured my attention recently. It has nothing to do with leading an unhealthy lifestyle, rather having to do with genes–family genes. The maternal side of the family lacks circulation­–That be varicose and other veins affecting the hands and feet. If not treated properly this can become problematic. If I were living in Minnesota with poor circulation it would be a living hell. But I live in Tokyo so it is less hellish which allowed me to get away with not paying attention to it.

Being a runner and cyclist has allowed me to maintain a strong heart. Had I not I am sure it would be more problematic. My only concern up to this point was making sure I was hydrated enough, ate healthy and kept away from smoking and drinking. What did me in? Well, it wasn’t cigarettes and booze, it was coffee. Having had two bouts of kidney stones both related to the massive consumption of coffee it should have been a wake-up call. The coffee culture is big in the cycling world and whenever I write, which is often, I drink coffee. Even after the 2nd bout of kidney stones and the doctor insisting that I lay off coffee and stay hydrated I couldn’t resist. The addict in me is strong.

After the last doctor visit and a month’s supply of “kidney-stone be gone” medicine I checked this health issue off the list. That is until I noticed that a few of my left foot toes hurt after cycling and running. I chalked it up to either the medicine, cold weather, tight shoes or all the above. I paid no attention until one day I noticed the left foot was purple. Being from Minnesota and home to frigid conditions I took pride in the fact that I could weather anything Mother Nature threw my way–A frostbit nose and ear lobe, but never toes. I immediately became concerned and like any closeted hypochondriac I went to google and began my research. Within ten minutes I self-diagnosed my left foot discoloration. And sure enough all signs pointed to one thing–Amputation.

I will not go into details about the one disease I honed in on leading to my left foot amputation, but I will say at that moment I lost my left foot. I started to fantasize, if you can say that, about not having a left foot. Riding my bike without a left foot could be done, but a prosthetic would be better. I tried walking around with all my weight on the right. “I got this,” I said out loud. I even went so far as to convince myself that this is part of letting go of attachments, a Buddhist tenet that states we are not to be attached to our thoughts, feelings or even body parts. While I can say I am able to at times let go of the first two, this last one might be difficult.

So in the end I did lose my left foot to amputation, but only in my mind.

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