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My Story, maybe it will help someone

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  • bmackster
    Hello everyone, my name is Barry. I have buergers disease as well. If anyone visiting this site just found out they have it and need info, please feel free to
    Message 1 of 3 , Sep 1, 2003
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      Hello everyone, my name is Barry. I have buergers disease as well. If
      anyone visiting this site just found out they have it and need info,
      please feel free to contact me if you like. 22 months ago after
      hearing of buergers disease and then coming to the conclusion that I
      most probably had buergers disease about 16 months before then I had
      a very big scare.

      So in other words after 3 years of trying to figure out what was
      wrong with my feet (increasing pain in the arches because of lack of
      blood flow, and this terrible numbing feeling in the ball of my foot
      and through my toes and my foot continued to get bluer and bluer.) I
      found out I had buergers and kept smoking. I said to myself well
      surely I can be one of the 10,000 to be able to get this disease. I
      was miserable because I couldn't run anymore, I couldn't play tennis
      anymore, and I couldn't walk on a treadmill. I couldn't stand on my
      feet for more than minutes at a time before I would have to leap on a
      table to get off my feet and let the pain diminish. Diminish?? Yea a
      little, then back up on my feet, ohhhhh I could barely stand on them,
      could barely walk, the pain near causing me to sweat. Yea, I think
      it did make me sweat many times. But what did I do,, I kept smoking.

      At least I could enjoy smoking, I couldn't run, or play tennis, or
      hike, so at least I could enjoy something,, yea,, smoking.. I truly
      was in denial that the real cause of my pain had been established. I
      guess in some way I wanted to prove that I didn't have buergers. I
      would smoke and prove it wrong; my feet will get better... WRONG....
      So 12 months after I had discovered buergers and about 6 months after
      a vascular surgeon agreed with me that I had buergers disease I had a
      very terrible scare. You see, I found out about buergers disease
      through my Dad... Yea,, he used to smoke, and would always ask me
      Son, have you quit smoking yet? Years went by, have you quit smoking
      yet. Why did you every start smoking again? You had quit for 10 or 11
      years. Yes, Dad I really do want to quit again. One day about 3 years
      after I had started smoking again Dad tells me on the phone,, Hey
      Son, I looked up in the medical encyclopedia we have about pain in
      the feet. Besides mentioning Diabetes, they referred to a disease
      caused from smoking called buergers... I said really? And then all
      those little thoughts, watch my dad will be right about these stupid
      cigarettes and be able to say I told you so, you should have quit
      son... I thought I sure hope this buergers disease he just told me
      about is not it. That would make him right. LOL..

      Well, because of my Dad, I started asking the different doctors I had
      been to, feet docs, Neuro docs, and vascular docs. about buergers..
      OH. Well let me pull out the medical dictionary they all said...
      Well, it became apparent that the consensus was in. What else could
      it be? I had buergers. But what did I do,, I kept smoking. How can
      this be, me having this very rare disease? I was not thoroughly
      ready to believe that I had this disease... So, about 12 months after
      I heard of the disease from my Dad, and then 6 months after it was
      the consensus of the docs, my left foot, always the worst out of the
      two, started swelling up one fine day. And with swelling becomes
      worsened blood flow. Yes, the first real full blown buergers flare
      up... I had a kidney stone once, and it is said to be as painful as
      having a baby. I had that verified by a woman that passed a kidney
      stone which also had a baby. She preferred to have a baby. Rare for a
      woman to pass kidney stones by the way. Well the pain that kicked in
      was about twice as bad as my kidney stone maybe 5 times. It happened
      at a convenient time, on a friday afternoon.. Me go to a doctor on
      friday afternoon? No surely this swelling will go away. I wished
      that I had run to my doctor that afternoon in retrospect now. Because
      that weekend was the worst weekend in my entire life, as far as
      physical pain goes.

      Well, by 8 o'clock the next morning I realized that I hadn't slept,
      and had been in wreathing pain all night long. And the pain was still
      there. The only thing I could do was to sit on my couch with my legs
      down. If I put my legs up, the pain became even worse. But if I kept
      them down all the time, they would feel as puffy and swollen as
      puffer fish before the blow there hurricane force wind to knock over
      their pray. And the pain, how do you explain that pain? A friend of
      mine that has buergers also. I met him through my sister that
      attended a school speaker function in Arizona. I live in California.
      He was giving a presentation about buergers disease as part of the
      anti smoking campaign funded through health related tax dollars at my
      Sisters sons school. She noticed that he was talking about the same
      disease I had been diagnosed as having. Anyway after about 4 or 5
      days in to the swelling I called him for the first time. I had his
      number for months before that, but when my foot swelled up to the
      size of small watermelon I called him to see if he could kind of fill
      me in on what I could expect. We hit it off and became good friends.
      We have a lot more in common than buergers disease. Funny how
      terrible things can bring about great things.

      Anyway months later after the onset of the major buergers flare up in
      my foot, he said it best about the pain of any explanation I have
      ever heard... I was talking with him on the phone a few months after
      this flare up and said, gosh those buergers exercises, how
      ridiculously painful that is. No one that has not endured that pain
      can understand what that is all about. He said exactly, that is why I
      don't try to explain it anymore to people. They try to compare it to
      a bad back, you know your normal throw your back out every once in a
      while pain... I said yea, I mean when you put your foot up in the
      air and let the blood flow out of it, it hurts so badddddddd it is..
      and then when you put it down it is...... And my buddy breaks in and
      says, yea,, it is like trading the worst F****** pain in the world
      for the OTHER worst F****** pain in the world. We laughed…. I
      normally don't cuss, I mean hardly ever. I don't really believe in
      it. But I found that during a buergers flare up, cussing was one of
      my least concerns at times during those wee hours of the morning with
      no relief for days and weeks on end. So rung out on oxycodone that
      life was a fairytale. The theme of the fairy tale was pain pain pain,
      and take some medicine that didn't help very much at all..

      The weekend when my foot swelled up was the beginning of a 6 week
      strait pain fest. The pain was so intense that taking 2 percocet, a
      trazadone, and an ambien, got me to sleep, or should I say pass out
      for almost two hours. But even then, it was intervened by vassal
      spasms that would jerk me up to sitting position and almost make me
      come out of the drug induced coma. I remember thinking, I need
      stronger medication. So, what do I do, that weekend??? I kept
      smoking.. I was up all night long, at least I could enjoy a
      cigarette.. Wait.. I didn't enjoy those cigarettes. I did not enjoy
      anything, it was impossible the pain was too intense. But still that
      good ol smoke was the closest I came to enjoying anything. But as I
      sat up at the computer frantically searching for someone or something
      that would tell me what was going on with my foot.. Wait, I knew it
      was the buergers and because of cigarettes.. But no,, it can't be, it
      is something else. So I would puff and puff and search out sites on
      buergers disease.. I started reading of the amputations, the pain,
      and saw fear in people's letters because they didn't know what to
      expect with buergers... As I was sitting there smoking my cigarette
      one night about 2 weeks in to the swelling, I was talking to
      myself... You know, you need to quit smoking these anyway. You know
      how bad you felt when you started smoking again. I shed tears when I
      realized I had started smoking again. I had quit 11 years. Then
      someone I dated that could smoke every now and then I allowed her to
      smoke in my truck about 3 years after we had been dating on one of
      our weekend getaways. That did it, that close proximity, surely after
      all these years I could have one now and then like her... WRONG..

      The same old story, before you know it and right at the time when the
      tobacco companies had messed with the delivery method of nicotine to
      the brain I started puffing those things again... And once the urge,
      the addiction sparked, it was like I had to make up for all those
      years I had quit. They tasted terrible about 3 or 4 days after I
      started smoking them. The first few days they tasted great. Then they
      started tasting bad, I knew I wanted to quit. I was so stupid for
      smoking with her on the trip, but now I wanted one to taste good
      before I quit again..All thoughts of addiction huh?? Stupid
      thinking. But addiction works like that,, at the promise of something
      being "good". So smoke smoke smoke, and before you know it they
      tasted good again, a few weeks later, now I was hooked again, and I
      could tell that there was something much more addicting about them
      then before. It was like I was a machine that had to keep pumping
      more and more nicotine in to me. I had quit and started again before
      many years ago, and I never remembered them having the power that
      they had this time. Thanks be to the money hungry owners of the
      tobacco companies. They truly did make cigarettes more addictive.

      I was getting sympathectimies (some sort of nerve block done by
      medicating areas of the spinal column by injections) every week to
      help relieve the pain and hopefully some of the swelling in my foot.
      I was taking blood thinners and blood pressure meds, previous 12
      months before the buergers flare up and extreme swelling. They did
      little if any good.. Finally my big toe was so swollen and looking as
      though it was minutes away from infection, my Doc told me he thinks
      we need to amputate within the next 5 days or so, or risk of
      infection spreading up through the tendon shaft and causing us to
      have to amputate at mid-calf. Even as it was, I may have had to have
      ended up with a mid-calf amputation. It is common for amputations to
      resist healing and gangrene will set in or infection and necessitate
      further amputation. He wanted me to get another opinion though for my
      own benefit though. So he sent me to Davis Med. Center in Davis. Sure
      enough, he concurred, it must be amputated soon, no way to save it. I
      had gangrene on the end of my big toe because I accidentally whacked
      my toe with my crutch one night will sitting at the couching bouncing
      my crutch up and down out of nervous,,,,, I am awake and in pain mode
      and must do something to take my mind off of the pain. Yea, so I
      whacked my toe with my crutch.. That started the whole top front
      portion of my toe to turn black as can be. Gangrene……

      So a friend of mine drove me to UC Davis to get the other opinion on
      Friday. And when we were on our way back from Davis and said, you
      sure are calm about the fact that you may have to have your toe
      amputated and then very possibly a transmetatarcel amputation or
      maybe lose your leg. I said yea well,, the pain, if the pain goes
      away, then it was the price that had to be paid.

      I forgot to mention that about 4 weeks before that day, I was sitting
      at my computer at 4 in the morning smoking a cigarette because I
      couldn't sleep... sleep what was that?? I had some of the most crazy
      conversations with myself. Funny what sleep deprivation can do. Yea,
      smoking my cigarette. I said, I wonder if it really is these stupid
      cigarettes. What if it isn't and I quit and this pain goes on and one
      and the disease never goes away. Then I give up the one thing that I
      can find some pleasure in. Then I thought, well, I guess it isn't
      proven for sure that nicotine is the only cause for buergers disease,
      but I know it is proven to cause lung cancer, emphazema, heart
      disease. Heck, I could sit here and keep smoking and prove all of
      this to myself, you know, prove that smoking causes say.....lung
      cancer.. That would be fun to have.. Or I could keep smoking and get
      heart disease, have a heart attack, that would fun.. I suddenly
      thought, you are a slave to these things, you know it. You know how
      much you enjoy being free of theme. You had quit for 11 years. Even
      if it doesn't fix your foot, you don't want to sit here and keep
      smoking for the rest of your life.. I looked at my cigarettes.. I
      picked up the pack and crunch. I put the cigarette out and proceeded
      to dump out all the ashtrays in the house and etc.. I quit....

      So four weeks after that we were driving back from Davis, and she
      dropped my off at home. I crutched my way in,, and went through my
      daily painful shower and clean the wound and wrap my toe and put on
      my big fluffy sock and sit down at the couch and writhing in pain
      because I had been on my foot an exorbitant amount that day.

      Sunday my beloved Son of 21 was coming over to help me get a few
      things in order in my shop. I am self employed and had a couple of
      jobs in the shop that I hadn't touched in 6 weeks. A few days before
      that on our regular Wednesday night chess night, we both looked down
      at my foot after I had gotten out of the shower and we both looked up
      at each other and I could see the fear in his eyes, and he in mine.
      My foot and toe looked like something out of medical horror story
      magazine. That was two days before the trip to Davis for the second
      opinion.

      My plan for that sunday when he came up was to take plenty of pain
      meds, put on bunches of warm clothes, and go sit on a stool and
      instruct him on what I needed to get done so that I could pass the
      work on to a friend of mine that was going to help me get the job
      done in his shop.. That morning as I was getting ready to go out to
      the shop, I thought man, I cannot go out in the shop with a big
      fluffy sock on. What if I hit it or something, hit my other toes,
      which would pop if I hit them hard on something I thought. So I
      picked an old and the loosest fitting tennis shoe had. Pulled out the
      laces and stretched it all out and gently put my foot in to it. There
      was something almost comforting of the restraint the shoe encasing my
      foot gave me.

      So my Son and I went out to the shop and without thinking to much
      about it my Son said about 2 hours later, Pop I haven't heard you
      moaning or anything from your foot pain. I said, yea, I don't know
      it is not doing to terrible right now. But we were busy so I didn't
      think too much about it. Well I ended up out in the shop for about
      twice as long as I thought I could even barely stand. I was doing
      stuff I hadn't done in a month and a half. Like walking without a
      crutch. Didn't dawn on me though..

      The day was over, I was taking off my shoes and my son was sitting
      there talking with me, and I gently, ever so gently took my shoe off
      of my left foot, and then my sock. And then I looked up as my Son
      did also and I saw this look of shock in his eyes, and he in mine. We
      looked at each other and said, in unison "the swelling went
      down"!!.. We both looked at each other again. I said wow, that is why
      I was even able to get my foot in this shoe to begin with. I remember
      thinking, there is no way I could have gotten my foot in to that shoe
      yesterday. The only thing I can figure is that for 6 weeks I was so
      much in to the pain pain pain pain pain, that I didn't notice the
      absense of it that morning. It was only then when the day had ended
      that the full impact of what had happened became apparent. Some time
      that saturday night or early sunday morning the swelling subsided by
      about 75% and with it went 75% of the pain.. My Son and I were both
      very thankful at that moment, that it appeared that the Lord had
      worked a miracle and answered prayer that if it was in his will that
      the swelling and pain would subside, that I would be able to keep my
      foot.

      The next morning was monday, and I went to my Vascular surgeon Doc.
      What a great guy.. I had a follow up appt. because of the appt. at
      Davis Med. Center. I had the choice of where I wanted to have the
      amputation at.. The Doc walked in with his head kind of low that
      morning because he had talked to the Doc at Davis. He asked me..
      Well, where do you want to have your amputation at, here in town or
      at Davis. I said in an excited voice.. DOC! Look at my foot! He
      looked down and looked up and said in the most surprised voice.. WHAT
      did you do???? He meant, what happened to the swelling.. I said, I
      don't know Doc, but it took me about 12 hours to notice it had gone
      down. He was in shock and said something to the affect that he had
      never seen ischemia as severe as that subside in such a dramatic
      fashion. He looked at me and said, I have some good news, we don't
      have to amputate.. I kind of laughed and thought, there is no way
      your taking it off now, the majority of the pain and swelling is
      gone.. LOL...He said it sure is a good thing that happened when it
      did. The Doc from Davis and myself felt that the toe should come off
      as soon as possible, this week. A couple of days and you would have
      been in the hospital and we would have never known that the swelling
      had subsided on its own accord. You see the first order of business
      before the amputation was to get the swelling down. That meant tying
      my leg up in the air and injecting me with morphine for approximately
      3 days so I could stand the pain as the blood ran out and the
      swelling went down so as to allow surgery..


      It has been 19 months since then. I have not even puffed on a
      cigarette and do not ever intend on doing so.. It is too bad that the
      cigarette packages don't carry a warning (smoking can lead to
      buergers disease). See, for me, I had the symptoms of the disease 3
      or four years before I started smoking again with my girlfriend. But
      I didn't know that is why my left foot got numb so quick when I went
      on my bike rides. If I would have heard of buergers disease and it
      was an accepted fact that cigarettes causes buergers I would have
      never picked up a cigarette with my girlfriend. I would have never
      let her smoke in my truck. I would have known I had the disease, no
      mystery involved. I see that some people keep on smoking even after
      amputation.. How sad that the addiction has over powered you so much.
      I will pray for you that you have the strength to quit. Or maybe you
      want to prove that they cause lung cancer too??

      I have found that there is a possibility that toluene, acetone,
      lacquer thinner and contact cements may cause buergers flare ups. I
      am a cabinetmaker and work with all of these chemicals at one time or
      another. Some of these chemicals are also found in cigarettes. I
      would suspect all of these plus nicotine. After all, all of them are
      vassal constrictors.

      But one fact I know.. That cigarettes do cause buergers and buergers
      flare ups.. I found that out after going to a casino to play a little
      21 about 7 or 8 months ago. Within 48 hours my toes did swell up a
      fair amount. That scared me again.. Do it for you and those around
      you…. Quit now. It is the one thing you can do that will help you
      feel better, guaranteed. You know you will feel better about
      yourself too.. In every case I have read where some one quits smoking
      the symptoms and pain lesson. The gangrene eventually sloughed off of
      my big toe, and my foot is 30 shades lighter than it was a year ago.
      I mean, lots more blood flow. I will never be healed, or cured from
      it unless some cure comes about. And I wear steel toed boots all the
      time in the shop. I am extremely careful if I am bare footed in the
      house. I try my best to never go barefooted. A cut or infection may
      heal, and then again it may not.

      I still have that puffy feeling at times, I still have the pain in
      the arches, I still have some slight vassal spasm at times. But I do
      sleep now at night most all the time without the aid of sleep meds. I
      still do take pain meds because I am on my feet all the time and it
      is more dangerous for me to be dealing with the pain than it is to be
      relaxed about it. But the main point is this.. Since I quit smoking
      and the Lord saw I tried and he let the swelling disappear, my life
      is almost normal.. Not quite,,, still has its pain, sometime worse,
      sometimes less, but rarely if ever like it was. I have had a couple
      of times where the toe swells ups again a bit, sort of like a
      tourniquet has been tied around it. Some of my little toes get
      feeling that real numby feeling, even as I sit here typing. But I
      think over all, I have a good chance of keeping all of my toes and my
      feet if I am careful and I stay away from cigarettes..

      I actually ended up taking the blocks out from under the Head board
      end of my bed. If you are suffering a buergers flare up. It helps to
      keep the appendage lower than the heart. Just the opposite of most
      circulation pain. About a 6" tilt from one end of the bed to the
      other.. Stay away from any vassal constrictors. Coffee, Caffeine/soda
      pop, cigarettes, ephedra, and many allergy meds. Anything that speeds
      up the heart by constricting the blood vessels. And I would highly
      suspect the chemicals afore mentioned as well.. Short walks a few
      times a day on your feet. Don't sit around and get heavier. Do your
      best to get in good shape and stay in shape. Keep extra pounds off…
      The lighter on your feet the better.

      If you find out that you or a loved one has this disease, I know it
      is scary to find out just how bad it can be. That is why I didn't
      slack off in my telling of my story.. I will not lighten the severity
      of the pain involved. Because I firmly believe if you stop smoking,
      the severity of the pain (will) lesson, and if you were on the verge
      of losing a toe or a finger or a foot, that if you quit smoking NOW,
      you have a great chance of saving it. Some may have gone too far. I
      certainly thought I had. I was 2 days away from getting it lopped
      off.

      But, Praise the Father,, for his tender mercies. I still have my foot
      and so many blessings that came from this terrible disease. Yes,
      blessings. A true gratitude and understanding of the severe pain
      that many people have experienced. Anymore I feel like I can handle
      any pain you would want to throw at me. In fact if you are having a
      terrible and painful buergers flare up. Let me know.. I will ask to
      carry some of that pain for you if the Lord so wills. I know that
      when I have unselfishly prayed that someone else's pain would be
      lifted, that I would carry it for them, often times more than not, my
      pain lessoned. All things work for good who love the Lord..


      Contact me if you need some info or help.

      Sincerely

      Barry
    • marnix
      ... If ... info, ... I ... had ... of ... foot ... I ... tennis ... a ... a ... them, ... smoking. ... I ... WRONG.... ... after ... a ... smoking ... 11 ...
      Message 2 of 3 , Sep 14, 2003
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        --- In beurgersdisease@yahoogroups.com, "bmackster" <mckbarry@s...>
        wrote:
        > Hello everyone, my name is Barry. I have buergers disease as well.
        If
        > anyone visiting this site just found out they have it and need
        info,
        > please feel free to contact me if you like. 22 months ago after
        > hearing of buergers disease and then coming to the conclusion that
        I
        > most probably had buergers disease about 16 months before then I
        had
        > a very big scare.
        >
        > So in other words after 3 years of trying to figure out what was
        > wrong with my feet (increasing pain in the arches because of lack
        of
        > blood flow, and this terrible numbing feeling in the ball of my
        foot
        > and through my toes and my foot continued to get bluer and bluer.)
        I
        > found out I had buergers and kept smoking. I said to myself well
        > surely I can be one of the 10,000 to be able to get this disease. I
        > was miserable because I couldn't run anymore, I couldn't play
        tennis
        > anymore, and I couldn't walk on a treadmill. I couldn't stand on my
        > feet for more than minutes at a time before I would have to leap on
        a
        > table to get off my feet and let the pain diminish. Diminish?? Yea
        a
        > little, then back up on my feet, ohhhhh I could barely stand on
        them,
        > could barely walk, the pain near causing me to sweat. Yea, I think
        > it did make me sweat many times. But what did I do,, I kept
        smoking.
        >
        > At least I could enjoy smoking, I couldn't run, or play tennis, or
        > hike, so at least I could enjoy something,, yea,, smoking.. I truly
        > was in denial that the real cause of my pain had been established.
        I
        > guess in some way I wanted to prove that I didn't have buergers. I
        > would smoke and prove it wrong; my feet will get better...
        WRONG....
        > So 12 months after I had discovered buergers and about 6 months
        after
        > a vascular surgeon agreed with me that I had buergers disease I had
        a
        > very terrible scare. You see, I found out about buergers disease
        > through my Dad... Yea,, he used to smoke, and would always ask me
        > Son, have you quit smoking yet? Years went by, have you quit
        smoking
        > yet. Why did you every start smoking again? You had quit for 10 or
        11
        > years. Yes, Dad I really do want to quit again. One day about 3
        years
        > after I had started smoking again Dad tells me on the phone,, Hey
        > Son, I looked up in the medical encyclopedia we have about pain in
        > the feet. Besides mentioning Diabetes, they referred to a disease
        > caused from smoking called buergers... I said really? And then all
        > those little thoughts, watch my dad will be right about these
        stupid
        > cigarettes and be able to say I told you so, you should have quit
        > son... I thought I sure hope this buergers disease he just told me
        > about is not it. That would make him right. LOL..
        >
        > Well, because of my Dad, I started asking the different doctors I
        had
        > been to, feet docs, Neuro docs, and vascular docs. about buergers..
        > OH. Well let me pull out the medical dictionary they all said...
        > Well, it became apparent that the consensus was in. What else could
        > it be? I had buergers. But what did I do,, I kept smoking. How can
        > this be, me having this very rare disease? I was not thoroughly
        > ready to believe that I had this disease... So, about 12 months
        after
        > I heard of the disease from my Dad, and then 6 months after it was
        > the consensus of the docs, my left foot, always the worst out of
        the
        > two, started swelling up one fine day. And with swelling becomes
        > worsened blood flow. Yes, the first real full blown buergers flare
        > up... I had a kidney stone once, and it is said to be as painful as
        > having a baby. I had that verified by a woman that passed a kidney
        > stone which also had a baby. She preferred to have a baby. Rare for
        a
        > woman to pass kidney stones by the way. Well the pain that kicked
        in
        > was about twice as bad as my kidney stone maybe 5 times. It
        happened
        > at a convenient time, on a friday afternoon.. Me go to a doctor on
        > friday afternoon? No surely this swelling will go away. I wished
        > that I had run to my doctor that afternoon in retrospect now.
        Because
        > that weekend was the worst weekend in my entire life, as far as
        > physical pain goes.
        >
        > Well, by 8 o'clock the next morning I realized that I hadn't slept,
        > and had been in wreathing pain all night long. And the pain was
        still
        > there. The only thing I could do was to sit on my couch with my
        legs
        > down. If I put my legs up, the pain became even worse. But if I
        kept
        > them down all the time, they would feel as puffy and swollen as
        > puffer fish before the blow there hurricane force wind to knock
        over
        > their pray. And the pain, how do you explain that pain? A friend
        of
        > mine that has buergers also. I met him through my sister that
        > attended a school speaker function in Arizona. I live in
        California.
        > He was giving a presentation about buergers disease as part of the
        > anti smoking campaign funded through health related tax dollars at
        my
        > Sisters sons school. She noticed that he was talking about the same
        > disease I had been diagnosed as having. Anyway after about 4 or 5
        > days in to the swelling I called him for the first time. I had his
        > number for months before that, but when my foot swelled up to the
        > size of small watermelon I called him to see if he could kind of
        fill
        > me in on what I could expect. We hit it off and became good
        friends.
        > We have a lot more in common than buergers disease. Funny how
        > terrible things can bring about great things.
        >
        > Anyway months later after the onset of the major buergers flare up
        in
        > my foot, he said it best about the pain of any explanation I have
        > ever heard... I was talking with him on the phone a few months
        after
        > this flare up and said, gosh those buergers exercises, how
        > ridiculously painful that is. No one that has not endured that pain
        > can understand what that is all about. He said exactly, that is why
        I
        > don't try to explain it anymore to people. They try to compare it
        to
        > a bad back, you know your normal throw your back out every once in
        a
        > while pain... I said yea, I mean when you put your foot up in the
        > air and let the blood flow out of it, it hurts so badddddddd it
        is..
        > and then when you put it down it is...... And my buddy breaks in
        and
        > says, yea,, it is like trading the worst F****** pain in the world
        > for the OTHER worst F****** pain in the world. We laughed…. I
        > normally don't cuss, I mean hardly ever. I don't really believe in
        > it. But I found that during a buergers flare up, cussing was one of
        > my least concerns at times during those wee hours of the morning
        with
        > no relief for days and weeks on end. So rung out on oxycodone that
        > life was a fairytale. The theme of the fairy tale was pain pain
        pain,
        > and take some medicine that didn't help very much at all..
        >
        > The weekend when my foot swelled up was the beginning of a 6 week
        > strait pain fest. The pain was so intense that taking 2 percocet, a
        > trazadone, and an ambien, got me to sleep, or should I say pass out
        > for almost two hours. But even then, it was intervened by vassal
        > spasms that would jerk me up to sitting position and almost make me
        > come out of the drug induced coma. I remember thinking, I need
        > stronger medication. So, what do I do, that weekend??? I kept
        > smoking.. I was up all night long, at least I could enjoy a
        > cigarette.. Wait.. I didn't enjoy those cigarettes. I did not enjoy
        > anything, it was impossible the pain was too intense. But still
        that
        > good ol smoke was the closest I came to enjoying anything. But as I
        > sat up at the computer frantically searching for someone or
        something
        > that would tell me what was going on with my foot.. Wait, I knew it
        > was the buergers and because of cigarettes.. But no,, it can't be,
        it
        > is something else. So I would puff and puff and search out sites on
        > buergers disease.. I started reading of the amputations, the pain,
        > and saw fear in people's letters because they didn't know what to
        > expect with buergers... As I was sitting there smoking my cigarette
        > one night about 2 weeks in to the swelling, I was talking to
        > myself... You know, you need to quit smoking these anyway. You know
        > how bad you felt when you started smoking again. I shed tears when
        I
        > realized I had started smoking again. I had quit 11 years. Then
        > someone I dated that could smoke every now and then I allowed her
        to
        > smoke in my truck about 3 years after we had been dating on one of
        > our weekend getaways. That did it, that close proximity, surely
        after
        > all these years I could have one now and then like her... WRONG..
        >
        > The same old story, before you know it and right at the time when
        the
        > tobacco companies had messed with the delivery method of nicotine
        to
        > the brain I started puffing those things again... And once the
        urge,
        > the addiction sparked, it was like I had to make up for all those
        > years I had quit. They tasted terrible about 3 or 4 days after I
        > started smoking them. The first few days they tasted great. Then
        they
        > started tasting bad, I knew I wanted to quit. I was so stupid for
        > smoking with her on the trip, but now I wanted one to taste good
        > before I quit again..All thoughts of addiction huh?? Stupid
        > thinking. But addiction works like that,, at the promise of
        something
        > being "good". So smoke smoke smoke, and before you know it they
        > tasted good again, a few weeks later, now I was hooked again, and I
        > could tell that there was something much more addicting about them
        > then before. It was like I was a machine that had to keep pumping
        > more and more nicotine in to me. I had quit and started again
        before
        > many years ago, and I never remembered them having the power that
        > they had this time. Thanks be to the money hungry owners of the
        > tobacco companies. They truly did make cigarettes more addictive.
        >
        > I was getting sympathectimies (some sort of nerve block done by
        > medicating areas of the spinal column by injections) every week to
        > help relieve the pain and hopefully some of the swelling in my
        foot.
        > I was taking blood thinners and blood pressure meds, previous 12
        > months before the buergers flare up and extreme swelling. They did
        > little if any good.. Finally my big toe was so swollen and looking
        as
        > though it was minutes away from infection, my Doc told me he thinks
        > we need to amputate within the next 5 days or so, or risk of
        > infection spreading up through the tendon shaft and causing us to
        > have to amputate at mid-calf. Even as it was, I may have had to
        have
        > ended up with a mid-calf amputation. It is common for amputations
        to
        > resist healing and gangrene will set in or infection and
        necessitate
        > further amputation. He wanted me to get another opinion though for
        my
        > own benefit though. So he sent me to Davis Med. Center in Davis.
        Sure
        > enough, he concurred, it must be amputated soon, no way to save it.
        I
        > had gangrene on the end of my big toe because I accidentally
        whacked
        > my toe with my crutch one night will sitting at the couching
        bouncing
        > my crutch up and down out of nervous,,,,, I am awake and in pain
        mode
        > and must do something to take my mind off of the pain. Yea, so I
        > whacked my toe with my crutch.. That started the whole top front
        > portion of my toe to turn black as can be. Gangrene……
        >
        > So a friend of mine drove me to UC Davis to get the other opinion
        on
        > Friday. And when we were on our way back from Davis and said, you
        > sure are calm about the fact that you may have to have your toe
        > amputated and then very possibly a transmetatarcel amputation or
        > maybe lose your leg. I said yea well,, the pain, if the pain goes
        > away, then it was the price that had to be paid.
        >
        > I forgot to mention that about 4 weeks before that day, I was
        sitting
        > at my computer at 4 in the morning smoking a cigarette because I
        > couldn't sleep... sleep what was that?? I had some of the most
        crazy
        > conversations with myself. Funny what sleep deprivation can do.
        Yea,
        > smoking my cigarette. I said, I wonder if it really is these stupid
        > cigarettes. What if it isn't and I quit and this pain goes on and
        one
        > and the disease never goes away. Then I give up the one thing that
        I
        > can find some pleasure in. Then I thought, well, I guess it isn't
        > proven for sure that nicotine is the only cause for buergers
        disease,
        > but I know it is proven to cause lung cancer, emphazema, heart
        > disease. Heck, I could sit here and keep smoking and prove all of
        > this to myself, you know, prove that smoking causes say.....lung
        > cancer.. That would be fun to have.. Or I could keep smoking and
        get
        > heart disease, have a heart attack, that would fun.. I suddenly
        > thought, you are a slave to these things, you know it. You know how
        > much you enjoy being free of theme. You had quit for 11 years. Even
        > if it doesn't fix your foot, you don't want to sit here and keep
        > smoking for the rest of your life.. I looked at my cigarettes.. I
        > picked up the pack and crunch. I put the cigarette out and
        proceeded
        > to dump out all the ashtrays in the house and etc.. I quit....
        >
        > So four weeks after that we were driving back from Davis, and she
        > dropped my off at home. I crutched my way in,, and went through my
        > daily painful shower and clean the wound and wrap my toe and put on
        > my big fluffy sock and sit down at the couch and writhing in pain
        > because I had been on my foot an exorbitant amount that day.
        >
        > Sunday my beloved Son of 21 was coming over to help me get a few
        > things in order in my shop. I am self employed and had a couple of
        > jobs in the shop that I hadn't touched in 6 weeks. A few days
        before
        > that on our regular Wednesday night chess night, we both looked
        down
        > at my foot after I had gotten out of the shower and we both looked
        up
        > at each other and I could see the fear in his eyes, and he in mine.
        > My foot and toe looked like something out of medical horror story
        > magazine. That was two days before the trip to Davis for the second
        > opinion.
        >
        > My plan for that sunday when he came up was to take plenty of pain
        > meds, put on bunches of warm clothes, and go sit on a stool and
        > instruct him on what I needed to get done so that I could pass the
        > work on to a friend of mine that was going to help me get the job
        > done in his shop.. That morning as I was getting ready to go out to
        > the shop, I thought man, I cannot go out in the shop with a big
        > fluffy sock on. What if I hit it or something, hit my other toes,
        > which would pop if I hit them hard on something I thought. So I
        > picked an old and the loosest fitting tennis shoe had. Pulled out
        the
        > laces and stretched it all out and gently put my foot in to it.
        There
        > was something almost comforting of the restraint the shoe encasing
        my
        > foot gave me.
        >
        > So my Son and I went out to the shop and without thinking to much
        > about it my Son said about 2 hours later, Pop I haven't heard you
        > moaning or anything from your foot pain. I said, yea, I don't know
        > it is not doing to terrible right now. But we were busy so I didn't
        > think too much about it. Well I ended up out in the shop for about
        > twice as long as I thought I could even barely stand. I was doing
        > stuff I hadn't done in a month and a half. Like walking without a
        > crutch. Didn't dawn on me though..
        >
        > The day was over, I was taking off my shoes and my son was sitting
        > there talking with me, and I gently, ever so gently took my shoe
        off
        > of my left foot, and then my sock. And then I looked up as my Son
        > did also and I saw this look of shock in his eyes, and he in mine.
        We
        > looked at each other and said, in unison "the swelling went
        > down"!!.. We both looked at each other again. I said wow, that is
        why
        > I was even able to get my foot in this shoe to begin with. I
        remember
        > thinking, there is no way I could have gotten my foot in to that
        shoe
        > yesterday. The only thing I can figure is that for 6 weeks I was so
        > much in to the pain pain pain pain pain, that I didn't notice the
        > absense of it that morning. It was only then when the day had
        ended
        > that the full impact of what had happened became apparent. Some
        time
        > that saturday night or early sunday morning the swelling subsided
        by
        > about 75% and with it went 75% of the pain.. My Son and I were both
        > very thankful at that moment, that it appeared that the Lord had
        > worked a miracle and answered prayer that if it was in his will
        that
        > the swelling and pain would subside, that I would be able to keep
        my
        > foot.
        >
        > The next morning was monday, and I went to my Vascular surgeon Doc.
        > What a great guy.. I had a follow up appt. because of the appt. at
        > Davis Med. Center. I had the choice of where I wanted to have the
        > amputation at.. The Doc walked in with his head kind of low that
        > morning because he had talked to the Doc at Davis. He asked me..
        > Well, where do you want to have your amputation at, here in town or
        > at Davis. I said in an excited voice.. DOC! Look at my foot! He
        > looked down and looked up and said in the most surprised voice..
        WHAT
        > did you do???? He meant, what happened to the swelling.. I said, I
        > don't know Doc, but it took me about 12 hours to notice it had gone
        > down. He was in shock and said something to the affect that he had
        > never seen ischemia as severe as that subside in such a dramatic
        > fashion. He looked at me and said, I have some good news, we don't
        > have to amputate.. I kind of laughed and thought, there is no way
        > your taking it off now, the majority of the pain and swelling is
        > gone.. LOL...He said it sure is a good thing that happened when it
        > did. The Doc from Davis and myself felt that the toe should come
        off
        > as soon as possible, this week. A couple of days and you would have
        > been in the hospital and we would have never known that the
        swelling
        > had subsided on its own accord. You see the first order of business
        > before the amputation was to get the swelling down. That meant
        tying
        > my leg up in the air and injecting me with morphine for
        approximately
        > 3 days so I could stand the pain as the blood ran out and the
        > swelling went down so as to allow surgery..
        >
        >
        > It has been 19 months since then. I have not even puffed on a
        > cigarette and do not ever intend on doing so.. It is too bad that
        the
        > cigarette packages don't carry a warning (smoking can lead to
        > buergers disease). See, for me, I had the symptoms of the disease 3
        > or four years before I started smoking again with my girlfriend.
        But
        > I didn't know that is why my left foot got numb so quick when I
        went
        > on my bike rides. If I would have heard of buergers disease and it
        > was an accepted fact that cigarettes causes buergers I would have
        > never picked up a cigarette with my girlfriend. I would have never
        > let her smoke in my truck. I would have known I had the disease, no
        > mystery involved. I see that some people keep on smoking even
        after
        > amputation.. How sad that the addiction has over powered you so
        much.
        > I will pray for you that you have the strength to quit. Or maybe
        you
        > want to prove that they cause lung cancer too??
        >
        > I have found that there is a possibility that toluene, acetone,
        > lacquer thinner and contact cements may cause buergers flare ups. I
        > am a cabinetmaker and work with all of these chemicals at one time
        or
        > another. Some of these chemicals are also found in cigarettes. I
        > would suspect all of these plus nicotine. After all, all of them
        are
        > vassal constrictors.
        >
        > But one fact I know.. That cigarettes do cause buergers and
        buergers
        > flare ups.. I found that out after going to a casino to play a
        little
        > 21 about 7 or 8 months ago. Within 48 hours my toes did swell up a
        > fair amount. That scared me again.. Do it for you and those around
        > you…. Quit now. It is the one thing you can do that will help you
        > feel better, guaranteed. You know you will feel better about
        > yourself too.. In every case I have read where some one quits
        smoking
        > the symptoms and pain lesson. The gangrene eventually sloughed off
        of
        > my big toe, and my foot is 30 shades lighter than it was a year
        ago.
        > I mean, lots more blood flow. I will never be healed, or cured from
        > it unless some cure comes about. And I wear steel toed boots all
        the
        > time in the shop. I am extremely careful if I am bare footed in the
        > house. I try my best to never go barefooted. A cut or infection may
        > heal, and then again it may not.
        >
        > I still have that puffy feeling at times, I still have the pain in
        > the arches, I still have some slight vassal spasm at times. But I
        do
        > sleep now at night most all the time without the aid of sleep meds.
        I
        > still do take pain meds because I am on my feet all the time and it
        > is more dangerous for me to be dealing with the pain than it is to
        be
        > relaxed about it. But the main point is this.. Since I quit smoking
        > and the Lord saw I tried and he let the swelling disappear, my life
        > is almost normal.. Not quite,,, still has its pain, sometime worse,
        > sometimes less, but rarely if ever like it was. I have had a couple
        > of times where the toe swells ups again a bit, sort of like a
        > tourniquet has been tied around it. Some of my little toes get
        > feeling that real numby feeling, even as I sit here typing. But I
        > think over all, I have a good chance of keeping all of my toes and
        my
        > feet if I am careful and I stay away from cigarettes..
        >
        > I actually ended up taking the blocks out from under the Head board
        > end of my bed. If you are suffering a buergers flare up. It helps
        to
        > keep the appendage lower than the heart. Just the opposite of most
        > circulation pain. About a 6" tilt from one end of the bed to the
        > other.. Stay away from any vassal constrictors. Coffee,
        Caffeine/soda
        > pop, cigarettes, ephedra, and many allergy meds. Anything that
        speeds
        > up the heart by constricting the blood vessels. And I would highly
        > suspect the chemicals afore mentioned as well.. Short walks a few
        > times a day on your feet. Don't sit around and get heavier. Do your
        > best to get in good shape and stay in shape. Keep extra pounds off…
        > The lighter on your feet the better.
        >
        > If you find out that you or a loved one has this disease, I know it
        > is scary to find out just how bad it can be. That is why I didn't
        > slack off in my telling of my story.. I will not lighten the
        severity
        > of the pain involved. Because I firmly believe if you stop smoking,
        > the severity of the pain (will) lesson, and if you were on the
        verge
        > of losing a toe or a finger or a foot, that if you quit smoking
        NOW,
        > you have a great chance of saving it. Some may have gone too far. I
        > certainly thought I had. I was 2 days away from getting it lopped
        > off.
        >
        > But, Praise the Father,, for his tender mercies. I still have my
        foot
        > and so many blessings that came from this terrible disease. Yes,
        > blessings. A true gratitude and understanding of the severe pain
        > that many people have experienced. Anymore I feel like I can handle
        > any pain you would want to throw at me. In fact if you are having a
        > terrible and painful buergers flare up. Let me know.. I will ask to
        > carry some of that pain for you if the Lord so wills. I know that
        > when I have unselfishly prayed that someone else's pain would be
        > lifted, that I would carry it for them, often times more than not,
        my
        > pain lessoned. All things work for good who love the Lord..
        >
        >
        > Contact me if you need some info or help.
        >
        > Sincerely
        >
        > Barry
      • marnix
        ... If ... info, ... I ... had ... of ... foot ... I ... tennis ... a ... a ... them, ... smoking. ... I ... WRONG.... ... after ... a ... smoking ... 11 ...
        Message 3 of 3 , Sep 14, 2003
        • 0 Attachment
          --- In beurgersdisease@yahoogroups.com, "bmackster" <mckbarry@s...>
          wrote:
          > Hello everyone, my name is Barry. I have buergers disease as well.
          If
          > anyone visiting this site just found out they have it and need
          info,
          > please feel free to contact me if you like. 22 months ago after
          > hearing of buergers disease and then coming to the conclusion that
          I
          > most probably had buergers disease about 16 months before then I
          had
          > a very big scare.
          >
          > So in other words after 3 years of trying to figure out what was
          > wrong with my feet (increasing pain in the arches because of lack
          of
          > blood flow, and this terrible numbing feeling in the ball of my
          foot
          > and through my toes and my foot continued to get bluer and bluer.)
          I
          > found out I had buergers and kept smoking. I said to myself well
          > surely I can be one of the 10,000 to be able to get this disease. I
          > was miserable because I couldn't run anymore, I couldn't play
          tennis
          > anymore, and I couldn't walk on a treadmill. I couldn't stand on my
          > feet for more than minutes at a time before I would have to leap on
          a
          > table to get off my feet and let the pain diminish. Diminish?? Yea
          a
          > little, then back up on my feet, ohhhhh I could barely stand on
          them,
          > could barely walk, the pain near causing me to sweat. Yea, I think
          > it did make me sweat many times. But what did I do,, I kept
          smoking.
          >
          > At least I could enjoy smoking, I couldn't run, or play tennis, or
          > hike, so at least I could enjoy something,, yea,, smoking.. I truly
          > was in denial that the real cause of my pain had been established.
          I
          > guess in some way I wanted to prove that I didn't have buergers. I
          > would smoke and prove it wrong; my feet will get better...
          WRONG....
          > So 12 months after I had discovered buergers and about 6 months
          after
          > a vascular surgeon agreed with me that I had buergers disease I had
          a
          > very terrible scare. You see, I found out about buergers disease
          > through my Dad... Yea,, he used to smoke, and would always ask me
          > Son, have you quit smoking yet? Years went by, have you quit
          smoking
          > yet. Why did you every start smoking again? You had quit for 10 or
          11
          > years. Yes, Dad I really do want to quit again. One day about 3
          years
          > after I had started smoking again Dad tells me on the phone,, Hey
          > Son, I looked up in the medical encyclopedia we have about pain in
          > the feet. Besides mentioning Diabetes, they referred to a disease
          > caused from smoking called buergers... I said really? And then all
          > those little thoughts, watch my dad will be right about these
          stupid
          > cigarettes and be able to say I told you so, you should have quit
          > son... I thought I sure hope this buergers disease he just told me
          > about is not it. That would make him right. LOL..
          >
          > Well, because of my Dad, I started asking the different doctors I
          had
          > been to, feet docs, Neuro docs, and vascular docs. about buergers..
          > OH. Well let me pull out the medical dictionary they all said...
          > Well, it became apparent that the consensus was in. What else could
          > it be? I had buergers. But what did I do,, I kept smoking. How can
          > this be, me having this very rare disease? I was not thoroughly
          > ready to believe that I had this disease... So, about 12 months
          after
          > I heard of the disease from my Dad, and then 6 months after it was
          > the consensus of the docs, my left foot, always the worst out of
          the
          > two, started swelling up one fine day. And with swelling becomes
          > worsened blood flow. Yes, the first real full blown buergers flare
          > up... I had a kidney stone once, and it is said to be as painful as
          > having a baby. I had that verified by a woman that passed a kidney
          > stone which also had a baby. She preferred to have a baby. Rare for
          a
          > woman to pass kidney stones by the way. Well the pain that kicked
          in
          > was about twice as bad as my kidney stone maybe 5 times. It
          happened
          > at a convenient time, on a friday afternoon.. Me go to a doctor on
          > friday afternoon? No surely this swelling will go away. I wished
          > that I had run to my doctor that afternoon in retrospect now.
          Because
          > that weekend was the worst weekend in my entire life, as far as
          > physical pain goes.
          >
          > Well, by 8 o'clock the next morning I realized that I hadn't slept,
          > and had been in wreathing pain all night long. And the pain was
          still
          > there. The only thing I could do was to sit on my couch with my
          legs
          > down. If I put my legs up, the pain became even worse. But if I
          kept
          > them down all the time, they would feel as puffy and swollen as
          > puffer fish before the blow there hurricane force wind to knock
          over
          > their pray. And the pain, how do you explain that pain? A friend
          of
          > mine that has buergers also. I met him through my sister that
          > attended a school speaker function in Arizona. I live in
          California.
          > He was giving a presentation about buergers disease as part of the
          > anti smoking campaign funded through health related tax dollars at
          my
          > Sisters sons school. She noticed that he was talking about the same
          > disease I had been diagnosed as having. Anyway after about 4 or 5
          > days in to the swelling I called him for the first time. I had his
          > number for months before that, but when my foot swelled up to the
          > size of small watermelon I called him to see if he could kind of
          fill
          > me in on what I could expect. We hit it off and became good
          friends.
          > We have a lot more in common than buergers disease. Funny how
          > terrible things can bring about great things.
          >
          > Anyway months later after the onset of the major buergers flare up
          in
          > my foot, he said it best about the pain of any explanation I have
          > ever heard... I was talking with him on the phone a few months
          after
          > this flare up and said, gosh those buergers exercises, how
          > ridiculously painful that is. No one that has not endured that pain
          > can understand what that is all about. He said exactly, that is why
          I
          > don't try to explain it anymore to people. They try to compare it
          to
          > a bad back, you know your normal throw your back out every once in
          a
          > while pain... I said yea, I mean when you put your foot up in the
          > air and let the blood flow out of it, it hurts so badddddddd it
          is..
          > and then when you put it down it is...... And my buddy breaks in
          and
          > says, yea,, it is like trading the worst F****** pain in the world
          > for the OTHER worst F****** pain in the world. We laughed…. I
          > normally don't cuss, I mean hardly ever. I don't really believe in
          > it. But I found that during a buergers flare up, cussing was one of
          > my least concerns at times during those wee hours of the morning
          with
          > no relief for days and weeks on end. So rung out on oxycodone that
          > life was a fairytale. The theme of the fairy tale was pain pain
          pain,
          > and take some medicine that didn't help very much at all..
          >
          > The weekend when my foot swelled up was the beginning of a 6 week
          > strait pain fest. The pain was so intense that taking 2 percocet, a
          > trazadone, and an ambien, got me to sleep, or should I say pass out
          > for almost two hours. But even then, it was intervened by vassal
          > spasms that would jerk me up to sitting position and almost make me
          > come out of the drug induced coma. I remember thinking, I need
          > stronger medication. So, what do I do, that weekend??? I kept
          > smoking.. I was up all night long, at least I could enjoy a
          > cigarette.. Wait.. I didn't enjoy those cigarettes. I did not enjoy
          > anything, it was impossible the pain was too intense. But still
          that
          > good ol smoke was the closest I came to enjoying anything. But as I
          > sat up at the computer frantically searching for someone or
          something
          > that would tell me what was going on with my foot.. Wait, I knew it
          > was the buergers and because of cigarettes.. But no,, it can't be,
          it
          > is something else. So I would puff and puff and search out sites on
          > buergers disease.. I started reading of the amputations, the pain,
          > and saw fear in people's letters because they didn't know what to
          > expect with buergers... As I was sitting there smoking my cigarette
          > one night about 2 weeks in to the swelling, I was talking to
          > myself... You know, you need to quit smoking these anyway. You know
          > how bad you felt when you started smoking again. I shed tears when
          I
          > realized I had started smoking again. I had quit 11 years. Then
          > someone I dated that could smoke every now and then I allowed her
          to
          > smoke in my truck about 3 years after we had been dating on one of
          > our weekend getaways. That did it, that close proximity, surely
          after
          > all these years I could have one now and then like her... WRONG..
          >
          > The same old story, before you know it and right at the time when
          the
          > tobacco companies had messed with the delivery method of nicotine
          to
          > the brain I started puffing those things again... And once the
          urge,
          > the addiction sparked, it was like I had to make up for all those
          > years I had quit. They tasted terrible about 3 or 4 days after I
          > started smoking them. The first few days they tasted great. Then
          they
          > started tasting bad, I knew I wanted to quit. I was so stupid for
          > smoking with her on the trip, but now I wanted one to taste good
          > before I quit again..All thoughts of addiction huh?? Stupid
          > thinking. But addiction works like that,, at the promise of
          something
          > being "good". So smoke smoke smoke, and before you know it they
          > tasted good again, a few weeks later, now I was hooked again, and I
          > could tell that there was something much more addicting about them
          > then before. It was like I was a machine that had to keep pumping
          > more and more nicotine in to me. I had quit and started again
          before
          > many years ago, and I never remembered them having the power that
          > they had this time. Thanks be to the money hungry owners of the
          > tobacco companies. They truly did make cigarettes more addictive.
          >
          > I was getting sympathectimies (some sort of nerve block done by
          > medicating areas of the spinal column by injections) every week to
          > help relieve the pain and hopefully some of the swelling in my
          foot.
          > I was taking blood thinners and blood pressure meds, previous 12
          > months before the buergers flare up and extreme swelling. They did
          > little if any good.. Finally my big toe was so swollen and looking
          as
          > though it was minutes away from infection, my Doc told me he thinks
          > we need to amputate within the next 5 days or so, or risk of
          > infection spreading up through the tendon shaft and causing us to
          > have to amputate at mid-calf. Even as it was, I may have had to
          have
          > ended up with a mid-calf amputation. It is common for amputations
          to
          > resist healing and gangrene will set in or infection and
          necessitate
          > further amputation. He wanted me to get another opinion though for
          my
          > own benefit though. So he sent me to Davis Med. Center in Davis.
          Sure
          > enough, he concurred, it must be amputated soon, no way to save it.
          I
          > had gangrene on the end of my big toe because I accidentally
          whacked
          > my toe with my crutch one night will sitting at the couching
          bouncing
          > my crutch up and down out of nervous,,,,, I am awake and in pain
          mode
          > and must do something to take my mind off of the pain. Yea, so I
          > whacked my toe with my crutch.. That started the whole top front
          > portion of my toe to turn black as can be. Gangrene……
          >
          > So a friend of mine drove me to UC Davis to get the other opinion
          on
          > Friday. And when we were on our way back from Davis and said, you
          > sure are calm about the fact that you may have to have your toe
          > amputated and then very possibly a transmetatarcel amputation or
          > maybe lose your leg. I said yea well,, the pain, if the pain goes
          > away, then it was the price that had to be paid.
          >
          > I forgot to mention that about 4 weeks before that day, I was
          sitting
          > at my computer at 4 in the morning smoking a cigarette because I
          > couldn't sleep... sleep what was that?? I had some of the most
          crazy
          > conversations with myself. Funny what sleep deprivation can do.
          Yea,
          > smoking my cigarette. I said, I wonder if it really is these stupid
          > cigarettes. What if it isn't and I quit and this pain goes on and
          one
          > and the disease never goes away. Then I give up the one thing that
          I
          > can find some pleasure in. Then I thought, well, I guess it isn't
          > proven for sure that nicotine is the only cause for buergers
          disease,
          > but I know it is proven to cause lung cancer, emphazema, heart
          > disease. Heck, I could sit here and keep smoking and prove all of
          > this to myself, you know, prove that smoking causes say.....lung
          > cancer.. That would be fun to have.. Or I could keep smoking and
          get
          > heart disease, have a heart attack, that would fun.. I suddenly
          > thought, you are a slave to these things, you know it. You know how
          > much you enjoy being free of theme. You had quit for 11 years. Even
          > if it doesn't fix your foot, you don't want to sit here and keep
          > smoking for the rest of your life.. I looked at my cigarettes.. I
          > picked up the pack and crunch. I put the cigarette out and
          proceeded
          > to dump out all the ashtrays in the house and etc.. I quit....
          >
          > So four weeks after that we were driving back from Davis, and she
          > dropped my off at home. I crutched my way in,, and went through my
          > daily painful shower and clean the wound and wrap my toe and put on
          > my big fluffy sock and sit down at the couch and writhing in pain
          > because I had been on my foot an exorbitant amount that day.
          >
          > Sunday my beloved Son of 21 was coming over to help me get a few
          > things in order in my shop. I am self employed and had a couple of
          > jobs in the shop that I hadn't touched in 6 weeks. A few days
          before
          > that on our regular Wednesday night chess night, we both looked
          down
          > at my foot after I had gotten out of the shower and we both looked
          up
          > at each other and I could see the fear in his eyes, and he in mine.
          > My foot and toe looked like something out of medical horror story
          > magazine. That was two days before the trip to Davis for the second
          > opinion.
          >
          > My plan for that sunday when he came up was to take plenty of pain
          > meds, put on bunches of warm clothes, and go sit on a stool and
          > instruct him on what I needed to get done so that I could pass the
          > work on to a friend of mine that was going to help me get the job
          > done in his shop.. That morning as I was getting ready to go out to
          > the shop, I thought man, I cannot go out in the shop with a big
          > fluffy sock on. What if I hit it or something, hit my other toes,
          > which would pop if I hit them hard on something I thought. So I
          > picked an old and the loosest fitting tennis shoe had. Pulled out
          the
          > laces and stretched it all out and gently put my foot in to it.
          There
          > was something almost comforting of the restraint the shoe encasing
          my
          > foot gave me.
          >
          > So my Son and I went out to the shop and without thinking to much
          > about it my Son said about 2 hours later, Pop I haven't heard you
          > moaning or anything from your foot pain. I said, yea, I don't know
          > it is not doing to terrible right now. But we were busy so I didn't
          > think too much about it. Well I ended up out in the shop for about
          > twice as long as I thought I could even barely stand. I was doing
          > stuff I hadn't done in a month and a half. Like walking without a
          > crutch. Didn't dawn on me though..
          >
          > The day was over, I was taking off my shoes and my son was sitting
          > there talking with me, and I gently, ever so gently took my shoe
          off
          > of my left foot, and then my sock. And then I looked up as my Son
          > did also and I saw this look of shock in his eyes, and he in mine.
          We
          > looked at each other and said, in unison "the swelling went
          > down"!!.. We both looked at each other again. I said wow, that is
          why
          > I was even able to get my foot in this shoe to begin with. I
          remember
          > thinking, there is no way I could have gotten my foot in to that
          shoe
          > yesterday. The only thing I can figure is that for 6 weeks I was so
          > much in to the pain pain pain pain pain, that I didn't notice the
          > absense of it that morning. It was only then when the day had
          ended
          > that the full impact of what had happened became apparent. Some
          time
          > that saturday night or early sunday morning the swelling subsided
          by
          > about 75% and with it went 75% of the pain.. My Son and I were both
          > very thankful at that moment, that it appeared that the Lord had
          > worked a miracle and answered prayer that if it was in his will
          that
          > the swelling and pain would subside, that I would be able to keep
          my
          > foot.
          >
          > The next morning was monday, and I went to my Vascular surgeon Doc.
          > What a great guy.. I had a follow up appt. because of the appt. at
          > Davis Med. Center. I had the choice of where I wanted to have the
          > amputation at.. The Doc walked in with his head kind of low that
          > morning because he had talked to the Doc at Davis. He asked me..
          > Well, where do you want to have your amputation at, here in town or
          > at Davis. I said in an excited voice.. DOC! Look at my foot! He
          > looked down and looked up and said in the most surprised voice..
          WHAT
          > did you do???? He meant, what happened to the swelling.. I said, I
          > don't know Doc, but it took me about 12 hours to notice it had gone
          > down. He was in shock and said something to the affect that he had
          > never seen ischemia as severe as that subside in such a dramatic
          > fashion. He looked at me and said, I have some good news, we don't
          > have to amputate.. I kind of laughed and thought, there is no way
          > your taking it off now, the majority of the pain and swelling is
          > gone.. LOL...He said it sure is a good thing that happened when it
          > did. The Doc from Davis and myself felt that the toe should come
          off
          > as soon as possible, this week. A couple of days and you would have
          > been in the hospital and we would have never known that the
          swelling
          > had subsided on its own accord. You see the first order of business
          > before the amputation was to get the swelling down. That meant
          tying
          > my leg up in the air and injecting me with morphine for
          approximately
          > 3 days so I could stand the pain as the blood ran out and the
          > swelling went down so as to allow surgery..
          >
          >
          > It has been 19 months since then. I have not even puffed on a
          > cigarette and do not ever intend on doing so.. It is too bad that
          the
          > cigarette packages don't carry a warning (smoking can lead to
          > buergers disease). See, for me, I had the symptoms of the disease 3
          > or four years before I started smoking again with my girlfriend.
          But
          > I didn't know that is why my left foot got numb so quick when I
          went
          > on my bike rides. If I would have heard of buergers disease and it
          > was an accepted fact that cigarettes causes buergers I would have
          > never picked up a cigarette with my girlfriend. I would have never
          > let her smoke in my truck. I would have known I had the disease, no
          > mystery involved. I see that some people keep on smoking even
          after
          > amputation.. How sad that the addiction has over powered you so
          much.
          > I will pray for you that you have the strength to quit. Or maybe
          you
          > want to prove that they cause lung cancer too??
          >
          > I have found that there is a possibility that toluene, acetone,
          > lacquer thinner and contact cements may cause buergers flare ups. I
          > am a cabinetmaker and work with all of these chemicals at one time
          or
          > another. Some of these chemicals are also found in cigarettes. I
          > would suspect all of these plus nicotine. After all, all of them
          are
          > vassal constrictors.
          >
          > But one fact I know.. That cigarettes do cause buergers and
          buergers
          > flare ups.. I found that out after going to a casino to play a
          little
          > 21 about 7 or 8 months ago. Within 48 hours my toes did swell up a
          > fair amount. That scared me again.. Do it for you and those around
          > you…. Quit now. It is the one thing you can do that will help you
          > feel better, guaranteed. You know you will feel better about
          > yourself too.. In every case I have read where some one quits
          smoking
          > the symptoms and pain lesson. The gangrene eventually sloughed off
          of
          > my big toe, and my foot is 30 shades lighter than it was a year
          ago.
          > I mean, lots more blood flow. I will never be healed, or cured from
          > it unless some cure comes about. And I wear steel toed boots all
          the
          > time in the shop. I am extremely careful if I am bare footed in the
          > house. I try my best to never go barefooted. A cut or infection may
          > heal, and then again it may not.
          >
          > I still have that puffy feeling at times, I still have the pain in
          > the arches, I still have some slight vassal spasm at times. But I
          do
          > sleep now at night most all the time without the aid of sleep meds.
          I
          > still do take pain meds because I am on my feet all the time and it
          > is more dangerous for me to be dealing with the pain than it is to
          be
          > relaxed about it. But the main point is this.. Since I quit smoking
          > and the Lord saw I tried and he let the swelling disappear, my life
          > is almost normal.. Not quite,,, still has its pain, sometime worse,
          > sometimes less, but rarely if ever like it was. I have had a couple
          > of times where the toe swells ups again a bit, sort of like a
          > tourniquet has been tied around it. Some of my little toes get
          > feeling that real numby feeling, even as I sit here typing. But I
          > think over all, I have a good chance of keeping all of my toes and
          my
          > feet if I am careful and I stay away from cigarettes..
          >
          > I actually ended up taking the blocks out from under the Head board
          > end of my bed. If you are suffering a buergers flare up. It helps
          to
          > keep the appendage lower than the heart. Just the opposite of most
          > circulation pain. About a 6" tilt from one end of the bed to the
          > other.. Stay away from any vassal constrictors. Coffee,
          Caffeine/soda
          > pop, cigarettes, ephedra, and many allergy meds. Anything that
          speeds
          > up the heart by constricting the blood vessels. And I would highly
          > suspect the chemicals afore mentioned as well.. Short walks a few
          > times a day on your feet. Don't sit around and get heavier. Do your
          > best to get in good shape and stay in shape. Keep extra pounds off…
          > The lighter on your feet the better.
          >
          > If you find out that you or a loved one has this disease, I know it
          > is scary to find out just how bad it can be. That is why I didn't
          > slack off in my telling of my story.. I will not lighten the
          severity
          > of the pain involved. Because I firmly believe if you stop smoking,
          > the severity of the pain (will) lesson, and if you were on the
          verge
          > of losing a toe or a finger or a foot, that if you quit smoking
          NOW,
          > you have a great chance of saving it. Some may have gone too far. I
          > certainly thought I had. I was 2 days away from getting it lopped
          > off.
          >
          > But, Praise the Father,, for his tender mercies. I still have my
          foot
          > and so many blessings that came from this terrible disease. Yes,
          > blessings. A true gratitude and understanding of the severe pain
          > that many people have experienced. Anymore I feel like I can handle
          > any pain you would want to throw at me. In fact if you are having a
          > terrible and painful buergers flare up. Let me know.. I will ask to
          > carry some of that pain for you if the Lord so wills. I know that
          > when I have unselfishly prayed that someone else's pain would be
          > lifted, that I would carry it for them, often times more than not,
          my
          > pain lessoned. All things work for good who love the Lord..
          >
          >
          > Contact me if you need some info or help.
          >
          > Sincerely
          >
          > Barry
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