Diabetic Patients Share Journey with Prosthetics
MCALLEN – For many people with diabetes wounds take longer to heal, especially when their only treatment option was amputation.
Duvina Avila said she had a wound on her leg for two years. She said the wound wouldn’t heal and she couldn’t bear the pain.
“Diabetes is a cause of me having renal failure and an amputated foot or leg,” she said. “Having the amputation, I like it better for the fact that I don’t have to go through any infections or any problems with the leg.”
Avila said it didn’t take long for her to get back on her feet.
“I got depressed one day. I didn’t want to do nothing. I was just lying in bed and something just went over me and told me get up and go,” she said.
Avila said her daughter was her motivation.
“I have an 8-year-old. I cannot be sitting down and see her life go by without me being involved,” she said.
Like many others she was directed to get a prosthetic.
“Normally what we do is, we do an evaluation and we try to find out where you been, where you want to go, and what activities you were doing prior to the amputations,” certified prosthetist Anthony Inman said.
Inman and his team produce the prosthetics for most of their patients who are diabetics.
“Majority of them are diabetic; probably between 92 to 95 percent are diabetic. We see more and more of diabetics every day,” he said.
Inman said he was forced to expand his business.
“A main reason for the expansion is to better facilitate the patients that we see from rehab,” he said
Elizabeth Reynoso, a patient of Inman’s, also stepped forward to help other amputees.
“It was an adjustment at first because you lose a part of you. It’s like a death in the family,” she said.
Reynoso was diagnosed with diabetes 21 years ago. She said an infection in her foot forced doctors to amputate it.
“Within 24 hours, the doctor came in and says, ‘I have to amputate.’ And I told him, ‘Can you give me time to think about it?’” she said.
Reynoso said the doctor declined saying her organs were shutting down.
Time after the procedure, Reynoso said she found a new purpose in her journey as an amputee. She later created the Rio Grande Valley’s first amputee coalition.
“There have never been anything for amputees here in the Valley. We have that now. We started meeting every Wednesday of every month, and so that’s free for anybody that wants to come in and learn more about amputation,” she said.
Inman believes diabetes will be a problem for a long time. However, his patients want others to not give up.
“Don’t be afraid to take the change because if you don’t take the chance you’re always going to be stuck, like in a bubble. You won’t be able to go anywhere,” Avila said.
Both Avila and Reynoso said they will take advantage of their second chance to walk and live their lives.
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