After six years of agony, asking doctors to amputate my leg was easy
A young woman who was left in agony after a freak accident in the street finally asked doctors to AMPUTATE her leg to end the pain.
Victoria Snell told how she was strolling home from the cinema and suddenly felt pain, before hearing a bone ‘audibly snap’.
She says the stress fracture she suffered refused to heal properly and she has been in and out of hospital for the last six years.
Victoria, now 26 and living in Manchester, had four operations in total, with metal plates installed and several bone grafts – but nothing seemed to work.
As she awaited a fifth operation – to have a cage fitted around her leg – Victoria decided enough was enough – and told the doctors to take her leg off.
She has spoken of the ‘horrible but easy’ decision.
Victoria, who is from Plymouth but has since moved to the North West, said: “In the end it was a horrible decision but an easy one. I knew my leg wasn’t getting me anywhere and I knew with prosthetics I could have a better life than my actual leg could give me.”
Victoria, who works in customer services, was 20 at the time of the break and said she didn’t fall, trip or in any way suffer an impact – but her leg just snapped as she walked.
She said: “I thought I had sprained my ankle, I’m a bit clumsy, I walk into stuff a lot. I had been to the cinema in Plymouth and every ten steps it was getting more and more painful.
“Eventually I heard it snap very audibly. My friend who was with me did too, she said, ‘what was that’?
“I said, ‘I think it was my leg’.”
Victoria was rushed to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth where she was patched up and had her leg coated in plaster.
“I was in hospital for about a week,” she continued.
“They did a bunch of tests because your average 20-year-old doesn’t break a leg walking down the street. Thankfully they all came back okay, it’s just my bones are a bit rubbish.”
It was another two years before she would be on the operating table, in January 2013.
First, she had a bone graft and a metal plate installed but the pain continued.
Her doctors then checked her over and realised her right leg was about an inch shorter than the other. On June 2015, Victoria had a taylor spatial frame put on but again the leg wouldn’t heal.
Victoria added: “I kind of got used to going there all the time. By the time we got to the third surgery I knew what to expect, I knew I had to take time off work, I knew what was happening.
“I accepted it was something I was going to have to go through for a couple of years.”
In October 2016, she was given another bone graft and had more metal plates installed – but they eventually gave way on April 1, last year.
Then, on June 22, Victoria was back on the slab as doctors righted the last surgery, but again the leg refused to heal.
She continued: “I don’t think I lived like your average 20-something. I didn’t go out and when people asked me what I did for a hobby I asked if Netflix counted as a hobby – I think it kinda does.
“I hadn’t been able to walk without pain for years, for the last three years I couldn’t walk unsupported.”
Facing a fifth operation, to have another leg cage fitted, Victoria decided enough was enough and the leg had to go.
She added: “I’ve had my prosthetic on for a couple of months and I’m getting around. I haven’t used my wheel chair in like seven months.
“It’s liberating, empowering, it’s giving me my life back. I was back at work after eight weeks.”
Victoria said she had the operation in December last year and her friends then threw an amputation party for her.
She added: “It’s official title was ‘let’s get Vicky legless’. It was a really good night, it was just a house party with a leg cake really.
“We had lots of drink and there was lots of food. We played pin the leg on Vicky.”
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