I moved to San Diego from South Africa in 1984. I'm separated with 2 kids. I import and manufacture rustic wood furniture from India and retail it out of a huge warehouse outlet - www.SanDiegoRustic.com
In 1997 I was riding a dirtbike at Occotillo Wells, 2 hours from San Diego and I crashed into a dune buggy. At the time it wasn't a bad accident at all. I thought I had a badly broken ankle and would be healed in about 6 weeks. I was taken to the hospital in nearby Brawley where I underwent surgery where they screwed a metal tube into my fibular. 2 days after that I was taken by ambulance to Scripps Memorial hospital in La Jolla.
I underwent another surgery where they screwed 4 x 8" bolts into my leg (external fixator) from the knee down to the foot to hold my broken bones from moving. The skin on my leg was all melting off from the impact and that's the reason they couldn't put a cast on me.
After about 6 months and no bone union they removed the external fixator and I went in for more surgery. They cut a huge hole in my hip and removed bone and put it into my ankle hoping the cracked bones would join but still nothing. After a few weeks I developed a very bad fever and went back to hospital to find out that I had a bone infection.
To contain the infection in my ankle and to not let it spread I again had surgery where they inserted a small iv tube running from the entrance of my heart and the other end came out of a hole in my chest.
Twice a day I had to carry around a fanny pack which pumped a nasty solution of drugs into my blood system. After a few months of giving myself the iv twice a day I had lost a ton of weight and had some very unpleasant side effects.
I then went to UCLA to get a second opinion from a team of specialists who basically told me that they could try and save my leg with 3 more years of similar surgeries and procedures, 50% chance of healing and if my ankle would heal it would be frozen in a 90 deg. position which meant no running, walking with a bad limp, no walking up or down stairs foot over foot etc.
In my mind I made the choice the second they gave me my options, amputation. I still did further research. I went to a local prosthetic company - RGP and met other active amputees my age. At the same time I met with other people that had a similar break in the same area with bone infections like myself. I even met a guy that was on crutches for 15 years trying to save his leg with a bone infection.
I scheduled the surgery, had my leg amputated, left the hospital the next day. On the way home I stopped by the doctors office where he pulled on the tube sticking out of my chest and about 2 feet of tubing came out of me!! Once my infected ankle was gone there was no reason to pump the poisonous drugs (very similar to chemotherapy) into me anymore. 6 weeks later I was fitted with a prosthesis and 2 months after my amputation I competed in my first road bike race.
Since my amputation I've become much more active competing in running races, mountain bike races, triathlons, one man outrigger races and endurance offshore personal water craft races.
Maybe to prove the to people that were horrified at my choice of amputation that I'm better off this way.