Living with PAD: David's story

David Randles, 55, lives with his partner and two sons in Newmarket. He shares his story of living with peripheral arterial disease, and how his condition led to leg amputation.

David Randles

It started in 2013. If I walked half a mile I got severe cramp in my calves. Doctors said this was caused by poor circulation, which I now know means my leg arteries were narrowed. I was in agony for eight months – I couldn’t sleep or eat. I went from 12 to eight stone.

I was diagnosed with Buerger’s disease – a rare disease of the arteries and veins in the arms and legs

Three years ago, I got gangrene in my toe and they discovered I had a blockage in an artery in my right calf. I didn’t really understand the diagnosis or the implications [of the blockage]. It was a strange feeling to be told I needed to have an amputation of my lower right leg. I had some scans done, then I was invited for pre-op assessment, but I didn’t realise what for, and I didn’t have much time to get my head around it. But the doctors explained that this was necessary.

The surgery was fine. It was more a sense of relief to be out of pain. Mr Coughlin contacted me to investigate the cause of my poor circulation. I was diagnosed with Buerger’s disease – a rare disease of the arteries and veins in the arms and legs. I had also smoked since the age of 17 and this definitely made things worse and caused the disease in my peripheral arteries. I want other people to realise how important it is that you don’t smoke.

Adapting to life after a limb amputation

David RandlesI saw the surgeon twice following my amputation, and the physiotherapist for six weeks after attending the prosthetic clinic. Within two weeks of the amputation, I attended the clinic, had the prosthetic leg fitted and got straight back into it. At the clinic and with physiotherapy input, they teach you how to walk properly on it. Some people find it a struggle and everyone is different, but for me, because the pain had gone, I just wanted to get my life back.

For me, because the pain had gone, I just wanted to get my life back

Just after Christmas 2016 I had to stop work. I was an aircraft engineer and due to health and safety rules, I am unfortunately not able to do it now.

When my left leg flared up, I knew what was going to happen. In 2017, I had a surgical bypassD to help restore the circulation in my foot. I spent 20 days in hospital. The repaired blood vessels are still at risk of further problems so I have to rest a lot. My left leg is closely monitored. I take aspirin and a statin to reduce my risk. I want to give it every chance.

Before this, I played a lot of sport and attended the gym regularly. I have had to adjust to the lifestyle changes and do new things. I am still active in my local church. Looking ahead, I would like to get back to work, because I miss it.

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