Lorraine Burnett of Dunfermline, Scotland, bought herself a nice new pair of five-inch heels for a party in 2008. Considering they weren't everyday shoes, she was willing to sacrifice comfort for style, so she wasn't surprised when she noticed a blister on her left foot the next day: "Being a carer, I knew what I needed to do – just clean it and dress it."
But it didn't go away. And after a week, it had become so painful that she had difficulty walking. Doctors prescribed her antibiotics, but nothing helped. Burnett has type two diabetes—she was diagnosed after her daughter was born 16 years ago. With her ability to fight infections compromised, her leg became worse and worse. “I’d had infection after infection so medics said they would debride the wound, by removing the contaminated skin,” she said. The constant pain and treatment even forced her to cut down on her hours at work.
After years of poor results, her doctors presented her with a terrible choice. She could continue to live as she was, and treat recurring infections for the rest of her life, or she could have her left leg removed below the knee. In November 2010, she underwent the five-hour amputation procedure.
Although the amputation allowed Burnett to avoid many further infections, her problems have not ended. Unable to walk, she was forced to quit her job and move back in with her family. Her social life was over: “I’d gone from someone who liked to go out all the time - a real party girl who enjoyed the good life – to pretty completely housebound.”
Her kidney function has suffered, and she is now on dialysis. What's more, her prosthetic leg is a heavy, uncomfortable model issued by the UK's National Health Service. It causes her stump to suffer painful ulcers that have occasionally become infected—one of those infections cause her to be put into an induced coma in 2014.
But there is home for Lorraine Burnett. For the first time, she's speaking out, and her family is there to support her. Her aunt, Elaine Beveridge, has started a gofundme campaign to raise £9,094 for a much better prosthetic leg. This would give Burnett more mobility and independence. Beveridge writes:
It pains me to watch my niece struggle through life with her brave face and independant [sic] nature, oh and not forgetting the awful heavy leg that she never complains about.
And so far, the campaign has been a success. They're nearly halfway to their goal. If you'd like to contribute, visit Beveridge's gofundme page. And please, take care of yourself.