Regina Hunt has been a patient at North Carolina Orthotics & Prosthetics for nearly a decade. She was kind enough to share her story in a recent testimonial letter. We appreciate her kind words; here’s what she had to say:
“It all started in the year 2000. I woke up in the middle of the night unable to breath. I found out there was a blood clot in my left lung. I began taking Warfarin Sodium to manage the blood clots. The diagnosis was Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome. It’s an autoimmune disorder that causes my body to make antibodies that mistakenly attack phospholipids. Phospholipids are a type of fat. The attack damages cells. These damaged cells caused blood clots to form in my arteries and veins. Blood clotting is a normal bodily process but too much clotting cause blockages of blood flow to organs. This leads to life-threatening situations such as strokes, heart attacks, deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolisms. The other diagnoses I have that stem from the antiphospholipid antibody disorder are pseudo tumors in my head, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, myositis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
In August of 2002, I had an ingrown toenail removed from my right big toe. Doctors thought it was a foot infection because red spots were under my foot and the pain was so bad I couldn’t walk on the foot. I was on crutches. This went on for 2 weeks. My primary care doctor was on vacation for 2 weeks. I had been receiving treatment from the emergency room and a different doctor that worked in the same office with my primary doctor. On the first day of my primary care doctor’s return, I went to see him and blood clots were suspected in my foot or ankle area. Immediate test results proved the suspicions were correct. I had several clots in my right ankle that had been misdiagnosed as a foot infection.
After spending about 2 months at UNC Hospital, they finally amputated the toes on my right foot. That didn’t improve the pain at all. My right leg and foot felt as though it was on fire all the time. No pain medicine helped the burning feeling. I was 29 years old and UNC doctors didn’t want to amputate my foot. But, after they told me I had a 98% chance that the burning pain would go away, I told them to amputate it that day! I had been in pain for 2 months! Two or three days later, the foot was amputated below the knee and the pain was gone and never came back to the point it was then. Thank Jehovah for that!!!
I saw UNC Hospital’s prosthetic doctors for about 3 or 4 years. I drove about 1 hr 15 minutes to and from the appointments. One day I was in the office beside the NC Orthotics clinic; I had brought my Grandmother to the doctor. Damon (Prosthetist @ NCOPI) came into the office and asked me where I went for prosthetic care. (I always take my prosthetic leg off and prop it up when sitting for a while; therefore, he knew I was an amputee) After telling him, he suggested their office next door and gave me his card. I’ve loved the office and staff from my 1st appointment to now! I was so blessed to be found by Damon and to receive treatment from his office.
First and foremost, Damon Joncour is the best Prosthetic Doctor I’ve ever gone to. Now, I’ve seen a lot of prosthetists because UNC would change the doctors about every 8 months or less. I didn’t like having to develop a rapport with new doctors so often. A lot of the problems and descriptions can be repetitive. NC Orthotics Clinic is not like that at all. I always see Damon for my appointments. (I developed a problem with seeing different doctors when I was misdiagnosed with the foot infection.) There is no problem with that either. They have other doctors. They are familiar with every patient from what I can see at my appointments. I never wait a long time after my appointment time and the service is awesome from the front desk to the end of the exam. I can say Damon provided around-the-clock service to me. Let me explain why.
One weekend I was hanging out with a friend, shopping. I got in truck and pressed button to take my leg off and to my surprise and horror, it would not come off!! I was in a panic. The reason I was horrified is because about 4 years back, I developed neuromas in my stump. Neuromas are caused primarily because of my blood disorder. They are very painful and because it’s a type of nerve pain it is hard to manage with medicine. Most medicines do not help it. Remember, I always take my leg off when I sit down for a while. Anyway, It was a Saturday, midday and my leg had started to hurt, but I called Damon on his cell phone. He told me what to do and my leg was off in 2 minutes or less. Whew…I Thank Jehovah for Damon!!
That is a testament to the kind of doctor Damon is. In order to be a great doctor, you must first be a great person. Damon is a great person and exceptional doctor. The passion he has for his work in the prosthetic field is very obvious. He takes the time needed to give the care that is expected by each patient. We deserve that kind of care. He realizes what we have already went through due to the loss of limb and his attitude assures us that we will be fine and as close to normal as he can get us. He’s going to help us in any way that he can. I don’t know how he finds the staff to compliment his attitude and commitment to help all his patients but he does because they are equally as remarkable, passionate, and skillful.
I hope that many more amputees find their way to NC Orthotics clinic. I would like everyone dealing with amputations to have the type of doctor that provides support and care that’s needed not just to get them up and walking, but to keep them up and walking as pain-free as possible. You will get the specialized care that’s necessary to help you move on with your life as normally as possibly, mentally and physically. It’s so wonderful to not have to worry about these things. NC Orthotics, keep up the great work. I love you guys!!!