Mother, 43, who nicked her right leg as she shaved has to have it AMPUTATED after the wound became infected with a flesh-eating bug (and now she’s afraid to shave her left leg)
- WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
- Tanya Czernozukow, cut her leg while shaving but did not want to see a doctor
- The wound became an ulcer then spiralled out of control into gangrene
- Doctors diagnosed her with diabetes, which they blamed for the ulcer
A mother was forced to have her right leg amputated when it became infected with a flesh-eating bug after she cut it shaving.
Tanya Czernozukow, 43, initially thought nothing of it when she nicked her right shin with a razor and ignored it when it turned into a scab the size of a 5p coin.
But six months later it tripled in size until it was a ‘huge hole’ and doctors then spent 18 months trying to stop the aggressive infection from spreading up her thigh.
She tried tablets, creams and even maggots to get rid of the infection, but after months of agony Mrs Czernozukow agreed to have it amputated above the knee.
She was eventually diagnosed with a chronic leg ulcer which developed into gangrene because her diabetes meant it could not heal properly.
Fortunately, the operation halted the infection and Mrs Czernozukow now says she is pain free and getting on with her life – although she is now too scared to shave her other leg and waxes it instead.
Mrs Czernozukow had to have her leg amputated after a cut while shaving turned into a dangerous infection
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Mrs Czernozukow of Breaston, Derbyshire, said: ‘It has been an absolute nightmare.
‘It was just a little nick. I just went “ouch” and thought nothing of it.
‘I’ve done it a thousand times before so I just put a bit of tissue on it and expected it to stop bleeding.
‘Within a few weeks it was green and black from my ankle right up to my knees.
‘The pain was absolutely sheer hell.’
During her ordeal Mrs Czernozukow was diagnosed with diabetes and this was slowing down her body’s ability to heal itself.
Doctors then told her the wound had turned into a leg ulcer, which is a chronic complication of diabetes because the condition interferes with blood supply to the legs.
The ulcer then developed into gangrene because swelling around the infection limited the blood supply to the flesh, starving it of vital nutrients and oxygen.
Mrs Czernozukow, from Breaston in Derbyshire says the entire experience has been a ‘nightmare’
Mrs Czernozukow’s infection was so bad she was even forced to quit her job as a sales representative
‘I had to take more and more painkillers,’ Mrs Czernozukow said. ‘It was a constant feeling of thousands of needles being stuck into me.
‘I used to sit with my leg in a plastic bag – there used to be that much fluid seeping out of it, I felt like I was in a horror movie.’
‘It got to the point where I said to the doctors “take it off”‘
‘After a while it looked like gangrene,’ Mrs Czernozukow said. ‘It looked like I had a flesh-eating bug. It just kept growing and growing and growing.
‘It got to the point when I just said to the doctors, “take it off. I want it gone”.
‘When I first came round I got one hell of a shock. There was only inches of my leg left.
‘It was just complete and utter shock. To see it gone was like waking up in a nightmare.’
Mrs Czernozukow even tried using live maggots to treat the infection which doctors said was caused by diabetes
It was in April 2014 that Mrs Czernozukow was shaving her legs when she nicked her right shin.
The scab spread to the size of a 5p peice and Mrs Czernozukow’s mum urged her to see her GP but she refused.
She said: ‘I was like “yeah, yeah” but didn’t. I had never had any other health problem.
‘I’ve never felt pain like that in my life’
‘A week later the pain got so bad I went to A&E and was hospitalised for five days where doctors said it was a leg ulcer and put me on strong antibiotics.
‘I’ve never felt pain like that in my life.’
When doctors told her it could take years to heal if it healed at all, Mrs Czernozukow told them to chop it off
The infection was so bad she was even forced to quit her job as a sales representative.
She returned to hospital three times for treatments including biotherapy – where medicinal maggots clean the wounds by eating the dead tissue but to no avail.
HOW DID A SHAVING CUT LEAD TO GANGRENE?
Gangrene occurs when the blood supply to a certain area of the body is interrupted, usually through an injury or infection, and flesh begins to die.
Ulcers can lead to gangrene as swelling caused by the body fighting the infection can starve parts of the body of healthy blood flow.
In the case of Tanya Czernozukow, 43, from Breaston, Derbyshire, her wound became so severe partly because of her diabetes.
Diabetes restricts the blood flow in the legs, which makes wounds and ulcers take longer to heal.
When Mrs Czernozukow nicked her leg shaving, the cut became infected.
In a healthy person this would usually heal itself but diabetes meant the infection did not clear up and caused a leg ulcer – a larger, more serious skin wound.
Then, because the ulcer did not heal either, gangrene began to develop and spread, killing the flesh on her leg and leaving her in need of an amputation.
NHS figures show there were more than 35,500 cases of gangrene seen in hospitals in England across 2013 and 2014.
Surgery to remove damaged tissue is the go-to treatment, but in some cases, patients need to have whole limbs removed because too much body tissue has died.
Mrs Czernozukow said: ‘They did biotherapy which involves attaching maggots to your leg. For 24 hours I was screaming in agony.
‘By the third time I went into hospital, it covered my whole leg.
‘It was just completely infected. It was too far gone. It was too little, too late.’
In April 2016 doctors at Nottingham’s Queen’s Medical Centre finally suggested taking the drastic step of removing the leg.
Diagnosed with diabetes and an ulcer, which then turned to gangrene
They diagnosed her with diabetes, and said the ulcer and infection was a result of the disease.
Mrs Czernozukow, who has a grown up daughter, added: ‘They said “have you thought about amputation?”
‘They said we don’t have to amputate but it could take years to heal if it heals at all and I just said to them “right, yes, take it off. I want it gone”.’
After the operation, Mrs Czernozukow was in hospital for five months and once she was discharged had to learn how to move, sit up and walk with a frame or a stick.
Too scared to shave her remaining leg
She is now hoping to have a prosthetic leg fitted in the near future, but says she is too scared to shave her remaining limb.
She added: ‘I can’t believe I have actually got to this point. I have had to be strong. I would love to tell people that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Mrs Czernozukow (pictured before the amputation) now says she is too scared to shave her remaining leg
Mrs Czernozukow says she is ready to get on with her life: ‘I am looking to go back to work. Mentally, I think I am pretty much almost there. That’s the next step in my life,’ she said.
‘I do my absolute best. So many people say “you are an inspiration” and I say no I’m not. I am in this position and I have had no other choice. It’s sink or swim.
‘I don’t shave my other leg any more. It terrifies me.
‘As strange as it sounds, I don’t regret the operation one bit.
‘I am looking to go back to work. Mentally, I think I am pretty much almost there. That’s the next step in my life.
‘I am getting a car, that’s going to be life-changing. Once I have got the car I will look into getting a prosthetic leg.’
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