My name is Chris Garner, I am a 38 year old single father of 3 AMAZING kids aged 15, 11, 8, and due to recurring benign bone tumors and a resected section of my fibula in my left leg, in order to regain my life back I am having it amputated. There is a procedure called Osseointegration http://www.osseointegrationaustralia.com.au/about where a titanium rod is inserted into my femur extending out the stump where the prosthetic is attached to. What this implant does, is eliminates the requirement for a socket to hold the prosthetic. Sockets are the #1 part of having a prosthetic that limits many activities. They are heavy, cause a lot of sweat, blisters, rashes and a whole slew of other skin problems. They need replacing every 3-5 years at a cost starting at $5000. The reason this procedure is best for me, is that I do not participate in high impact activities, however I am very active, and wish to remain so.
I will be the first person in Canada to have an amputation directly to Osseointegration implant. There are less than 25 people in Canada to have had the Australian procedure and they all were existing amputees having issues with sockets.
By having the amputation performed and going directly to implant, there will be an easier transition for walking. The surgeon also said that they will be able to position the mechanical knee exactly where my real knee was by having full control over the amputation.
The procedure is performed in Australia by Dr Munjed Al Munderis and his team. There are other doctors around the world that perform similar procedures as Dr Al Munderis, all of which base their procedures off of his and also learned directly from Dr Al Munderis, some even using his implants. He has performed significantly more procedures than anyone else world wide at over 500 and has refined his procedure into a single surgery – where others are still working off the 2 stage surgery. The healing time is significantly less, as long as there are no complications it is a 28 day trip.
The procedure has been covered by OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan) in the past, however Osseointegration WILL be arriving to Canada in the next 4-5 years. The first trials have begun already, but it will take 2-3 years for the US to have FDA approval, and Canada will follow a year or two later. It is because of this that they have frozen the funding unless it is considered a life or death situation. I will apply out of formality, however the anticipation is that it will be denied. It can take anywhere from 2-8 months for OHIP to process the application.
If after raising a significant amount of the funds, OHIP DOES approve the procedure funding, than the funds will be re-directed to purchase additional prosthetic legs. It is common for amputees who are active to have several legs, and some can cost as much as $80,000.
The cost of the procedure is $110,000 Australian Dollars. In addition to that I must pay for flight and food for myself and 1 person to aid me. I have estimated $125,000 as the total cost, however that may be adjusted based on currency exchange and other factors up or down no more than $10,000.
With out this procedure, I have not been able to find an orthopaedic surgeon in Ontario to amputate. I am currently confined to a wheel chair or crutches at all times now. I am not able to play or participate with any activities with my children. I am not able to work and am on Disability as a drain to the system. When I have the procedure done, I will be an active member of society again, having the ability to hold any job that I had in the past. Any other procedure will limit the ability to work the same types of jobs I am trained for, and will require being re educated and re trained on new skills.
Finally this procedure is something that will allow me to get my life back. I have spent the last 3 years in pain, and I have determined to live a meaningful life. I have been hindered by my circumstance, but I will overcome ANY adversity!
My name is Chris Garner and I OWN my own Life. I Will Win!!!