Shoveling snow one winter turned out to be a life-changing experience for Maceo Bowens.
"I wasn’t aware of it, but my feet got soaked while I was out there," he recalls. "I woke up the next morning with blisters on both feet. I didn’t know what was going on. That had never happened before." The sores continued to worsen, so Mr. Bowens saw his doctor, who diagnosed infection and referred him to Cleveland Clinic.
Unfortunately, the infection was severe. After aggressive treatment to rid him of the infection, Diabetic Foot Care Program doctors prescribed special shoes to protect his feet. They also instructed him on proper foot care and measures he could take to make sure a foot infection would never occur again.
These measures worked. Mr. Bowens again can shovel snow from his driveway in the winter and mow the lawn in the summer, and he does it carefully — always paying attention to the health of his feet.
Though others had told her she would never walk again, Alida Valles knew there had to be hope for her swollen red-and-black legs and feet. Her primary care doctor told her she would have to use a wheelchair for the rest of her life and that her bones would never recover.
"With three doctors telling you there is no hope, you have nothing," she remembers thinking. That was until her daughter heard about and contacted Cleveland Clinic’s Diabetic Foot Care Program.
"Dr. Botek didn’t promise anything at the beginning, but she said that if I followed her instructions exactly, there was hope," Ms. Valles recalls. Georgeanne Botek, D.P.M., is Medical Director of the Diabetic Foot Care Program.
Ms. Valles’ feet were put in casts and she had to remain off of them entirely until they healed. Eight months later, on Thanksgiving 2005, the casts were removed. Her feet and legs were healed and she was able to walk once again. Ms. Valles is grateful for the physician who never let her give up. "God bless her," she says. "She came from heaven, that lady."
Jennifer Marshall wasn’t about to let her diabetic foot problems keep her from the active lifestyle she was used to.
"I was told that because of my foot problems, I couldn’t jog or even walk long distances. I was very down because I used to be very physical," she says. Her spirits lifted, though, when her Diabetic Foot Care Program doctor suggested she take up swimming instead.
"I actually had to learn how to swim, and now I swim laps all the time," says Ms. Marshall. "I’m at the pool four times a week. I love it."
Ms. Marshall couldn’t be happier with her new-found sport or the treatment she has received as a Cleveland Clinic patient. "I’m not being dramatic, but I still have my feet because of them," says Ms. Marshall. "I can’t say enough about the care I’ve received."