Diabetic who struggled to walk has legs amputated

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LONDON: It is no more hidden fact that diabetes is a diabolic decease and is affecting the human body. A diabetic football fan who could barely walk is back on his feet – after having both legs amputated. Ben Neil, 37, was left virtually housebound due to complications with type 1 diabetes which he struggled with since his teens.

He was desperate to walk down the aisle at his wedding but doctors told him his legs were too weak. So he took the drastic decision to have his right leg amputated below the knee and replaced by a prosthetic limb in September 2017.

Ben, an IT designer, fulfilled his dream and walked down the aisle and enjoyed his first dance when he married Kirsty, 31, last June. Despite using a walking stick, Ben was forced to spend six months in hospital due to pressure on his left leg. ‘Now I walk better than I have for years’

In May this year Ben went under the knife again at the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham to have his remaining limb removed. Incredibly, just 11 weeks after surgery, Ben was able to walk perfectly on two false legs.

Ben, from Clipstone, Notts., said: “I never thought the only way I would walk again was to have my legs cut off but that’s exactly what’s happened. Now I walk better than I have for years and I’m getting used to my prosthetic limbs. It was a difficult decision but I haven’t looked back.”

Ben was a keen footballer and played for a Sunday League team but was forced to give it up his 20s as a result of his condition. He said: “I developed lots of ulcers, and they can get infected which can get into the blood. I had four toes removed starting in 2010 and half of my foot removed in 2016. That did not work.

“For six months in 2018 I was in hospital. I was saying ‘I can’t do this’. I decided I wanted another below-knee amputation. I almost had to fight for it. Now, I would say it’s looking like things are going to be a lot more manageable.”

Ben and Kirsty, who works in the public sector, are now planning to start trying for their first child. Ben added: “Kirsty and I have been together for four-and-a-half years now and she’s been my rock all the way along this journey.”

Kirsty said: “The first time Ben had his leg amputated I found it a lot harder because he had to learn how to walk almost from scratch but this time it’s been much easier. The first time it bothered me with people staring and driving into a disabled bay which felt a bit odd but now it’s just normal and we both hardly think about it.”