02:00PM, Thursday 01 June 2017
A carpenter who has raised thousands for charity is considering having his arm amputated after being diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome.
Leonard Ansell, 48, was diagnosed with the condition, where pain worsens over time, at the end of last year and wants to warn others about it.
He said he has been in progressively worsening pain since 2014, when he fell from a ladder and broke his left arm.
“My life’s stopped,” he said.
“I just want to get on with my life.
“This injury is the worst thing ever to have happened to me.”
Leonard lives alone at his home in Cookham Rise and his family are in Devon. He has had to give up his favourite pursuits – fishing and football – and no longer works.
He has to avoid stress and anything that may harm the limb.
A carpenter since he was a teenager, he has a large scar, incurred from surgery, that runs down his upper left arm, which he keeps in a sling.
The arm is prone to 'overheating', for which he uses a cream to keep in check, and he has been on a range of painkilling medication.
His home has stacks of discarded tablet boxes, medical papers and newspaper cuttings from his previous fundraising events, having raised tens of thousands of pounds for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust from skydiving.
“It just takes over your life,” he said.
After the pain in his arm got worse following the break, medical professionals suggested a number of causes, including cellulitis and blood clot, before his diagnosis last year.
“I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been taken into hospital,” he said.
Now, he is waiting for the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in London to organise a complex procedure at St Thomas', London, called spinal cord stimulation.
If that fails, he is seriously considering an amputation, which would be his decision.
“If that procedure doesn’t work, it will be down to me (to decide),” he said. “I pray to God it is not.
“I don’t want to have a prosthetic arm. Ten seconds can change the rest of your life.
“I’ve thought back about it so many times.”
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