Removing the affected limb, called amputation, is rarely necessary to treat primary bone cancer. But, if you do have all or part of a limb amputated, you will be fitted with an artificial limb, called a prosthesis. Modern technology has made artificial limbs very effective. People with artificial limbs can walk, run, swim, and even play sports. It may take several months for your final prosthesis to be made. In the meantime, you may be fitted with a temporary one, so that you can begin to get used to it.
Here are some ways to help you recover after an amputation:
Find a prosthetist in your local area. Prosthetists are specially educated and trained in designing and customizing prostheses. You will see your prosthetist for adjustments. These are done because of weight loss or gain, wear and tear on your prosthesis, or problems with skin irritation.
See a physical therapist. The therapist will help you start to move around. He or she will show you how to do exercises to keep the muscles around the operation site strong and flexible. These exercises will make it easier for you to use your artificial limb. The therapist will show you how to wrap your residual limb (stump). This is important for healing and allows you to get a prosthesis sooner.
Talk with a counselor. Losing an arm or a leg is a major loss. Most people recover quickly. They find that their lives are not changed as much as they expected. Their physical activity levels almost always return nearly completely. Some people find it difficult to adjust, though. If that happens to you, don’t feel embarrassed. Tell your doctor so he or she can recommend a counselor to help you cope with your feelings.
Call your insurance company. Whether your insurance company will cover the cost of a prosthesis, and how much they will cover, depends on the type of prosthesis you wish to get. Find out what your insurance company covers.