A mum was forced to have her leg amputated after she cut it shaving and a ‘flesh-eating bug’ ravaged the wound.
Tanya Czernozukow, 43, initially thought nothing of her bleeding wound when she ‘nicked’ her right shin with a razor.
Having experienced a similar injury "a thousand times" before, she put some tissue on it and expected the bleeding to stop.
When it then turned into a scab the size of a 5p coin, she ignored it – opting not to visit her GP despite her mother urging her to.
But six months later, it tripled in size, becoming a "huge hole".
Doctors spent 18 months trying to stop the aggressive infection from spreading up Tanya’s thigh, using various treatments.
The mum took tablets, creams and even maggots in a bid to get rid of the infection – but to no avail. And after months of agony, she eventually agreed to have her limb amputated above the knee.
Fortunately, the operation halted the infection.
Now, Tanya, who was diagnosed with a chronic leg ulcer which turned into gangrene, is pain-free and preparing to get on with her life.
However, she says she is too scared to shave her remaining leg.
The married mum said: "It has been an absolute nightmare.
"It was just a little nick. I just went ‘ouch’ and thought nothing of it.
"I’ve done it a thousand times before so I just put a bit of tissue on it and expected it to stop bleeding."
She added: "Within a few weeks it was green and black from my ankle right up to my knees. The pain was absolutely sheer hell.
"I had to take more and more painkillers. It was a constant feeling of thousands of needles being stuck into me.
“I used to sit with my leg in a plastic bag – there used to be that much fluid seeping out of it, I felt like I was in a horror movie."
“After a while it looked like gangrene. It looked like I had a flesh-eating bug. It just kept growing and growing and growing. It got to the point when I just said to the doctors, ‘Take it off’. I want it gone’.
Tanya, from Breaston, Derbyshire, got "one hell of a shock" when she first came round and discovered "only inches" of her leg left.
"It was just complete and utter shock," she recalled.
"To see it gone was like waking up in a nightmare."
The mum had been shaving her legs when she ‘nicked’ her shin in April 2014. Before long, the scab had grown to the size of a 5p piece.
Despite her mother urging her to see the doctor, she initially refused.
Tanya said: "I was like ‘yeah, yeah’ but didn’t.
"I had never had any other health problem. A week later the pain got so bad I went to A&E and was hospitalised for five days where doctors said it was a leg ulcer and put me on strong antibiotics.
"I’ve never felt pain like that in my life."
The infection was so bad that the mum was even forced to quit her job as a sales representative.
She returned to hospital three times for treatments including biotherapy – where medicinal maggots clean the wounds by eating the dead tissue – but nothing worked.
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Tanya said: "They did biotherapy which involves attaching maggots to your leg. For 24 hours I was screaming in agony.
“By the third time I went into hospital, it covered my whole leg. It was just completely infected. It was too far gone."
In April 2016, doctors at Nottingham’s Queen’s Medical Centre suggested taking the drastic step of removing Tanya’s leg.
They diagnosed her with diabetes, and said the ulcer and infection was a result of the disease.
Tanya, who has a grown-up daughter, added: “They said ‘Have you thought about amputation?
"They said ‘We don’t have to amputate but it could take years to heal if it heals at all’, and I just said to them ‘Right, yes, take it off. I want it gone’."
After the operation, Tanya spent five months in hospital.
Following her discharge, she had to learn how to move, sit up and walk with a frame or a stick.
She is now hoping to have a prosthetic leg fitted in the near future.
She said: “I can’t believe I have actually got to this point.
"I have had to be strong. I would love to tell people that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I do my absolute best.
"So many people say ‘You are an inspiration’ and I say ‘No, I’m not’. I am in this position and I have had no other choice. It’s sink or swim."
She added: “I don’t shave my other leg any more. It terrifies me.
“As strange as it sounds, I don’t regret the operation one bit.
“I am looking to go back to work. Mentally, I think I am pretty much almost there. That’s the next step in my life.
“I am getting a car, that’s going to be life-changing. Once I have got the car I will look into getting a prosthetic leg.”
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