A FORMER lawyer had to get her legs amputated after she woke up to find maggots crawling in sores around her ankles.
Victoria Abbott-Flemming, now 40, thought she had only suffered minor cuts and bruises after falling down a set of concrete stairs.
Her leg had become so infected that it swelled to triple the size and had weeping ulcers that smelled like “rotting meat”.
Victoria’s condition became so severe she woke up one morning to find maggots swimming in her wounds.
She told Wales Online: “I screamed the house down.
“There were thousands of them. I felt physically sick. I felt dirty, like I had rotting flesh. I wanted my leg off there and then.
“It stunk to high heaven, you could smell me from one hundred metres away. I just cried and cried.”
Victoria admitted that at her lowest point she contemplated suicide because she couldn’t cope with the pain of the smell.
At the end of 2006, medics decided to amputate her right leg below the knee when Victoria was 27.
Her condition has also left her unable to have children because the medication she requires would have serious effects on the foetus. She survives on 57 tablets a day to manage the pain.
Victoria’s life seemed perfect when she was 24, she had just passed the bar exam and got a job as a head of law at a college.
She was called to the bar, but decided to lecture A level law at a further education college before starting her Pupilage, which is the training required before someone can start practising as a barrister.
Victoria was 24 when she slipped and fell down the concrete stairs at Cheadle and Marple Sixth Form College in Stockport in 2003.
At the time she thought it was just a minor fall, but as she stood up she realised she was injured.
Victoria was helped to her car and by the time she drove home her leg swelled and tripled in size, splitting her skin.
She was rushed to the hospital but was given anti-inflammatory drugs.
The burning pain in her leg did not subside and over the weeks it changed colour from white to purple to black to bright red.
Victoria described the pain “like thousands of ice picks being pushed into the bone and skin”.
In 2004, she was diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), which is a debilitating chronic pain condition that usually starts after an injury.
In the most severe cases it cause atrophy in the infected limb and lead to infection and even amputation.
She tried every treatment possible from chilli-based cream to Ketamine to counselling and nothing worked.
Victoria started to use a wheelchair after the ulcers opened from her knee to her toes.
In 2006, she woke up and found her leg was maggot infested and she knew it was time to get her limb amputated.
She was in agony after her leg was amputated, but need another four inches from her leg taken – above the knee – because it got infected.
Victoria is still in pain after a total of 18 months of recovery.
Her and her husband decided to go to New York for Christmas in 2013, but the trip was cut short after she contracted swine flu and had to be rushed to the hospital.
She was airlifted back to the UK after being put into an induced coma.
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However, it only got worse from there as her CRPS has begun in her left foot.
She opted to have her left leg amputated and now she survives on 57 tablets a day to manage the pain.
Victoria has written a book about her three-year ordeal about the triumph of the human spirit in the most difficult of times.
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