Mary Jessup

Name: Mary Jessup
Hometown: Elmira, New York
Diabetes Type: 2
Current Life's Work: Village Clerk-Treasurer, Tax Collector; Businesswoman

I have been diagnosed with diabetes for about eight years now. One complication that is not spoken about is Charcot foot, which I have had for about four years now.

One day at work, I was walking and my foot felt funny. Even though we were having a luncheon, I decided to go home and get some comfortable shoes on. By the time I made the ten-minute drive, my foot had swelled up, turned very red, and I could not move my right foot or ankle. I went to the emergency room; they kept me for nine days thinking I had a mursa infection. I also got gout in the big toe of my right foot. The foot did not get better; no one knew what to do for it. It is a rare complication.

I finally made an appointment at an orthopedic doctor and he diagnosed the Charcot foot within five minutes. Then came the grueling task of stabilizing my foot so I wouldn't lose it then. Seven months in a non-weight bearing cast, which meant wheelchair. I still worked, then a Charcot boot was made from a casting of my foot. The boot covers my foot and goes to the knee. I wore that for nine months and was finally able to get shoes, which are also casted. Within the first week of having my new shoes, I broke my foot, again in the boot for four months. Charcot foot makes your bones very easy to break. I now wear my custom orthotic shoes every day. I have learned after breaking my foot two more times and breaking numerous toes by stubbing them. When my foot is hurting very badly, I still wear my boot. After wearing the boot for nine months, I had back surgery because walking everyday in the boot, which is higher than a shoe, I was diagnosed with a bad disk. Fun to have Charcot and also a back brace!

I tell my story because I hear a lot of people saying they don't follow the rule of keeping their feet covered, no open toes. The pain and torment caused by Charcot foot is like no other. I am very protective of my feet now, and all others should be. I know that Charcot foot is rare; I would not wish this on anyone.

Exercise is very limited with Charcot foot. I can no longer walk long distances. I use to walk four miles a day. I have never given up trying to exercise, though. I have just purchased a stationary bike with a chair seat on it, so now I can still exercise.

I just wanted to tell my story. It's been a long haul, but I am a stronger person because of it.

Learn more about Charcot foot here.

*NOTE: These are everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences. These personal accounts are not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.

We are always looking for interesting/inspiring diabetes stories. To find out our current call for submissions or to submit your own inspirational story for consideration, check out Real People, Real Stories.

Last Modified Date: May 18, 2015

All content on is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.

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