7th July 2020

Reflecting on lockdown – the parallels of suffering with a leg ulcer

Lockdown has been a time of reflection for me. It has reminded me of how bad things were when my leg ulcer was at its worst, of a time when I honestly thought my life would never improve. During this time, I had only three wishes:

  1. That I could have an undisturbed night’s sleep without the constant throbbing in my leg waking me
  2. That I could have a shower or bath without all the hassle and upset of a painful dressing change
  3. That I could leave the house without worrying about the smell and pain of my leg ulcer – I didn’t have a social life, I couldn’t go out to work and I was unable to walk, let alone exercise

Life after a chronic leg ulcer: where I am today

Thankfully, my ulcer, which I suffered with for almost 15 years, has healed. And my life has improved so much. I no longer need to take a constant diet of analgesics and plan my day around how my leg is going to feel. I’m sleeping well, I can walk our dogs every day and be much more active. I currently work from home for our family business but for the first time in my life, I can actually imagine myself having a career. Most importantly, I am happier and much more positive than I have been for years. I am extremely grateful for the treatment I was given and for the opportunity in life this has given me. I would never have believed that it was possible and would like to tell other leg ulcer patients not to give up, that there is always hope. The next treatment you try could be the one that finally works.

Tracy Goodwin for Legs Matter

Mental health struggles during the Coronavirus pandemic

I’ve read many reports showing an increase in mental health struggles since the coronavirus pandemic started. And that some of the reasons for struggling are because people cannot see their friends, and loved ones. They can’t work or continue with their recreational activities and as a result, they may have been less active or gained weight.  This has had a negative effect on their self worth and self image. These are all feelings I know all too well.

Isolation and being less active has had a negative effect on some people’s self worth and self image. These are all feelings I know all too well.

The impact of lockdown on leg ulcer patients

For some, lockdown has been a complete life change. But for others, including many of the million leg ulcer patients across the country – old and young, there’s been no change. They don’t go out to pubs and restaurants because they are conscious of the smell and look of their legs, they don’t meet their friends because they are drained from the sleepless nights and constant pain. And they cannot work because of the impact that having a chronic leg ulcer has on their lives.

Lockdown is real everyday life for so many.

Where to get help if you’re not feeling ok

Support from the NHS

Support from the charity MIND

More about leg ulcer

About the author

Meet Tracy Goodwin, one of our Patient Partners. She’s helping Legs Matter raise awareness of lower leg and foot problems to ensure patients get the correct help and treatment from the very beginning.

Tracy’s story began over 15 years ago in her early 20’s. Following a deep vein thrombosis while she was pregnant, she developed a leg ulcer on her left ankle. Up until that point, she hadn’t even heard of leg ulcers and this was echoed by (the lack of treatment from) her GP as it took several visits with a non-healing wound before she was referred to a specialist, vascular nurse. Initially the ulcer healed within 12 weeks but unfortunately that wasn’t the end of it – and the ulcer recurred – but this time it was very difficult to get healed. From that point onwards, for 13 years, Tracy had an almost permanently had a chronic leg ulcer. It has changed her life beyond recognition and has impacted every aspect of her life since.