How a misdiagnosed blister crushed a young dancer’s dreams

Troy Lester will hold a Toes for Troy Trivia Night at Fairy Meadow Bowling Club on Saturday, March 18 to raise funds to purchase much needed prosthetics for his feet. Picture: Robert Peet

Troy Lester will hold a Toes for Troy Trivia Night at Fairy Meadow Bowling Club on Saturday, March 18 to raise funds to purchase much needed prosthetics for his feet. Picture: Robert Peet

Troy Lester had the dance world at his feet in his early twenties.

But nowadays he uses a walking stick just to get around after a misdiagnosed blister turned out to be a diabetic ulcer.

Eight years and nine surgeries later and Lester has lost both big toes, both second toes and part of his right foot.

''I basically did everything but sign the consent form for them to take my foot.''

The 32-year-old is resigned to never dancing again but is hopeful of purchasing silicone prosthetics which will do ‘’wonders’’ for his balance and self-confidence.

Lester though was devastated when he first learned he would never dance again.

‘’I was at uni, I was choreographing two musicals, dancing in musicals and putting together a club show to tour NSW all while I had a blister on my foot which went misdiagnosed for sometime,’’ he said.

‘’Being a dancer I just put up with the pain but by the time doctors finally diagnosed it as a diabetic ulcer, 12 months later, it was pretty much too late and by the time it [toe] was amputated, it was actually gangrene and I nearly lost my foot.

‘’I was very lucky that the infection only stayed in my toe and it didn’t spread through my foot, that would have been disastrous.

‘’Although in 2013 I was told the infection in my left second toe had actually spread up my leg and to my spine.

‘’The doctors at Wollongong Hospital told me that they were going to amputate my forefoot and had me on heavy duty meds.

‘’I basically did everything but sign the consent form for them to take my foot and then three days later after having two different medical teams fighting over what was wrong with me, they came in and told me that there was no infection in my foot and I could go home.’’

It hasn’t been pleasant but the experience has taught Lester a lot about readjusting to still choreograph and do the stuff he ‘’loves’’ doing.

‘’Positive stuff has come out of this and I’m thankful to a lot people and groups such as Southern Stars who gave me my first costume designing job,’’ he said.

A Toes for Troy Trivia Night will be held at Fairy Meadow Bowling Club on Saturday, March 18 from 7pm.

‘’I won’t be able to dance again. That ship has sailed. But, prosthetics will do wonders for me,’’ Lester said.

‘’I use a walking stick and that won’t change but prosthetics will help just for pressure pushing off when I walk.

‘’Aesthetically they also will look much better. My feet aren’t the nicest looking things anymore with bits and pieces missing.

‘’To have silicone prosthetics that are colour matched to my foot, with acrylic toenails, will do wonders for my confidence.’’

Search the Toes for Troy Trivia Night Facebook page for details. Troy Lester also has a GoFundMe page.

Illawarra Mercury

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