A LINWOOD woman has told how she begged doctors to amputate her leg after suffering years of agony with a condition usually seen in pensioners.

Linda McLean, 54, developed Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) at the age of 28.

By the time she was 34, she had already had a double hip and shoulder replacement to help treat the disease, which causes inflammation and swelling of the joints, making it almost impossible to move.

Linda pleaded with medics for years to amputate her leg and was delighted when the operation was finally given the go-ahead.

Recalling the start of her ordeal, she said: “I just kept getting really bad pains in my arms and legs and, one day in work, I just couldn’t move. I was in so much pain.

“When I was 33, I had a full shoulder replacement and then, the next year, I had a bilateral hip replacement.

“It went really well and I was back up on my feet pretty soon after that. I was really glad to have my independence back and be able to drive again and do things.

“I kept having problems with my left foot though. I had my pinkie toes removed on both my feet because I couldn’t get any shoes that I could wear but, after that, more problems happened.”

Linda, who previously worked in a medical lab, said she kept developing rheumatoid nodules in her foot – hard nodules of skin which around 20 per cent of people with the condition develop.

She had to go under the knife up to five times a year to have the lumps removed.

Linda said: “It was too painful and I couldn’t cope with it. I asked the doctor about getting my leg off and she said ‘No way’.

“I wanted to just take my chances. I went in in March 2015 and got it chopped off.

“When I woke up, it was like a big weight lifted off my shoulders. I felt like a different person, I felt amazing.”

After her amputation, Linda got involved with the Finding Your Feet charity, which was founded by Lochwinnoch woman Corinne Hutton.

The charity helped Linda by connecting her with other people who had gone through similar experiences.

Linda said: “I’ve met loads of amazing people and they’ve been so supportive. I phoned Corinne when I got my leg off and she came to see me and it all went from there.

“We go out for lunches, cups of tea and to talk about how we’re feeling.

The group were also there to support Linda during one of her most difficult moments, after she was thrown from her electric wheelchair last year, breaking both of her legs and destroying her prosthetic leg.

The accident left her immobile for months and she has since been diagnosed with osteoporosis, on top of the RA.

Linda said: “My knee on my amputated leg was fractured and my other leg was broken completely.

“The chair just rolled right over my legs and kept crushing them. I was lying on my bathroom floor, unable to move.

“After I got the cast on, my leg was still really painful and, when I got it X-rayed, the doctors said it had broken again.”

Linda’s leg broke a further two times, resulting in the osteoporosis diagnosis, but she still has hope that she will walk again.

She said: “My quality of life has really gone down. I used to drive my car and go places by myself but I just can’t do that now.

“I still have hope that I’ll be able to walk again though. I’m not giving up.”