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A newsletter from Ankle & Foot Care Centers.

First Quarter 2020 Edition:

NOMS Ankle & Foot Care Centers Partners with Salvation Army Deliver Hundreds of Shoes, Socks to Individuals in Need

Several hundred pairs of shoes and socks collected through the NOMS Ankle & Foot Care Centers annual holiday drive were recently donated to the Salvation Army of Mahoning Valley, which will provide them to individuals and families in need at its distribution centers.

Read more here.

Copyright © February 2020 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Youngstown Man Nearly Suffers Amputation, Wheelchair-Bound, Walking Again After 8 Years

As a result of being diabetic, Gary Breen nearly lost his leg eight years ago. He's feeling like a new man as of last April, and he says it's largely because Dr. Lawrence DiDomenico is a 'miracle-worker.'

It all started in 2011 when he experienced an accident at work, falling from his truck, Gary shattered his right ankle with a severe bone infection. Days later, he went into septic shock after experiencing an infection.

While at Northside Hospital, he was told his only option was amputation. That's when his sister recommended he get a second opinion from Dr. DiDomenico.

"Dr. DiDomenico told me I had to listen," said Gary, 66. "He knew I wanted to get back to work so he made it very clear that he could save my leg if I would just listen. I'm glad I didn't fight him, because he worked miracles on me."

The long road was never easy, but Gary says the key is to keep a positive attitude and keep up the fight.

Over the course of eight years, he underwent more than 10 surgeries, he wore an external fixator for quite some time and had an ankle fusion.

In April, Dr. DiDomenico removed the hardware in Gary's ankle, as his ankle healed well. That was the moment when his life changed.

"I knew I'd never be able to work again," the former service technician said. "But I also thought I'd never be able to walk again. And here I am."

Prior to his injury, Gary enjoyed gardening and mechanic work. He hopes to return to his hobbies soon, now that he's not wheelchair-bound, he says.

"I can actually get out into my backyard and might even be able to get the rototiller going again," he said. "And I'll hopefully be able to get back to doing what I love, which is playing around in the garage, working on cars."

He proudly credits his medical team, including Dr. DiDomenico and Dr. Javier Calderon, his infectious disease physician, for his major improvement for the quality of his life.

"I was supposed to lose my leg," he recalls. "They worked as a team and performed miracles on me. I'm walking again with my leg. It has changed my life completely."

Copyright © February 2020 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Proper Footwear is Essential for Fall Prevention

It's important you have proper footwear to prevent falls, especially during the winter season. Download this PDF that provides tips for buying new boots and includes which features you should look for.

Copyright © February 2020 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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3 Ways to Walk Like a Penguin to Avoid Falls This Winter


By: Dr. Jennifer Flo of NOMS Ankle & Foot Care Centers

Penguins love this time of year, with its mix of cold rain and snow. They know how to get outdoors, keep active and stay safe on slippery surfaces. Luckily, our penguin friend, Emperor, has agreed to share three easy steps to avoid falling on the ice by walking like them. Read Dr. Flo's blog article here.

Copyright © February 2020 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Founding Physician of Ankle & Foot Care Centers Still Loves What He Does 33 Years Later

Dr. Debiec is glad his schedule allows him to be a family man, too. Here he is (third from left) with his son Matthew and daughter-in-law Kayla, his wife, Diane, his son Bobby and daughter-in-law Kaitlin, and his son, Nick.

Over the course of his 33 years of practice, podiatric physician Dr. Robert Debiec has never considered pursuing anything else. Retirement is not even on his radar, he says. What's his secret? He loves what he does.

"My job is not just going to work," he said. "I take the patient, his/her problem and the treatment method to heart, trying to get them to back to continuing their life without any pain."

He has had this mentality since Day One and he established NOMS Ankle & Foot Care Centers with like-minded individuals.

Dr. Debiec started his own practice in 1986, after completing his surgical residency at Youngstown Osteopathic Hospital. He then opened two more offices and was running all three locations and visiting five nursing homes. His colleague, Dr. Lawrence DiDomenico, then joined him, and together, they created Ankle & Foot Care Centers' residency program.

More podiatric physicians joined the practice after finishing the residency program, including Dr. Kenneth Emch. Dr. Debiec, Dr. DiDomenico and Dr. Emch formed the official partnership as Ankle & Foot Care Centers in 1994.

"I'm very proud of the staff and the doctors associated with our group," Dr. Debiec said. "There's a major sense of unity within the group, with everyone having the same mindset to put the patient above all else, even if that means going out of our way to accommodate their needs. We all keep up with the latest advancements in the field of podiatry and continue to deliver the best possible care that we can."

Dr. Debiec sees patients at the group's Boardman, Poland and Ravenna offices.

"I was drawn to this field because I knew I wanted to treat a wide variety of people and I was interested in different areas," he said. "From sports medicine, to surgery, to wound care, I see a little bit of everything and can treat patients ranging in age from pediatrics to elderly."

His work schedule has also allowed him to be a husband, father and "hockey junky," he says.

"When I leave the office, I can be Mr. Debiec," he said. "I was around for all three of my kids' practices and games while they were growing up."

The life-long Pittsburgh Penguins fan watches hockey weekly and also plays one to two times a week in a league at the Deep Freeze Ice Arena in Boardman.

He started his own team and now leads a network of 60 men, organizing and scheduling their games. He's been playing for more than 20 years.

"We have a great time out there," said Dr. Debiec. "My oldest son plays with us, too, so that's really fun to spend that time together."

Dr. Debiec's three grown sons followed his footsteps and all pursued careers in the medical field.

"My wife and I are very proud of our kids," he said. "Our youngest just got accepted into Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, our middle son is in medical device sales and our oldest is a doctor."

Dr. Debiec lives with his wife, Diane, in Canfield.

Copyright © February 2020 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Clerical Coordinator Says Her Motivation Comes from Helping Others

Jodi and her husband, Ed, recently enjoyed a trip to Nashville, where they explored this beautiful park outside of their hotel.

Jodi Custer enjoys her job because she loves to help others. And that's exactly what her position enables her to do.

The NOMS Ankle & Foot Care Centers employee of 12 years was promoted from medical secretary to clerical coordinator for the practice in 2018.

In her role, she oversees the medical secretaries across the group's 19 offices and assists with training and onboarding new employees, as well as filling in to help cover shifts when needed.

"I always wanted to be a teacher when I was growing up," says Jodi, 48. "In this position, I'm able to fulfill some of the aspects that come with teaching, by training and helping others."

She enjoys the change of scenery as she travels from office to office and gets to know the entire staff.

"My home office is Boardman, but I'm lucky if I make it there once a week," she says. "It's nice to be able to develop relationships with everyone at all of our locations, including our doctors, too.

"If there's a problem, or if I need to help cover shifts, I'm there," Jodi explains. "It's always been my nature to help out wherever needed, so I really enjoy this role."

She also looks forward to seeing patients that she met during her years as a medical secretary.

"I'm still able to interact with the patients while I'm covering in the different offices and it's nice to be able to check in on the regular patients I haven't seen in a long time."

When she's not working, Jodi enjoys spending time with her husband, Ed, their three daughters and their three-month-old granddaughter. Whether it's hosting family dinners, playing games or vacationing, she values the time she has with her family.

"It's nice to be able to get away, relax and experience new things and new places together," says Jodi.

Their preferred getaways include going somewhere with a beach or the mountains, as they love outdoor adventure.

Most recently, her and Ed vacationed in the Smoky Mountains.

Her and her husband live in Canfield.

Copyright © February 2020 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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From the Kitchen: Meat Lovers Breakfast Cups

From The Kitchen

(From the Kitchen recipes are provided by the Diabetes Partnership of the Mahoning Valley.)

This quick and easy low-carb recipe is a great way to start your morning. You can also freeze these cups for a grab-and-go breakfast. All you need is some coffee on the side!

Serving size: 6
Diabetic friendly: Yes

1/8 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp canola oil
1 1/4 cup frozen hash browns (thawed)
2 tbsp onion (finely chopped)
1 clove of garlic (minced)
2 precooked turkey breakfast sausage patties (thawed and diced)
1 tbsp light sour cream
1 cup of egg substitute
2 tbsp turkey bacon
2 tbsp Monterey Jack cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat a six-cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Evenly divide the hash browns among the muffin cups and press firmly into the bottom and up the sides of each cup. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Saute the onion until tender. Add the garlic and sausage. Cook for another minute. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the sour cream. In a medium bowl, beat the egg substitute with the salt and black pepper, then pour it evenly into the potato-lined muffin cups. Top each cup with some of the sausage mixture, bacon and cheese. Bake 15 to 18 minutes, or until the eggs are set. Serve immediately or freeze for later.

For more information, including nutritional information, see this link.

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