It was just a nick on her leg after she cut herself shaving.
But the wound on Tanya Czernozukow’s limb became so badly infected that she ended up having it amputated above the knee.
The 43-year-old said: ‘It has been an absolute nightmare. It looked like I had a flesh-eating bug. It just kept growing and growing and growing.’
The surgery has halted the mother-of-one’s infection and she is finally able to look to the future after two years of terrible pain.
She hopes to have a prosthetic leg fitted and has had to learn how to move, sit up and walk with a frame or stick. Mrs Czernozukow told how her ordeal started as she shaved her right shin in April 2014.
‘It was just a little nick. I just went “ouch” and thought nothing of it,’ she said. ‘I’ve done it a thousand times before. Within weeks, it was green and black from my ankle up to my knees. The pain was sheer hell.
‘I had to take more and more painkillers. It was a constant feeling of thousands of needles being stuck into me.
‘I felt like I was in a horror movie. I’ve never felt pain like that in my life.’
The infection – eventually diagnosed as gangrene resulting from a leg ulcer – was so bad that she was even forced to quit her job as a sales representative.
Over the months, Mrs Czernozukow, of Breaston, Derbyshire, spent time in hospital and doctors tried to stop the infection with strong antibiotics, creams and even maggots to clean the wound by eating dead tissue.
Eventually, in April 2016, she agreed to the amputation at the Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham, to end her agony.
Mrs Czernozukow said: ‘It was just completely infected. It was too far gone. It was too little, too late. They said, “We don’t have to amputate but it could take years to heal if it heals at all” and I just said to them, “Right, yes, take it off. I want it gone”.
‘When I first came round, I got one hell of a shock. There was only inches of my leg left. To see it gone was like waking up in a nightmare.’ Doctors also diagnosed her with diabetes and said the ulcer and infection had been a result of the condition.
Mrs Czernozukow, who has a grown-up daughter, said she is too terrified to shave her other leg after all that she has gone through. She added: ‘I can’t believe I have got to this point. I have had to be strong. I would love to tell people that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
‘I do my absolute best. So many people say “You are an inspiration” and I say “No I’m not”. I am in this position and I have had no other choice. It’s sink or swim.’
She was in the hospital for five months after the surgery but said: ‘As strange as it sounds, I don’t regret the operation one bit. I am looking to go back to work. Mentally, I think I am pretty much almost there. That’s the next step in my life.
‘I am getting a car, that’s going to be life-changing. Once I have got the car I will look into getting a prosthetic leg.’