Veteran actor Duan Weiming loses left leg to diabetes
While local veteran actor Duan Weiming is grateful that he managed to send off his adopted mother on her final journey, he confessed he fell into depression shortly after undergoing amputation of his left leg below the knee.
In an interview with Lianhe Zaobao on Sept 19, the 61-year-old who is best known for his role as coffee shop assistant Ah Cai in the Channel 8 drama serial Neighbours (1986 to 1988), said: "I thought I was strong enough to accept it for a day or two, but no, it took a few days before I could finally let go."
Duan, who has suffered from diabetes since he was 22, had been in and out of the hospital several times this year. Following an accident, he was also advised that amputating his leg would save his life; and while he was mulling over the decision, he received news that his 96-year-old mother, a Malaysian who lived with him in Singapore, had died of natural causes at home.
He described his mother as being a strong woman, and for that, she refused to see a doctor or even take any medication when she felt unwell.
Said Duan: "She has lived her life, and I'm comforted that she died with a smile on her face. She took care of me for 50 years and always put my interests first."
He added: "Although the operation was delayed, I have no regrets. I saw my adoptive mother for the last time, and sent her off properly on her last journey."
The first few days following his operation, Duan said the wound was so painful that although the doctor prescribed painkillers, he could not eat and sleep well at all.
He said: "Some people tell me to 'be strong', and I'd tell myself that too. But when the pain hits and you're suffering, it is really hard.
"At this point, it is really difficult for me, but I'd try to endure it. I think this is life, a real big test."
Duan revealed that he had ignored the pain in his left foot for more than three months. He said: "I was filming at that time, and so didn't pay much attention to it. I didn't expect diabetes to be so serious."
There was a tinge of regret when asked if he could have done anything differently to avoid losing a limb.
He told The Straits Times: “I have always ‘treated’ my diabetes in my own way – exercising and drinking more water. I did not want to see doctors or take medicine. I ignored the pain in my foot. I took painkillers, got around on wheelchairs and took taxis. I kept getting myself discharged. I was stubborn. I played around with my own health.”
Duan has two children – one in her 30s and another aged 15 – from a previous marriage, as well as a girlfriend of more than 10 years, who is not in the entertainment industry, reported ST.
While he declined to reveal her age, he is immensely grateful to her for standing by him through his ordeals.
He is currently waiting to be discharged before being transferred to a rehabilitation facility. "I'd need some time to adapt to my new life with my left foot," said Duan.
A prosthetic leg may be the next option, but he admitted: "It will cost a fortune. I'd consider that later."