My name is Richard Aguire and I live in McAllen, Texas, about 550 miles southwest of Dallas. The population here is less than 170,000. If you’re reading this, I assume you have either been told that you have Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) or you are researching on your own because of symptoms which you or a loved one are experiencing. You are trying to decide what to do. I am here to tell you that there is an alternative to local medical care that is well worth investigating.
Foremost, if you have or believe you have PAD, see a vascular surgeon and ensure that they deal with PAD of the extremities. Review their qualifications. This is not treating a cold. Where did they go to medical school? Where did they do their Fellowship in Vascular Surgery? Have they published any articles? Do they continually research and what procedures, techniques and equipment do they use?
Be advised, a cardiologist is not the same thing as a vascular surgeon. They are specialized in treating the diseases of the heart and while they do insert stents, no matter how well intentioned they are, that does not make them experts in PAD. I have learned that if you have a specialist who says, “We can take care of that, I’ve done it before” but it’s not their exact specialty, RUN – don’t walk – and find someone who specializes in what you need.
Second, distance should not even enter into the equation. PAD is a progressive disease and we are talking about “quality of life.” You need a highly qualified expert, who knows your overall health condition and who will intervene to ensure that you are able to maintain that quality of life as long as possible.
In 2010, I damaged the artery in my left leg and, after having an ultrasound; I was told that I would need surgery. I have had a number of surgeries, but I can tell you that it was one of the toughest I have experienced. In 2015, I began having pain in my right leg and reported it to my primary care doctor, who sent me for an ultrasound.
From there, it was a trip to my cardiologist, who had placed stents in my heart previously. “Ah ha, we’ll put stents in your leg.” But then, “oops, this is too complex and it can’t be done.” The next day, a fellow comes into my hospital room and announces, “I am the general surgeon who is going to operate on you right leg.” I declined, knowing there had to be better alternatives.
Time Was of the Essence!
I researched doctors in San Antonio, Houston and Dallas. After receiving recommendations from recognized medical experts in their fields and thoroughly evaluating the qualifications of each doctor, I selected Dr. Russell Lam of Lam Vascular & Associates in Dallas.
When I called Dr. Lam’s office, I fully expected to wait three-months before I could schedule an appointment. I was surprised and grateful, after explaining my circumstances and other conditions, to find that Dr. Lam would see me within the week. I arranged for all of my medical records to immediately be sent to his office.
When I met with Dr. Lam, I was extremely impressed with his in-depth knowledge of my overall medical condition. Dr. Lam was perceptive enough to recognize the limitations caused by my other medical situations. After a lengthy consultation and evaluation, Dr. Lam recommended a two-step treatment plan including angioplasty and stenting to open up arteries, restore blood flow and alleviate pain.
Since my initial visit, I have had to return to see Dr. Lam to have the stents cleared of plaque build-up. Knowing that I am traveling a distance, his staff has been considerate in assuring that my visit is scheduled around my availability and time considerations. Dr. Lam’s medical practice is based upon a high degree of attentiveness and integrity. It is a pleasure to deal with every team member.
A Final Message
If you are dealing with health issues that affect your quality of life, you cannot be too aggressive when it comes to your medical care. If you don’t advocate for yourself, who will? Don’t let distance be a barrier to getting the quality of care that you deserve. It’s your health and your life! Extend yourself and go that distance. It will be well worth it.
The overall goal for treating PAD at Lam Vascular & Associates is to alleviate pain. In severe cases, Dr. Lam may recommend peripheral bypass surgery, angioplasty or stenting to restore blood circulation in your legs and give you back your ability to walk.
Lam Vascular & Associates has locations in Dallas and Rockwall, Texas. Schedule your appointment online or call today to get a leg up on your vascular health…and take your life back.
The information contained in this article is not intended to be used as a substitute for medical advice. Patient results will vary based on risk factors, age, disease and medical history and are not guaranteed in any way.