Get ready for the unscripted, candid stories of patients and their experiences along their journey with a disease more prevalent and deadlier than all cancers combined except for lung cancer. It's called Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD), which is poor circulation in mainly the leg arteries. Juanita talks about her experience that led her to amputation without a PAD Diagnosis. Without a PAD diagnosis, she didn't know that her arteries need to and could potentially be opened up by an advanced skilled doctor. She explains, that if it weren't for her daughter finding Dr. Jihad Mustapha at Advanced Cardiac and Vascular Centers in Michigan on Twitter, she would've lost more than her toes. When doctors wanted to remove her leg below-the-knee, she got in her car and drove to Michigan where Dr. Mustapha was able to maintain her legs in tact for the last seven years. She urges everyone, especially the African American Community which is up to four times likely to have their leg amputated than others, to always get a second opinion from a doctor who will fight alongside you to keep you walking on two feet. You don't want to miss her powerful message also to the the medical community to take a stand against amputation and treat patients as if they were family. Karen and her husband Axel join hosts Kym McNicholas and Dr. John Phillips, along with guest physician Dr. James Antezana, to drive home the importance of getting a second opinion as a title and white coat don't guarantee the best, most advanced limb salvage options. Karen was locked into an HMO in the San Francisco Bay Area with a Vascular Surgeon only a year out of fellowship who would only offer a surgical procedure known as an axillobifemoral bypass, which entails placing a tube from the shoulder to groin and splits off into both legs to bypass blockages in her aorta and iliac arteries. This procedure is rarely performed as front-line therapy and is considered palliative care in the UK because it has low durability and high mortality rate. A second opinion from her doctor's superior only affirmed the axillo bypass as the best strategy. A third opinion at a different facility within the HMO shed light on an even more dire issue, blocked renal arteries. But he declined to take over her care due to corporate politics. They found TheWayToMyHeart.org, which directed them to a known limb saver outside of the HMO, but the HMO decline coverage as
Karen's care team was confident in their care plan. They decided to pursue the consult on their own dime and discovered Karen was months away from dialysis with a narrowing in her renal arteries upwards of 90-percent. Her HMO vascular surgeons denied the need to address her renal arteries, brushing the one 'shriveled' up kidney as likely a birth defect. They took money out of their life savings to not only have Dr. James Joye open up her renal arteries but also her aorta and renal arteries in a minimally invasive way using wires, balloons, and stents. A year later and she is continuing to thrive. Axel says, "I have my wife back."