What has my vascular surgeon done for me? In all likelihood, he saved my life.
Dr. Chad Jacobs is a very competent member of Rush University Cardiovascular Surgeon's office located in the professional building across the street from Rush University Medical Center. Dr. Jacobs and I go back quite a few years.
When the onset of DVT was first diagnosed, I was originally treated at Cook County Hospital, now known as Stroger Hospital. Cook County Hospital as it was known then, was in it's last year in the original building, which I believe was over a hundred years old. I did receive treatment there quite a few times, not the least of which was my first femerol popliteal bypass. For many reasons I decided to no longer seek treatment there.
When further problems, namely blood clots, resurfaced, I decided to receive treatment at Rush University Medical Hospital. I really don't remember how I met Dr. Jacobs, but I do remember I took an instant liking to him. Unlike a lot of doctors you might encounter, Dr. Jacobs has a warmth about his personality, a feeling of genuine caring. Dr. Jacobs made talking about my medical problems as easy as possible.
I knew I had serious problems with potentially serious consequences. Dr. Jacobs was candid with me about the possible ultimate outcome of the DVT diagnosis, especially coupled with what was eventually described as hypercoaguability (my blood was inherently too thick).
We continued a regimen of blood thinners (coumadin), aspirin, and Plavix. All of those drugs were effective for a while but the DVT, a degenerative disease, progressed. I had many bouts with blood clots, at that time, exclusively in my right leg. As I discussed in an earlier blog installment, sometimes these clots were successfully dissolved, other times not; the results were vein bypasses, several to be precise. After having had the bypasses occlude (clot) repeatedly, I had reached a point where there was nowhere to bypass to or from.
I remember Dr. Chad Jacobs commenting to me over the course of several years, that he was amazed that I was able to forestall my clotting problem for as long as I did. I attributed that ability to excercise. I am very confident that my participation in an excercise program helped delay the inevitable for as long as possible.
In June 2008, after two previous bypasses that same year, I had reached the end of surgical treatment. I believe it was March 2008 that Dr. Jacobs told me that if this last bypass failed, there was nothing more that could be done surgically to save my leg. In June of that same year the unthinkable happened, an occlusion. I lost my right leg.
I can't begin to explain how hard the surgical team, under Dr. Chad Jacob's leadership, worked over the course of several years, to save my right leg; it was not to be.
Dr. Jacobs is always optimistic and encouraging to me. I remember there were times when I doubted my ability to carry on and handle the health problems that lay before me and the subsequent necessary treatment. Dr. Jacobs said to me, "Glenn you are stronger than you think you are." What a confidence booster and sense of reassurance his belief in me had on my outlook and continuing recovery.
As I wrote about in an earlier blog installment, I began to have similar problems in my left leg. I ended up having three by-passes in my left leg and then in December 2010 all hell broke loose literally--all bypasses failed and the inevitable came to fruition. I lost my left leg.
Of course I am still learning to cope and reapproaching how to do what were simple everyday routines, but now are much more difficult, and yet I feel they are still attainable to a greater or lesser degree.
To me it has been essential to establish open communication between all of the various caregivers, I have encountered, and myself. A communication that goes beyond just mere professionalism, it is on a more personal level for me, a type of friendship really. I would like to think I have established an intrapersonal relationship with many of my medical professionals that has enabled all parties involved to go beyond the sometimes cold clinical relationships many people encounter, to a warm caring connection. All those things make my health situation not only more bearable, but often times more hopeful. Who could ask for more than that?
I remember Dr. Chad Jacob's words to me about strength and it helps keep me focussed and realize how much inner strength I really do possess. I recall one time on a routine check up appointment with Dr. Jacobs, he walked into the examining room and said, "I know I am going to have a good day, today because your are my first patient."
Well, Dr. Chad Jacobs I want you to know I am going to have a productive, happy and prosperous life because you are my doctor. I genuinely thank you for your belief in me it has given me great strength and optimism. Optimism and inner strength I call upon every day to achieve the happiness we all deserve.