Linda Bailey of Harrison was convalescing from surgery to repair a fractured right shoulder due to a fall when she began experiencing pain in her right leg. Little did she know that determining the cause of the leg-pain would lead her on a medical odyssey that may well have saved her life.
Linda’s doctor could find no conclusive reason for her pain, so she was referred to Dr. Omar P. Haqqani, MD, Chief of Vascular Surgery at Vascular Health Clinics. Because Linda’s pain was so localized, Dr. Haqqani ordered an ultrasound to see if insufficient blood flow was the issue.
Dr. Haqqani discovered that Linda had an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA); a bulging or ballooning in a weakened wall of the lower part of the aorta. Though the aneurysm was small, it would need to be monitored.
“The diagnosis came as a shock,” says Linda. “I wasn’t prepared for it, but I’m glad I found out.”
However, and to Linda’s growing dismay, the aneurysm wasn’t the cause of her pain. Her ordeal with her leg would be ongoing.
Linda subsequently had back surgery to remove nerve bundles thought to be the issue, but this didn’t relieve her pain. Finally, an orthopedic specialist determined a severe tear in the right hip labrum was the culprit, likely caused by the same fall that fractured her shoulder.
Following hip surgery and several weeks rehabbing, Linda was finally pain-free and back to work at Central Michigan University where she works within the academic development programs.
However, just a few weeks later, a follow-up screening at Vascular Health Clinics revealed her aneurysm had grown to over 5 centimeters. Dr. Haqqani informed Linda that it was at risk of rupturing and recommended surgical intervention.
Because Linda had smoked for many years, plaque build-up in her aorta meant Linda wasn’t eligible for the less invasive endovascular repair. Traditional open repair was Linda’s only option for treatment.
“Dr. Haqqani did a good job of explaining my options, why I needed the open repair, and that this would be a major surgery,” says Linda.
At this point, surgery was old hat for Linda. This would be her fourth surgery in roughly a year. However, Linda found her anxiety growing as the surgery date approached.
When she reported to MidMichigan Medical Center in Midland on the day of the surgery, Dr. Haqqani and the nurses were sensitive to her anxiety and helped to calm her down.
“They walked me through the procedure again, and I felt more at ease,” says Linda.
Following successful surgery by Dr. Haqqani, Linda remained focused on getting home to her husband, Carl, and their five birds while recovering in the hospital.
On the day of her release, she was surprised at how good she felt. “I actually think the pain was worse when I had my shoulder surgery,” says Linda.
Linda returned to work at CMU on a part-time basis just three weeks following surgery, and continues working on building her stamina so she can soon begin working full-time.
She feels more energetic every day. She’s able to kneel and get on her knees. She’s able to go to the grocery store and work around the house.
“What has brought me the most joy is being able to interact and care for my birds again,” says Linda. Her numerous surgeries over the past year limited her interaction with her feathered friends.
“It’s crazy that is this all started with me fracturing my shoulder,” says Linda. “Had I not done that, I might not have found out about the aneurysm until it was too late.”
“Dr. Haqqani and his staff were wonderful and I thank them for everything they did for me.”