Robert Barker Gets Help Battling His Family History

Robert Barker of Weidman has always taken care of himself. He grows his own vegetables in a well-tended garden and likes canning his crop so he can enjoy the fruits of his labor year-round. He is keenly aware of the health risks associated with smoking and has never touched a cigarette. However, when Robert started experiencing debilitating pain in his legs, he found that no matter how conscientious of his health he was, he couldn’t escape his family history.

In early 2012, Robert began feeling pain in his legs whenever he was active so he sought medical help. Following a referral from his doctor to a clinic near his home in Weidman, Robert had angioplasty performed on both legs to improve blood flow in the limbs. He was soon feeling better and his life returned to normal. However, in late 2015, the pain in Robert’s legs returned.

“It came on quick. I couldn’t work around my yard or in my garden,” says Robert.

“I could barely walk 150 feet without needing rest.”

Once again, Robert sought medical treatment for his debilitating leg pain, but this time his doctor referred him to Vascular Health Clinics in Midland.

“I thought my doctor would send me to the same clinic I went to the first time, but he referred me to Vascular Health Clinics and I’m glad he did,” says Robert.

At Vascular Health Clinics, Robert met with Dr. Omar P. Haqqani, MD, Chief of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery. After running some tests, Dr. Haqqani informed Robert that he had arteriosclerosis. This is a hardening of the veins and arteries that can cause narrowing of the blood vessels and is often associated with smoking; however, in Robert’s case, the condition was genetic.

“The doctor told me that had I smoked, I’d be much worse off,” says Robert.

In January, Dr. Haqqani performed angioplasty and inserted two stents in arteries in Robert’s right leg to once again improve blood flow in the limb. This was followed up in February with angioplasty performed on arteries in Robert’s left leg. No stents were needed.

“I was surprised I was awake during the procedures. I remembered being put out for the procedures back in 2012.” says Robert.

“There wasn’t really any pain. A little discomfort at times, but nothing intolerable. I went home the same day, was walking pain-free in a few days, and fully back to normal in about a week”

What impresses Robert the most is how the medical staff at Vascular Health Clinics continues to follow up with his care. “They have stayed on top of my condition. I’m very impressed with the staff there. They’re very empathetic and caring,” says Robert.

Because of his arteriosclerosis, Robert remains prone to additional obstructions in his blood vessels, and in early June, Robert started feeling pain once again in his right leg.

“The doctor said we’ll just have to clear another vein,” says Robert. So in mid-June, Robert had additional angioplasty performed on his right leg by Dr. Haqqani.

Knowing that he has a team of dedicated medical professionals at hand to provide the specialized care he needs to manage his vascular condition allows Robert to live his life without worrying about how it may limit him or affect his life.

“I’ll have flare ups, but I guess it’s par for the course given my family history. I’m just glad the clinic is on top of my care and we’re addressing it,” says Robert.

“I told my doctor he should send any patients like me that have a similar family history to Vascular Health Clinics.”

Robert understands a bit about history, having majored in it at Western Michigan University. He also understands a bit about faith, having served as a pastor for 30 years before retiring from Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Clare in 2004. Knowing that he has such a capable partner in his healthcare gives him faith that his family history won’t interfere with him enjoying his retirement.

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