At the age of 21, seven years ago, Midland resident Whitney Albright was told she might never walk comfortably again. Earlier this year, however, she met Dr. Omar P. Haqqani, MD, Chief of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery at Vascular Health Clinics in Midland, who gave her a life she thought would not be possible.
In 2009, Whitney met with a Jackson, MI physician, who diagnosed her with Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) – a blood clot found in one of the deep veins of Whitney’s left leg.
After her diagnosis was confirmed by several other doctors and specialists, Whitney was told she would have to live with the severe leg pain and swelling caused by her DVT, offering no other medical options.
“I was told by a few different doctors that there wasn’t anything they could do,” Whitney said. “That the vein was completely closed off, there was no blood flow and that was how it was always going to be.”
After a difficult pregnancy and a move to Midland, MI, Whitney found the first piece to the puzzle in solving her severe leg pain problem.
“A colleague told me that my situation sounded like something that Dr. Haqqani specialized in,” Whitney said. “On a whim, I decided that I’d get another opinion and see what Dr. Haqqani had to say.”
Upon Whitney’s meeting with Dr. Haqqani, she was immediately told that he could help her.
Dr. Haqqani diagnosed Whitney with May-Thurner Syndrome – a compression of the iliac vein, causing discomfort, swelling and pain within the left leg. A common complication from May-Thurner Syndrome is development of DVTs.
May-Thurner Syndrome is most commonly found in young women taking birth control medication, or occurs as women age or as they gain weight.
Within the month, Whitney was scheduled for a diagnostic venogram to assess the bloodflow and severity of her condition, as well as undergo a balloon venoplasty – a procedure conducted by inflating a rubber sac in the vein in order to increase blood flow – all done within the same outpatient procedure.
The process began with an initial consultation, as Dr. Haqqani provided an extensive ultrasound to Whitney assessing whether there were other clots or issues in Whitney’s leg.
Whitney spoke highly of Dr. Haqqani’s direct nature, as well as his thorough explanation to both her and her parents.
“He was straight and to-the-point,” Whitney said. “The visuals the doctor provided really helped my parents and I picture what would be done, as well as detailed what he’d recommend and what he planned to do to help me.”
After a few days of rest, Whitney headed back to work, feeling better than ever, and able to perform everyday tasks that once debilitated her from living her life to the fullest.
Simple tasks that many take for granted, such as running at the gym, weightlifting, going grocery shopping or playing with her young child, that were once strenuous and near impossible were now part of her everyday routine.
Not only this, having been previously advised to not have any more children due to her chronic DVTs and possible risks to her health, Whitney and her partner are now expecting their second child!
“The plan was always to have two children, and having a second child wasn’t recommended,” Whitney said.
Four months removed from the procedure, Whitney now looks toward her future, and is making serious plans to return to nursing school, with a focus in radiology.
“Before I was going to school, but I had to stop because I was on my legs all day,” Whitney said. “My partner just graduated with his degree, and now it’s my turn. That was my dream, and now I’m going back to it.”
Whitney added, “To think within a month’s time to believe it couldn’t be fixed, then find Dr. Haqqani, have him tell me it would be possible to fix and have it be resolved is incredible.”