For three and a half years Arden Brandhorst had suffered with sciatic nerve pain. Therefore, when she started having numbness and tingling in her right foot, it was a natural response to associate these symptoms with her previous sciatic nerve problem. However, the pain which began in her heel quickly became infected.
It was not until she went to a gathering at her son’s house that she realized the sore on her heel was more serious. “I met Ann Bivens for the first time at my son’s home,” Arden explains. “While chatting I apologized for wearing sandals in the middle of winter, and explained how I couldn’t wear regular shoes because of an open sore on my right foot.”
Arden later found out that Ann was the System Vascular Coordinator, Cardiovascular Services at Southern Illinois Healthcare (SIH). Arden also mentioned to Ann that she was having pain in her right leg.“When I asked her if she had had any testing done or had seen a podiatrist she said no,” Ann explained. With Ann’s encouragement and assistance, Arden scheduled an appointment with Dr. Daniel Brown, a podiatrist with Southern Illinois Podiatry.
The Real Scare of Poor Blood Circulation
“As soon as Dr. Brown looked at my foot he said, Raynaud’s disease,” Arden says. Raynaud’s disease is a form of arterial spasms, which leads to arterial obstruction.
She really didn’t understand the severity of her condition until Dr. Brown referred to her case as emergent and called Dr. Al-Dallow, a board certified cardiologist with Prairie Vascular Services at SIH.
Within a few days, Arden was scheduled for a lower extremity angiogram. The test results indicated that in addition to Raynaud’s disease, Arden was experiencing poor blood circulation, due to the Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD). The PAD caused the numbness and infection in her foot. Without treatment, she may face amputation down the road.
PAD occurs when plaque builds up on the walls of the arteries that supply blood to the arms and legs, causing them to narrow or become blocked. If severe enough, blocked blood flow can cause tissue damage. Left untreated, a foot or leg may need to be amputated.
“I just didn’t know”
Dr. Al-Dallow performed an endovascular procedure on Arden using two stents in the arteries that run from the right groin area to just below the right knee. The procedure reopened the arteries in her leg, increasing blood flow to her foot.
“Within days after my surgery my foot began to heal and the color came back,” she says. “It was just amazing how good it looked.” Arden hopes that sharing her experience will help others to be aware of the symptoms of PAD and get help earlier. When Dr. Brown made the comment that she should have seen him sooner, Arden’s reaction was, “I didn’t know, I just didn’t know.”
Today Arden enjoys hiking with her grandchildren, making nature books with them and attending their sports activities. She realizes how fortunate she is. “I am so happy I met Ann,” Arden says with a sigh. “If I had not seen Drs. Brown and Al-Dallow when I did, I may have lost my foot.”