My tired and heavy leg syndrome went on for two years. I figured it was just part of my physical job at the time. Denver was my hometown but I didn’t have family there, and my girlfriend was living here in South Florida so I booked a one-way airline ticket. I was prone to having clogged arteries so peripheral arterial disease (PAD) became a reality for me. When I changed altitudes my heavy leg syndromes become much more pronounced. My legs hurt so badly. The first noticeable symptom was my right big toe swelled up. I soaked it to try and relieve the swelling. Then, it happened to my left big toe which went numb and the toe next to it became completely numb.
I am a diabetic, I know about neuropathy because I research the symptoms. My girlfriend said I needed to make a doctor’s appointment so I went to my primary care doctor. My left leg specifically was always cold to the point I would have to put on long sleeves and sweatpants inside the air-conditioned house during the summertime. After 10 minutes of standing or walking, my legs were in pain. I knew something wasn’t right.
I wasn’t even able to go grocery shopping because after five minutes in the store I would be in so much pain I would have to leave and go back home to sit or lie down. After a year of visiting my primary care physician over this ailment I still didn’t have an answer or relief. I couldn’t work; I felt like a burden and was so frustrated. Mentally it starts to play on you. Your girl is asking you to do things you just can’t do.
My girlfriend knew I was struggling, she called me and said, I found a doctor and I sent you the link. I looked over the link for Dr. Joseph Ricotta and checked him out. I was so glad to go see the big guy (Dr. Ricotta). I researched a couple of other doctors but I saw Dr. Ricotta’s background and experience that meant a lot to me. He’s saving people’s lives. He told me I made it just in time. A cut or injury to my left leg and it wouldn’t heal.
I said I am going to try this guy. I had all of my symptoms written down for Dr. Ricotta because I had been chronicalizing. I went into Dr. Ricotta’s office in Delray Beach and I met Jessica Bruno, Dr. Ricotta’s PA (physician’s assistant). She and I had a little powwow and I felt comfortable. She checked my pulses, the carotid arteries and got down to my legs and said hmm… Jessica noticed a very weak pulse in one of my legs. She immediately scheduled me for an ultrasound.
I tried to walk just two blocks and my legs started itching and burned. I took off the support hose and my veins were popping out in my leg. I called Jessica and Dr. Ricotta’s office and they helped me understand what I was dealing with symptomatically. I really appreciated that. I went back to Dr. Ricotta’s office for the ultrasound and they scheduled my surgery. Dr. Ricotta confirmed that my left leg had a blockage and I would need surgery. Dr. Ricotta told me what to do and how to get ready for surgery. I was very nervous after understanding this was a main artery blockage. My mind was all over the place. I went to Delray Medical Center. I remember seeing Dr. Ricotta right before surgery. He told me what to expect. We talked and cracked some jokes and then Dr. Ricotta said to me, you have to quit smoking, that’s one of the things that makes this (peripheral arterial disease – PAD) so bad. I took his advice and I’m trying to quit smoking.
All I felt was a little bit of pressure and that was (Dr. Ricotta) putting three stents into my clogged femoral artery. After the surgery, Dr. Ricotta told me that I had a 100 percent blockage and I was about to lose my left leg. The next time I saw Dr. Ricotta was after being discharged from the hospital. I went to his office and his staff did an ultrasound and all my numbers were great. I had a couple of questions post-op and called Dr. Ricotta’s office. The staff picked right up and they were very attentive. I saw him (Dr. Ricotta) in another three months for an ultrasound to make sure none of the stents collapsed and to make sure I still had good blood flow in my leg.
I deejay and have a little studio at home. Before the surgery being a deejay was something I didn’t do because standing was really something I couldn’t do.
I am forever grateful to Dr. Ricotta. The job I do now is canvassing, walking an average of four to five miles a day registering people to vote. I am back to standing all night as a DJ of Hip-Hop, Rock ‘N’ Roll again; I do it all old school – Run DMC and Beastie Boys. I remember when I had the ailment I had to put that on hold, I told people interested in booking me that I’d be back to my funky self in just a minute. It felt so good when I was back and booked that first DJ gig after the surgery pain-free. Dr. Ricotta literally gave me my life back.
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