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Keeping blood flow requires regular check-ups, physical therapy and quitting smoking

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Tim Emely, Ligonier, had a heart attack on Jan. 2, 2003. Then in 2011, he had terrible pain in his legs.
 
“I knew something was wrong. I was using a cane to get around. I had clots. They removed them. Then they took a vein from my arm and put it in my leg. When that didn’t hold up, they did it again,” Tim said.
 
Tim’s diagnosis was peripheral artery disease, a common health risk for people who smoke. Keeping the blood flowing through a patient’s legs is critical for them being able to avoid having to undergo an amputation.
 
In April 2021, Tim’s veins were narrowing again, this time due to plaque buildup. Dr. Charles Bower “roto-routed” the veins to facilitate blood flow. Now, Tim, who is 67 years old, goes in every six months for follow up. Plus, he does physical therapy at a clinic in Ligonier.
 
Tim, who had smoked all his life, quit smoking cold turkey a year ago. “Dr. Martens said either I quit or I was going to lose my leg,” Tim said. “Nobody tells you that when you’re smoking.”
 
Over the years, Tim has met most of the cardiovascular specialist team. “All my experiences with Goshen Heart & Vascular Center have been awesome. The doctors are wonderful. They care. I’d recommend anyone to them.”
 
Tim sees Dr. Blair MacPhail now. “I think the world of him. He’s a straight shooter. Tells you like it is.”
 
Tim retired in March 2020 from his job as a custodian at West Noble Primary School. In his free time, he enjoys ice fishing and summer fishing. “Some days I have trouble walking, but the guys I go with help me get on and off the ice,” Tim said.
 
Tim’s wife Patty also retired from her job at West Noble School Corp., where she drove school bus and worked in the cafeteria. “I’ve been through a lot worrying about him,” Patty said. “Spent numerous hours in the hospital waiting for him.”
 
The couple will celebrate their 30th anniversary this year.

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