Busy schedules can render healthcare a low priority to many people these days. Even if something is wrong, treatment is often put off until the situation becomes dire.
Busy schedules can render healthcare a low priority to many people these days. Even if something is wrong, treatment is often put off until the situation becomes dire. Many people don't realize just how vital it is to communicate regularly with your health provider. Vic Masaglia, current Director of the Career and Professional Development Center at the School of Public Health, discovered firsthand when a trip to Boynton Health uncovered a potentially fatal condition - an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA).
An abdominal aortic aneurysm is an enlarged area in the aorta caused by atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), high blood pressure, infection, or trauma. AAA typically grows slowly, without any symptoms. The pain usually starts near the navel, but one can feel pain in the back, stomach, or sides as time goes on.
Vic sat with us to discuss his experience and how preventative measures helped catch the AAA early - and save his life in the process.
“Boynton saved my life” - Vic Massaglia
“I’d experienced back pain on and off, and the doctors said it was probably a result of playing football, so I was diagnosed with spinal stenosis,” Vic recalls. “In June of 2016, I experienced another flare-up, and I was in a lot of pain at the time. I could hardly sit on Monday, so I stumbled over to Boynton and saw Dr. Risdahl. She prescribed me pain medication and told me to make a follow-up appointment with the spine doctor to ensure my stenosis hadn’t worsened.”
At the end of his appointment with Dr. Risdahl, she suggested doing an MRI. “Seriously, it was a throwaway comment - let’s do an MRI. So I took medicine; I’m feeling better, normal. I have my MRI on Thursday. On Friday of that week, I’m at work, and I glance down at my phone where my wife texted me, call me.” An ambulance and police officer had shown up at Vic’s house, claiming his life was in danger. His wife insisted that he call an ambulance to his workplace.
“So I get to the ER, and they do another MRI. That’s when they diagnosed me with an abdominal aortic aneurysm, also known as the widowmaker.” Vic later had a procedure to mitigate the effects of the AAA and is healthy and active today.
“Boynton saved my life,” Vic asserts.
While Vic’s story is rare, it highlights how important it is to pursue treatment when needed and keep preventative care. Luckily, Boynton Health Services allows students to do just this at little to no cost to them. One of the most significant barriers to healthcare is cost. Still, our clinic ensures that students get the highest quality of care as part of their tenure at the University of Minnesota.
Written by Jamie Stafford , Edited by Domonique Green
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