Barry Porter drives seven hours each way to see the providers at ACV Centers.
But he says he’d go twice the distance and more, considering the treatments he’s received since making the round trip nearly 30 times during the last three years.
“They’re good people down there,” Barry says from the Escanaba home in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula he shares with wife Carol. “They treat me really well, and I call them my lifesavers.”
Barry was raised from an early age in a Kentucky orphanage. He never knew his father, and stayed at the facility until he was 16, at which time he was placed in a foster home. At 18, he joined the U.S. Air Force for a 4-year stint.
He met Carol – a native “Yooper” – while stationed at K. I. Sawyer Air Force Base near Marquette. Barry worked 32 years in food service for Escanaba Public Schools. Carol worked as an administrative assistant for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, mostly in Escanaba. Both retired in 2010.
Barry contracted diabetes before ultimately contracting Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD), which has affected both his legs. His PAD advanced to a more severe form, critical limb ischemia (CLI) and had his left big toe amputated in 2017 – and has since lost four more.
A physician in Marquette told Barry he could do no more for his problems and recommended ACV Centers – and Barry didn’t hesitate to make an appointment. He and Carol were glad for the opportunity to make their first trip in 2018, where they learned they could take advantage of outpatient vascular procedures designed to promote good blood flow.
“Diabetic patients are at a constant risk of amputation,” says Dr. Fadi Saab. “We know 70% of diabetic patients do not receive the regular foot care recommended by the American Diabetic Association.
“Barry has always been a survivor with a positive ‘can-do’ attitude. His good working relationship with his primary care physician, commitment to good foot care and dedication to fighting this chronic disease is to be commended. He is still a vital man who is able to live a productive and independent life and bring joy to his family and all he meets!”
Barry’s known for his humor and prankish behavior at ACV, including the time he observed one of the physicians parking partly on the sidewalk behind the building. He wrote up a “ticket” for $100,000 and slapped it on the windshield, then waited for the physican to emerge and the laughter to ensue.
“I’d be in a whole lot worse shape if not for ACV,” Barry says. “I’ve shared my story with some people who think it’s too far to drive, but I’m very thankful for the chance to go down there. Would I go farther? Heck yes, I would.”
Barry and Carol are buoyed by the fact that more and more healthcare providers are discovering ACV Centers and what they can do for their patients: “What impresses me is that they are educating other doctors as they go,” says Barry, “so the procedures become more known and available to more people in need.
“They’re sharing their expertise,” he says, “because it’s all about the mission – to save limbs.”