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For someone like myself, who suffers from OCD, and anxiety in general, the impact that Dr. Aaron Fischman (IR extraordinaire) has had on my ability to confirm the ideal treatment, and actually proceed with a PAE, is incalculable. While I knew of his knowledge and experience in the relatively new area of PAE when I got in touch with his office, I was not prepared for an incredibly busy doctor to call me just to chat about my condition, before we had even made an official appointment -- this has never once happened before, and I have had some truly special people as physicians. What immediately convinced me that Dr. Fischman was the right person to move on with for a PAE was his ability to see my condition from my perspective, understanding what my highest priorities were, and working with me to define the parameters associated with a decision to go ahead with a PAE, if that was indeed, my choice. Having done an extensive amount of reading and research, and with a career as an engineer in R&D, multiple emails to Dr. Fischman with lists of questions were inevitable. What further distinguished him from any other physician I can think of was his prompt responsiveness to all of those emails, including late nights (up to almost 11 pm) and weekends, and clearly noted sense of humor in responding to my OCD-driven, but also research based (think: PubMed.gov) concerns. When I had sent just too many questions to be answered clearly during the day by smartphone, he suggested we chat by phone (again, going up to close to 11 pm on a Saturday night) to address my last minute questions and concerns. But it was his presence at a critical moment during preparation for the PAE procedure, when I was literally getting ready to jump out of the hospital bed and head for home, thinking that this was just a "dry run" for the day I would really go through with a PAE, he knew exactly how to respond to my last, greatest fear about a hypothesized complication from the procedure.
It's not just critical to have the knowledge and skills of an expert in the field, but that those are complemented by the ability to empathize, coupled with a truly positive attitude about going forward with a treatment for which there are never any 100% guarantees of outcomes. It's quite possible that I would not now be writing to relate how incredibly well I feel the day after the PAE (with absolutely no sense of anything having been done, the only artifacts being a couple of bandages and some nice ID jewelry). Despite my desire to be awake during the procedure, I had the confidence in Dr. Fischman to let him use some sedation, knowing that it would probably be best for my systemically in terms of recovery, but that also demonstrated the confidence I had in his abilities to perform what is known as an extremely difficult procedure (I've watched countless video recordings of PAE's, many of which feature Dr. Fischman), while leading fellows in IR training through it at the same time. As reported, the procedure to embolize both sides of my prostate, including a large median lobe, were quite successful, so my thanks go out also to those fellows who will go on to be the primary physicians for others like me in the future. We came from New Hampshire for this, and never thought twice about the distance, or cost of staying close by for several days to be close to Mt. Sinai if any side effects or complications arise. Indeed we would have flown across the country if necessary to have Dr. Fischman as the IR who would not only do a flawless procedure, but allow me to go through with it due to his empathetic, positive, encouraging nature. Thanks also especially to his wonderful PA, who handled so many of my related questions that she had particular knowledge of, in being just as responsive as Dr. Fischman, and another real human contact during the stressful period leading up to our trip, and right on up to her help with a prescription problem while we were on our way down to NY. I was really looking forward to meeting her but wasn't able to that day, but if this PAE is as successful as I believe it will be, I will now probably not get that chance.
I will be, and already have, been recommending that my brother, and a sizeable cohort of fraternity brothers, that they consider a consultation with Dr. Fischman if they are experiencing the almost inevitable onset BPH / LUTS conditions. The last thing to say is that my wife referred to yesterday as "A Mighty Day", and that does capture the sense of leaving Mt. Sinai and the care of everyone there with what I am absolutely convinced will be a new lease on life, and the ability to go back to doing work that I hope will have some positive impact on others, while "firing on all cylinders", instead of sputtering along as I have been for the past two years.
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