What Patients are Saying
Tim first experienced his peripheral neuropathy symptoms on the bottom of his feet. At its worst, it felt like his feet were on fire, with burning sensations and stabbing pain. He toughed it out for three years. But, when it began to interfere with his job and looked like he may not be able to work, he had no choice but to seek help.
Tim, age 51, is a corrections officer in Georgia, where he spends his time walking concrete corridors while keeping an eye on adult male felons. He was on the job for about a year and a half when peripheral neuropathy began to creep in slowly. At first, Tim tried purchasing new boots, hoping to would take the edge off during his 12-hour shift. When that didn’t work, he tried alternating his boots each day. Finally, he turned to alternative medical treatments, which he calls “well-wishes, snake oils, and potions.” But none relieved the pain symptoms of his neuropathy.
“You can’t let your guard down or show weakness in my line of work,” says Tim. He remembers pushing through the pain on the walk down the hill to get to his daily briefing, where they would assign him a building. That’s where he’d learn about which corridors and stairs he’d have to navigate that day. Stairs were a particular challenge requiring him to use his upper body strength and the railing to pull himself up to each landing.
The pain was so powerful; he found himself looking for various places to sit down to get some relief. When it was time to stand up, he recalls how he put on a stern face, looking first left then right as if he was checking that each inmate and making sure they were where they were supposed to be. But, he chuckles, “the reality was, I was allowing time for the blood to return to my feet before walking again.”
About a year and a half into the job, Tim says, “I was walking like a 90-year-old man.” His neuropathy worsened over time, and it became noticeable to his boss. The prison warden was compassionate, but he pushed Tim to seek medical care. He saw a doctor who wrote him a prescription for painkillers and wrote a note to his employer suggesting a short medical leave. Tim took leave for a few weeks and then went back to work despite still having neuropathy symptoms
When Tim was briefly hospitalized for a spider bite at Emory, doctors diagnosed him with diabetes. He says, “I didn’t want to believe it was true, and I set out to prove them wrong.” So, he lowered his sodium, ate more salads, and saw his “numbers drop almost immediately.” Still, his doctors recommended medication (Ozempic) to help control his blood sugar. Tim didn’t see the connection right away but now thinks about himself as part of a family of diabetics. Both his mother and grandmother had high blood pressure and diabetes, and an uncle lost both his legs to amputation.
As time went on, the lack of circulation in his feet resulted in darkened toenails and fungal infections in his feet. This brought him to Dr. Lee Herman, who this time said, “I have a new ultrasound treatment I think you should try.” Tim agreed and went twice a week for half-hour treatments at RealWave Neuropathy Treatment Centers, where he was treated with a specially tuned ultrasound device on both feet. Tim recalls feeling no discomfort during the treatments, which were covered by his insurance. Within a month, he was pain-free, and after two months, the numbness began to subside. After three-four months of treatment, he had no more pain or numbness.
Tim is following Dr. Herman’s advice and still takes medication for diabetes and high blood pressure. His pain has improved to the point that he no longer requires pain management medications. He now wears compression socks and gets pedicures to take better care of his feet.
Tim is spiritual and reflects that the neuropathy accompanied an unhappy time in his life, during which he was dealing with the aftermath of a divorce and trying to be present for his children. He says the neuropathy did a number on his psyche. “My kids have been my saving grace keeping me mentally strong through it all.”
Before treatment, Tim was worried that women wouldn’t find him attractive as he was walking like a 90-year-old man. But now, he is dating a lovely woman who is moving in a few months to Conyers, Georgia, to be with him. Tim says, “Elizabeth has brought in a new chapter in my life, and everything is starting to come together. She stays on me about my health, though,” he says. As a result, he’s eating healthier, avoiding buffets, and is looking forward to walking and swimming together this summer.
Before treatment, Tim described his pain on a scale of 1-10 as a 10 PLUS and compared himself to the lion in Aesop’s fable, who has a thorn in his paw. He says, “I was as angry as a lion and looking for anyone who could relieve my pain.” His pain, he now says, is at a zero.
When asked what advice he’d give to anyone with painful neuropathy, he says, “I’d refer them to Dr. Lee Herman in a heartbeat and tell them about that ultrasound device. I’ve been through so much, and that neuropathy was the end of all the bad stuff.”