written by

Annie Collum, BSN, RN

Annie Collum, BSN, RN is the RIA Manager, Physician Liaison in Denver, Colorado

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March 9, 2021

Patient Stories: Susie M. Thrombectomy Changed Life

I have a rare neuroinflammatory disorder called complex regional pain syndrome. In 2012, I started forming blood clots in my legs (deep vein thrombosis) for some unknown reason, so they attribute it to CRPS. I suffered not one but two pulmonary embolisms in 2014, and doctors decided to place an IVC filter in me so that the risk of another PE would be reduced.

I began to have major swelling and pain in my legs from the DVTs. They prevented me from many activities. A year before I met RIA, I was referred to a vascular surgeon after developing more DVT. He informed me that I would have to be much worse before he’d be able to intervene. I left feeling totally dejected and went home on blood thinners to live with the swelling and pain.

A little over a year later, I started having numbness in my left leg, along with more than the usual swelling. I went to the ER, and it was determined I not only had another bout of DVT, but they also saw that my filter was clogged, and I had blood clots from my belly button to my ankle on the left side. They referred me to RIA. I was seen by RIA less than a week later. I met with Nurse Practitioner Patty, and she was not only kind and considerate but was also quite knowledgeable and explained what was happening in a way that it was easy to understand. Basically, blood flow was being reduced because of the “old clots” that had hardened and never dissolved.

I was scheduled for my thrombectomy procedure with Dr. Greg Martin less than two weeks later, where they basically planned to “roto rooter” my veins. I am incredibly grateful for the outcome. I had taken a picture of my swollen leg the night before surgery so that I could measure the outcome after surgery in the days to come. The morning after surgery, I woke up to a leg that looked perfectly normal and saw that my foot would fit into my shoe again! I honestly believe a picture is worth 1,000 words. I went from walking about 1,000 steps a day to a high of 10,000 last month when I took my grandson to the zoo.

I would like others to know not to give up when you are told nothing can be done. Get a second opinion before resigning yourself to a fate less than optimal. Educate yourself on what’s going on in your body, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. I am eternally grateful to RIA Endovascular and their providers for not only taking good care of me using a minimally invasive procedure but also because they left the relationship open should I have questions in the future. It is not an exaggeration to say that I received my life back because of this procedure. I could not be happier.

Day before procedure/Day after procedure