Ruby Lovasz - Alma, MI
"I not only feel great, I have more energy than I did before. I would love to become a physician assistant so I can help others achieve their best possible vascular health, the way Dr. Frisbie helped me."
Her Vascular Care Impacted Her Life and Future Career Plans
Ruby Lovasz, a 20-year-old Alma College student and resident assistant, might be one of the last people you would expect to need a vascular surgeon. As a former high school basketball player and busy college senior, Ruby maintains an extremely active lifestyle. Fortunately, she sought out medical care before her condition became life threatening.
“I began having strong leg and back pain which I attributed to sciatica,” she said. “But thinking I should see a doctor, I went to MyMichigan Urgent Care. While at urgent care, my lower leg was swollen and purplish, so they immediately sent me across the street to the emergency room.”
When Ruby checked in at the Emergency Department at MyMichigan Medical Center Alma, her left thigh also began to swell, and the pain became intense. An ultrasound revealed a clot in her leg. Additional tests also revealed she had a very small pulmonary embolism in her lung. Blood thinners were administered, and she was quickly transferred by ambulance to MyMichigan Medical Center Midland for a consult with Vascular Surgeon Jacob Frisbie, D.O.
“Dr. Frisbie made me feel so comfortable,” she said. “He told me I needed surgery and that I may have a rare disorder called May-Thurner Syndrome (MTS). We consulted with my mom and he walked me through the whole procedure. He took time to explain things and never talked down to me, which I greatly appreciated.”
“MTS is a condition caused when the left iliac vein which carries deoxygenated blood back to the heart is compressed by the right iliac artery where they intersect.” explained Dr. Frisbie. “This compression increases the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and clotting in the left extremity. We were able to perform a thrombectomy to remove the clot and put in a stent to keep Ruby’s vein more open, reducing the risk of future issues.”
Surgery went smoothly, and Dr. Frisbie told Ruby that her pulmonary embolism would dissolve on its own. Close ultrasound monitoring at Dr. Frisibie’s office would ensure that her vein remained in good condition. “The nurses after my surgery were phenomenal,” she said. “They got me up and walking as much as possible to promote good circulation. They were also very caring and encouraging.”
Now that Ruby has recovered from surgery, she realizes that she was experiencing symptoms before the onset of leg pain. “My ears would get cold, I had headaches, and my lungs would hurt sometimes when I ran,” she said. “Now that the clot is gone, I am back to running and all those symptoms have resolved themselves. I not only feel great, I have more energy than I did before.”
While in high school, Ruby showed interest in pursuing a career in the medical field. Since her recent experience with MyMichigan Health and managing her MTS, she is now applying to physician assistant schools to become a vascular P.A. “I would love to help others achieve their best possible vascular health, the way Dr. Frisbie helped me,” she added.
MyMichigan Health offers a full array of heart and vascular services, including open heart surgery, vascular surgery, electrophysiology for heart rhythm problems and advanced interventional procedures. Those who would like more information about MyMichigan’s comprehensive vascular surgery program may visit www.mymichigan.org/vascular.