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  • Judie Van Geest

Patient Story - Judie Van Geest

Riding the newest wave in vascular care

Julie Van GeestWaves gently lap the shore at Judie Van Geest’s Brainerd lake home, a place where she derives great pleasure in entertaining family and friends. But it was the soft “whoosh, whoosh” of ultrasound waves that Judie recently described as “music to my ears.”

Photo: Judie is back home again enjoying the sights and sounds of the lake with her husband, Joe.

This sound from a simple test meant blood was once again flowing to her legs. For years, Judie suffered from poor circulation. Then her foot pain increased. She had a stent placed in her leg at a hospital in the Twin Cities. After the procedure, her toes lost feeling, felt “like ice” and turned black. The stent had failed.

Her podiatrist recommended she see Vascular Surgeon Christopher Leville, MD, CentraCare Clinic. “Before making an appointment, I wanted another opinion,” explained Judie. “I called a hospital in the Twin Cities, and they told me Dr. Leville is one of the best.”

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Read other stories of patient's courage and their care at CentraCare Heart & Vascular Center at St. Cloud Hospital.

With this recommendation, Judie elected to have her care at St. Cloud Hospital’s new Vascular Center, which brings all vascular care, from diagnosis to treatment, to one location. With one phone call, patients see the right vascular expert, at the right time, right here in Central Minnesota. The program includes surgeons, radiologists, cardiologists and other providers.

After evaluating her, Dr. Leville decided Judie would need a femoral popliteal bypass, in which the blocked portion of the main artery in the leg is bypassed using a piece of another blood vessel.

The surgery was a success and, according to her most recent ultrasound, Judie had regained circulation to her legs. “Dr. Leville is a fantastic doctor,” Judie said. “He’s passionate about his work, and I received some of the best care I’ve had in my life.”

“I love my job because I am able to develop long-term relationships with patients,” explained Dr. Leville. “With the advent of minimally invasive techniques, we can now offer patients more options in keeping with the national trend of decreased amputation rates.”

Judie is back home and again savoring the simple sights and sounds of the lake: Her great-grandchildren splashing in the water, flames crackling in the fire pit and her husband of 54 years reeling in a fish.