Life-saving vascular surgery with compassion

When Eva Jansen mentioned having blurred vision to her physician in early 2015, he sent her for tests. As an active woman with no health problems, she was surprised to learn one of her carotid arteries was almost 100 per cent blocked—and she had had a series of small strokes. 

Eva went straight from her doctor’s office in Wetaskiwin to the Grey Nuns Community Hospital's Vascular Surgery ward, where she was immediately given stroke prevention drugs. Soon afterward, she met Dr. Gerrit Winkelaar, the surgeon who would perform Eva’s life-saving carotid endarterectomy.

Dr. Winkelaar and the nurses kept me very informed and checked on me often. He was very personable and easy to talk to, so he made me feel really comfortable in an otherwise scary situation.”

“The vascular program serves northern Alberta, northern B.C. and the Northwest Territories,” says Dr. Harold Chyczij, a surgeon at the Grey Nuns. “That’s a population of about 2.3 million people who rely on us for emergency and non-emergency surgeries.” 

Despite having major surgery, Eva returned home only three days after her operation to continue a very quick recovery. She’s back to work and feeling better than ever.

“I have so much more energy since my surgery—I feel like I’m 30 again,” Eva says. “It’s reassuring to know that if something like this happens, the vascular surgeons are there.”

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