Read Success Stories from Real Patients of MIPS Center
A puddle of tears, I arrived in Dr. Spencer’s office. Not feeling hopeful, but determined. I knew I needed medical care. Traumatized by a system of medicine that undervalues women and their pain, feeling like a medical record transferred from doctor to doctor only to have my story written off as unusual and complex. I was too much and not enough all at the same time.
I started wearing compression stockings eight years ago during the pregnancy of my first child. Varicose veins appeared high on my right inner thigh, and I struggled to manage swelling in my legs. A complication of pregnancy, I was told.
Fortunate to be pregnant with a second child four years later, the leg swelling and varicose veins returned with vengeance. And this time, pain so severe in my right groin, I routinely put myself on bedrest. Another complication of pregnancy, I was told.
After delivery of my second child, with gnarly varicose veins and a purple-colored right foot, I started seeking medical treatment. Suspicious of something deep in my pelvis, I requested imaging of more than my legs. Nothing abnormal found. I started vein treatments on my legs. But, the twisted blue-green veins kept coming back. In addition to the painful veins, I had heavy menstrual bleeding, and among other symptoms, a bloated heaviness in my pelvis that was getting worse.
I journeyed through eight doctors in four years, finding myself awake on an operating table twice for a pelvic venogram in which I was called to identify my pain to justify treatment.
Shaken and dispirited, I came to Dr. Spencer with both ovarian veins embolized due to severe pelvic venous disease. My pelvic symptoms persisted. And, a lover of Yoga, I often complained of sacral pain radiating down my left leg. I started to resist stepping onto my mat because it simply had become too painful.
I was always enough and never too much for Dr. Spencer and her team. They spent hours listening to my tale, pouring over medical records, viewing and re-reviewing imaging. During my procedure with Dr. Spencer, she identified the root of my problems: A severe May-Thurner pinch. Dr. Spencer placed a stent in my left iliac vein to resolve the pinch and treated the remaining venous insufficiency in my legs. Dr. Spencer and her team gave me wings.
What impacted me the most was that Dr. Spencer told me that she could slightly under embolize my uterine fibroid so that I could still have children in the future and that a lot of her patients have done that as well and that she has a ‘wall of babies’ in her office. This gave me hope, so much hope for my condition and my near and far future. Also the fact that because of where my largest fibroid was located, at the back of my uterus and near my spine, both Dr. Watson and Dr. Spencer talked and decided it would be best for me to do UFE and didn’t just jump the gun. If I did not have UFE/UAE as an option I would be in a totally different unfortunate situation with this, possibly even without a uterus and future for children.
The fact that this was even an option for me for treatment was found completely on my own. My OBGYN did not offer this option to me at all (she only talked of myomectomy) and after I found you guys myself and brought it up to her, she warned me against it and said I won’t be able to have kids after this procedure and needed to get a myomectomy.
I actually came and spoke to one of your doctors, Dr. Cook, who was super nice btw, but I thought you guys actually did myomectomies so that’s why I went to see him, because my OBGYN pushed me away from UFE and towards a fertility specialist surgeon. He referred me to Dr. Watson who I went to see who actually works with Dr. Spencer and he referred me to her because of my case. He didn’t think a myomectomy would be right or safe for me. Dr. Spencer gave me so much hope and had so much confidence that I truly felt it and wanted her to be my doctor and do this procedure on me.
Considering that I had to wait for this procedure because of COVID every month was worse and worse for me. I started to notice differences in my body and how I felt in the fall of 2019 and then felt something off, a tiny ‘ache’ which I thought was a cyst on my left (side) ovary in December. I had a sonogram done in February 2020 and found that I had I think 7 uterine fibroids, one that was pretty large and by April had grown to be larger than my uterus (MRI Imaging confirmed by Dr. Spencer). By the time I was able to have this procedure in mid-May I was so uncomfortable in my own body, I was swollen in my lower abdomen like I was 6 weeks pregnant, I was unable to wear my jeans, could barely practice yoga, couldn’t lose any weight and was having nerve shocking sensations on my left side randomly as well as extreme fatigue. This procedure gave me so much hope, I literally jumped when I got the call to schedule the procedure. Since the procedure all of my hopes have been lived and then some.
My life is SO MUCH BETTER OMG! I want to tell the world about this, not joking! The nurse at MIPS told me in June at my first one month follow up that every month would get better and better, especially with periods and swelling. 100% spot on and I’m just over the moon with how great I feel. My periods are getting better and better, with not only heaviness but also cramps, I HAVE NO CRAMPS anymore! I’ve had TERRIBLE cramps since I started my period at age 9 and I’ve NEVER had periods with no cramps. I’m honestly just completely shocked and blown away with happiness. My swelling is pretty much completely gone even before three months and Dr. Spencer said it could take up to six for my big fibroid, but I’m not even worried anymore because I just hit my third month and I’m back in my jeans, I’m practicing yoga, I’m working out every day and I feel fantastic. I honestly have so much energy these days I’m even outlasting my husband when we hang out in the sun all day with friends and come home, NO NAPS for me! haha. I’m beyond excited for how awesome I feel to be honest I can’t get over it. I’m also seeing my body balance out better with the help of the procedure and holistic medicine for healthy hormone pathways etc.
I want to shout it from the highest mountains for all women to hear that you have options! A myomectomy is NOT the only option and do your OWN research! For me the procedure itself went quickly and smoothly, and I know I was on drugs for the procedure, but it went really well. The pain however was tremendous later in the evening because I decided to stop the pain pump for good (bad choice), but I don’t like to be drugged so I had to. I had contractions all throughout the morning (felt just like my miscarriages) and it lasted three full days from procedure day being included. By day 4, no pain, nothing. I was able to immediately stop my pain meds and unfortunately got a full body rash, but I’m sensitive to meds. By the next Sunday, so day 6, I was back on the spin bike (hesitantly, but it went well). By the time I was in for my one month review at MIPS, my nurse was shocked at how well I was doing with no issues whatsoever. I do however attribute that to my strong will lol, and having a naturopathic doctor helping me with pre, during and post supplements/protocol for swelling and healing etc. I suggest other patients prepare for pre-procedure while taking things to prevent swelling and things that help with healing like high doses of vitamin C etc as well as clearing hormonal pathways in the liver and staying on anti-inflammatory supp’s for a bit post procedure. IT HELPS SO MUCH. Also, don’t be scared of this procedure, don’t read too far into the things online, just TRUST Dr. Spencer.
My outpatient experience was fantastic. The first nurse was super sweet and made me feel really comfortable and was just so kind, loved her. The other nurses (although I was under the influence and eventually sleeping) were great too.
Overall, I feel so blessed to have done my own research and found, eventually, Dr. Spencer. She has changed my life and my future and I am so grateful I cannot even express how much so. THANK YOU DR. SPENCER!! 😀
My job was a machine operator, so I barely did any walking, except from the machine to my pickup to go home. The job I was working on currently was in NC. That night, after work, I could not believe how big and swollen my leg was, so I went to the ER across the street. They did a blood test, an ultrasound, and a CT scan and could not find anything wrong and sent me home. They wanted me to stay the night, but it was a small-town hospital and they did not have enough people to work. I kept going back to work and during the night and morning the swelling would always go down, and during the day it would swell up again. This went on and on from Jan to Sept. Then one day it got so big, I could not get my boot off. It was so painful. As I mentioned, the swelling always went down some, except for this day. The next day I went to work and had to leave because my leg got worse and worse. The pain was so bad, so I went to the hospital that Friday, but again the hospital being so small did not have people to take care of me and told me to come back on Monday. I said, “No way, this is way too serious!”
I drove myself 25 miles to another ER in VA. The doctor there said, “I know what’s wrong with you and will take care of it and have you back to work on Monday morning, no problem.” By this time, my whole leg was swollen. They put me on blood thinners all day Saturday. They did a test and found the blockage right away. Sunday, the doctor tried to take care of the blockage. It took 2-3 hours, but he could not get it. The doctor said, “Don’t worry, I’ll get it on Monday.” He tried again to get the blockage for another 2-3 hours from the back of my knee and the back of my neck – it was so hard it broke the needle! The doctor said, “Don’t worry, I’ve done many of these so let us try again Tuesday morning. We’re going to get it out!” I came in for the procedure at 2:30 pm and was there until almost 9:00 pm. The doctor tried from my ankle, behind my knee and neck, but he could not do anything. The doctor told me, “That’s it, I give up!” He was very sad and felt so bad. He said he never had a problem like this in his life. He called all over the world to get a doctor to take care of the blockage, but nobody wanted it.
Since I lived in TX, they were going to send me to Houston or Dallas. I was hopeful that a big city hospital and doctor would be able to take care of me. They would not let me fly, so my brother-in-law drove me while I laid in the back seat. It was bad, I was in a lot of pain. I went right to the ER, where they said they would fix me right there, but I had heard this before. By the third day I got so sick, they almost lost me. I never felt pain like this in my whole life, I could not breathe! I told the nurses and doctors over and over to help me because the pain was so bad. Finally, my brother-in-law ran down the hospital hallway yelling for help, and the doctors said, “Give him more morphine!” Morphine did not even work. Again, they called everywhere to get someone to treat me, but could not find anyone. They were now worried about the clot travelling from my groin to my heart – that is what had happened to my friend. They finally took me to get more tests done. My wife kept crying, she thought she was going to lose me. No one knew what to do.
A couple of days went by, and a doctor came in and said he had a friend in Oklahoma City that might be able to help me, so he sent the doctor my records. That doctor said, “don’t even think about sending him up here, that boy has problems, but I know a friend of mine in Denver and she does something like that.” This doctor and Dr. Spencer talked for a couple hours. Dr. Spencer did not want to waste any more time and said put him on the plane and send him here!
I was worried – my wife has fibromyalgia, lupus, kidney failure, and I knew she needed me.
I had been in the hospital for two weeks with no hope, then I went to Denver and everything changed. People, nurses, the hospital, the doctors – everyone had a positive attitude. They made me feel so good! I have never been treated that well my whole life! Every person was nothing but kind, sweet, and positive. Then Dr. Spencer said, “we’re going to get it! You do not have to worry about it. You are the worst case that I have ever seen, but I have done this for 20 years. I am not alone. God will help me. I’m going to push back a couple of patients – you are a man full of life and we need to take care of you right now!” The pain went away just by hearing her talk, and the kindest of everyone. Even if I die right now, I would be a happy Mexican because of these wonderful people!
I have my whole life back! I work on the road and meet a lot of people and I want to tell everyone about Dr. Spencer, Littleton Hospital, and all the people that work there. I will be 62 next year and want to retire to NC. I want to listen to the waves and swim like a fish! Dr. Spencer…she knows her medicine! She really was amazing! I do not have any more words to describe how I feel about her. Sometimes she just calls to check on me and say, “how you are doing Poncho?” – I feel like I am someone special.
Hear me. See me. Believe me. Help me. Words a chronically ill person screams while no one seems to hear. That was until I met Dr. Spencer. When I woke up one morning in such intense pain I could barely walk, I never expected it to lead to 2 years of multiple hospital visits, 14 procedures, and 5 new diagnoses. I couldn’t fathom the amount of medical terminology I would have to memorize to keep up with the medical field or the multiple jobs I would have to take on to ensure my health was priority. My own care coordinator, patient advocate, system navigator, and insurance liaison. I never knew with each invisible illness diagnosis I would start to feel even more invisible as a person reinforced with accumulating frustrations with little progress after each doctor visit. Telling my story so often to medical assistants, and nurses, and physician assistants and doctors I questioned my own truth and symptoms.
Dr. Spencer restored my faith not only in the medical field, but myself. I’ve walked away better educated on my conditions to understand the difference between pains and meaning behind them to know how to address them. She understands the impact this has had on my life and eases it by providing me treatment options best suited for not only my conditions but my life.
Stents to ease the pain and nausea I experienced from May-Thurner Syndrome and thrombectomies to address the complications from a clotting disorder. Compression socks and referrals for compression pumps to ease the aches, heaviness, skin stretching and numbness caused by swelling as well as reducing the amount of doctor’s visits for PT and OT. With Dr. Spencer’s brilliance and expertise, she hypothesized underlying issues later diagnosed as Antiphospholipid Syndrome and Ankylosing Spondylitis. Because of her continued guidance and advocacy to appropriate specialists, I was diagnosed and treated in less than 6 months for an autoimmune disorder that had left me unable to walk without the assistance of a walker.
Dr. Spencer fights for you when the fight becomes too much, when the energy is gone but the pain pursues. She takes the time to listen, to understand and to plan. Dr. Spencer and her team respects me not just as a patient but as a human. They gave me back a life I felt slipping away.
I had been working through pain and the many symptoms of fibroids for some time. I used acupuncture that helped temporarily, but over the last year it just kept getting worse. I am a Native American/African American woman. In the African-American community the information on fibroids is not widely known. When I went to my OB/GYN and was diagnosed with fibroids, they didn’t provide me with treatment options, just that I needed a hysterectomy. If it wasn’t for a friend in Atlanta, I would have never known about the uterine fibroid embolization procedure. I started researching it on my own and that’s how I found Minimally Invasive Procedure Specialists.
The website was very thorough in explaining what fibroids are, the symptoms (which were everything I had), to sharing the connection between fibroids and estrogen, and what to expect.
From my first contact with the person that scheduled my initial appointment the experience was great! She was very knowledgeable and helpful in directing me to the appropriate MIPS physician for my care. Once I met with Dr. Cook and the team I felt immediately at ease. Dr. Cook said, “Well, let’s get all the facts first and see what will or will not work!” I really liked his interaction and personality. I left with the information I needed and a great pamphlet on uterine fibroid embolization.
On the day of the procedure, I brought my sister to be my advocate when I was unable to communicate. She said that Dr. Cook was just as kind and thorough with her, as he had been with me. Dr. Cook said he wished all patients would bring an advocate like I did.
What I want to convey, is that I loved this office. They go the extra mile to personally care for their patients. Even though it is scary, you are in good hands. I feel amazing today and was able to leave that procedure with all my body parts, and some great shorts! I wake up everyday without pain or discomfort and am super excited about my quality of life and how it can only get better! Now, it’s my turn to be an advocate for the community. I’ve already referred 3 of my friends to MIPS and Dr. Cook!