(This is a Post-In-Progress entry- it will be updated daily to reflect my experience and “after” photos will be posted when I’m all healed, so stay tuned and keep checking back for updates! And just a reminder, the primary purpose of my blog is to act as a journal for me to reference back to down the road. I want to remember this lovely experience forever. lol.)
For several years now (maybe 10?) I’ve had this little 1/2″ section of bulging vein on the front of my mid-thigh. It never really bothered me much, it wasn’t really visible, other than being a blue spot, but I could feel it whenever I rubbed that spot.
Over the years it became more visible and a few years ago I noticed it was more prominent, visible to everyone when I wore shorts. It was about an inch long now and stuck out a little farther than before. No biggie, I was having a hard time with my weight anyway and simply started wearing longer shorts or capris. Nobody even knew it was there.
Fast forward….I’m the thinnest I’ve ever been in my adult life…and I plan to stay this way indefinitely.
And that little bulging vein, well, now it extends about 6″ down my thigh and it bulges out all the time. If my blood is really pumping the vein protrudes all the way down to my mid-shin! Yuck. And I have another bulging vein behind my knee. And a few spider-vein splotches too.
And now that I have skinnier legs, I’m excited to be able to wear shorter shorts, but not with the icky-looking protruding vein on my thigh. I can handle the spider-vein areas. Or so I thought. A couple months ago I modeled a dress for Trevor while at Kohls….I spin around….he says, “Mom, your legs look really gross.” Yep. From the mouthes of babes….the truth.
My response, “Yep, your mom has old lady legs now. Sorry bud.”
Why settle for old lady legs at age 38? (Sorry any of you old ladies out there reading this).
If I’m feeling good enough to wear shorter shorts, but now I’m afraid to because of my bulging vein and some increasingly noticeable spider veins, well, why not take advantage of modern medicine and look into getting them erased?
So there you have it. I’m vain. There’s no medical reason for me to get these veins fixed (other than I read an article that said people with reticulated veins have a greater tendency of developing blood clots waaaay down the road because of the pooling blood in their veins. And my veins did not cause any pain or discomfort, although I did notice that I had developed a tendency to put most of my weight on my right leg in an effort to keep the vein from bulging out of my left thigh, which I suppose could be problematic further down the road for a variety of reasons).
Anywho…. I contacted the office of Dr. Darm at Aesthetic Medicine and made an appointment to have my veins looked at. No problem, they say, they can get me in the following week. Great!
I signed up for two treatments. Rather than bore you the details of that appointment, let’s just fast forward to the procedure and aftermath.
Friday March 30th
I have my appointment at 2:30. I bring my own pair of shorts (because the pair they lend you are Hideous with a capital H). There’s nothing that compares. Truly. This picture makes them look way better than they are in real life.
Let’s just say they gave me a size Small…..which would have fit someone at least 1oo pounds heavier than I. I hate to see what their size Medium or Large look like!
So BYOS (bring your own shorts) if you ever go visit them for anything leg related. I was told to wear sweatpants for after the procedure because you need something comfortable to wear home.
When I go into the procedure room, here’s two medical assistants and they look over my legs, take a video for “before” and promptly get started poking me with injections of solution. I had gone in for the bulging vein on my upper thigh, a bulging vein on the back of one of my knees, and I’d pointed out three areas of noticeable spider-veins. The doctor comes in (not Dr. Darm) and the gal tries to show him the areas of concern, but he doesn’t pay any attention to her. They have me lay on my right side to start, so that he has better access to the veins he will be injecting. He’s using a heavier solution for the larger veins, the gals are using whatever the more mild solution is for spider veins. Um, they must have poked me at least 50 times. And that’s 50 times PER LEG. They targeted not only the big problem areas that I’d pointed out, but also each and every teeny tiny bit of spider-vein beginnings, and several of the most visible blue veins below the surface of my skin. “Wow” I said….I’m going to have the legs of a twelve-year old by the time we’re done!
After all the poking (which some of it really hurt by the way) they lathered me up with two different lotions and then used a funny contraption to squeeze my legs into compression stockings- that start at my toes (my toes are free) and go all the way up to my groin practically. These are not sexy thigh-highs by any means. And my legs were on fire from all the poking.
I had to walk on a treadmill there for 30 minutes before they’d let me go home. At a pace no faster than 2.0 mph. I walked at 1.6 so I could read a book.
For the first evening I was really uncomfortable. It hurt to bend my legs (they did a lot of poking behind my knees and the compression stockings really dug into my knee crease). I spent the evening laying on the couch with my feet/legs propped up. It was painful. My toes were cramped from the silly stockings, too.
I had to reapply the lotions before bed, so I rolled down the stockings and with Riley’s help I managed to cover all the pokes/spots/splotches on my legs. She said they looked pretty gross. Oh the pain and horror us women go through just to look good, eh? I should have taken a picture that first day. Hideous.
Saturday March 31st
Glad I washed my hair Friday- I am unable to shower until Monday afternoon. For 72 hours the stockings need to remain on, the only exception is to reapply lotion. I felt relatively clean, after all it’s just one day right? I applied the creams again, my legs look a lot better but there’s definitely some bruising. I didn’t want to have Riley help me again, so instead I grabbed a small mirror and headed out to the family room where I spread out a towel so I could sit down and do both legs at the same time, using the mirror to see the areas on the backs of my legs that needed attention.
Also as instructed, I spent 30 minutes on the elliptical at a slow pace (20 rpm).
The pain is better, but man those compression stockings are uncomfortable!
Sunday April 1st:
Today was sponge bath day. We have some foaming no-rinse soap (designed for sponge bathing patients in the hospital) so I used that, with a hot washcloth wipedown afterwards for extra good measure, new deoderant, and I washed my hair in the kitchen sink. I felt like new! Yay!
I reapplied my creams, then spent 30 minutes on the elliptical again (the kids love it because I read while I’m on it so they like to come in and read with me). It’s a daily requirement to spend 30 minutes walking. I probably should do it twice a day, really.
No pain today, except when I rub lotion into the bruised areas. I’ve found that if I pull the stockings back a little farther from my toes, they are more comfortable, too.
I took some pictures so you can see how cute my compression stockings are:
I suppose they look like tights for the most part. This is definitely a procedure that should be done in the winter months, not in the Spring or Summer! The tights make me a lot warmer most of the time (which is a good thing) but I could see how they would be terribly uncomfortable to wear on warm days. And I get to wear them for 2 weeks (minimum). And I have to wait 4 weeks before I can have my second treatment which will put us at wearing stockings through May. Whoopsie.
Monday April 2nd:
I’m pretty used to the tights now. And I’m super excited that I can shower tonight! I’m a little worried about getting the stockings on and off- they are uber uber uber skin tight from the ankles down. They had to use one of those donning devices to get them ON my feet. It looks something like this:
I don’t have one of those, but I have a “beer can chicken” device that looks pretty darn close.
I wonder if that would work? lol. Seriously.
It won’t. I actually dug it out of the cupboard and looked at it and nope, won’t work.
Finally, after work and gymnastics class for the girls, we get home….and…. I can finally take a shower! It’s been 72 hours! Yippee! It felt a little weird to have my stockings off for that period of time, but it sure felt good to have a REAL shower and not a sponge-bath or washing my hair in the kitchen sink. Yay! And the stockings weren’t that hard to take off, either. Even putting them on wasn’t that bad.
The bruising is going away quickly, too.
Side note: when I went in for the procedure, the Doctor didn’t pay attention to the girls when they were trying to point out the problem vein I was wanting to have treated. When he finally came over to start, he asked them what area I was wanting to have treated and the girls asked me to show him, so I did (touching my leg) which instantly upset him with him commenting to the assistants, “Will you please clean her leg again? She just TOUCHED it with her hands. It needs to be sanitized again.” And, well, that was the end of it. When they were finished with all the poking and prodding, I looked at my thigh to make sure they got the bulging vein that I came in for, and it looked like they only poked the very bottom of it. They certainly didn’t poke the ‘bulging’ area nor any area above it. SO I pointed it out- said, “are you sure you got the big vein? Because it doesn’t look like there’s any pokes above this point.” And they assured me it was taken care of. So I trusted them and left. Saturday morning I thought about it some more, and it started to bother me. After all, I’d gone in for primarily that ONE vein, and if they didn’t treat it, well, that would be a big bummer! So I called the office and spoke with the receptionist, who transferred me to one of the Medical Assistants. She assured me that the doctor knew what he was doing and she’s sure that vein was treated. She said there was extensive notes and it showed a vein mid-thigh was treated. I told her I wasn’t so confident, because it seems everything BELOW the bulging area was treated, but not the actual bulging area. And that it doesn’t bulge when I’m laying down, only when I’m standing up, so I’m not sure he even knew what vein he was supposed to be treating since he didn’t pay attention when the girls were showing him, nor did he want to see me standing to see it, and he freaked out when I touched my leg. SO, I asked her to make a note of it because if it comes back that the bulging vein needs a third treatment, I am NOT paying for it because he missed it the first time around. She said she’d make the note and that she understood and that when I go in on Friday for my follow-up hopefully we’ll find that it was treated. Again, I’m not so sure of that.
Wednesday April 4th
So Monday evening was my first opportunity to shower, and after showering and applying my lotions, I decided to put the stockings back on and sleep with them on for just one more night, even though Monday night marked the first night that I didn’t have to wear them to bed. Tuesday morning I got up and had slept hot the night before so I peeled off the stockings and hopped in the shower for a quick rinse down. The rest of the day was normal. Stockings on, used the elliptical at 22rpm for 30 minutes. Later that evening when we watched TV I took off my stockings (and had Jim VACUUM them- lol- they were getting ‘white’ with dead skin and I don’t have time to wash them. So he vacuumed them for me). I slept without the stockings on. And then the weirdest thing happened. Wednesday morning I woke up late, so I bolted out of bed and hopped right into the shower. After about a minute in the shower I felt like I was going to throw up or pass out or something, so the remainder of my shower was spent squatting and washing as fast as I could so I could get out and lay on the floor to recover. After a few minutes on the floor I felt fine and the rest of the day was normal. I’m not sure what happened there- if it’s poor circulation, an adrenaline rush, or a side effect of my TSFL diet (which I restarted on Monday). Who knows.
Last night and today I am noticing LOTS of twitching in my calves. And when I’m on the elliptical some spots on my leg feel cold. I’ll be asking about these things at my appointment on Friday. I’ll keep you posted. Oh, and here’s how my legs look four days after treatment…not nearly as bad as they did the first couple days….geez!
Thursday April 5th
This morning I decided to sit up in bed and wiggle my legs for a couple minutes before getting out of bed and into the shower, not wanting a repeat of yesterday. I still don’t know what happened there. But no queasiness today so all is well. My legs are looking significantly better, too, even from the picture I took Tuesday evening. My legs have cold burning areas on them where I’m assuming the veins are collapsing or dissolving or whatever it is that they do. It’s weird feeling, that’s for sure.
Friday April 6th
Appointment day! I didn’t see the doctor, thankfully, I wasn’t ready to “confront” him. But the MA who saw me agreed that it appears the bulging vein was NOT treated. She made a note on the chart and drew (in a different color) on the chart showing where the next treatment needs to be to ensure it’s done. She said it’s very likely I’ll need to go back in for a 3rd treatment because that vein was missed the first time around, but that she’ll make a note that there should be no charge for that vein. I was quite frustrated, but felt better after talking to her. The only problem with this whole scenario? They have to space the treatments one month apart….and I have to wear stockings for 2 weeks after each treatment. Ugh.
Tuesday April 10th
I forgot to add, I have to continue wearing the stockings for this week, but after this week they can be off….yay! Two weeks isn’t bad. They do get a little ‘hot’ though on sunny days since I’m wearing them under jeans. Jim suggests I just wear a dress….but it seems funny to wear a dress with BLACK tights on a sunny day! He reminds me that I did this to myself, that I didn’t need to have this done, I chose to. And my note to everyone else is to do this treatment in November or December…..never any later! My legs look good though, most of the bruising is gone. I could wear shorts comfortably now and not feel like people are wondering what happened to my legs. So that’s about 8-9 days post treatment?
Follow-up…… I got the OK from the clinic to postpone my 2nd treatment until the fall. They said there’s no harm in waiting. Stay tuned….I’m going to go back in late October!