Thursday, January 17, 2008

Veins, veins!

DISCLAIMER: This blog entry contains graphic photos of my procedure. There is some blood, but it's not too gross. I was awake the entire time and watched the procedure. The squeemish should merely squint at the photos or ignore them altogether.

Here I am the day of surgery. No hair, makeup primping done. But geesh a little paint on the barn wouldn't of hurt. I had to slip into something more comfortable. Meaning, a pair of paper shorts (size small) that Homer Simpson would be comfortable wearing. Enormous.

The moment has finally arrived! I got EVLT (endovenous laser therapy) and Microphlebectomy (removal of superficial vein) performed on my left leg! No more aching, throbbing legs (after standing for long periods) and bulging varicose veins! Woohoo!

So what happened? Well, I received numerous shots of saline/anesthetic around my saphenous vein (inside left leg). A catheter was inserted in my vein followed by a laser wire. The doctor pulled a trigger and the laser collapsed the unfunctional vein.

Phase two: More shots, more shots, deep ones (ouch) and then microphlebectomy. Tiny cuts (we counted 30 - play that as a Lotto number!) were made on my leg and the varicose vein was pulled up with a hook (not dissimilar to a crochet hook. More of a loop on the end, smaller & titanium). The veins were pulled up and clamped. Then yanked out. Yes, they were yanked, I felt some of them, but the anesthetic did a pretty good job. No stitches were required just a bunch of steri-strips that will fall off in a couple weeks. I have to do my right leg at a later time. It looks like was stabbed a bunch of times down my leg. The legs is covered in steri-strips, guaze, bandages and one tight compression stocking (see photo above).
I snuck home a piece of the vein that was yanked out! I showed my friend, Roxanne, who generously picked me up at the hospital afterwards. Yeah Wox! She's adventurous. I asked her "do you want to see a piece of my vein". She replies confused "you have it here?" I say "yes, right here in a piece of guaze". "OK", Rox confidently proclaims. She must be a good friend.

Dr. Heron Rodriguez at the Vein Clinin at Northwestern Hospital joked I could take home the extracted veins and make fajitas! I laughed very hard out loud. That would be a really dirty joke. I'll have to remember next time I need to give a little payback. It's not grisle, it's one of my old varicose veins. haha. I'm laughing out loud as I read this. I'm funny - and slightly evil. We had a bunch of laughs during my procedure.

Cosmetically my varicose veins weren't that bad (in my opinion). I certainly wasn't going to allow it to prohibit me from wearing shorts in the summer. Sheesh, big deal if my legs didn't look perfect. It's hot. Just not that vain (had to get that joke in again).

It's about 5 hours post op and I feel fine. My leg is sore from all the tiny cuts. Honestly, I'm suspicious that the laser treatment even happened. I don't feel any soreness deep in the leg. Although I will say that when they zapped me, there was a mild taste of burnt rubber in my mouth. They said that was normal. Ew.

Hopefully this will all pay off and I will no longer have pain in my legs. Thanks to BCBS of IL for picking up the tab (after months of waiting for pre-approval with a disclaimer that they still can reject the claim. Whatever. How can they say, "we approve benefits" while at the same time say "coverage may be denied". I saved all the documents they sent to me just in case it gets ugly. But I'm optimistic. I'll keep you posted on the healing. No pain meds, just anti-inflammatory meds.

4 explorers in an expanding universe:

Lola said...

How can I not comment on this??? Okay, I know you just had this big procedure and all, but the first thing that popped into my mind while reading about it was, "who did you get to take photos of the whole thing?" A girl after my own heart, trying to catch all of life on a memory card...
I hope you are feeling good today! And thanks for sharing. Thanks are so much less scary when they are shared and explained.

Bex said...

Holy Sutures, Bat Man! That is pretty funky! I would love to have the same procedure...but what can I say? Just call me Pollo. I hope that you are healing nicely and back to kick boxing (or whatever else you did to lose your weight).

Now if I could just get the hair on my neck to lie down again.


Roxanne said...

Of course I would pick you up and even look at your gross vein, although if you dropped it in my car your sore butt would have been weealkin' home on Michigan Ave :) JK Love ya girl!! those pics are nas-tay :) hope those legs are feeling better asap!

Kim and Chris Wheaton said...

Those pictures are gross!! (In a facinating way, of course!)
Hope you are up and about soon. Let me know if you need me to pick up Indigo for school. I'd be happy to do it. :)