Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Her Vein Closure

A little bit of backstory: I have always struggled with swelling and pain in my ankles. Some due to arthritis and some due to circulation. A few years ago, the circulation issues became worse. I noticed that my right foot would turn red when I stood in the shower, but go right back to white when I sat down. It did the same thing when I would blow dry my hair or sit in the recliner without raising my feet. I mentioned it to my podiatrist and she thought I should have a vein ultrasound done. The ultrasound showed that two of the valves in my surface vein system in the right leg were faulty (valves are supposed to open and close instantly, but mine were staying open for seconds - 1.5 and 3.8 seconds to be exact). The vascular surgeon explained that the only thing I could do to get relief was to let him close the vein. March 17 was scheduled as closure day!

I appreciate doctor's with a good sense of humor and those who explain things thoroughly while it is happening. Dr. McKenzie was that kind of doctor! Yay! I loved the way he explained the procedure and since I have many people who have asked for information about what I had done, I thought I would share his insights.

I woke up and got ready for the procedure. I have diagnosed anxiety issues so I cranked KLove through the IHeartRadio app on my phone to help me chill. I also loved the KLove Encouraging Word of the Day. It's like God knew what I needed to hear.
KLove's Encouraging Word of the Day for March 17
I was given a prescription for Ativan. I took it in the waiting room, when told by the nurses to do so.

The Procedure:
The doctor used an ultrasound device (I don't know the technical name) to check out the vein. He said he could see where there was an "orange peel" around my vein.

Ummmm, orange peel? At this point my Ativan had kicked in nicely and I was feeling very chill and relaxed. Hearing I had an orange peel on my vein peaked my interested but didn't freak me out. Magic little pill!

He explained that the orange peel effect was from the vein expanding and shrinking a lot over the years due to the circulation problems. Translation - this had been going on for a long time.

This was where I was stung by a bee for the first time. Not really, of course! That's just what he called the numbing liquid. He then made an incision near my knee and inserted a tube into the vein. He followed it with the ultrasound device on the top of the skin and played peek-a-book at the top near my hip. Seriously - used the word peek-a-boo to describe what he was doing. 

He took the tube out and got another tube ready. He also had several more "bee sting" needles ready to go. He explained that he was going to "spray foam" my leg.

Spray Foam? Like...spray foam? Again, the Ativan was working beautifully because I did not freak. I was perfectly fine with the idea of spray foam. The "foam" was to insulate the vein so that when it was heated, it would not damage the surrounding muscle or tissue. I could watch him on the ultrasound machine adding what looked exactly like spray foam to my leg. I had about 5 more "bee stings" as he went.

He then switched to another tube and I found out that this was the heater. He maneuvered this in the vein from my knee to my hip and the nurse turned the machine on. The machine heated the tube to 120 degrees Celsius and the vein collapsed under the heat. He moved the tube down my leg toward my knee, collapsing the vein all the way down.

The Aftermath:
I was given some bandages at the incision point and told I was good to go. I was a little loopy - read: feeling like a very, very drunk person - from the Ativan, but the nurse and my mom got me safely to the car. I came home, laid with my knees and feet propped up for the rest of the day - walking a little when need be. My leg stayed numb so there was no pain. *phew* My mom, dad, and Sean were great nurses and I was well cared for and grateful to them.
Amen! I felt the prayers of all my family and friends yesterday. I am blessed and lucky!

That Night:
I noticed some bruising on my leg, which I was not warned about. I called the after hours doctor and apologized profusely for bothering him. He said it wasn't a problem and the bruising was normal. He said to begin taking Motrin at bedtime because the numbness would wear off overnight and I might feel some pain. I also put on some Arbonne Gelee (magic stuff that it is) to help the bruising subside quicker.

The Next Day (aka: Today)
I woke up feeling good. Better than I thought I would. There is some pain when I first get up and with the first few steps, so I am taking Motrin for that. The bruises turned a bright red color so I put some more Arbonne Gelee on them. They are subsiding fairly quickly. I was told by the nurses to move around and walk some today to help stop the potential blood clots that could come from this procedure (only 1% of patients in the country get a clot after a closure and I am determined to not be part of that 1%). I walked up and down our street this morning, did some light cleaning, a load of laundry, and will walk up and down the street again soon. I am praying that is enough and that I can avoid a clot.
Praise! Hallelujah! I am so glad that I don't walk through anything in this life alone!

I am feeling very loved by all the messages I have been receiving throughout the day. Many people checking in to see how I am doing and to tell me they are still praying for me. I feel so blessed. Our church small group sent me this today and I will enjoy those strawberries - slowly and rationed throughout the week (or else they will be all gone today).

I go on Friday for the ultrasound which will determine if there is a blood clot and I have my follow-up with the doctor on Tuesday. My doctor likes to speak in sports terminology so he said this procedure could get me a single, double, triple, or home run. A single, double, or triple means I have other bad valves and that the swelling will not be completely cured. A home run means all is fixed. Can you guess what I am praying for?
Image result for home run
As White Sox announcer, Ken Harrelson would say - "You can put it on the board! Yes! Home Run!!"

Happy Hump Day,

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