Thursday, November 11, 2010

Day 67 ~ A Knotty Secret

When I was 19, I was pregnant with Taylor and at my heaviest weight. This wasn't because I was fond of eating whole sleeves of Oreos at midnight, but because I had gestational diabetes/borderline toxemia and was swollen from head to toe. My Aunt Susie said I looked like a Polish sausage. I remember that remark hurting my feelings a little but she was actually pretty accurate in her description. With all this extra weight (and the fact that I was 19 and had no idea how serious my condition was and stayed on my feet much more than I should have) I was blessed with this ....
I remember not thinking a whole lot about it when it started happening. Even the huge stretch marks that were crawling across my belly didn't really phase me much. Taylor was coming and I was preoccupied with the fact that I would soon be a mommy, not with what was happening to my body.

The first incident I remember that made me aware of there being anything misshapen about my person was when I caught a man staring at the back of my leg in Wal-mart. He had a curious and sorrowful look on his face. The first chance I got, out of eye-shot, I took a look back there myself and though, ewww...that really does look nasty.

Being a young, active mother, I continued to wear shorts and go about things as if nothing were wrong. Then, people started asking questions. "What happened to your leg?" and I was getting a lot of sympathetic remarks from family and friends "You poor thing. Oh, that just hurts me to look at it." It started happening pretty frequently and I decided that the whole thing was making me way too self conscious so I started to pick my wardrobe more carefully. No more shorts, no more skirts (unless quite long), not even any capris that came above mid calf.

Here is a side view. You can see how truly huge that vein above my knee is (even leaving stretch marks). Please note, I do have a completely healthy, normal leg on the other side.

Also, please know that revealing these photos is extremely hard for me to do but I am exposing them for a reason.

Today, I went with my parents to Texarkana for Mom to have a procedure to remove her varicose veins (it's a genetic thing apparently). On the way, they informed me that they wanted the doctor to look at my veins as well and that my grandmother had offered to pay for the procedure. At first I just thought, "I've been living this way for nearly 20 years and it really isn't that big of a deal". Then, when we got to the clinic, Mom (who was quite under the influence of valium and pain meds) told the doctor that I needed to have my leg looked at as well. I was supposed to be there to support her during her surgery not to be examined myself. The surgeon happily took a look and told me how much it would cost. Before I even knew what was happening, I was in a room, alone, having an ultrasound on my veins.

I called my grandmother, told her how much it would cost, she said "absolutely, one hundred percent, do it!" After the phone call, I just went and sat back down in the waiting room and prayed for my mother who was having her surgery. When she came out and was asked to walk the halls, Dad introduced me to a nurse and told her I wanted to have the procedure done on my leg as well. She said, "let's make you an appointment". It was at this point I really started to get nervous. The nurse ushered me back to a little office and asked me how soon I wanted it done. "I guess as soon as possible" I said. "How about 10 a.m. tomorrow? We had a cancellation."

So, long story short...I'm finally going to get rid of this hideous, painful, ugly, tangled mess on my leg. At 10 o'clock tomorrow morning, these poor, diseased gnarly veins will be removed from my body. I can't really even begin to know how to feel. I had so resigned myself to just living this way that it is all a bit dreamlike. Dr. Dicaprio will be performing the surgery and is a well known vascular surgeon.

You can read more here about veins and you can click here to see some remarkable before and after pictures.

I've been informed that I will have some pretty unsightly bruising and swelling for a while after the procedure and that it will be a few weeks of being uncomfortable. It will all be worth it in the end. Please feel free to pray for all to go smoothly and I'm going to do a lot of thanking God for my Mamaw.

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