Wednesday, May 28, 2014

EVLT Review and Sclerotherapy too and recovery

I searched and searched before my procedure and there doesn't seem to be too many firsthand accounts of Endovenus Laser Treatment / Therapy.  Lots of questions and promotions for it, but not many real reviews or details about the procedure.

First of all let me say to anyone who stumbles upon this post looking for a review of EVLT:  it's not that bad.

I can't say anything about the results yet, but the procedure itself was nothing.  I will edit this post as time goes on to share my progress.

I was nervous.  Very, very nervous.  I knew I had experienced worse than this was going to be, but that didn't calm my nerves.  Thankfully they loaded me up with Xanax, so I was in La La Land.

It went like this:

Since it was cold, the ultrasound showed my vein was too small when I arrived.  I got to lay with a heating pad on my thigh since heat enlarges veins.  They spread something on my thigh also to speed the process.  After about 45 minutes, it was time.  The nurse washed down my leg with a sterile solution. They covered me with sterile drapes and taped my hands to them so I couldn't move much. I had to wear protective eye glasses.  I haven't a clue how many injections of lidocaine they gave me.  The first two I felt, after that nothing.  It was probably 10-12.  Then they inserted a sheath or (something or other) into the vein and put something liquid in it.  I might feel it they said - coolness.  I felt nothing.  Then came the laser fiber insertion, and I felt that.  It wasn't pain, just pressure and sharp, but mild discomfort.  And I only felt it way up high in the crease of my leg.  They did a test of the laser and said if I felt anything to let them know.. not to wait because it would get worse and it would be very, very bad.  I felt nothing.  GO time.  I felt a slow tugging sensation as they pulled out the fiber.  Strangest of all, I could taste the burning.  The doctor said it usually tasted like an ash tray, but it reminded me of those cap guns from my childhood.  Smoky gunpowder. I don't even know if they still make them... but it was little circles of gun powder and the gun's hammer would hit the tabs and make them POP.  This tasted just like that smelled for about 2-3 minutes.....  and then it was gone.

A pressure bandage was put on and then the nurse helped me squeeze into the 30/40 thigh high compression stocking.  I had to wear it continuously for 48 hours, then daily for the next 3 weeks.  I took three 200mg Motrin.  My clothes were wet so I changed.  Clint drove me home and I slept most of the day.

The day after...  pain wise is about a 2.  It's more of a sore feeling in my inner thigh and if I move certain ways I feel it more.  I'm walking around, just very slowly. If I do too much, I feel it.  My leg is bruised and I can't really say I see or feel any improvement yet. I go back to the doctor Monday.

Here's to hoping I'm back to leading a normal life.... soon.


UPDATE:  1/20/14:  I had a follow up this morning.  The ultrasound looked good the dr. said.  They wanted to know if I had noticed any improvement.  It's really hard to say --  maybe slightly.  Very slightly.  With the tight stockings and the soreness from the procedure, it's impossible to tell.  I can still see my veins but they are flat, but that could just be from the stockings.  My insurance approved sclerotherapy also, but as of now my dr. said nothing else needs to be done.  I go back in a month.  So I wait some more.


1/22 and 1/23:  I went to the gym and walked on the treadmill for 15 minutes.  On speed 1, and it was too fast.  I would have slowed it down even more if I could have.  I think I over did it because the next morning the pain was ten times worse.  I read somewhere that day 5-8 would be worse.  They weren't kidding.


2/6/14:  Today is three weeks post op.  I'm better, but still not back to normal... whatever normal is.  I've been walking on the treadmill at the gym for 30 minutes daily.  I've been starting on the slowest speed and gradually increasing it to 2.5 as I go, then the last five minutes I put it down to 1 again.  I've been doing small squats and stretches to see if it helps any.  My inner thigh still feels tight and sore from time to time.  My lower leg still feels 'funny,' especially if I take off the compression stocking.  Tingly and heavy.  Technically I am free to go with out the stocking completely....  I don't know if I'm so used to wearing the stocking that my leg feels weird with out being squeezed or if it's still a vein issue.  The hope was the small vein on my shin would go away on it's own, but it's still there.  Smaller, but still there....  I will address that at my next appointment.   I'm going to try and wean myself off of the stocking over the next few days and see what happens.   Overall my leg is better than it was two weeks ago, and seemingly better than before the surgery.  I haven't felt the pain that I had since September....the nighttime muscle twitching has just about stopped....  so that is a huge improvement.  I don't feel well enough to go for a run, but I am walking better than before.


2/13/14:  Four weeks post op.  I'm happy to report that I am doing MUCH BETTER!!  The pain that I had prior to surgery is almost gone. I'm still wearing the stocking but I am trying to go with out it a little more each day to see how my leg feels with out any compression.  My entire leg no longer aches at the end of every day.  I'm walking 45-50 minutes on the treadmill at a faster pace, and I can still function afterwards.  I still have some discomfort in my lower leg.  It feels slightly heavy and tired.  The bulging veins on my shin have gotten smaller, but haven't gone away completely.  The soreness from the surgery is almost gone as well.   I have my one month follow up Monday morning, so we shall see what my doctor has to say about it.


2/17/14:  I had my one month post op visit today.  Everything looked OK on the ultrasound.  The next step is going to be sclerotherapy on the visible veins.  Hopefully.... HOPEFULLY that will resolve the remaining issues.  I went with out the stocking over the weekend as a test just to see how my leg felt.  It wasn't bad...  I can say the discomfort was nothing compared to before the procedure.  But it isn't quite normal.  Sclerotherapy is scheduled for the day after tomorrow.  Wish me luck....


2/19/14:  Sclerotherapy day.  OW.  I've had worse done to me, but it did hurt like a bee sting.  Or several bee stings.  I had to lay with a heating pad on my leg so the veins would be more easily accessed.  Using the ultrasound as a guide, the veins were injected (bee stings!) in various places on my leg.  After it was over, I had to lay quietly for a while to make sure I had no side effects.  I was fine, so I got to don my lovely stocking again and that was it.  I hurt a bit this afternoon and feels a little funny. From start to finish was about an hour. I have to wear the stocking for a straight 48 hours, then during the day for 2 weeks.

2/24/14:  Still having some discomfort and swelling.  I noticed last night my foot was very swollen when I took of the stockings.  I walked on the treadmill for 40 minutes this morning and my leg feels a little heavy now.  I can't say it's painful, but it's not quite pain free either.


3/31/14:  It's been a while.  I wish I could say I was stocking free and normal, but I'm far from it.  My leg still hurts.  Still swells.  Some days are worse than others.  I can definitely do more in the stocking than without, but I thought the point of all this was to fix my leg so it would be normal again....??  It feels funny most of the time.  I've started Zumba at the gym again.  While I can get through class just fine, at the end of the day when I remove the stocking...  my leg just aches.  A few nights it was bad - just a constant pain.  All of the injection points are still very tender.  I have pain in new places as well....   I don't know if this means the treatment was a failure or.... ??   Is this the best it will get??  I had to rent a wheelchair at Disney World because by the 4th day I couldn't keep up with my family.  Three more weeks until my next doctor visit.

4/21/14:  I had my final appointment today. I was not impressed.  I actually overheard the nurse in the hall telling him about my Disney World wheelchair incident and he laughed.  He barged in the room with a smirk on his face "A wheelchair?? Really???"  Overall the leg is better, but still not 100%. I don't have the constant pain that I had before.  I haven't worn the stocking in a few weeks but I have been wearing it at the gym.  All the steps and jumps in zumba just are too much with out it.  My Doctor has no clue...  he said most venous issues are helped by exercise.  Mine seems to worsen, which I have told him that since day one.  Being on my feet, walking, standing, exercising... always made my leg hurt more.  It is still the case after the treatment.  My leg looks fine.  The ultrasound shows no issues and the treated veins are practically gone, as they should be.  The conclusion is to give it more time, another 3-4 months.  Keep moving. For now there isn't anything else they can do for me and basically said don't come back.  I am not very happy about that or that I was dismissed so easily.  And there's always the possibility that my leg hurts for some other unknown reason....

5/29/14:  Some days are better than others. I did Zumba a few times and I have been doing the stair master, treadmill, elliptical, and riding my bike. Just as I was told -- resume normal activity.  I have been going with out the stocking since my last appointment.  I have put it on a few times when I was having a really, really bad day.  Today seems to be one of those days.  Yesterday I decided to try a little test.  I had some errands to do and the kids wanted to visit the mall, so I wore my (used to be) favorite flip flops with a tiny heel.  Tiny, as in 1" maybe?  At the end of the afternoon of walking, sure enough my leg ached.  Sure enough, I could see some dark swollen veins just under the skin's surface on my lower leg and they hurt to the touch.  I wouldn't say they are bulging, but I'm willing to bet over time they will be.  SO if it's not a vein issue, WHAT IS IT??  WHY DO MY VEINS SWELL AND HURT??  Today, the day after all the walking, I'm about to put on my stocking because even sitting here on the couch doing nothing, my leg aches.  I'm not sure where to go from here.......

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Wordless Wednesday - before and after bathroom project!!!

The mess before:

Shower glass is on order.... hopefully it will be installed sooner rather than later!!

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Bathroom demo!

Remember this??  

It's done!!!  Well, 99% done.  The last thing we are waiting for is the shower glass.  Who knew there was a four week lead time for glass????  I'm secretly hoping they over estimated the time so I will be impressed when it is ready sooner.  I can hope anyway!!  Other than that, it is finished!!!  And beautiful... I love, love it!!

Here's a few before pics as a reminder!  Bad tile job with a leaky shower....

Annnnnnnd tada!!!!  Here it is today....   what do you think???  (shower glass to come - hopefully soon!)

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Friday, May 23, 2014

Shine bright little ones....

I'm one proud Mamma!!  My two girls amaze me every day.  I know I'm biased but they are super smart.  Today is the last day of school.... the last day of having a first and third grader!!!

Veronica did GREAT in first grade!!  She made straight A's all year long, and I mean on every single test.  Her reading skills improved so much, as did her writing.  I was worried that she was falling behind, but she proved me wrong.  At awards yesterday, she got Principal's List and Top Scholar awards!!

Valerie had an awesome year in third grade!!  She had one C on a test all year.  The rest were A's and B's, with all A's on her report cards. She's always been way ahead and continues to pass everyone else up!   She was neck and neck with another kid for the Advanced Reading awards.  Whoever had the most points for books read wins....  Val pulled it off!!  She won last year and she won again this year!!!   At awards yesterday, Val got Top Scholar, Principal's List, Perfect Attendance, Top Reader, and Citizenship awards!

This year, Val had to take the iLeap.  Before the awards started, the principal went over the scoring.  Out of the entire third grade at our school,  fifteen kids scored advanced in Math.  Six scored advanced in Language.  Four scored advanced in Social Studies.  And only two scored advanced in Science.  Two.  Well MY VAL GAL was one of them in every single subject!!!!!  She scored advanced in everything.  That just blows me away......  see I told you she was super smart!!!

Yes, I know I am bragging about my kids.  My heart is so happy and I am so proud I could burst.  Seeing them grinning up on stage being recognized was amazing!!  I always feel so sad at the end of the year.  Time just flies by and my girls are growing up so fast.  I got a little teary eyed putting them on the bus this morning.  I'm glad for summer, but sad that another school year is behind us also...  

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Pop Star Bound

Here me ROAR Veronica says!!! 

A few weeks ago, school sent home a letter about the talent show.  Valerie couldn't decide what she wanted to do, but Veronica was dead set on being in it.  I wanted her to sing "Let it Go" but so was about five other girls.  She ran off the bus one day and declared she was going to sing Katy Perry's "Roar" at the talent show.  I wasn't sure if she would actually go through with it, but I sent in her permission slip just in case.  The day of tryouts, Roni came running off the bus SUPER EXCITED because she had sang on stage in front of the kindergartners.  No stage fright in that girl!!  

Unfortunately, the sound system SUCKED big time.  Veronica's mic kept cutting out.  I promise she is still singing but you can't hear her.  You can see her demeanor changes when it first cut out, but she kept going.  She sang anyway as if nothing were wrong......  the show must go on!!  I'm SUPER PROUD of my seven year old singing star!!!!

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Monday, May 12, 2014

Mother's Day

Mother's Day was quiet.  The florist delivered flowers from Clint and the girls on Friday.  Sunday morning everyone slept in except me.  Veronica got up after 8am and woke up her Daddy to make me breakfast in bed.  Oops, I was already up and made the coffee and breakfast.  Poor Roni ran to her room and cried when she realized that it was too late.  Veronica made me the sweetest card at school.  She has the biggest heart. I cried when I read what she wrote.  Clint usually takes the girls shopping at the dollar store and buys cards at least, but this year he didn't.  I got nothing from Valerie.  Not even happy Mother's Day.  We sat around and did nothing most of the day.  We spent the late afternoon at my cousin's house in Morgan City.  I really appreciated the invite because we NEVER get invited anywhere.  That was the main reason we went - invitations like that almost never happen so I felt we had to go.  He was boiling seafood - which I do not eat.  That's right.  I live in Louisiana and do not eat boiled crawfish or crabs.  My cousin did toss in some shrimp just for me but I don't care for them to be boiled together with all the other stuff or in crab boil.  I ate a few shrimp to be polite and they were okay, but honestly I would have preferred a real Mother's Day dinner somewhere else. I hate to complain but I always do for everyone else and put all kinds of effort into planning celebrations for our family, when it's my turn, whether it's my birthday or Mother's Day, I get nothing.  I do appreciate the pretty flowers, but be honest.... that takes almost no thought.  The florist knows our address almost by heart and Clint has an account to charge the flowers to, so guess who pays the bill when it comes in the mail?  Me. I would have been happy if they had told me to sit and relax while they cleaned the house, mopped the kitchen, or washed the sheets, etc.

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Friday, May 09, 2014

I miss my Mom

Even after all these years, Mother's Day still makes me sad.  It's going on six years since she passed.  I've been thinking about her a lot the past few weeks.  I see her in my dreams and wake up aching to talk her one more time.  I wish my kids had a grandmother. I've learned to live with the loss, but those thoughts creep up on me from time to time.  Like now - Mother's Day. I find myself glancing at all the pretty flowers and gifts strategically placed around the stores and thinking that my Mom would have liked so much of it.  I keep walking though and don't stop to look.  I always sent her flowers and usually picked up a small gift.  She liked pretty charm bracelets and perfume.  It still seems odd having no Mother to shop for.  It still seems odd watching people pick through all the displays while I'm just passing all the Mother's Day stuff by with out a second glance.  No Mother here. The empty feeling is something no one really 'gets' until they experience it for themselves.  I know she's a part of me and will be with me in memory forever.  All I have to do is close my eyes and I can see her smile and on the flip side, hear her yelling.  I see her hunched over the sewing machine or in the kitchen decked out in an apron.  She talked on the phone a lot!  She was often called quiet, but at home she was far from quiet. She was crazy and often did things that only a kid would do - like make crank calls to people she didn't like!  Seriously!!   I often think that how I feel must have been how she felt at times, only I didn't realize it then.  I find myself saying things she said and doing things the way she did them.  I have a lot of her nick-knacks on display around the house, and I think she'd be pleased to know I kept them.  Facebook will be flooded with pictures of my friends and their Mothers celebrating this weekend, as they should.  That makes me miss her even more for there is a void in my life that will never be filled.  I still wonder why did she have to go so soon as the tears fall.   Losing my Mom left a broken heart that will never fully heal.

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