Saturday, December 29, 2012

EVLT with a Side of Plebectomy

Endovenous Laser Treatment. The name alone doesn't sound very menacing. I think the word "treatment" is what makes it deceiving. Treatment is sort of vague. What it means is shoving a catheter up your leg and burning the vein. There aren't even any real lasers. It's just heat. So lame. Pheblectomy is French for pulling your veins like a puppet master and ripping those suckers out.

I've had varicose veins for over a decade. They started when I was pregnant with my daughter and became progressively worse over time. I finally worked up the nerve to ask my primary doc about them. He told me surgery was a waste of time and money. Wear tight leggings or pantyhose, lose weight, exercise, drink more water, and you'll see improvements. Down 50 pounds and in the best shape of my life and wouldn't ya know? The veins are worse. Bummer. I figured I'd be stuck wearing pants for the rest of my life only wearing shorts when I exercise.

Last May, I visited a dermatologist for a skin check. The appointment went very well and nothing needed to be biopsied. Woot! As she was finishing, she asked if my varicose veins gave me trouble. "A ton." She referred me to colleague whom she said is the best, and she would visit if she had varicose veins. What could it hurt? It's worth a copay to see what the doc says.

At the initial visit, the doc comes in to go over a few things. He thinks that, there is a chance insurance will cover the procedure, but I will have to wear a compression stocking for 12 weeks and get an ultrasound to have any chance at approval. At the ultrasound, I found out my vein was 8-9 times the size of a normal vein! Yikes!

A couple of weeks later I get a statement from the insurance company. They were declining coverage stating it wasn't necessary. I was heartbroken to say the least. A week later, I get a call from the doc's office asking if I still wanted to schedule the surgery. I politely said no. I had received the letter, and we couldn't afford the surgery out of pocket at this time. "But they are going to cover it." Say whaaaaaa? Apparently, the office submitted the rest of the paperwork, and I had been approved but I hadn't received that notice. I. Was. Floored. I actually got the notice in the mail that very same day. I felt like Charlie in the Chocolate Factory, and I had just gotten my golden ticket.

Would you like to see a couple photos?? Huh? Would ya?!? They aren't too gruesome. Mostly bruising. The cuts, 22 of them, are all very small. The largest only required three sutures.

morning of surgery

day after surgery

three days after

I'll post photos further down the road. I'm really, REALLY looking forward to no more leg pain. Yeah, they were ugly veins, but they made my leg hurt all the time. I hope this surgery was worth it. If someone was dong ths surgery purely for cosmetic reasons, I'd tell them it's not worth the pain. It's been a rough couple of days. It's my fault. I should have not gone to work the day after. Or hosted family Christmas the next evening. But I'm stubborn and everything has turned out ok. So far.


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