Varicose Veins - the Creepy Crawlers
Spider Veins Are A Milder Type of Varicose Veins
Most people do not realize that having spider veins is a milder type of varicose veins, and often do not cause alarm for some. "Spider veins, a milder type of varicose veins, are smaller than varicose veins and often look like a sunburst or "spider web." They are red or blue in color and are commonly found on the face and legs, just under the skin. - John Hopkins Medical, "What Are Spider Veins" 2019.
Make Yourself Aware Of The Alarms
Creepy Crawlers, as I like to call them, are varicose veins. These blue looking lines were in the back of my legs, and they seemed to get bigger. I considered this a sign to seek help.
The reason I contacted my doctor was my legs felt weak. I could not stand for any length of time. They always felt sore and after standing for more than 3 hours I would get a rash that looked like a heat rash. The rash did not hurt but that area of my leg seemed very warm to the touch, and that alarmed me. I then noticed that after long periods of time on my feet I would seem to get a sore on the top of my foot. It was as if I had gotten a bad sunburn, and then the skin would start to peel away, that became painful.
What really bothered me was I started getting chest pains, and those pains felt like the worst indigestion I ever had! My children would rush me to the hospital and I would fall asleep from pain and exhaustion, only to wake up hours later and be discharged. This happened many times and became very terrifying as well as a nuisance.
My Search For Answers
I started going to a heart doctor because these chest pains were happening too frequently. During this time I was so focused on my heart I neglected what was happening to my legs. My legs had many varicose veins and one big rash from my ankle to the inside of the back of my knee. One day, while at my heart appointment I saw a sign about varicose veins and the symptoms, for the most part, fit to what I was going through. I quickly made an appointment.
The Journey Begins
The day of my first appointment was very exhausting. I had to go through all my medical history, medication, family history, and the symptoms I had been feeling. The only thing I thought was this is going to be a waste of time and I must be crazy. I had been going through these episodes for almost 2 years. My heart doctor consulted with the venous doctor and I was scheduled for an ultrasound. It was not a typical ultrasound because this was done with dye.
In addition to a complete medical history and physical exam, diagnostic procedures for varicose veins may include:
Duplex ultrasound. A type of vascular ultrasound done to check blood flow and the structure of the leg veins. Duplex means two types of ultrasound are used.
- John Hopkins Medical, Varicose Veins, 2019.
The Vein Needs Help
I was given a day for surgery due to the ultrasound showing complications. I was so scared going in for a surgery I knew nothing about and did not know how to research it because all I knew was I had a blockage or something. I was told the problem was somewhere in the iliac vein.
The internal iliac vein drains blood from the visceral organs in the pelvic region. The external iliac connects to the femoral veins. The internal iliac vein may double or lay lateral to the external iliac vein. Both veins join together to form the inferior vena cava. HealthLine, Human Body Maps, Dec 6, 2018
The simple explanation is this vein runs from heart through the abdomen and in the legs. Somewhere in the vein blood was not flowing properly for me and so I went to surgery to determine what was happening. I was in surgery and recovery about 6 hours and when I was able to understand I was shocked with the results.
Overview and Summary
My doctor told me my arteries seemed healthy. The arteries are responsible for pumping blood out of the heart but what was happening was when the blood was supposed to return through the veins, there were some major problems. I had six spots in the Iliac vein that collapsed and so I received six stents inserted into the vein to open up the flow of blood. I am told this is what caused the varicose veins and all the symptoms I had felt.
This surgery is a day surgery and I was only supposed to have a few days of recovery but I am not of the norm because most people going through this same procedure usually get 3 or 4 stents at the most. I spent 4 months building my strength up to where I felt normal and had no excessive tiredness and no leg pain. This surgery is more common in women than men I am told because women go through childbirth and weight gain which in turn can weaken the veins causing them to collapse. There are many factors to consider but I am happy and blessed I had warning signs that resulted in me getting help.
Many women do not seek the help needed. My cousin told me this happened to my aunt and because so many parts of the vein collapsed without her knowing, her legs had to be amputated because without proper blood flow a limb dies. Be careful and take care of yourself. Always take the time to see a doctor if you feel something is not right. If you are not happy with the results get a second opinion and protect your own health.