Its been seven and a half weeks now since I had my Varicose vein surgery. That time has gone quick and it has not been easy. The days after my last update detailing the surgery and the week after was hard. It was like I jinxed my recovery. The pain suddenly doubled and I was needing to take the codeine and ibuprofen on the rigid set hours it was due. The Codeine would then knock me out and I would need to sleep for an hour or two until the effects wore off. This was not good. Daddy M was due to go back to work for a few days before his Christmas leave, J needed to get to school and I had S to look after. Considering I couldn't even stay awake this was a mission. One I could not complete. We ended up sending S to her Grandads (2 hours away) for a few days until Daddy M was back on leave as I just couldn't look after her. (She loved looking after his neighbours chickens with him, and the quality 1:1 time). J thankfully is old enough to get herself dressed and isn't as high needs so we asked a few favours from some of the school mums to be able to collect her and drop her back home afterwards. Without their help I don't know what we would have done. It really is true from the research I did online, the two-three weeks after the surgery is the worst.
On discharge from the hospital I was informed I would get a follow up phone call instead of needing to go into the hospital for aftercare. I was also told I would need to go to the GP surgery to get my stitches removed, but I wasn't given a time frame.
With Christmas around the corner I just got on with it. Slowly I came of the codeine as it was making me feel so drowsy, and was able to move a little more each day. I know that the more you move the better the recovery but the pain would be worse, this is what I did. Eight days after surgery I committed myself to walk a mile. It was more a hobble and very slow but this was the turning point for me. J was on her bike zooming ahead, S chasing after her and Daddy M and his brother ready to set chase if they needed too. Thankfully the girls kept stopping for mummy to catch up. Quarter of a mile into our walk the thoughts of "why am I doing this?" went through my head as I clung onto Daddy. Needing constant little stops to get my breath back I felt demoralised. The pain kept getting stronger but I was moving. The rest of the day I rested and dosed up.
The following day the pain had vanished again and I was able to walk more around the house without the pain. Amazing... it is true. Shortly afterwards we travelled down south to visit family. I decided to share a festive drink instead of the tablets. One night I didn't have quite enough and was awake most of the night in pain. Eek! I was ok most of the visit down south hobbling around but if it got knocked or leant on (yep thanks nephew!!) tears came to my eyes as I tried not to scream out. The bruising was extensive from the groin down my inner thigh to the mid calf.
After Christmas I was able to take the stocking off for longer and I could suddenly move more fluidly. I even started doing a little run. It didn't hurt nowhere near as bad as I thought it would and my "operation leg" actually felt amazing compared to my "well leg".
After the girls went back to school my leg started deteriorating again. Feeling very tight and burning. It was also going very hard around the stitches and where the vein used to be. It was time to get these stitches out. My GP surgery informed me they didn't offer the service so I would have to go back to minor injuries.
My skin had heeled over the stitches and they had to dig and re-open it slightly to get the stitches out. Oh my word that was painful. If you need to know they only recommend stitches to be in for 5-10 days tops... not 3-4weeks! Again the admin side let that down I had to suffer. Due to the pain and the hardness of the wound I was informed to mention it to my GP. He checked it over and I have thrombosis around the area which will hopefully heal within 6 weeks. The night after the stitches were removed I was exhausted and in pain again, however the next morning I felt great. It no longer felt tight and I haven't looked back since.
There has been no after effects here. I have full feeling (a little tender in the inner thigh) in my leg, my groin incision has healed well and I only have a little scar on my leg which will fade in time. I have a little vein on my "good leg" which is now starting up... great! I can now feel the difference when I run. The leg I had surgery on feels amazing whereas the leg that was untouched starts to ache a lot quicker, whether this is a sign I have another dodgy valve or that my surgery leg now has amazing flow, I don't know. Either way I'm going to be constantly moving to keep the circulation going.
So no scare stories here like on the forums... a happy healthy leg is the outcome here with no more throbbing at nights or painful knocks!
Here is the recovery in pictures....
From left to right then down...
1. This is THE vein that has caused me years of self torture and recent years of pain.
2. The leg all suited after surgery, once home.
3. Two days post surgery once dressings were removed before compression stocking replaced.
4. Twelve days later after mobility increased and stockings were able to come off. (I removed them a couple of days early due to discomfort.)
5. Seventeen days later, bruising is disappearing
6. Nineteen days later. Scabs have fallen off from lower leg, stitches starting to become inflamed and sore. (Stitches came out the next day)
7 & 8. My leg now. 52 days later. Still some thrombosis (hardening) around where the vein used to be, slightly raised which can be seen in certain light, small scar to the top of where the vein used to be. Bruising gone.
Do you have any varicose veins? Would you go down the surgery route? I am torn whether I would do it again if the one on my right leg deteriorates. So far its not causing me pain but its one to watch. I remember crying to hubby a few weeks in saying I am never doing it again, but now I am pretty much fully healed I am not sure. With young children to look after it would be a certain no. I hated not being able to sit on the floor with them and play, especially on Christmas day.