“Make well-being a priority.” A Patient Of The Oregon Clinic Shares Her Struggle with Varicose Veins

Sunday, April 12, 2015
Dixie Y. and Dr. John Zelko

Meet Dixie.

Since her early twenties, Dixie has struggled with painful, unflattering varicose veins. Her condition, a result of frequent bruising to her calves, worsened over time. Over ten years, her condition prevented her from comfortably sitting for extended periods of time. Upon seeing Dr. Zelko of The Oregon Clinic and receiving virtually painless, in-office procedures, Dixie is on her way to wellness.
 
While I came to The Oregon Clinic only one year ago, my trouble with varicose veins had been going on for nearly 15 years. In my early twenties, I worked in a restaurant hauling five-gallon buckets of ice from a freezer up a flight of stairs. With every step I took, the heavy bucket would hit my calf. Before I knew it, I developed a bruise that just never went away. As a twenty-something year old woman, the damaged blood vessels on my calves made me self-conscious. Over the next 10 years, the palm-sized bruise propagated with increasing spider veins and grew painful.
 
I could no longer handle lengthy flights or sitting for extended periods of time. As an acupuncturist, I tried several methods of alternative care to treat the issue; however, those methods proved futile against the collapsed and damaged veins. I worried about the extent of my vein damage and feared something worse was happening. My anxiety increased. At that point, I knew I had to do something about the pain in my legs. After thoroughly researching local vein doctors, I found Dr. Zelko. I was off to the vein surgeon to put this issue behind me once and for all.
 
I was really nervous about my condition, let alone any procedure that he would recommend. As a healthcare professional myself, I had a lot of questions. Was there a procedure that could help me? Would it be painful? How long would the results last? Dr. Zelko took the time to listen to my concerns and answer all my questions. To treat my vein damage, he recommended sclerotherapy, an in-office procedure that was less painful than a trip to the dentist. The procedure only takes 15 to 30 minutes, and 50%-80% of treated veins are eliminated in one session. The treatment plan was made very clear from the start and I felt supported and valued every step of the way.  Finally, I had found a solution to my pain.
After my first visit, I noticed immediate improvement in my pain and pressure and a decrease in my restless leg issue. The overall appearance of my vein issue has improved. Given the trauma to my calf and the damage to my veins, I was told it would take a time for it to resolve. It is improving and I look forward to the continuous improvement.
 
I think the most important piece of advice I would want to share with others is to make well-being a priority. Don’t wait. Be proactive. Take care of your health. Thank you to Dr. Zelko and his care team at The Oregon Clinic for helping me do just that.
 

From the Specialist’s Perspective:

Dr. John Zelko (pictured, right) and his medical partner Dr. Richard Jamison are board-certified specialists in correcting and diminishing varicose and spider veins. Utilizing the best in minimally invasive practices, they perform corrective procedures in a comfortable office environment.
 
Varicose Veins are dilated and ropy appearing blue vessels visible under the skin, often a ¼ inch or larger in diameter. Varicose veins are caused when a damaged vein causes blood to flow in the wrong direction. When the vein does not function properly, blood pools, pressure builds up, and the veins become weakened, enlarged, and twisted. This is called venous insufficiency. The most common site of varicose veins is in the leg.
 
This condition has been known to cause chronic leg swelling and skin breakdown for over 2,500 years. As chronicled in medical writings from ancient Egypt, the first treatment options included vein stripping or wrapping the affected leg in strips of linen soaked in sesame oil. Vein stripping was done with bronze knives without anesthesia or antisepsis, so we can sympathize with those afflicted for choosing more often the less definitive treatment of oily wraps.
 
Vein stripping improved dramatically with the invention of anesthesia and antiseptic skin care. Still, physicians dreamed of less invasive options for decades. Finally, in the early 21st century, intravenous techniques emerged. For the past 12 years we have been performing endovenous  laser ablation, a procedure that seals the  bigger veins from the inside. This is done under local anesthesia in the office with minimal recovery time. The remaining smaller veins, if any, can be injected to eliminate them.  True vein strippings are quite rare now.
Many thousands of procedures later, we are still gratified to be able to offer less morbid procedures for the definitive elimination of painful and obnoxious varicose veins. People with chronic pain, swelling or unhealed ankle ulcerations can look forward to a more comfortable life.