You know that old adage. a squeaky wheel gets the oil? Well it is true. Sometimes you just need to squeak in order to get what you need.
After a fabulous trip to Europe this summer with Michael I noticed that my varicose vein in my leg was dramatically worse. It was achy and heavy feeling. Although it was a low level of pain by the end of the day it wore on me and I am sure hubby will attest it made me irritable. I could not run the distance or speed I wanted and I found myself walking much more than running.
I did some research and found a good vein doctor at The Arizona Heart Institute. I made the soonest appointment I could and met Doctor Ravi. He immediately knew that I had a problem. Tests confirmed that blood was not flowing back to my heart from the vein. I had reflux. I would need to have a laser procedure to cut off blood flow from the vein entirely, other veins would then take over. BUT the my insurance company required me to wear a compression stocking for 3 months before they would approve the surgery. This was upsetting as it did not relieve the pain and it was suggested strongly that I limit my running dramatically. I got my stocking and wore it religiously. About 2 weeks later I had a large welt at my ankle. It was hot and red and there was some additional pain associated with it. I called the doctor's office and was told it was just probably an irritation from the stocking and to take it off when I did my runs. Again I followed orders. The welt moved upward in my let and then upward again. I figured the stocking was just irritating those areas as well but then noticed that the protruding varicose vein was now missing??? It was odd but I was not very alarmed. I had an appointment scheduled with my regular doctor's office in a few days for a b-12 shot and I would just let them take a look. Wow, when I went in they were alarmed. I touched the bump and was immediately ordered not to touch it or my leg. The office was going to put in for stat testing for what they suspected was DVT. I became pretty nervous and upon leaving called Dr. Ravi's office. He was not in office that day but his nurse told me to get the testing and she would get back with me once she reached Dr. Ravi. She did call back several times over the next hour or so to tell me to get to the emergency room if the tests were not approved soon. It seemed that every time I calmed myself down I got another call from either her or my other doctor's office or the testing site. Testing occurred later that day and thankfully it was not a DVT although it was a clot. I never had an irritation from the stocking I had a blood clot that was working its way up my leg. At this point I was put on bed rest. Those who know me can imagine what that was like for me!
Time passed and I was allowed to resume some activity but running was sidelined. I was benched! Meanwhile my triglycerides went up as well as my weight. My health was not where it was just a couple of months before. I was not happy with how I felt. Pain was a constant. My mobility was limited. I went from running a 50 mile foot race earlier in the year to sitting with my leg up much of my day. I was getting angry. My insurance company expected me to continue this way for another 6 weeks before they would approve a surgery which that process could take a month for all I knew. I was not only missing my running but my social group activities which involved the running community. I was missing key races that I had scheduled, looked forward to and paid for.
Michael and I both had planned to run Water is Life on the Hopi reservation. We had ran last year and it was amazing. I decided to still go out and spectate despite not being able to run. As we drove to the reservation something happened. I felt so neglected by my insurance company and wanted to get some action. I wondered if they might have a Facebook page....they did :) I squeaked, I was nice, I was honest but I squeaked. With in 20 minutes I received a Facebook response asking for my contact information. I sent it right away. Within an hour I had received a call from a nurse at my insurance company getting every bit of information from me. She promised to call back Monday (it was late afternoon Friday). By the end of the day on Monday my surgery was approved. :)
Surgery happened on September 29th. I get to start running on Monday. Although I am missing another awesome race this weekend (where I am again spectating) I am happy. Happy that I am on my way to recovery. Happy that on Monday, although it will be slow and short, I will be running and no longer benched.
From this I will always remember that I must always take charge of my own health. I must not just accept things concerning my health if I do not feel that it is right for me. I must SQUEAK when it is needed.