Friday, May 20, 2016

Releasing the Balloon

Let’s play a quick word association game. I say balloon, you say whatever pops into your head first….okay, what was that word? If it was birthday party, graduation, helium, or hot air balloon, quickly nod your head wherever you are reading this. Now, if the word you thought of happened to be venoplasty, please get up and do a 5 second dance around wherever you are sitting. I’m pretty sure I didn’t embarrass any of you here. ☺ Next, nod your head if you’ve ever heard of a balloon venoplasty procedure. Why am I asking all these random questions you may wonder?

I haven’t updated my blog in awhile because I usually like to have a good mixture of good news with bad news if I can so I don’t come across as a “negative Nancy.” After consulting with various doctors the past 18 months over chronic blood clots and leg pain (and being rejected by many doctors who think a procedure is too risky), I’ve finally found a doctor who is willing to do a balloon venoplasty procedure on the popliteal/femoral vein in my right leg. This is very good news!

When this option was first presented to me, I honestly had little to no knowledge of what the procedure entailed. After scrolling through WebMD, I learned that “angioplasty [aka venoplasty] is a procedure in which a thin, flexible tube called a catheter is inserted through a vessel and guided to the place where the vessel is narrowed. When the tube reaches the narrowed artery [or vein], a small balloon at the end of the tube inflates for a short time. The pressure from the inflated balloon presses the fat and calcium (plaque) against the wall of the artery to improve blood flow.”

I wish I could say that I’m 100% sure that this procedure will fix all my problems. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Some of the risks of the procedure are that it could cause small tears or even more blood clots. However, with the pain I’m in now, it’s a risk that I’m willing to take. In a way, I feel like I’m symbolically releasing a balloon. Before I was clenching tight to the balloon (holding onto the idea that my body would heal itself with the help of blood thinners) and I wanted to control how everything would happen. Now that I’m “releasing the string of the balloon”, I feel that I’m also releasing my need to be in control as well. I’m reminded that whatever the outcome of this procedure, God already knows what will happen at every step in my journey ahead and that this is all part of His plan. He is in control!

Since this surgery is so specialized and only one doctor has agreed to perform it, I’m now playing a waiting game…waiting to get scheduled, get the procedure over with and begin another type of road to recovery. I hope to get my legs back to 100% sooner than later…I need to be able to jump up and down and cheer for my fellow USA triathletes when they compete in Rio later this summer!

Thank you for your continuing support and prayers!

What I think when I hear the words "balloon venoplasty" along with that 99 Red Balloons song (photo credit: Disney's UP)


What is actually happening in my leg