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You're So Vein

Administrator shares her personal story to educate others about the importance of vascular health.

At a time of year when everyone is health conscious, few give a thought to their vascular system. For years, the same was true for Truffles Vein Specialists practice administrator, Kristina Walker.

As a teen, shopping for school clothes every year, her legs would ache so badly, she would be ready to go home halfway through the day.  “What teenager wants to stop shopping?” she asked.

Kristina assumed her issues were the same that everyone experienced after being on their feet for a long time. It wasn’t until later when she started her career at a vascular practice, she discovered she was experiencing the symptoms of vein disease. Finally, she understood that her leg pain, heaviness, achiness, swelling, and fatigue were not normal. Although she wanted to seek treatment, Kristina was skeptical. She thought, “Really?  Veins can cause all these symptoms?”  But as she watched other patients seek treatment and find relief, at 23 years old she purchased her first pair of compression hose. “I could tell a world of difference,” she said. “At that point, I was convinced I had vein disease.”

After the birth of her second child, Kristina had an ultrasound on her legs that confirmed venous insufficiency in six veins, three in each leg.  After radiofrequency ablation and ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy, she noticed significant relief.  But after several months her symptoms subtly returned. “I didn’t understand why my story wasn’t as successful as our other patients, and I didn’t want to offend my physician, so I didn’t say anything,” she said. After leaving that practice for another job, Kristina also started experiencing low back pain, abdominal swelling, and bloating as well as significant leg and pelvic pain. When she was 27, her gynecologist recommended a hysterectomy since they couldn’t find the source of her pain.

Kristina’s eureka moment occurred after vascular technologist Brian Sapp had recruited her to join the Truffles Vein Specialists team in 2016. Brian was describing the symptoms of iliac vein compression and pelvic congestion syndrome, caused by diseased veins in the pelvic area.  When Kristina heard the symptoms—continued leg pain even after treatment, pelvic pain, bloating, and irritable bowel syndrome— she thought, “Oh my goodness, that’s exactly what I have.”

A scan revealed varicosities around her uterus were causing her swelling and pain. “That’s what sets Truffles apart,” Kristina said.  “We recognize iliac vein compression and pelvic congestion before it’s an emergency. We give our patients the information to decide whether to move forward with treatment depending on their symptoms and impact on daily living and quality of life. We look much further into what’s causing the symptoms and we want our patients to "own" their care.”

Although she’s in administration, Kristina’s personal experience has made her as passionate about educating others about vascular health as the medical staff at Truffles. “There’s such a lack of awareness of vascular health, people don’t attribute their symptoms to veins. Our ultimate goal is to make every person who walks through the door better.”

The Treat after the Treatment

Chocolate may have nothing to do with vein care, but chocolate truffles have become the signature treat for patients at Truffles Vein Specialists, which strives to treat patients as family.   

Started in 2013 by Dr. Paul Feldman, who partnered with Brian Sapp, a vascular technologist, in 2015, Truffles has locations in Fayetteville, McDonough, and Carrollton with plans to open a fourth location in Newnan next year. The team of vein specialists at Truffles provides medical and cosmetic treatment for varicose veins, spider veins, leg swelling, restless leg syndrome, and pelvic varicosities.  Truffles Vein Specialists perform minimally invasive vein treatments, including the VenaSeal™ closure system, radio-frequency endovenous ablation, LASER ablation, ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy, and Varithena Micro-Foam therapy. These treatments when used in conjunction provide effective long-lasting relief. Insurance covers more than 90 percent of treatments.

Indicators of venous insufficiency can include swelling, leg fatigue, heaviness, pain, and itching as well as spider and varicose veins, which are more than cosmetic. Spider veins, for example, are the visible signs of an underlying condition that has caused the body to create new avenues for blood to flow through. Varicose veins indicate weak vein walls and valves. Kristina wholeheartedly supports this statement from Dr. Feldman, "The decision to treat spider veins and varicose veins is based on relieving symptoms, restoring health to the legs, improving circulation, and improving their appearance." 

For more information about Truffles Vein Specialists visit www.trufflesveinspecialists.com.

 

Kristina Walker, practice administrator at Truffles Vein Specialists, has worked with vein care practices for 15 years. She joined Truffles in 2016. Her personal and professional experience has made her passionate about educating others about vascular health and helping patients look and feel their best.  Kristina and her husband, Taylor, have two sons, Hudson and Brogan. 

“There’s such a lack of awareness of vascular health, people don’t attribute their symptoms to veins. Our ultimate goal is to make every person who walks through the door better." 

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