They are the butt of jokes, the dread of women and the disgust of men. They are a scourge of aging and a mark of ugliness. They make it impossible to feel comfortable in skirts , dresses, and bathing suits. The saving grace on the fashion scene is the popularity of pants and long skirts.
Even though varicose veins are associated with aging women, my problem began when I was a teen-ager. By the age of seventeen I was self-conscious about those ugly bulges and discolorations along my legs. I was so self-conscious about them that when I became a counsellor in summer camp I wrapped the leg in an ace bandage stretching from my ankle to my knee. I told anyone who asked that I had a torn ligament. (Isn’t it interesting that a torn ligament is socially acceptable but Varicose veins are not?)
Many women dislike wearing panty hose but not me; I appreciate the extra coverage it offers in the endless attempt to cover and conceal ugly veins.
At eighteen I underwent surgery to remove the veins: a drastic measure for a desperate cause. Unfortunately it was also for an un-winnable cause, because what was removed from one spot popped out in another.
Then I went through series of injections of the veins hoping to be finally free of them.
After having three babies I endured another surgery to once and for all relieve the world of having to look at those ugly veins forever. That’s when I learned that forever is an iffy time, impossible to attain or promise.
The battle was won but not by me. There was no such thing, it seemed, to erase the transit ugly lines throughout my legs. I had to admit that that I am cursed with varicose veins. The money I have spent, the pain I have endured and the shame I have felt were all a waste of time and energy.
What has helped the most is a makeup, Dermablend, designed specifically for covering body discolorations.
It could be worse; there are many conditions that are far more serious and dangerous. Many would happily exchange my problem for theirs.
And so I have become philosophical about accepting and dealing with issues I cannot change. Will people avoid me because I have Varicose Veins, or “VV” as a TV commercial might call it? Will I be blacklisted from society? Will I ruin my chances at becoming the first woman president because of discolored legs?
So I have choices; I can ignore mid-thigh skirts and think twice about wearing shorts in summer and not flaunt my legs. Or if I don’t care, and choose to show these gams to the world I am free to do so. These “VVs” are part of my reality but they will no longer cause me to hide in embarrassment.