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Women's Health Blog

Be Real: A Health Scare & Loving Those Kids

I recently had a health scare. After spending an afternoon jumping off a dock at an inlet on the Eastern Shore of Virginia one weekend, I noticed two bruises on my leg. I didn’t think much of it – after all I had been pulling myself out of the inlet onto a rough wooden ledge which became increasingly difficult as the tide went out. I chalked it up to just a bruise.

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Image file: For blogger Rachel Mavity, a health scare means increased attention to daily activities.
For blogger Rachel Mavity, a health scare means increased attention to daily activities.

The next night, I noticed one of the bruises was throbbing and had darkened considerably. It was right over a cluster of spider veins, which I have had since high school when I was hit in the leg by a flying field hockey ball.

I rested and put ice on it, again figuring it was just a bad bruise.

The following week I saw my primary care physician for another matter. I just happened to decide to show her this bruise to get her thoughts. As soon as she saw it, she told me I better go see the Beebe Vascular team because it looked like I had ruptured a spider vein.

My appointment with Beebe Vascular NP Beverly Wells was maybe one of the most educational appointments I have ever had. She walked me through everything in such detail, yet in a way that I could grasp the potential issue I could have faced. I even got a sonogram of the injury in the office the same day.

It turns out, the ruptured spider vein released a blood clot. Luckily it was all superficial and nothing that could end up in my heart, brain, or lungs. However, it was truly a wake-up call.

 

Not 20 Anymore

I work at a desk job and have for most of my career. All that sitting is not great. I’ve known it for years, but as a young-ish person, I figured I would make up for it after work hours by being active.

Well, two children, a house, and loads of responsibilities later, I had become a desk-worker who barely moved from the desk all day. I also had let my at-home exercise go by the way-side because raising kids is time consuming and draining and I just couldn’t squeeze in those walks or workouts.

And, homeownership had left me without the funds to join a gym.

So, here I am. A 30-something woman who has to wear compression socks daily and take a daily aspirin … all because I can’t get up and walk regularly.

Something is amiss.

While some might consider this a minor health scare, it really stopped me in my tracks. I am not 20 anymore. I can’t just get by on a few workouts every once in a while.

It’s not cool. Changes must be made.

So starting last Friday, I decided to take advantage of what I already have – a Fitbit and two legs that are still capable of walking. I set up my Fitbit notifications to buzz me every hour if I haven’t moved that hour (labeled notifications in your Fitbit app). I was determined to walk 10,000 steps every day. I started doing Challenges through the Fitbit app with other family members who are on the app.

And, I got up from that desk. Regularly.

When it was raining, I walked the hallways until I annoyed the heck out of my coworkers. I went over to the medical center and walked up and down the five flights of stairs available.

I set an alarm for 11:45 a.m. to take my daily aspirin and go for a walk before lunch.

I brought an extra chair into my office so I could continue to work and have my feet up once a day.

I DRANK MORE WATER. Those of you who know me, know that I love coffee. I would drink it all day. Except, I really need to be drinking water.

Beverly at Beebe Vascular explained that if we do not drink water, our blood becomes like sludge. It is harder to move through our veins. Water helps the blood run more smoothly and can help reduce the appearance and worsening of spider veins. So, duh – water. Drink it.

 

Kids Like to Help

All of this change was pretty minor honestly. It is stuff I should have been doing anyway, but I had just convinced myself that I would worry about it later – when I am older or when I have more free time. Like that is ever going to happen.

And, it didn’t happen in a vacuum. My kids are pretty observant – like most children – and immediately noticed the incredibly attractive compression socks I now wear. They asked and I explained that mommy has some issues with her veins and circulation, so now I have to wear these socks and walk more and put my feet up.

That night, my sweet children were on the couch and my daughter pipes up, “Mommy, come put your feet up here with us.”

Oh. My. Tears.

They also have made it a game on nights when I get up and walk laps around our downstairs. They like to follow along behind like little ducks or they will walk in the opposite direction and “bump” into me at the turns. It’s a great opportunity for a quick hug.

My point being:  Don’t be afraid to share your health scare or your desire to exercise more with your kiddos. They will get it and they will totally support you!

After all, it is really in everyone’s best interest for mommy to be around as long as possible.

 

Hugs and love to all you readers out there. Stay healthy and take care of yourselves!

Rachel Swick Mavity

Rachel Swick Mavity

Rachel Swick Mavity, MS, is the Digital Content Coordinator for Beebe Healthcare and is a freelance writer. She lives in Milford with her husband and two children. Her passions include storytelling, photography, healthy products, and coffee.