I developed spider veins on my thighs about fifteen years ago, just before I turned 30. It hit me quite hard because my Mum used to frequently call attention to her own spider veins saying how ugly they looked, and saying how lucky I was that I didn’t have them. Little did she know that her daughter was on the same track.
For the next ten years, my spider veins weren’t very noticeable unless I wore a swimsuit, so I simply ignored them. I seldom wore shorts, skirts, or dresses shorter than a few inches above the knee anyway, so it didn’t affect the way I dressed.
By age 40 I noticed that my spider veins had spread. They were especially noticeable above my knees and around my inner thighs. A year after that, they were very visible on the front of my shins, the backs of calves and on parts of my ankles. I wasn’t thrilled by how this made my legs look, but I was even more concerned about whether they were a danger to my health. A dermatologist reassured me that there was no danger at all, and also mentioned that I could have them removed. I didn’t act on this information immediately, but stored it away in the back of my mind.
I made no effort to cover up my spider veins because I love to wear skirts, dresses, and knee-length shorts sans hosiery when the weather is warm. Greg was completely unfazed by them and for the most part, so was I. I’m not sure what others thought about my spider veins, but no one ever made me feel bad for having them.
My thoughts did keep returning to the fact that I could have them removed, or at least minimize their visual effect. So two years ago I took the plunge and booked the procedure. And it was an awful experience that I hope to never repeat. Painful, tedious and expensive. I had to stop the procedure halfway through, it was that unpleasant. I had sores and bruises on my legs for months, and had to wear support hose for 6 weeks. After a couple of months, I could barely notice the difference, although sweet Greg said that the procedure did soften some of the lines.
At 44, the spider veins on my legs are alive and well, and they have multiplied. But I’m no longer concerned about how they look because, truly, what does it matter? They’re just lines on my skin. They are part of who I am. If my Mama was alive today, I would tell her that too. I’m grateful that my legs are healthy and strong. I can power walk with the best of them, and my tree pose is improving all the time. Those things are more important than any visual blemish.
My spider veins do not affect my fashion choices, and I still don’t cover them up. I’m grateful to be in a better frame of mind now than I was at age 29. We can’t stop or reverse the physical changes that accompany aging, but we can change the way we think about those changes. That is empowering.