Restless Leg Syndrome

My Relentless Quest For Rest

I love to sleep, and I do mean love. I fantasize about sleeping. Getting into bed at night is right up there with my favorite things ever. Sometimes I wish I was one of those people who function perfectly on five hours of sleep a night; I couldn’t even imagine how much farting around I’d accomplish if I had that many waking hours in a day (Lord knows I wouldn’t use my extra time productively).  But alas, I’m terribly sloth like in my need for a good, solid 8 hours, and I’ll gladly take more when I can get it.  Double digits are my favorite!

This is why it seems particularly cruel that, in addition to a child who tortures himself and me with his own insomnia, I have been cursed with Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), as have many of the women in my family.   My maternal grandmother suffered with an increasingly severe case until her passing in her 80’s. She’s the reason that I’m on this quest. I cannot abide another 40+ years of this. Cannot. The very thought of it, after a mere 15 years of living with RLS, brings me to the brink of hysteria. Come hell or high water, I will find a solution. 

RLS means that just as I doze into that twilight sleep, my legs get frisky. A kick here, a wiggle there, next thing you know I’m dancing a solo cha chat between the sheets for hours every night. Not only that, but sometimes I’m blessed with surges that feel like I’m getting frisky with Uncle Ron’s electric cow fence. When I really get going I get repetitive nightmares as well. This can go on for hours, night after night, worsening every year. 

Thus far in my quest for rest, I have tried medicine, to which I quickly develop a tolerance and increase my dose, as well as any number of supplements, essential oils, and medical workups.  So far I’m batting zero. 

I checked in with a surgeon that I see to manage my breasts which are not only lumpier than great aunt Edna’s mashed potatoes, but also rival a non-rotating black hole for density.   She also manages venous insufficiency and varicose veins (she’s a women’s surgical specialist and she’s fabulous), and she started spouting data about venous insufficiency and RLS. She ordered me some compression stockings as a preliminary measure, and scheduled a venous ultrasound. 

Low and behold, I have significant venous insufficiency. As such, I qualify for vein ablation surgery after a trial of compression hose.  I briefly considered just rolling with the stockings long term, but I quickly realized that she don’t care for the sensation of both my legs being digested by python-esque peristalsis all day. And I’m vain. I like my legs, thankyouverymuch, and heavy gauge hose is anything but flattering. 

I’ve read the data about vein ablation, and it looks promising, though it’s fairly understudied. But frankly, it’s a low risk procedure, and the possibility of even reducing my RLS symptoms is a siren call that I’m powerless to resist. 

This is the first in a blog series about my adventures with RLS, vein ablation and whatever else comes along. I hope that others can learn from my experience 

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