A Great Move

Patient finds vein expert in her new hometown.

Seventy-seven-year-old retired hairdresser Peggy McDonald was convinced the swelling and pain in her right ankle was due to arthritis. Peggy, a native of Alamo, Tennessee, now lives in Punta Gorda after residing for a while in Cape Coral. She never anticipated where she lived would make a difference in her health care.

Douglas Joyce, DO, performed laser ablation for venous insufficiency on Peggy McDonald at Joyce Vein & Aesthetic Institute in Punta Gorda.

Peggy is now comfortable when working in her yard.

Peggy’s hobbies include working on her genealogy, keeping up on social media, doing needlepoint, walking, swimming and working in her yard.  However, many of those activities became harder to do with the increased pain and swelling in her legs.

“I thought at my age, it was probably arthritis, and I put up with it for about eight months. However, it only got worse. I could see little, red spider veins, but the pain and swelling were what really bothered me. The swelling was all around my ankle, and it was worse on the inside of my leg.”

In addition to impeding her activities, the swelling also severely limited Peggy’s footwear choices.

“I didn’t wear anything that came up high on my feet, like tennis shoes,” she relates. “They really hurt because I couldn’t get them to loosen up. Mostly, I wore open-toe, flip-flop-type shoes.

“I finally went to my family doctor. He felt around and said it was venous disease. I didn’t do anything about it. I just tried to keep my leg elevated and wore a compression stocking.”

When Peggy later noticed her leg was becoming discolored as well, she returned to her family doctor, who recommended she see a vein specialist. Living in Punta Gorda, she’d heard all about Douglas H. Joyce, DO, of Joyce Vein & Aesthetic Institute. She felt fortunate to have access to a physician with such a high level of expertise.

“First, Dr. Joyce ordered an ultrasound,” Peggy shares. “Then, he sat me down and showed me exactly where my vein problems were and explained what needed to be done to correct them.”

Symptoms of venous disease initially include swelling, tired legs, spider veins, varicose veins and a feeling that the legs are getting progressively heavier. Over time, venous disease slowly worsens. Left untreated, it can lead to skin discoloration, thickening and ulceration.

“There are two systems of veins in the legs,” educates Dr. Joyce. “There are the high-pressure deep veins in the middle of the leg, and the low-pressure superficial veins near the surface of the skin. With venous disease, we find numerous connections between the superficial system and the deep system that are not functioning correctly.

“A major symptom of venous disease is swelling of the legs. That’s most commonly due to too much pressure in the veins directly under the skin. The low-pressure veins impact the high-
pressure veins and cause dysfunction.”

He’s got this

Dr. Joyce is a pioneer in treating all of the causes of venous disease of the leg. He has developed new techniques to treat venous disease, including single-needle laser ablation, a noninvasive method of treating the diseased veins responsible for advanced venous conditions.

“Joyce Vein and Aesthetic Institute is one of the few centers in the United States performing a significant number of the single-needle ablation procedures,” notes Dr. Joyce. “We teach physicians from all over the world how to do this technique. We have developed it to the point where it’s quite successful and have performed more than fifty-five hundred procedures, with a very high success rate and almost no complications.”

Dr. Joyce stresses that in many cases, leg swelling can be treated.

“Many people have swelling of the legs and don’t think there’s anything that can be done about it,” observes Dr. Joyce. “Some take medications, such as diuretics, to remove water from their systems. However, there can be underlying venous disease. If people have been checked, and they don’t have congestive heart failure or another medical condition, there’s a very high probability we can help them.”

“The best part about moving to Punta Gorda was finding Dr. Joyce and getting to the bottom of my leg problem.”
– Peggy McDonald

To correct Peggy’s issue, Dr. Joyce used ultrasound to identify the dysfunctional veins, and then closed them with the laser. This allows the normal veins to take over.

On the day of her first procedure, Peggy was nervous. She’s grateful for the care she received from Dr. Joyce and the staff at Joyce Vein & Aesthetic Institute. They helped her feel more comfortable about the process.

“I’m not used to going to doctors,” she explains. “This is the first thing I’ve had wrong with me beside thyroid surgery a long time ago, so I was scared to death. All the women there acted like they were my relatives, and Dr. Joyce was very easy to be around. During the procedure, I felt a little pinch, and it was just for a second.”

Complete turnaround

It’s been three weeks since Peggy had her last laser procedure. Her symptoms have disappeared, and she’s back to her more physical activities, such as walking, swimming and working in her yard.

“I don’t have any pain,” relays Peggy. “I don’t have to wear the compression stocking anymore, and I don’t even have to take TYLENOL®.”

She’s able to get back into any shoes she wants, but mostly Peggy’s stayed with summer sandals during the warm Florida months. “I just don’t wear shoes like I would up north,” she offers.

Peggy’s treatment was an absolute success. “I’m thrilled to have my life back,” she enthuses.

She feels blessed to live in Punta Gorda. There, she found Dr. Joyce and his pioneering laser procedures for venous disease.

“I’ve told all of my friends about this,” comments Peggy. “I have a friend in Boca Raton who’s having trouble with her legs, and I told her about Dr. Joyce. I said, Come over and visit me. I don’t think all doctors do the procedure like he does, with the laser.

“I also have a relative who’s a retired nurse. She lives in a small town, and she had not heard of this procedure being done with a laser. I said, Come down here and Dr. Joyce will take care of you.

“The best part about moving to Punta Gorda was finding Dr. Joyce and getting to the bottom of my leg problem,” adds Peggy. “I don’t think I would have found him if I was still living in Cape Coral.

“Hopefully, I won’t need to have the procedure again, but if I do, I’d sure go to Dr. Joyce and Joyce Vein and Aesthetic Institute.”

FHCN staff article. Photo by Fred Bellet. Staff photo courtesy of Joyce Vein.
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