Varicose Veins and Fashion Faux Pas

My friend, Andrew, recently asked me, as we discussed variations on the theme of our own mortality, if I had any co-morbidities. This is quite the topic for these Covid-19 times as co-morbidities drive many unnecessary deaths from the virus.

Visualization of the coronavirus causing COVID-19

I reflected on my own parents’ lives and realized that both had suffered cancer at various points. Not sure but in both cases they had been fairly moderate to heavy smokers and in my mother’s case… let’s just say that she wasn’t a small woman!

Whatever their own lifestyle choices or the role they played in their lives… it’s hard to be certain if their choices shortened their lives unduly, though in Mom’s case, it undoubtedly made her quality of life worse. They both lived a fair number of years, and gently passed in their late 80’s.

So Andrew’s question had me thinking about last year: I discovered, or at least realized, that I had a problem with varicose veins in both legs, upper and lower. Of course, this is courtesy of both of my parents’ DNA, not their personal choices.

Did my own choices of lifestyle, diet, exercise, and obesity influence the varicosities’ development? Well, honestly, I don’t know: I think the answer is yes, but it would have happened at some point. So I determined last year to do something about it.

I lost weight! I have now lost about 12kgs~ or so. I have adopted a more active lifestyle, as well. I’ve tried to cut down on excess calories. Specifically, I’ve also had to make several fashion choices: tights are now my wardrobe essential and light pants.

My S-I-L told me that medical grade compression tights were, well… TIGHT! And I thought, in Taiwan’s heat, how on earth will I be able to tolerate these when most women can’t bear even regular tights?

So I decided to try compression sports tights, and regular tights (yes, typically women’s) to see which are a) bearable, b) wearable, and c) durable. I’ve had to adapt: Over the pasts 12 months, I’ve experimented with a variety of choices! Some of them quite comfortable…!

I don’t choose skin colors… since I’m not sure people really want to see my hairy legs! I prefer opaques (black, gray, dark blue)… and initially I thought sizing would be an issue… well, it is if you rely on convenience stores and regular stores. But it’s easy to find appropriate sizes online.

I typically wear tights with some compression, though it’s hard to gauge accurately the amount of compression need to relieve the veins. My doctor recommended the surgical variety last year… but it’s hard to get accurately measured and he didn’t sell them in my size. But the tights I wear do have compression at least the bare minimum.

Of course, one choice leads to another: it’s hard to wear tights under men’s pants in Taiwan… the heat & humidity are killers for that plan. So I’ve switched to sportier attire: matching short pants, sports short pants, and cargo-type pants with 3/4 length legs. The other issue is that I really can’t wear the drainpipes that most guys here seem to prefer.

So if you see me wearing tights… feel free to ask me why. I’m not cross-dressing but I need to really look after my legs, otherwise nasties await. Things I would rather avoid. Tights will help me do that. Even after surgery. And they’re quite comfortable… the compression has been in part responsible for higher energy levels and weight loss resulting.