A summer with healthy legs

Cfavc Beach
Mimi talks with Kirtland Hills resident Elaine OBoyle about her varicose veins and her life-changing experience with Dr. Sonja Stiller and the staff at the Center for Advanced Vein Care.

By Mimi Vanderhaven

A grandmother of four, Elaine OBoyle is a busy woman, especially in the summer. She babysits three of her grandchildren—ages 3, 4 and 5—five times a week. She also volunteers at her daughter’s blossoming farm which now offers equine therapy for autistic children.

Elaine is not one to sit still.

So several years ago when varicose veins began to take their toll on Elaine, she did what most strong women do: she powered through. She worked through the pain; she worked through the fatigue.

She had some of her veins treated by a physician in Florida with disappointing results. Then she read in this magazine about Dr. Sonja Stiller, the founder of Mentor’s Center for Advanced Vein Care, and in September of 2016 she began the process of treating her varicose veins. The results have been life changing.


Here, Mimi talks with Elaine to learn more about how she was able to return to an active summer lifestyle:

Mimi: Tell us about the symptoms you were having before your treatment.
Elaine: My symptoms included leg cramps all of the time. Aches and pains. If I just touched my legs they would hurt. I also had Restless Leg Syndrome this last round and would get leg cramps mostly at night when I was idle. I’ve had experience with varicose veins and knew I needed to go back to the doctor. I was looking for one when I saw the write-up in Mimi about Dr. Stiller.

Mimi: How did your legs look?
 I had small but bulging, twisting veins. Not really that big. Still, I always wore long pants or leggings or long skirts. I never wore shorts because I was embarrassed. It’s not something you want to show people. I called them my “road maps.” I would point to my veins and say, “Take I-90 to 271...”

Mimi: Do you have a family history of varicose veins?
Elaine: Yes, I do. My brothers had this problem, too, so there was definitely some genetics involved. It’s manageable, but you have to know how you can manage it.

Mimi: Tell us about your experience with Dr. Stiller.
 What I liked most was how she explained everything so I could understand it. She taught me about how age, gravity and family history all affect venous disease. She took her time and I did not feel rushed. She helps you understand everything in detail before you get started. I really liked that.

She made me feel comfortable and confident and good about coming here. My symptoms first started after my last pregnancy, and back then I had to wear custom-made, heavy-duty support stockings. They were horrible. They took 30 minutes to put on. But Dr. Stiller introduced me to different kinds of compression stockings, cooler ones that are more stylish and easier to wear. Plus, she’s young. She’s involved in the profession. She’s on top of all of the latest procedures and insurance requirements.

Mimi: When did your treatment start?
Elaine: I first saw Dr. Stiller in September of 2016 and went back for ultrasounds. I started my compression stocking requirement then came back for a series of treatments including sclerotherapy, which are injections into the veins, and laser treatments [Endovenous Thermal Laser Ablation] which use heat. Treatment smarts a little, but there was no downtime. The outcome was so worth it. 

Mimi: What was the outcome. How are you feeling today?
Elaine: I feel perkier. I have so much more energy. Babysitting my grandkids, I’m constantly going back and forth and running around and picking them up and getting down on the floor and back up. It’s so much easier now. I could not be this active without having had the procedure. Ask my husband.

Mr. OBoyle: She’s a grandmother and she’s going to be with those grandchildren no matter what. It’s a lot easier for her now

Elaine: Plus, our daughter has a horse farm and she’s starting to do equine therapy for autistic children. My husband and I like to volunteer there. We like to help her. It’s nice to be able to do that.


Mimi: Do you have any advice for our readers who may be experiencing symptoms of varicose veins?
 Don’t think twice about it. Go to Dr. Stiller. She’s professional, personal and makes sure you understand everything before you get started. I didn’t like the experience I had with my vein doctor in Florida, but I didn’t know any better. I didn’t know there were doctors like Dr. Stiller. She’s patient-oriented. She’s always respectful of my time. 

Symptoms of varicose veins include chronic leg pain, fatigue, itching, burning, throbbing, Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), leg cramps, swelling and blood clots. If you’re suffering from any of these symptoms, you may reach Sonja Stiller, MD at 440-710-1140. Dr. Stiller is a diplomat of both the American Board of Emergency Medicine and the American Board of Venous and Lymphatic Medicine and is the founder of the Center for Advanced Vein Care located at 7200 Mentor Avenue, in Mentor. More information can be found at YourHealthyVeins.com.