“I want you to enjoy this birthday, Muffin, because I don’t know if you will make it to 41.”
Almost 30 years ago, Muffin was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was 37 when her doctor gave her this somber bit of advice. But after a long battle against the disease, which included a partial mastectomy, a total of 46 radiation treatments, 12 rounds of chemo and 400 chemo pills, Muffin will be celebrating her 67th birthday this month.
It has been years since she has needed any cancer treatment, but eight years ago, she developed what she thought to be a blood clot in her leg that would lead her to a series of office visits. The condition was determined to be a varicose vein – a medical condition that did not pose an immediate health concern.
Nevertheless, all her doctors told her it was still something she should take care of as soon as possible. After some testing, Muffin was ultimately referred to Dr. Campbell’s practice, Tennessee Vein Center.
Despite her breast cancer diagnosis being decades in the past, Muffin said she was scared about stepping into an office once again to have treatment.
“What I had been through played an emotional part in going to see Dr. Campbell for the first time,” Muffin said. “Once again, I was stepping into the unknown.”
Muffin remembers laying on the table worrying that after getting a good look at her leg and blood clot, he would not be able to help her. “I told Dr. Campbell that I was scared and that I didn’t know what to expect.”
Dr. Campbell rested his hand on her shoulder and told her not to worry, letting her know that he would explain everything along the way. Despite the difficult trauma of her past, Muffin was able to relax under Dr. Campbell’s care.
Muffin works as a custodian for a local middle school. She has been in the profession for 16 years, occasionally moving between elementary, middle and high school campuses. She works hard, averaging around 10,00 steps a day, and says she enjoys what she does.
Working as a custodian has an impact on the way you view the world. Muffin says that every time she walks into a restaurant or new building, she immediately looks to the vents because, as she puts it: if the vents are clean, you know they are taking care of things.
“And I can say that their office is always clean,” Muffin said.
Muffin remembers Dr. Campbell going through the extra trouble to make sure everything during her visit was pristine. She even recounts him making an apology, saying, “I may be overdoing it, but I want to make sure everything is clean and sterile for you.”
But it isn’t just the clean vents and sterile environment that sold her on Dr. Campbell’s care. The care they expressed during those first visits left an impression that Muffin would not soon forget. Everything from accommodating her schedule to keeping the radio on for her made her feel like she was an important person to the entire team.
“They are just good people,” Muffin said. “It’s not just Dr. Campbell; it’s the office staff too. I walk in the door and they never ask me my name. They remember me as a person.”
Muffin’s first treatment with Dr. Campbell ended up spanning two days. Dr. Campbell used laser treatment to destroy the vein and smooth the appearance. Muffin said that great care was taken to make sure she was comfortable during the procedure.
She felt no pain or discomfort throughout the entire procedure. “The treatments for cancer were brutal,” Muffin said. “But you find out that these treatments aren’t brutal.
While she had her initial varicose vein treated, Dr. Campbell took it upon himself to offer Muffin additional preventative care.
“I had some other vein issues going on that could turn into bulging veins,” Muffin said. “I had them taken care of before they caused potential problems.” At each of those initial visits, Muffin had three or four different veins addressed.
After finding comfort and high-quality care at Tennessee Vein Center, Muffin decided to continue to come to Dr. Campbell for yearly checkups to keep her venous disease from causing future problems.
“I appreciate their honesty,” Muffin said. “I know exactly what the process will be and what the procedure will be like. They make sure to tell me what treatments are important to have right away and which ones can wait. He is just so honest; he is not just trying to get more money from me.”
As a proudly single woman, Muffin stays busy. Between her job and handling chores around the house, including taking care of her 7-year-old chihuahua, Penny, she doesn’t have much time for hobbies – or long waiting room times and appointments.
Muffin said she could go and have treatment early in the morning and count on Dr. Campbell getting her out in time for work.
Feeling Good Again
Muffin said she always felt like the veins on her leg affected her physical appearance, but she did her best not to let them bother her since she didn’t know there was a way to get rid of them.
“My mother had them, and I knew I had inherited them from her,” Muffin said. She figured she would have to deal with them just like her mother had. “When Dr. Campbell said they could be taken care of, I thought, ‘well, let’s see if we can make them look better.’ And they do. They look a whole lot better!”
After fixing the varicose and spider veins on her legs, Muffin feels more confident in her appearance and is comforted that she won’t be surprised by another surprise condition.
“They have absolutely watched over me so well,” Muffin said. “You know you are going to be taken care of to the best of their ability. I can’t describe in words how it makes me feel. I will continue to go to them as long as I am walking.”
Tennessee Vein Center is located in the Alcoa and Loudon areas. It is operated by Dr. Keith Campbell, who emphasizes establishing close relationships with their patients. Dr. Campbell grew up in East Tennessee and decided to practice medicine in his community. Tennessee Vein Center opened in 2010 and has been providing patients with cutting-edge treatment and care ever since. You can reach Tennessee Vein Center at (865) 233-5858 or by filling out an online contact form.