Cancer causes blood clots- who knew?

I last wrote on March 26 for the only second time writing in a over a year. I wanted to start writing every day again, now that I was on the mend, or at least starting to feel better. Sure I was STILL taking 2 hour naps every day and was completely exhausted, but I felt that was part of the healing process. I couldn’t have been more wrong, and now I know the real reason why. I didn’t write for the past 5 days because I was having fun or even remotely too busy rebuilding my life. I was in the hospital. And while I always say nobody wants to hear bad crap, I am going to write about it. It’s what I do. I write.

I went to the doctor alone, thinking I pulled a calf muscle. I had been sporadically doing steps to get myself back into shape. And having been a soccer player for a long ass time, it really felt like a pulled muscle- a knife stab in my calf. But it wasn’t healing. For two weeks. I iced it, stretched, rested- all that crap. It was a little swollen, but nothing strange. So I went to the doc. Imagine my surprise when I got there that my doc sent me down for an ultrasound to check for blood clots in my legs because my ankle was swollen too. I couldn’t help thinking that blood clots were what OLD people get and that she was wrong. So I hobbled down to the vascular ultrasound area. Oh, my doc is in the same building where I went for radiation every day, where my oncologist is, and it’s attached to an ER. Lucky me.

Needless to say, she scanned both legs and I have the clots. Like an old person. She wouldn’t let me leave the room because she had to talk with my doc ASAP. Apparently this is a big deal. She found acute Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) in left popliteal, perineal, and posterior tibial veins. No clue if the names matter, just that three veins are blocked. So I had to hobble back up to the doc’s. At this point I had been there for 4 hours and the doc’s office was about to close. My doc told me that not only does the Tamoxifen cause blood clots, but so does having cancer in general. Plus I smoke. But for the last year (before cancer even), I have considered myself a quitter, not a smoker, and had quit a few times. She asked me all kinds of questions about my breathing, listened to my lungs, and told me what a Pulmonary Embolism was. Then she told me that she’s already called the ER and I had to go there for a chest cat scan to rule that out before I went home. She was positive that I didn’t have it, but still needed to check it out. So I went to the ER, still alone and getting more nervous every minute. I was texting Marie and Michael, but we all know that’s not the same as someone being with you.

Around 9p, after being in the “hospital” area for almost 8 hours (still alone, although they gave me a teddy bear), my results concluded that I had a bilateral Pulmonary Embolism- both sides! I wasn’t going anywhere but to the actual hospital to be admitted. They fed me (remember, I had been there forever), gave me a nicotine patch (I was getting grumpy), and started my Heparin IV. Still alone because Michael was entertaining his parents, I made friends with my ambulance transport drivers, Anthony and Joe, while they were waiting for another ambulance to be freed up, so they could take me. They were the only free ambulance at the time- and if a real emergency happened, they would ditch me and go there. They were roommates and quite entertaining. I told them I’d name my bear after them. His name is AJ. Finally, around 11pm, I get to my room, meet my nurse, she takes my vitals, and I get to see Michael. He’s a bit of a mess, but glad to see me, as I am him. His parents are there too (they came in from out of town before this happened). They stay for a bit and leave after AJ and I start to fall asleep. It had been a long day.

The next day, I meet the doc and she tells me that besides the DVT and bilateral Pulmonary Embolism, I have a 8mm lung nodule and they don’t know what it is. Lovely. So now there’s that to worry about. But she’s positive about my prognosis- my blood’s responding well to the Heparin, my heart is fine, and my breathing isn’t even labored one bit. She said I was lucky. There that is again. Because I feel lucky. Really? I got home from the hospital Monday afternoon and have been taking the Lovenox shots. The Doc’s all finally agreed to stop the Tamoxifen and I have an appointment with my Oncologist next week. I’m still tired and there’s still a stabbing pain in my calf, but now I know why. Apparently when you don’t have proper circulation or full lung function, that’ll do it. I have no limitations except to stop doing what I’m doing when my leg pain/swelling increases, my breathing becomes labored, or I feel tired. So, I’m reading, resting, and now writing.

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