How blogging may have just saved my life…
|June 29, 2014||Posted by Carrie under blood clot, DVT, injury|
I’m serious on the title of this one – how blogging may have just saved my life by helping me to diagnose a blood clot.
Back up a bit to last weekend… last I updated, I was about to get an MRI on my foot (the right foot) that just wasn’t getting better. MRI went well, and I was scheduled to go to the orthopedist last Monday for results. The night before, my ‘good’ foot felt pretty sore. I thought it was because I had gone to a fun event Saturday night and done some dancing :0.
Monday morning, I woke up hardly able to put weight on my ‘good’ foot (the left). I went to work, knowing that I had a 3PM appointment at the orthopedist. Thankful for my sedentary job on that day, I was doing okay until about 11AM when the pain got so bad, I thought it best to see if I could move up my appointment or maybe just go to the ER. I was able to get the appointment moved up a little earlier and went home from work.
I called my mom to meet me at the doctor with some crutches as I just needed to be able to move around and my foot hurt so much. Seriously, I melted into a puddle of tears at one point after struggling to get to the stupid bathroom. Because the pain had started gradually, I had no idea what I did. I thought I broke something but couldn’t figure out when or how.
At the doctor, we pretty much glossed over my MRI results (no stress fracture is about all I can remember at this point), he took some x-rays on the left foot. Nothing broken.
By then, my foot was swelling up all along the outside. The doctor felt that I had an inflamed nerve. My symptoms seem to fit. So, we released my right foot from the boot and handed it over to the left. I was on crutches and told to use my lidocain patches on the foot for 12 hours on and off. He wanted to see me back in 10 days.
The pain was still there and my foot was actually swelling more. The only thing that helped was immobilizing it in the boot. Little did I know how much I’d pay the price for that.
That was Monday. I slept in the boot Monday night and that with the lidocain helped a little bit. By Tuesday, I was slightly and awkwardly mobile on my crutches.
By Wednesday, after being in the boot for almost 48 hours (only taking it off to shower), the pain was going down. The foot was still swollen, but the pain was much more tolerable. I started to be able to put a little weight on it and managed to get around on one crutch. Which was a life changer to have a hand free.
By Wednesday night, my left calf was sore. I assumed it was because I wasn’t walking correctly on my crutches and I thought I strained a muscle.
On Thursday, I declared myself boot free and was just trying to deal with the pain of the calf. My foot seemed fine. On Friday, I started icing my calf as it was getting worse. I also taped it up with KT Tape thinking I pulled the muscle.
By Saturday my leg started to turn red. I was concerned.
(picture taken Saturday at the ER)
I hit up Doctor Google and the first 3 articles I read referenced calf pain and Deep Vein Thrombosis (blood clot). I then remembered that my friend Coco had written several times on her blog about her DVT and I knew she had some good information about risk factors. So, I went to her blog and reread several posts.
And… because I had immobilized my foot for so long, had major pain and redness in my calf, and had the serious risk factor of taking birth control pills, I felt like I needed to get it checked out.
I went to an urgent care facility who instantly referred me to the ER as that’s the only place with an ultrasound machine.
At the ER, I underwent and ultrasound and it was confirmed that I did have a blood clot in my calf.
There’s no way to know if the DVT would have happened if I had only immobilized my foot and I if I wasn’t taking bcp’s. I think it’s highly unlikely.
The treatment for my DVT is this: I received an injection of Lovenox at the hospital along with an oral dose of Coumadin. At home, I have to give myself 4 daily injections of Lovenox and take the Coumadin for 30 days. I may be on the Coumadin longer, but I will begin going for weekly blood draws with my primary doctor this week and that will determine the course of the Coumadin. From what I’ve read (and Coco’s experience), there are higher doses given of both medications, so I do believe that my DVT could have been much worse.
I was scared to death about giving myself the injection. But, I got it over with early Sunday morning and it wasn’t so bad. One down, 3 to go. (tiny needle, but a large dose of medication – the burn from the medication is part that sucks).
I am also wearing a compression sock on my left leg.
As far as the pain – after the single dose of each medication, the pain was getting better. I still couldn’t walk well on Saturday night, the pain in my calf prevented me from taking a full step forward with my other leg (I couldn’t bend the left calf), so it was a very limpy step. By Sunday morning, I had a little more movement in my leg. By Sunday afternoon, I had taken 2 doses of each medication and had been wearing compression for 1/2 a day, the pain in my leg was down enough that I could take regular walking steps, although very slowly. The redness in my leg was almost gone by then as well, with just a single bruised area remaining.
(Sunday night – 24 hours after initial treatment)
It’s great to feel the pain lessening so quickly. I have been reading a lot more online and am learning that the pain can actually last for a very long time. I also need to be careful about my diet and watch for too much intake of Vitamin K (green leafy veggies, eggs and strawberries to name a few that of which I usually eat a lot). There’s a lot more to learn and I’ll keep you all posted.
I can only be so grateful to Coco for continuing to spread the word about risk factors and signs of DVT. Now it’s my turn to spread the word. While I feel a little vindicated that I was right about my self diagnosis, I also know the slight embarrasment when you go to the ER thinking you have something wrong and it turns out to be nothing. But, I believe that slight embarrassment is totally worth it. So much better to be safe than sorry. If you think something is seriously wrong, please don’t hesitate to go to the doctor. I caught my clot early… not everyone is as lucky.
For more information about Deep Vein Thrombosis, you can visit the Stop the Clot webpage from the National Blood Clot Alliance. Did you know that 274 people die every day from blood clots?
And a very good piece of information: “Being apparently healthy and being an athlete does not prevent a person from developing blood clots.” – from the NBCA website.