This blood clot story just keeps getting…more bloody.
I am not only the proud owner of blood clot in my leg. I also have pulmonary embolism. In layman’s terms, that means I also have blood clots in my lungs. Someone blast the confetti cannon.
I can’t even bury this lede because YOU GUYS BLOOD CLOTS IN MY LUNGS.
Okay, so the clot is actually pretty thin because Eliquis, but “the clot thickens” has a sort of poetry, right? I almost titled this post “Two Needles. One Vein.” Also sort of poetic.
Monday I met with a hematologist and together we decided that since I don’t know half of my medical history, we’d go ahead and do a work-up to rule out any genetic factors which may have caused the blood clots in my legs.
The end result of that decision was a butterfly needle in the one and only great vein in my left arm and TWELVE VIALS OF BLOOD.
The children were with me. They were the most stressful part. Between Joshua saying “Mom, that is…like…REALLY ACTUALLY BLOOD…” and Emma’s repeated attempts to touch everything (and the impending OMG of it all) Monday night ended in half a Xanax and going to bed early.
She also wanted me to see radiology for a chest CT the very next day. When I say I knew the results of this test before it happened, I’m not joking. I have known that they would find pulmonary embolism because OF COURSE they would.
That was two days before we discovered the blood clots in my legs. I know I’m out of shape, and yes, I had recently battled the flu and bronchitis, or what I thought was bronchitis, and sure, my allergies are always haywire this time of year. But there was something about that particular instance that was just…not normal.
I messaged Dan and told him about it nearly immediately while I was trying to regain my breath and we both shrugged it off as being a sign my body just wasn’t ready for exercise again. We never, ever thought at that moment that it was a sign my airways were being constricted by pulmonary embolism.
(Fun fact: coughing is a sign of both pulmonary embolism AND bronchitis, so now I’m wondering if I’ve had these clots in my legs for longer than just a few weeks.)
Anyway. I got a call at about 10:30 in the morning that my CT scan was scheduled for 2:00 p.m. that same day and oh by the way don’t eat or drink anything for four hours beforehand. If you ever want to make yourself really, really thirsty, have someone officially tell you that you can’t have anything to drink. Works like a charm.
I got myself over there, filled out all of my paperwork (again), handed it over and heard “that’ll be $578, cash, check, or charge.”
I’m sorry. Are we saving my life here or am I buying a handbag?
I have a whole ‘nother post about the health insurance side of this, but I really need to keep myself from getting too worked up. I threw down our HSA card, which I’m really, really glad we have, and paid for the pleasure of being stuck in the same vein for the second day in a row.
The radiologist hooked up an IV to my arm and warned me that the contrast dye would make me feel like I was peeing myself, but that I wouldn’t actually be peeing myself. Probably. I peed beforehand anyway because actually peeing myself was the last thing I needed.
That IV was definitely unpleasant. It was a larger needle. It hurt. It was in an already tender vein, but that’s the best one I’ve got, so winner winner chicken dinner. The scan was done in a matter of minutes and I was on my way back home.
The hematologist told me not to expect answers until Friday, but about five minutes after walking in the door following having the scan done, she called to tell me that there were, in fact, blood clots in my lungs. The good news is that I’m already undergoing treatment.
We’re still pretty sure hormonal birth control caused this, but either way, the treatment for pulmonary embolism is the same. Blood thinners to prevent more clots while my body reabsorbs the existing ones.
This probably means I’ll be on the blood thinners for a longer period of time, a minimum of 6 months as opposed to 3. It also means I have to monitor whether or not I feel short of breath and how hard I feel like my heart is working.
If either of those things feel abnormal, I am to go directly to the emergency room. Do not pass Starbucks. Do not collect 200 Stars.
But I’m alive. I could be not alive and that would be definitely worse than this.