We came home in the snow. A soft, gentle hush of silence descending around us. If only I could achieve that same quiet peace.
I had a CT scan on Monday and had pretty much convinced myself that everything would be fine. The weekend had been a bit rough. I was weak and out of breath, which I assumed were side effects of the most recent chemo. After the scan I returned to the oncologists office to wait for the results. Which weren't pretty. He told me I had significant blood clots in my lungs. The nurse gave me three shots of blood thinner in my stomach. We were sent to the hospital. Do not pass Go; Do not collect $200.
At the hospital there were the usual tests and visits from a variety of doctors...oncology and pulmonary. Ultrasounds and echograms. Lions and tigers and bears. Oh My! It turns out I had something called a Saddle Embolus...which as the name suggests...saddles itself in the middle and extends into both lungs. Most people die within 30-60 minutes of having this type of clot. I was slightly out of breath when I walked. All the experts said the clot was 'impressive' (meaning large) and seemed surprised that I was walking and talking and not needing to be on life support or even oxygen. I was finally told I happen to have a large lung capacity that could accomodate this whopper of a blood clot. The treatment is the same as for a regular pulmonary embolism...I will continue blood thinners and a filter was placed in my inferior vena cava. It is a filter that will break up any other clots that might form in my legs and try to travel to my lungs. My heart was examined and it seems it was not under stress due to the blood clot. More good news indeed!
After determining I was stable I was sent home with syringes, etc to continue the process of thinning my blood in order for my body to adapt to the blood clot. It snowed heavily our first night home. By the next morning it was melting quickly when I received a phone call from my doctor letting me know one of the myriad of tests showed an gastrointestinal infection that I picked up somewhere. Or rather it picked me. More medications, more complications. More delays to chemo because of the infection.
And now the questions and fear begin. Am I reallly stable? Can part of this clot break off still and wreak havoc in my lungs? What is the mortality rate for patients with saddle clots AND cancer AND gastrointestinal infections AND open wounds AND... Ok, now I'm just feeling sorry for myself. I am grateful for my large capacity lungs, the infection was caught early, the open wounds are slowly healing and I am still surrounded by the loving support of family and friends...