Saturday, May 27, 2017

A Note on Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) aka Blood Clots

This morning, bringing my current blood clot hiking
(I am now past the significant risk for pulmonary embolism)

DVT, Part Two. 

For those of you with a history of blood clots and certain genetic mutations, I include this personal post as a way to show that even someone with vein damage and recurring Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) can get out there and keep going.

DVT, Part One was when I was pregnant with Alex.  To make a long story short, I developed an extensive blood clot in the deep veins of my left leg and pelvic region when I was pregnant with Alex in late 2002.  Turns out I have a genetic mutation (MTHFR...C667t to be specific) that makes my body susceptible to blood clots and cancer.  My veins eventually recovered, but with permanent damage in my left pelvic area.  That damage hasn't stopped me from doing anything though, as one can plainly see from my blog.

Part Two...But Not Really came in 2013, right before we did the Camino de Santiago.  A technician in a local hospital misdiagnosed the permanent vein damage in my left pelvic area as another blood clot.  That hospital put me on a regimen of warfarin, etc....and then I saw my specialist in Boston who did more testing and told me no, that was not a blood clot, that was just leftover damage from 2002/2003.

Fast forward to two weeks ago.  Suddenly, in spite of my fairly active lifestyle, I felt a familiar pain in my left calf which increased as the hours and days went by.  I went to the hospital (different one from 2013!), told them I was sure I had a blood clot, and was told by the excellent ultrasound technician that yes, he could see I have a new clot (and he could see the old damage in my pelvic region, which is in a different section of my veins from this new clot).

I am now on what will likely be a lifelong regimen of a new-to-me drug called Eliquis.  I like this new drug -- it's just a pill, no hospital visits or shots needed.  I can also drink one alcoholic beverage every 24 hours and eat whatever I like.  Hooray for advances in medical research and new drugs!

I have already built my leg strength back up over the past week by hiking increasing distances up a local mountain every single day.  The first day was painful and I could barely walk to the trailhead.  I kept at it and increased my mileage a little each day until, this morning, I was able to do the entire mountain loop hike, ledges, scrambles, and all (6.2 miles if you include the walk to and from the trailhead from my home).  By the time the girls get back from their vacation with their dad in two weeks, I should be more than ready to tackle Four Thousand Footers with them again.  I have also lost four pounds in the past week, since I now feel the need to get rid of all excess body fat.  This is not a vanity thing as I am 46 years old and past the point of giving a damn what I look like.  It's about optimizing circulation; being as fit as possible is good for my leg.

I am not a doctor, so if you are reading this and you have a blood clot and/or are trying to get your leg back in shape, consult with your medical professionals.  I will be so bold, however, as to say that you need to get back out there and do what you love to do, in the way you and your doctor see fit.  Don't stay home and wallow or fret or give up.  Find your motivation and, when the doctor says it's okay, fight through the discomfort and pain and, little by little, more and more each day, build yourself back up.  Otherwise, what?  I have too many trails I want to hike, with and without the girls.  My entire future involves hiking as much as possible.  In other words, there's no way a DVT will prevent me from doing exactly what I want to do.

Another photo from today

Yet another one.  I can't possibly be expected to stay away from sights like this.

So that's the scoop.  Besides that, all is well in our world.  The girls will have another episode of GraniteGals out in a week, and then we will resume hiking 4Ks for the Grid in mid-June.  We are also thru-hiking something in August, but instead of announcing that hike beforehand, I'll let Alex and Sage talk about it when we get back.  It will be an always is.  Life is good.

Hope everyone out there has a fantastic holiday weekend.


Unknown said...

Sounds like you're happy with your care - that always helps! Looking forward to hearing about your future plans, too!

- TJ

Unknown said...

Hi Patricia. I enjoyed your post. I followed you and the girls on the Camino. I have yet to go on The Way. I am truly struggling to get my body and strength back from Breast Cancer.
Completed Chemo tx Jan 2016 and double mastectomies April 2016 and Herceptin Dec 2016. I've just gone back to work as Intake nurse Palliative care. It's truly a struggle, but if not then what? I agree. Ultreia.

Patricia Ellis Herr, Alexandra Herr, and Sage Herr said...

Lorrie, What a long physical and emotional journey you have taken this past year. You are a strong and courageous woman; congratulations on your fortitude and on going back to work. I I hope your struggles lessen with every passing day. You will go on The Way at some point, I have no doubt. Know that when you are on the Camino, there are buses nearby at almost every point in case you want or need a break from the walking; do what works best for you. Take care of yourself and Ultreia.

Patricia Ellis Herr, Alexandra Herr, and Sage Herr said...

John, thank you. I have excellent medical care, for which I am grateful!