Sunday, 3 September 2017

What a bloody clot

I now have a blood clot in my right lung.  

How did I find out?  Well, my chest and upper back had felt a bit tight for a couple of days, almost like I was coming down with a chest cold or something similar.   I had just started to learn to knit (I'm turning into my mum) so I thought it was just a bit of stiffness from the way I'd been sitting.

The pain had eased for a couple of days but then I woke up on Tuesday and the tightness was back.  When I stood up, I could feel my chest throbbing a bit and then I noticed a rash on my upper chest.  Oh shit.


I rang the Oncology Helpline who went through a checklist with me and then said that I would have to go to A&E.  'You're kidding,' I said.  'No, you have to go.  There could be something happening with your heart and they'll need to check it out.'  Heck, not again.  I'd only been there just over a week before (see Games Without Frontiers).  I could see myself getting a season ticket and the nurses/doctors saying, 'oh hi, Karen, welcome back.  Make yourself at home.'

I arrived at the A&E reception and, again luckily as a chemo patient, I was taken in fairly quickly and sat in a cubicle.  My blood was tested a couple of times, I had an ECG followed by a chest X-ray.  The lovely doctor who was looking after me asked me loads of questions, what drugs I was on etc.  She identified that a blood marker for my heart was slightly elevated, plus a marker for clotting was high.  'I think you may have a blood clot so I want you to have a CT scan'.  Ah, not good.

Off I trotted to the CT scanner department.  I had the contrast injected into me and got that weird sensation again of feeling like I had wet myself.   This time I knew what to expect and so thankfully didn't shout out 'F*ck me' like last time (see View from the bra: the CT scan).


It was nearly 4.00pm and I was getting hungry as I'd only eaten a banana and a slice of toast in the morning and had been in A&E since 10.00am.  I asked the doctor if I could go to the vending machine to get something to eat.  'I can make you some toast if you like.  We have loads of toast here and you have been very patient.'  I nearly snatched her hand off.   When I came back from the CT scan she brought me two slices of hot buttered toast.  It was delicious.  What is it about toast in hospitals that makes it so special?

The results

About 6pm the doctor came back with the results of the scan.  'Yes, you have a blood clot in your right lung'.  'Oh shit,' I went.  She said, 'it's treatable though and we've calculated the level of risk and it's low.  We'll send you home with injections of blood thinner and you'll have to report to the Anti-coagulation clinic.'  I didn't even know such a clinic existed. 

My daily injection

The doctor gave me a leaflet confirming that I had a pulmonary embolism but she suggested I didn't alarm myself by reading the really horrible part as I wasn't a high risk case.

A blood clot is one of the risks of chemotherapy.  It seems that the blood thinner won't cure the blood clot but will help keep me safe.  Apparently my body has to absorb the clot naturally.  I might be on these bloody injections for months but my Oncologist will let me know more when I see her next week.

So that was my second trip to A&E during the same chemo cycle.  They say things always come in threes.   Please, no!  I'll try to be a good girl, honest.


Please feel free to follow me on Twitter @luvvacurry, leave a comment below or subscribe to my blog.

Donate to my step-daughter's fund-raising page for Macmillan

1 comment:

  1. Hi Karen, sorry to hear the chemo is causing added problems. Hope you start to feel better soon. Take care. Michelle


Tales of Lourdes...continued I've been a bit remiss of late.  I haven't got round to writing any more blogs but after a bit of...