Friday, February 17, 2017

never a dull moment: the blood clot edition

On Monday, I got a call from the nurse who works with my oncologist. I had a CT scan last week, so the phone call made me I brace myself for the worst kind of news.

Instead, she said "You have a blood clot on your lung."

What unfolded next is a bit blurry but I know that I asked if there was cancer on the CT (no), whether this was life-threatening ("absolutely not") and what I should do next.

I was instructed to get myself to a specific ER (at the General Campus of the Ottawa Hospital, which also houses the Cancer Centre). They would be told to expect me. Tim and I gathered up our stuff, made sure Daniel would be OK and headed out the door. We were at the hospital in 20 minutes.

We then proceeded to wait for more than 6 hours to be seen by a doctor. I established that there was a note on my file, saying that I was coming in but that didn't seem to make a difference in my waiting time. When I finally saw a nurse, she told me that they didn't have a bed for me (I didn't think I was waiting for one) but that she would do a blood draw and they would give me a "loading dose" of the blood thinner that would attack the clot.

She also gave me Benadryl because I had an allergic reaction to the bracelet they'd put on me to alert everyone to my allergy to sulfa drugs.

I probably spent 5 minutes with a doctor. I was given a shot, sent home and told to expect a call from the Thrombosis Clinic in the morning.

We were at emerg for a total 7 hours, into the very early morning.

At 7:30am, I got the expected call from the thrombosis clinic. I was on the list for the morning but should come in "as quickly as possible" because they were "very busy."

This time I was smart enough to have a shower, something to eat and grab a coffee before going.

They were great at the Thrombosis Clinic. Everyone I dealt with was kind, patient, competent and had great communication skills. I learned that blood clots are very common in cancer patients ("It's our largest group of customers") and that my odds of anything bad coming from it went way down when I got the first dose of blood thinner.

I have been prescribed an injectable blood thinner (fewer side effects), that I am to administer daily for at least the next several months. I need to be careful about bruising and cutting myself because my blood will, of course, not clot very easily.

I'm already covered in bruises and have very thin skin (literally, not figuratively) from the Decadron. My stomach is several shades of purple and green at the injection sites (the one from the loading dose is huge and spectacular). I scraped myself on something on Tuesday evening  (I'm really not sure what) and I had to put pressure for a long time for the bleeding to stop.

But I'm already feeling better. And I know that my recent shortness of breath was caused by the clot, not cancer.

I learned that my oncologist spoke to the ER doctor on Monday night and had agreed that I would be streamlined through the process, given my shot and sent home quickly. Somehow that message didn't trickle down to the front lines. My oncologist was shocked and outraged.

I could  have been saved several hours.

Also noted: I was out of the Thrombosis Clinic in two hours; it was clean and had natural light and no one in the waiting room was hacking, bleeding or puking. They set me up to expect a long day but, relatively speaking, it really wasn't. There's a lesson in there about setting low expectations.

I still don't seem to be able to do that.

And even as I was going through this, I was very aware of the fact (and appreciative of it) that I was not going to be handed a bill at the end of the process.

32 comments:

JuliaR said...

So interesting, so well described. Also so many personal points of similar reference. I am glad you came out the other end relatively okay!

deb said...

That's a terrible amount of time to wait. Unacceptable. But I'm glad things are working out

zoom said...

Must have been scary! But I loved the line about being allergic to the bracelet that lets them know you're allergic to sulfa!

Anonymous said...

What a boondoggle! Seven hours amidst the biggest germ pool in the city. So happy things worked out for you!
Cheers,
T

Kathleen Lisson said...

I'm so sorry this happened to you. There is a lot of room for improvement in the health care system.

maegan@healthline.com said...

Hi Laurie,

Healthline would like to congratulate you on making our list of the Best Breast Cancer Blogs of 2017!

Our editors carefully selected the most up-to-date, informative, and inspiring blogs that aim to uplift their readers through education and personal stories. We’re glad to have you on the list!

We’ve created a badge that you can embed on your site to let your readers know about your win. The embed code is at the link below.

Winners list: http://www.healthline.com/health/breast-cancer/best-blogs-of-the-year
Badge to embed: http://www.healthline.com/health/breast-cancer/best-blogs-badge-2015

If you have any questions or need help embedding the badge, feel free to be in touch. Congratulations and keep up the great blogging!

Warmly,
Maegan

--
Maegan Jones | Content Coordinator
Healthline
Your most trusted ally in pursuit of health and well-being

ebg said...

Hi Laurie,

Just stopping in to let you know that I think of you often and am sending the warmest thoughts and support your way. I'm a total stranger, but your writing has let me feel as though I know you. I hope that you and your family are well.

Take care,
Elizabeth

Shahzaib Khan said...

It is very sad to know you got Breast Cancer but don't lose hope keep fighting and you will have a normal life again.

cancer said...

Thank you

Ruhaniyat said...

Hi,
Kudos to your mental strength and courage. On that note, I would like to share the story of person who is in my extended relative’s friend circle. She was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 44. She is a teacher by profession and very humble and bubbly person by nature. Although the initial days seemed heavy, she later on accepted the fact ad went on with the treatment.
She was under diagnosis and treatment in Cytecare hospital in Bangalore. The hospital is considered as one of the best in India for cancer treatments.
What makes her an inspirational cancer survivor is her attitude towards that situation. She did not take it as an unfortunate thing, but rather she was though out bold and had a fighting spirit until she won the war with cancer.
She is now leading a healthy life along with her husband and two children.

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Thank You! May God bless You!

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metastatic said...

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That I will pay for the delivery service. The courier service can
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SOPHIE LEWIS said...

I am Sophie from Canada, I once suffered from a terrible and Chronic breast cancer ,since 30years now , the doctor told me there was no permanent cure i was given medications to slow down its progress, i constantly felt my health was deteriorating as i constantly go out of breath,and this illness was really terrible especially when am going out with my friends, i have this constant disorder for about 30 years, this was really a terrible illness ,on thin one day that i was going through the internet,and i came across a post of Mrs shelley on how his husband was been cured from colon cancer through the help of Dr Williams herbal product, I contacted this herbal doctor via his email and explain everything to him and make purchase of his product,few days later he sent me the herbal medicine through courier service, when i received the herbal medicine, i used it for 1 months as prescribed by Dr Williams and i was totally cured within those week of usage,on thin now i have not experience any sign or characteristics again . for more information you can email him on drwilliams098675@gmail.com for help

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Unknown said...

WHAT A GREAT MIRACLE THAT I HAVE EVER SEE IN MY LIFE. My names are David
Clara I’m a citizen of USA, My younger sister was sicking of
breast cancer and her name is David Sandra I and my family have taking her
to all kind of hospital in USA still yet no good result. I decided to go to
the internet and search for cancer cure so that was how I find a lady
called peter Lizzy she was testifies to the world about the goodness of a
herbal man who has the root and half to cure all kind of disease and the
herbal man email was there. So I decided to contact the herbal man for my
younger sister help to cure her breast cancer. I contacted him and told him
my problem he told me that I should not worry that my sister cancer will be
cure, he told me that there is a medicine that he is going to give me that
I will cook it and give it to my sister to drink for one week, so I ask how
can I receive the cure that I am in USA, he told me

That I will pay for the delivery service. The courier service can
transport it to me so he told me the amount I will pay, so my dad paid for
the delivery fee. two days later I receive the cure from the courier
service so I used it as the herbal man instructed me to, before the week
complete my sister cancer was healed and it was like a dream to me not
knowing that it was physical I and my family were very happy about the
miracle of Doctor so my dad wanted to pay him 5 million us dollars the
herbal man did not accept the offer from my dad, but I don't know why he
didn't accept the offer, he only say that I should tell the world about him
and his miracle he perform so am now here to tell the world about him if
you or your relative is having any kind of disease that you can't get from
the hospital please contact dr.sakuraspellalter@gmail.com/ drsakuraspellalter.wordpress.com or whatsapp him
+2348110114739 for the cure, he will help you out with the
problem. And if you need more information about the doctor you can mail me
davidclara223@gmail.com

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