After about a week at home my legs started to get a bit sore. I figured it was from laying in the hospital bed for a week and sitting around all day at home. After all, I had the compression devices on my legs while I was at the hospital to help prevent blood clots from occurring. Friday, exactly a week after being discharged, I went on my first real outing to The Circuit, a local barcade in Richmond that we’d wanted to check out for a few months now. I had a great time, but standing for 3 hours playing games was probably not ideal, even with my brace on. The next day I woke up to sore legs again, but this time I noticed some swelling in my right ankle. I had seen a case of DVT (deep vein thrombosis – a.k.a. blood clot) the prior year in my rotation in the ED (Emergency Department) so I knew what to look for. There wasn’t too much swelling (you couldn’t tell if you weren’t looking at it), but just enough for me to call the neurosurgeon. He told me to go to the ED to check for DVTs. Luckily, we’d had a revolving door of visitors since we arrived home from the hospital so my brother-in-law took me to the ED while Varisara stayed home with Avery.
When we got to the hospital, I had trouble walking to the ED. I had to sit down immediately when we got inside as my leg was in pain just from the short walk. I was quickly seen and they performed the ultrasound. Low an behold, there was a DVT in my right calf, just as I had suspected. What I did not expect was that there was also a DVT in my left calf as well. When it rains it pours, huh? I knew that Lovenox, a blood thinner, was usually given for inpatient hospital stays to help decrease the chance of a blood clot forming, but since I had spine surgery I was unable to get the prophylactic shot due to the risk of an epidural hematoma.
With the lung lesion and an increased heart rate of 110 bpm, the doctors also recommended that I get a CT scan on my chest to rule out the possibility of a pulmonary embolism. I’d been getting alot of “just to be sure” scans and procedures recently so I wasn’t too surprised. Luckily, the chest scan came back clear.
To manage the DVTs in my legs I knew I’d need to be on blood thinners; probably for the rest of my life now with the cancer. The on-call oncologist came by to talk me through my options: pills that could be taken orally or Lovenox shots that would need to be administered in the abdomen. You would think that’s an easy decision, but the shots have been proven to be effective while the pills have yet to be confirmed. Additionally, the Lovenox could be reversed quickly if needed. Although I did not look forward to the idea of getting shots twice a day, I thought it wise to go with the sure thing and picked the Lovenox. The first few times, I administered the shot myself and that was not fun. Varisara started giving me the shots after the second day and she has only stuck herself once (so far).