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What does a blood clot feel like?

outdoorgirl's picture
Posts: 1569
Joined: Apr 2009

Was just curious,have any of you guys had a problem with blood clots? My onc keeps asking about those during check ups and I'm not sure if I would know it if I even had one...Is it an obvious thing and is this just a dumb question?

Ritzy's picture
Posts: 4382
Joined: Aug 2009

It isn't a dumb question at all. Someone on here, I think helen_e had one and so did evening star. See if we can find those posts. That was why evening star stopped tamoxifen. I don't know anything about them, except, they are serious. Do you think you have one? If so, get to the hospital.

Sue :)

Ok, type in blood clot in the search area and there are 4 pages of them. Go to the last page to see the recent ones. Hope this helps.

outdoorgirl's picture
Posts: 1569
Joined: Apr 2009

been sitting for a long period of time,my left calf starts to hurt a little and sometimes feels very warm. Don't know if that means anything or what.I told my onc about the pain and he didn't seem concerned...
It's very occasional..

helen e's picture
helen e
Posts: 223
Joined: Sep 2009

No it's not a dumb question. I have one in my leg now and only have just been given the word that I don't have to give myself 2 shots a day anymore because my blood thinner meds are finally at a theraputic level. I have to be on this medicine for 6 months!

I had a mastectomy/reconstruction 4 weeks ago. Two weeks ago I woke up with a cramp (or so I thought) in my leg muscle. That was a Tues. by Thurs. night I had done everything from heating pad to warm baths to muscle relaxers. It hurt so bad (Christmas Eve) and I had trouble walking. Late Thurs. night my hubby noticed that I had it wrapped in a heating pad on again and asked me if I ever thought that it might be a blood clot. Short story I called my doc. (on Sat.) and was sent to ER to get sonogram and it came back positive. Now I have to be on a special diet and other stuff for 6 months. Not fun.

The most important thing to remember is that if you don't get a blood clot taken care of it can break free and go into your lungs and kill you. That's why it's important to keep checking. I'm told that they're nothing to play with and mine was from being in bed so long from my surgery. I am on Tamoxifen and will know what to watch out for for the next 5 years. I'm sorry if I'm rambling - it's the pain meds. Just watcch out for muscle cramps or charlie horses in your legs that won't go away.

outdoorgirl's picture
Posts: 1569
Joined: Apr 2009

helen,I appreciate the info! And I hope you get better soon-I hate the word DIET,I don't care what it's for!

Christmas Girl's picture
Christmas Girl
Posts: 3691
Joined: Apr 2009

Already good info here... Yet, I'll add a bit more.

Late September, was diagnosed with two blood clots in my leg. The first day, woke up with a "charlie horse" type cramp in my calf that didn't subside - lasted the whole day. Day two - nothing. Day three - hugely swollen ankle (due to fluid accumulation). Day four - doctor appointment. Ultra sound followed, etc. ... Same drill as described above: daily shots for a couple of weeks, still taking oral meds/blood thinners. Yes, 3 or 6 months on the meds is standard. And, reduced activity level - which drove/is still driving me nuts.

Watch for redness and/or excessive warmth, also. Bring any unusual symptoms to a doctor's attention, immediately. Don't wait. I repeat - do not wait.

I know you take Tamoxifen, which increases the risk for blood clots. As does cancer treatment; i.e., chemo and rads. The cancer treatment risk remains with us for the rest of our lives. Which I did not know until it happened to me - over 5 years after completion of all invasive treatment.

Take good care, my friend.

Kind regards,

outdoorgirl's picture
Posts: 1569
Joined: Apr 2009

hypochondriac about symptoms and when is it reality? I told my husband about this and he said"Oh,I've had that before and it was a lack of potassium(or such as that)".Which makes me wonder if he would believe me if it was real?

jk1952's picture
Posts: 613
Joined: May 2009

Helen and Susan have given you good descriptions of how to ID blood clots. You might want to ask your primary care physician about your symptoms. Oncologists are great, but the PCP is the one that is responsible for your overall care. When I had blood clots, my PCP ordered the tests, consulted with a hematologist about treatment, and he did the shots in his office. It could be (and probably is) nothing, but it makes sense to check it out.

I was on Tamoxifen at the time, and I did have to stop taking it.


dmc_emmy's picture
Posts: 549
Joined: May 2009

I have a blood clotting disorder called Factor 5 Liden. I have had four major blood clots (the first one when I was pregnant with my daughter)and one "minor" one in the past 21 years. The others were from the aftermath of a car accident and the too much Neulasta (sp?--I'm a terrible speller of meds, sorry).

You have gotten some great info here. I would like to add: when a blod clot begins you feel a tightness where the clot is located. If it's in your leg, for example, you may feel your calf tighten-up. You may feel stiff, like when you over-exercise or lift something too heavy. The warmth, I have found, is the most obvious sign that you have a clot. There may also be discoloration, a light purple tinge, in your skin. If that happens, you may have deep-vein thrombosis and that can be very serious.

One more thing, know that a clot does not always cause pain. You may feel a little tingling and, unless the clot is severe, you may still be able to walk on it--but don't! When I suspect a clot, I immediately pull out my walking cane and take the weight off of it. If your leg becomes weak and feels a even a little tingly, you should suspect that you have a clot and go to the doctor immediatley. Putting weight on a clot will only make it worse.

It it's a clot, your GP will put you on a blood thinner (coumadin or heparin). The regulation of either of these drugs is difficult and the drs, I have found, start you off with a very high dose in order to attack the clot aggressively. You will be restricted in what you can eat, drink, and take for meds while taking the blood thinner. It will take time for your GP to find the rigt dose for you and, depending on the severity of the clot, will keep you on the drug for 6 months up to an indefinite length of time. I fell into the latter category, but began to have reactions that were reversed once I stopped taking the med.

As one of the ladies said, you can get a clot (though minor) just from sitting too long. You can get a clot from crossing your legs or sitting on your legs. For most people, these are temporary clots and not a concern, because they disappear after you uncross your legs or move.

If you have a clot, I was told that it not unlikely that you could have more. I'm not trying to overly concern you, but to let you know that you need to watch for them. The reason that more clots could occur is because clots never really go away, they become "inactive" (for lack of a better word). They become smaller, so they don't block your arteries, but they don't completely disappear. I was told that, because of this, I am prone to having more clots in the same areas that I have had them previously. This may be due to the Factor 5, I don't know.

Good luck to you.

TraciInLA's picture
Posts: 1994
Joined: Jul 2009

All of us are hypervigilant sometimes (or all the time) about every symptom, and that is 100% normal and expected -- we've been through so many treatments, taken so many powerful drugs, all of which can have major side effects. It would be irresponsible (and disrespectful to our bodies, I believe) to not take our bodies seriously after all that!!

I would ask your oncologist very specifically one more time: These are my symptoms, could this be a blood clot? Do you think there is anything to be worried about? If you trust his opinion, then take his opinion and recommendation, and move on from there.

I think one of the most important and difficult tasks we as cancer survivors have is to find the balance between being vigilant about our health, and trusting in our doctors and their care.


outdoorgirl's picture
Posts: 1569
Joined: Apr 2009

I will remember what you all had to say and take it to heart.If it goes on,I will let my dr know.Not that I'm not taking you seriously-that is definately not it! I've just never been one to call the dr so quickly.
Thanks for letting me know about the things to watch for-that helps me a lot!
I told my husband that I had brought it up with you guys and he thinks that I am just scaring myself-I told him that you all have been through it and know what you are talking about!
Thank you sisters for your timely manner in responding!

EveningStar2's picture
Posts: 494
Joined: Jan 2009

it is difficult to know when to call. I had leg soreness but one of the side effects that I had from tamoxifen was leg cramps, calf and feet mostly. And I'd had some so when my calf was sore I wasn't concerned. I ended up with blood clots in the lungs but the leg cause was never confirmed because at that point it didn't matter. But I had no other symptoms other than shortness of breath. I have no idea why I survived but I'm happy to be here!


tommaseena's picture
Posts: 1771
Joined: Feb 2009

When I had pain in my thigh and calf my oncologist ordered an ultrasound immediately--she didn't want to take any chances. It ended up not been a blood clot. I love my oncologist--she is wonderful and right on top of everything.

I would get it checked out.


helen e's picture
helen e
Posts: 223
Joined: Sep 2009

I had one in my calf. At first it felt like a cramp. It just wouldn't go away. Then it gets hard to walk, swells up and turns red. You will know if something's wrong even if you don't know what it is. Hope this helps.


Bella Luna's picture
Bella Luna
Posts: 1579
Joined: Aug 2009

When I started taking Tamoxifen, my oncologist told me to watch out for any pain that I might have in my calves. So... I guess one of the symptoms is that it hurts like crazy. It's not a dumb question. Thanks for asking.

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