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Developed Pulmonary Embolus (Blood Clot) to Lung

Songflower
Songflower Member Posts: 608
Hello Dearest Friends,

I developed two blood clots to my lung and we discovered it Tuesday. I had a spiral CT in the ER which identified the two clots and ultrasound of the legs; the clot started with a small blood clot under my left knee. My symptoms were not sudden or dramatic; I had been developing slight shortness of breath at night when I first laid down. No pain in the leg or under the knee. I also took a trip to the mountains and sat in the car for seven hours but we stopped to walk. I am on Gemzar for chemo and apparently that has a slightly higher risk of blood clots. Cancer and chemo increase the risk of blood clots so we all have to be careful.

They found the clots on my weekly chemo visit when the they did the pulse oximeter (that little thing you put your finger in that measures your oxygen saturation.) My oxygen saturation was 81 instead of the normal 95-100%. After this it was go to ER immediately. They treated me with Lovanox which is a blood thinner that acts immediately; it is an injection. I also started on coumadin (warfarin) but it kicks in slowly and I am now off the injections and on the pill which I take daily. They will check my blood weekly to keep the "thickness" of the blood at a certain level. The clot should dissolve in four to six weeks and I will be on coumadin for six months ( I think I will be slightly afraid to go off). I was on oxygen in the hospital but did not need to be sent home with it. I felt so safe in the hospital as they monitored me closely.

Signs and symptoms of a Pulmmonary embolism are chest pains, fast heartbeats, sudden shortness of breath and trouble breathing. I didn't have the classic symptoms.

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT or blood clot in the leg is a condition where a blood clot forms in the deep veins of the legs, thighs, groin, or hips. Infections, cancer, obesity, heart failture and estrogen use can cause clots to form. The clots can move from the leg to the lung causing the dangerous condition called Pulmonary embolism. Symptoms can be swelling, redness, redness and pain in the hips thighs or legs. Sometimes compression stockings are used to prevent the DVT from traveling to the lung.

Treatment is blood thinners (Lovanex and coumadin). I am learning the diet restrictions I need to do with the coumadin. Foods with Vitamin K can increase the coumadin effect and thin your blood too much. I am working on this.

Some other tips to prevent blood clots are regular exercise. You have to be careful if you travel a long distance and sit in the same position. Long air plane rides are notorious for causing blood clots. There are exercises you can do in your chair and be sure and try to get up and walk. Some people take aspirin to thin their blood; I would talk to my Doctor first before doing this.

I am feeling well; just somewhat tired. They plan to continue on with chemo.

Take some extra precautions and watch for signs and symptoms if you travel. Autumn is a wonderful time to travel.

Love ya,
Diane

Comments

  • kkstef
    kkstef Member Posts: 688
    ((((Diane)))
    Diane, I am so sorry to hear about your blood clots.... You are so fortunate that it was caught when it was! Your post provides an excellent education opportunity about what the signs and symptoms might be and the treatment. Thanks for educating everyone about this possible complication!

    Wishing you a speedy recovery....take care!

    Karen
  • lindaprocopio
    lindaprocopio Member Posts: 1,980
    (((Diane))). scary stuff; so glad you're okay.
    I'm so sorry you had to go through such a stressful event. If you visit the Ovarian Cancer Discussion Board, you'll be shocked at how many of those women take Lovinox shots or Coumadin. Thick clotty blood seems to go with the territory when you get deep into multiple cancer treatments. :(

    I was having some shortness of breath on exertion in July and asked my oncologist for a referral to a pulminologist (sp?) since we have a lot of asthmatics in my family. He sent me instead to my Primary Care Physician, who felt that my liver was pressing on my lungs, and that I was also a candidate for blood clots. I had a CT-A (some sort of special 'angio' CT-scan) and lower extremity doppler that day and no clots showed up anywhere. Still, my PCP wanted to start me on Lovinox because of that oxigenation finger test you mentioned as mine was off a little. My oncologist was against that; saying he never prescribes Lovinox or Cumadin unless there has been a 'clot incident'. He did allow me to add a baby aspirin to my daily pills. When I talked to my oncologist about me being high-risk for blood clots, he told me that this is true of most of us who take chemo drugs and anti-estrogen therapies, but that it is a trade-off you are still wise to make. He said that Lovinox is fast-acting; and he'd rather trust me to get to him in time to get that shot than have me take a blood-thinner 'preventatively' when I have never had an actual blood clot.

    My stepdaughter is on Coumadin and cannot eat asparagus or fresh salads. I can't remember any other dietary restrictions. It doesn't make her feel bad, although she did lose weight and often looks pale. (((Diane))). Thanks for letting us know and for the info about it.
  • Kaleena
    Kaleena Member Posts: 2,059

    (((Diane))). scary stuff; so glad you're okay.
    I'm so sorry you had to go through such a stressful event. If you visit the Ovarian Cancer Discussion Board, you'll be shocked at how many of those women take Lovinox shots or Coumadin. Thick clotty blood seems to go with the territory when you get deep into multiple cancer treatments. :(

    I was having some shortness of breath on exertion in July and asked my oncologist for a referral to a pulminologist (sp?) since we have a lot of asthmatics in my family. He sent me instead to my Primary Care Physician, who felt that my liver was pressing on my lungs, and that I was also a candidate for blood clots. I had a CT-A (some sort of special 'angio' CT-scan) and lower extremity doppler that day and no clots showed up anywhere. Still, my PCP wanted to start me on Lovinox because of that oxigenation finger test you mentioned as mine was off a little. My oncologist was against that; saying he never prescribes Lovinox or Cumadin unless there has been a 'clot incident'. He did allow me to add a baby aspirin to my daily pills. When I talked to my oncologist about me being high-risk for blood clots, he told me that this is true of most of us who take chemo drugs and anti-estrogen therapies, but that it is a trade-off you are still wise to make. He said that Lovinox is fast-acting; and he'd rather trust me to get to him in time to get that shot than have me take a blood-thinner 'preventatively' when I have never had an actual blood clot.

    My stepdaughter is on Coumadin and cannot eat asparagus or fresh salads. I can't remember any other dietary restrictions. It doesn't make her feel bad, although she did lose weight and often looks pale. (((Diane))). Thanks for letting us know and for the info about it.

    Diane:
    I am sorry, too that

    Diane:

    I am sorry, too that you have to go through this. But thanks for giving us the information about this.

    I was having pain in my legs last year and they sent me for a doppler just to make sure. It was ok.

    Other foods to avoid while on Coumadin - Grapefruit and Bananas.

    My best to you, Diane.

    Kathy
  • california_artist
    california_artist Member Posts: 816
    Diane,
    You know I love you. My heart will be with you during this. You are one of the gentlest souls on here. You've always made me feel cared about. Thank you. Thank you too for sharing information that might help someone else avoid this trouble.

    email me if there is anything I can do to help you. Anything at all.

    Love to you and yours,

    Claudia
  • TiggersDoBounce
    TiggersDoBounce Member Posts: 408
    Diane
    Sending you thoughts and prayers...you are such a trooper....and have been through so much!

    Please take care and thanks for sharing your story which helps all of us..

    Laurie
  • Fayard
    Fayard Member Posts: 438
    Diane
    Thank you for all the info.
    I am so glad you are doing well now.

    Hugs!
  • carolenk
    carolenk Member Posts: 907
    Fayard said:

    Diane
    Thank you for all the info.
    I am so glad you are doing well now.

    Hugs!

    Vitamin K
    Diane

    Vitamin K will antidote warfarin (coumadin) rather than make your blood thinner as you wrote in your post. If your blood ever gets too thin, the doctor will either have you skip a dose or take vitamin K so you don't have an increased risk of bleeding.
  • Double Whammy
    Double Whammy Member Posts: 2,832
    carolenk said:

    Vitamin K
    Diane

    Vitamin K will antidote warfarin (coumadin) rather than make your blood thinner as you wrote in your post. If your blood ever gets too thin, the doctor will either have you skip a dose or take vitamin K so you don't have an increased risk of bleeding.

    What next?
    So sorry about this, Diane. I guess it was fortuitous that your oxygen level was being checked and you got treated. Thank you for the information of what to look for. Right after I finished chemo, one of my legs was swollen and my primary care physician immediately sent me for a doppler to rule out a blood clot. I had no idea it was something to be taken so seriously. She said I was at risk because of having had pelvic floor surgery. So there's another thing to add to the list!

    I hope you respond quickly and don't have any more complications to your treatments.

    Hugs,
    Suzanne
  • california_artist
    california_artist Member Posts: 816
    Everyone
    Diane mentioned that it was when she was having her blood oxygen level checked with I assume the little thing they place on your finger that they discovered her low oxygen level. I recently saw one of those for sale in a local store for in the neighborhood of $40. So, if any of you would like to monitor that level yourselves, you can. : ~ )

    Again, thank you so much Diane for the information.

    claudia
  • jazzy1
    jazzy1 Member Posts: 1,379

    Everyone
    Diane mentioned that it was when she was having her blood oxygen level checked with I assume the little thing they place on your finger that they discovered her low oxygen level. I recently saw one of those for sale in a local store for in the neighborhood of $40. So, if any of you would like to monitor that level yourselves, you can. : ~ )

    Again, thank you so much Diane for the information.

    claudia

    (( Diang ))
    Wow was your world rocked on that day. Each day brings new ventures and have you in my thoughts and prayers, knowing you'll as usual, get thru this bump in the road.

    Hugs,
    Jan
  • JoAnnDK
    JoAnnDK Member Posts: 275
    jazzy1 said:

    (( Diang ))
    Wow was your world rocked on that day. Each day brings new ventures and have you in my thoughts and prayers, knowing you'll as usual, get thru this bump in the road.

    Hugs,
    Jan

    So sorry....
    So sorry you had to go through this, Diane......but grateful that you gave us all such valuable information. Thanks for doing that during this difficult time.

    JOANN
  • norma2
    norma2 Member Posts: 479
    (((Diane)))
    Thanks for sharing this information. Hated to read that you were having difficulty. Thinking of you and sending you positive thoughts.
  • carolenk
    carolenk Member Posts: 907

    Everyone
    Diane mentioned that it was when she was having her blood oxygen level checked with I assume the little thing they place on your finger that they discovered her low oxygen level. I recently saw one of those for sale in a local store for in the neighborhood of $40. So, if any of you would like to monitor that level yourselves, you can. : ~ )

    Again, thank you so much Diane for the information.

    claudia

    Pulse oximetry
    Claudia

    I have a pulse oximeter that I use to monitor my pulse as well as oxygen level. I check my temperature once a week--just to get an idea where my baseline is. I think having a blood pressure monitor is a good idea, too.
  • Songflower
    Songflower Member Posts: 608
    norma2 said:

    (((Diane)))
    Thanks for sharing this information. Hated to read that you were having difficulty. Thinking of you and sending you positive thoughts.

    Thank you Dear Ladies
    Thank you for your support and kindness. I am feeling much better already. I bought a pulse oximeter at Amazon.com for 35.00 and have been checking mine. It is up to 95% which is good news.

    There is so much to learn and remember with this cancer. They plan to keep me on this for six months or so; I really don't want to come off!

    Love Ya, Diane
  • HellieC
    HellieC Member Posts: 524

    Thank you Dear Ladies
    Thank you for your support and kindness. I am feeling much better already. I bought a pulse oximeter at Amazon.com for 35.00 and have been checking mine. It is up to 95% which is good news.

    There is so much to learn and remember with this cancer. They plan to keep me on this for six months or so; I really don't want to come off!

    Love Ya, Diane

    Sorry to hear of your problems, Diane
    I'm just catching up on all the posts as I'v been away on holiday for 10 days (visiting the north of England - some beautiful countryside and historic towns, such as Durham and Harrogate).
    I was sorry to hear of your problems - but thanks for sharing what happened and the treatments for it. There are so many things we have to watch out for, aren't there! I have been taking low dose aspirin for some time, after reading quite a lot about it's anti-cancer properties. I wonder if that will keep me from the dreaded DVT? The oxygen monitor sounds a good idea -perhaps I will investigate that next!
    Kindest wishes
    Helen
  • kkstef
    kkstef Member Posts: 688
    HellieC said:

    Sorry to hear of your problems, Diane
    I'm just catching up on all the posts as I'v been away on holiday for 10 days (visiting the north of England - some beautiful countryside and historic towns, such as Durham and Harrogate).
    I was sorry to hear of your problems - but thanks for sharing what happened and the treatments for it. There are so many things we have to watch out for, aren't there! I have been taking low dose aspirin for some time, after reading quite a lot about it's anti-cancer properties. I wonder if that will keep me from the dreaded DVT? The oxygen monitor sounds a good idea -perhaps I will investigate that next!
    Kindest wishes
    Helen

    Look at you!!
    Helen....what a wonderful picture....Your hair is just darling....and along with that wonderful smile, you look so healthy and happy!

    Your trip sounded wonderful.

    Cheers!

    Karen
  • carolenk
    carolenk Member Posts: 907
    kkstef said:

    Look at you!!
    Helen....what a wonderful picture....Your hair is just darling....and along with that wonderful smile, you look so healthy and happy!

    Your trip sounded wonderful.

    Cheers!

    Karen

    Anti-cancer benefit of warfarin
    Diane

    Even though the research was focused on warfarin preventing prostate cancer, you will still be interested in this link:

    http://www.psa-rising.com/medicalpike/warfarin-prevention-jly00.htm

    When it is time to come off warfarin, you may want to know that there are foods/herbs that keep platelets from being sticky. Fish oil comes to mind. There is a lot of confusion out there about "blood thinners." The blood doesn't actually get thin at all, it is the clotting mechanism that is delayed or interfered with when people are on "blood thinners." The proper term is "anti-coagulants."

    Ginkgo is a wonderful herb that works to keep platelets from becoming sticky--but ginkgo doesn't actually "thin the blood" either. Ginkgo has anti-platelet activating factor (anti-PAF) activity which prevents platelets from becoming sticky and forming unwanted clots. Other benefits of ginkgo are with tiny vessel disease such as macular degeneration and diabetic nephropathy (kidney disease), as well as, preservation of memory and wound healing.

    I'm so glad to hear your oxygen saturation has improved! You can thank your white blood cells for this (the macrophages or "big eater" cells). The warfarin is only keeping you from forming NEW clots--it does nothing to dissolve the clot you already formed.