That Damn Fucking Clot (thingy)

I always knew this day would come. Doesn’t history repeat itself? Never sure when, how, the lead-up or even the why – but deep down I knew that I would have another clotting scare.

Yesterday was that day.

It’s been nearly two years since my body decided to grow a giant hip-to-ankle deep vein thrombosis, and then chuck a massive clot into my lungs via my heart. Paints a pretty picture, right? June 28, 2010 – the Yank was deployed, my folks were on the East Coast with my sister, and I was grateful for the outpouring of love and support from friends and my military family. An 8-day hospital stay was the first step of many, one of which lead to my lupus diagnosis and the discovery of my clotting disorder – lupus anticoagulant. Things started to make sense, and for the first time, my very random and weird health history clicked uncomfortably into focus.

Life changed. I accepted certain truths, thumbed my nose at a few others, and adapted the best that I could. Lessons learned from 2010 permeate into who I am today, and for that I’m grateful. Fast forward nearly two years – hundreds of PT/INR tests later, endless doctor visits, a team of specialists that I can’t count on two hands, let alone one, and a very different outlook on life. But its who I am, and I wouldn’t be me without the experiences or history that I’ve had. So – there you go.

Yesterday while practicing violin for our upcoming LJSO concert, I felt an inexplicable tightness in my right leg. Compression socks are a norm (and medical necessity!) for me – so while some people wear them to make a fashion statement (seriously?!?), I wear them so my veins don’t hurt. Or collapse.

Gravity’s a bitch, what can I say?

Anyway – I went to put on my socks and HOLY SHIT – my entire right lower leg had swollen. Don’t know if I could have even called it a “cankle” – as my ankle joint was completely undefined. I thought briefly about giving myself a shot of Lovonox – liquid blood thinner that binds any soft clot to the vein, thus preventing it from breaking loose and causing an emboli – going to rehearsal, and then going to the ER. But – as much as I love Beethoven, the LJSO, and hate missing rehearsals – I figured this sort of medical emergency was the green light to GO DIRECTLY TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM.

I mean… I survived one DVT/PE…. it would be really really stupid to NOT take the lessons I learned from that experience (GO DIRECTLY TO THE CLOSEST ER IF YOU EXPERIENCE ANY LIMB SWELLING) and apply them to today. Maybe it’s like getting struck by lightning – you get hit once and figure that chances are such that you won’t get hit again. But you DON’T tempt fate and go kite-flying during a thunderstorm.

Or something like that.

Anyway – long wait in Urgent Care, followed by lots of blood work, and an ultrasound with the same radiologist who found my 2010 clot. At first she kept saying encouraging things like, “You have great blood flow” and “Looks good to me!” – but when she stopped talking altogether, and repeatedly rolling over the same part of my knee – my “oh fuck” meter went up a notch.

N joined me a few hours later – a little harried and visibly nervous – while waiting for the doctor and test results.

At 8:20 pm, we learned that my PT/INR was LOW (meaning, my blood was more apt to clot), and that the ultrasound was inconclusive. I definitely had blood clots in my legs, but it was hard to tell how much was old (hard) clot vs new (soft) clot. Soft clot is the dangerous stuff – it detaches and gets stuck in important places, like brains, hearts, and lungs, impending blood flow and oxygen. The hard clot – or calcified clot – used to be the soft stuff, but over time hardens and is reabsorbed through your vein walls. Coumadin prevents my body from forming new soft clots, but with my levels way lower than they were supposed to be, there was concern that my body had potentially grown another clot.

So – that’s where we stand. In addition to Coumadin, they prescribed Lovonox, another blood thinner that binds any potential soft clot to my vein walls, and I’m following up with my primary care doctor today. This shit is inconclusive – but we know that something is wrong. It’s just a matter of figuring out the next step and going from there. And who knows? Maybe it’s something crazy – like Gout (I was actually tested).

And yes, it’s okay to laugh at that. I did.

After picking up my prescription, I met N at home. We decided that – having survived one DVT/PE episode and being nervous about this current medical situation – we were going to eat crap food, drink the good wine, stay up late and watch a movie. I confessed that I was nervous about falling asleep, throwing a clot, and never waking up – something that haunted me for months after my last DVT/PE. He was too. And even though I knew the shots I administered to myself would (theoretically) prevent that, the fear of dying in my sleep was very real and tangible.

And then the morning came.

FANTASTIC!

I’m seeing my doctor later today and we’re going to take the next step to determine what the fuck just happened to my leg. And if we’re lucky – why. My second shot of Lovonox was uneventful, and I’m still alive and kicking. Slightly hungover after two (large) glasses of wine – but I’m ready to deal with whatever we’ve got head on. I know I gripe about Photoshop projects and having a hectic schedule  – but I truly love life, the things I’m learning, and the many wonderful people I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by. I’ve made a lot of choices about the direction I want to go, especially after 2010 and some REALLY shit times in 2011. For the most part, I’m happy with where I’m headed…I’m also grateful – beyond words – to my close friends and family. You know who you are – Thank you!

So much of what we surround ourselves with, the check-in-the-boxes, accolades, lists of accomplishments – it doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t matter. We get so busy, life gets in the way, and we never stop to think about what’s REALLY important. Absolutely goals are important and we’ve ALL got them – but so is balance, perspective, and truth. People and relationships get pushed aside, and in an effort to DO _________________, we loose track of who we are, and what we stand for.

What would you do, if you had one day to live? A week? A year?  The reality is that our time is limited. Nothing is a given – and something that seemed like a sure bet yesterday, is turned upside down today. Please – whatever you do – don’t wait until it’s too late to make a change, or tell someone how much you love them.

Last night before falling asleep, I put my head on N’s chest and whispered, “I love you and I love our life – ” 

Holy Bright Light Batman!

-and I meant it.

Getting ready to head out to my doctor’s office in a bit. The Real Life stuff can be a hard bite in the ass – and while I’m never a fan of the “Oh Shit” panic that it brings, I can certainly appreciate the reminder to love it while you live it…. drink the good wine… eat the pork chops… have the extra PB Cup…. and tell your fiends and family that you love them. Everything else is icing.

 

 

 

 

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11 thoughts on “That Damn Fucking Clot (thingy)

  1. I hope you get some answers. You are already so wise, I hope sh@t stops getting thrown at you that forces you to continually go wiser. You are already a freaking genius on life. Go drink some more wine!

  2. Oh Marit. Rich and I get it. He had the “Hulk” arm again last week and he said ” guess i am not getting off the coumadin anytime soon.” I know how those shots are a bitch and i dont wish that upon anyone, but i am so glad you recognized the signs but i am so sorry you had to. Hugs from us in MN:) and lots of icing of course. I will eat a cupcake or two for you in Tucson.

  3. And I’m crying…because you’re so right about all of it and that it’s so easy to look at the world with an unseeing eye. Grateful that you are here and that you are truly LIVING your life. Hugs!

  4. 😦 Hope your doctor’s appt went well today and you can get it figured out! Big hugs to you Marit. And also big thanks for always reminding us (me) truly what is important. Thinking of you!

  5. Dear Marit –
    I stumbled on your page inadvertently (I was checking my Facebook entries, which happen about once a year). I am so sorry about the frightening and horrendous health problems you’ve been having. Know that you remain very dear to all of us Hausers, and we will keep your recovery high in our thoughts. love, Nancy

  6. It’s so weird to me, still, to read about your health issues. It seems like yesterday you were racing Cali 70.3 & IMCDA & Kona! But alas, things have changed and I am sorry you’ve spent far too much time at doctors offices and hospitals trying to find answers. I love your outlook and I hope you truly do as well. I am sending the most positive thoughts your way and thinking about you all the time! xoxo

  7. Marit, I am praying for you and hoping that this resolves itself as quickly as possible. You are such a warrior. Thank you for sharing this update with your community, who are all rallied around you and sending you as much support as possible.

  8. I’m so sorry that you’re dealing with this. Fingers are crossed that your regiment of wine-drinking & your support system will get you through this as quickly as possible.

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