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deep venous thrombosis


Message 3 of 3 Previous

I am now in "recovery" from my 3rd DVT and 2nd Pulmonary Embolis. The first was a "minor" post-surgical complication (small "possible" clot) in my left leg following arthroscopic surgery on my left ankle. I was put on Coumadin for 6 months and nothing more was mentioned or any importance placed on the event. That was in Oct 1995 and I was on the coumadin till April 1996. In May 2001, I took a car trip from Orange County Calif to Phoenix AZ (about 7-8 hours driving each way) and attended a 3 day conference where I was seated most of the time. I did walk around quite a bit while there and between hotels. After returning home on Sunday, nothing significant was noticed until Friday evening. I went out to dinner after work and upon returning home, I was extremely short of breath and had a very rapid pulse. I went to bed, and stayed there until the next day when I went to an emergency clinic. I did not mention the previous DVT since no importance seemed to have been placed on it, and I was unaware of recurrance risks. They did chest x-rays, blood work, ekg, pulse ox and all the other stuff that er's do..... they determined I was stable and sent me home to 'take it easy'. Now this was Memorial Day weekend. On Tuesday, I went to work but had to stop every 15 feet or so when walking, to regain my breath. I called my lung doctors office and got a "same day" appointment. I have a history of pneumonia so I see him "semi-annually" for checkups. When I saw him, I was still very short of breath, elevated blood pressure and rapid pulse. He thought I was either having a panic attack or had thyroid poisoning and ordered blood work. He put me on Xanax to see if it would resolve his assumed "panic" attack. The Xanax made no difference in how I felt and the next day I called my internist and explained the symptoms, the results of the er clinic and the appt with the lung doctor. I told him that I still was extremely short of breath and unable to walk more than 5-10 feet without being totally winded. He decided he wanted to get a lung scan. Now I was scheduled to see both him and the lung doctor the next day, so he was going to have me get the lung scan the next morning, just before seeing him. Thankfully, his office staff realized that I could not even complete a sentence without running out of air and got the VQ scan scheduled for an hour later. I drove the 30 miles to the hospital, managed to walk to the radiology department, though I did have to stop about 10 times to catch my breath. They did the Chest X-ray and lung scan and found multiple Pulmonary Emboli in both lungs. They contacted my internist and I was admitted to the hospital for the next 5 or so days, on monitors, blood thinners and oxygen. Spent the next 6 months on Coumadin again and on home oxygen. Had another Doppler scan in December and it was negative. I had arthroscopic knee surgery in mid-December after coming off the coumadin and was placed on Heparin injections for 2 weeks following surgery as a prevention. No complications, no leg pains, no swelling (except of the surgical knee). Did have a prolonged episode of shortness of breath in January, but was assumed not to be a PE and I was put through an echocardiogram and sleep study to try and identify etiology of the shortness of breath. Everything came out "normal". In June 2001, I had to be admitted to the hospital for gall bladder surgery... it was done laproscopically (the little incisions). I was put in the pneumatic leggings pre and post surgery and on heparin injections for 3 days post surgery and was up and walking around within hours of the surgery. no complications noted, no leg pain or swelling. I was discharged from the hospital and went home. 8 days later, on July 3rd, I felt what seemed like a cramp in the back of my right calf. It hurt to stand and to walk. Because of my history of DVT and PE and the fact that I had had the surgery only 11 days earlier, I was sent (by my chiropractor) to the ER to be checked out. They did a doppler and found a significant clot in my right leg and admitted me to the hospital. They noted my weight wrong on the chart and so were giving me the wrong dosage of Lovanox and Coumadin and on the 5th, they discovered I had another PE, this time in only one lung. They are now telling me that I will be on Coumadin for the rest of my life and that I will have to have the Greenfield filters inserted to prevent future PE's from occurring. Has anyone else had the Greenfield filters inserted? Had a similar history? Or gone through any type of depression with dealing with this condition? I have been a quivering mass of tears since this most recent event. I keep trying to convince myself that everything will be OK. That I have done the Coumadin twice before and that I have survived 2 PE's... nonetheless, my fear level is extremely high. I don't know if it is a fear of dying or of becoming more disabled by future clots/PE's. I would appreciate any input on adjustment to the lifetime lifestyle changes. While in the hospital, they did all the coagulation tests to see if they could find a "cause" for the hyper-coagulation, but "of course", they all came out negative. I don't know what more to do at this point and would like any experiences that others have gone through to help me through this. Thanks in advance.


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