Early July Morning, Cocoa Beach, Florida

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

DVT/PE Beware

We had a very busy summer going here and there and everywhere. We headed to Tennessee for a fourth of July family vacation, and spent time with my in-laws that week. I already blogged about some of the stuff we did--Fall Creek Falls (what a blast). My daughter flew home a few weeks after that, and the family headed down to Florida to visit with my family for a week. While there we spent a lot of time on the beach (my fav thing to do!). We also spent a day at Disney, and the rest of the time just
 hanging out with friends and mostly family.
(blood thinners, uggg)

A couple weeks after we got home, the youth at church had a long day trip around Louisiana. We drove about five hours down to New Orleans, went down to French Quarters and had a really yummy lunch. After that we headed to Slidell, LA to our churches welfare building and took a tour. Then we headed about 1 1/2 hour to the temple in Baton Rouge and did some temple work; after which we headed home. It was a looooong day, but we all had a great time.

The following week, my daughter and I took a road trip up to Indiana to visit with some old friends, and to see her friend boy who just returned from a two year mission in Chile. They had written, but while he was gone, my daughter was told--by him--to date! By the way a friend boy is not the same as a boy friend. I will have to say, though, that he is now her boy friend, but that is a whole other blog. Anyway, back to the story...the trip to Indiana is about a 16 hr trip, so we took it in two days, stopping in TN (half way mark) and stayed with my in-laws.

At the beginning of the summer, I was having some breathing problems. It pretty much started with the Fall Creek Falls trip, and I thought, "boy, am I getting old and out of shape!" The breathing problems probably lasted a couple of weeks and then went away, so I did not really think too much of it since it was not constant, just when I was exercising.

While in Indiana, my breathing problems started up again. I was a little concerned, but brushed it off since it was not constant, just at night before I went to bed. Just thought I was doing too much. On the way back home when we got to the half way mark at my in-laws, the breathing problems really got bad. I could not even unload the car without being very winded. My mother-in-law was very concerned, but, again I brushed it off.

When we got back to Louisiana, I had to take Ashley to her yearly doctor/dentist/eye appointments and I was really out of breath, unless I was sitting down. My parents were on their way back from Colorado to Florida and planned to stay a couple of days. They saw how out of breath I was just walking to use the bathroom. They made me go to the doctor.

I know this is pretty long, so I will cut to the chase--NEVER, NEVER, ignore breathing problems like I did. I wound up in the hospital with blood clots (DVT and PE). They had started in my right leg and moved to my lungs. My leg was a little swollen, but not much, and not even for a whole day. I was not in pain, and had no other symptoms except the shortness of breath, and only when I was walking somewhere, not when I was sitting. I consider myself healthy, I walk about four miles a day and eat a healthy diet. As far as weight goes, I could stand to loose 20 lbs and would be in a size 6!, so I 'm not obese by any means.

I spent 5 days in the hospital (3 of which were in ICU flat on my back with a stint that went from my groin to my lungs). I had all kinds of tests run and now am on blood thinners for about a year. I have recuperated quite well, and think it has to do with the fact that I walked everyday, did not smoke or drink, and was healthy.

So, you may be asking, "how could this happen?" I know I did. Well, let me tell you. Much of it had to do with all the traveling. While in the hospital, I was told several times about one of their co-workers who was in her mid 30's. She flew to Hong Kong, while in the air, she got up to use the restroom, and collapsed and died, right their on the plane! It was a blood clot, and she had never had any problems. When you travel, whether plane, car, or whatever, you need to get up and walk around about every two hours.

The other factors with me having these clots was that my grandmother had these, many times, so heredity is another reason. And..the big one...birth control pills. If you are on them, you should not be on them for long and by the time you are 30ish plus, you should be off, and earlier if you are a smoker. You may wonder, "why in the world was this old woman still on the pill?" (I'm 51) Well, the answer is because I have had a problem with my hip giving out and pain in my hip and the estrogen in the pill helped this to NOT happen. I figured since I never smoked and was healthy, I would be fine. I was considering to talk to my GYN doctor when I went for my yearly physical (October) about other ways to help my hip. But, I was just a month short of being able to ask her.

I want to thank my Heavenly Father for allowing me to still be here, and for all the thoughts and prayers from all my friends and family. I did not realize how serious this was until I was out of the woods, but looking back, it could have been really bad. It has brought us closer as a family (even though we were already pretty close). It has also made me and my husband realize how important we are to each other.

I hope this does not sound like I am dwelling or doing the "woe is me" thing. I just want people to be aware of this. While in the hospital, I was able to research this, and found that DVT/PE is not an uncommon thing, and there are so many who really don't know the seriousness of it, and have the attitude, "it's not going to happen to me." Many are not really aware of it. So, keep an eye on your body, and be aware of any odd symptoms you might have, and don't be afraid to ask the doctor. Hopefully, you will be told it's nothing. Many times we have a gut feeling about things, and you need to listen to that. Life is too precious to be too short.

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