"...Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience."
Romans 8:24b-25

17 July 2011

Blood Clots, Friends, and the Sound of My Blood

Three nights ago, I was at my in-laws' house and a strange thing happened with my left leg.  We were sitting on the couch looking at blue-prints for their new house when suddenly my left leg was swollen, throbbing, slightly purple, and going numb.

I adjusted my leg several different times, finally propping my left foot up on the ottoman (footstool).  Ten minutes later, the swelling went down, the throbbing stopped, the original color returned and my leg felt fine.  I mentioned it to my husband when we chatted that night (via Yahoo! chat), but he was not concerned.

Normally, such a thing would just be a strange phenomenon and I would think nothing of it, but in preparation for our upcoming Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) I am having to take estradiol, which is a hormone that has the potential to cause blood clots.  

I am healthy, I don't smoke, I don't have a history of blood clots, so the chances are slim that I would have an issue.  Normally, the concern for blood clots is far from my mind.  However, my leg also does not normally swell up suddenly and go numb.  So, I have been a little more aware of my legs and their behavior the past couple of days.

Last night, while visiting a dear friend in a city a few hours from where I live, my friend and I went for a walk.  It was truly just a stroll around the block.  However, halfway through the walk, my feet were swollen and throbbing and my hands were so swollen it was too painful to let my arms swing by my side.  These things are also incredibly unusual.

I propped my feet up, once inside, then went to bed a little while later, exhausted.  As I lay there drifting into sleep, I noticed that my lower left leg felt like it was bruised, so I reached my hand down to touch it and my leg was very tender.  But there was no bruise, and I had done nothing that would have bruised it.

I made a mental note to tell my DH when we were able to chat next, and I fell asleep.

This morning, my DH was able to call me via the telephone.  The connection was terrible, but it was wonderful to hear his voice!  I told him about my leg feeling bruised the night before and his tone changed.  He asked a few more questions, and based on my answers, he mentioned that I might want to go to the hospital to have it checked out.  He also indicated that since he wasn't here and able to truly assess me that he wasn't certain I should go.

So, we agreed that I should call the fertility clinic and speak to a nurse.  I called the clinic this morning and left a message.  She spoke with my Reproductive Endocrinologist, and he said that I should definitely go in to the emergency room to rule out a blood clot.  He told her to convey to me that it's highly unlikely that I would have one considering my age and health, but that with the symptoms I was having (which I have not described fully here) it would be best for me to go in to be certain.

So, my friend drove me to the military post hospital here in town, and I received excellent care from the emergency room staff :)

When I described my symptoms to the nurse, he was concerned, especially when he learned that I had been in the car for long periods of time many times recently and what type of medication I was on.

The doctor, however, was not as concerned.  His face actually fell when he heard my description of my symptoms and located the points on my calf that I described as tender. I could tell that he was clearly unconcerned and it felt as if the tests he ordered at that point were simply a formality for his own protection.

I felt a bit stupid, but my friend reminded me of the importance of being cautious and advocating for my body, taking care of it, especially in light of the importance of future events (the FET).  Which also reminded me that I had been encouraged by my husband (a PA) to go in, and had been instructed by my physician to go in.  So, even if the ER doc thought that I was a waste of his time and taxpayers' money, I believe it was still the right decision for me to go in.

The doctor ordered an ultrasound of my leg, and it showed that my circulation from my foot was good and there were no clots.  I must say that the sonographer (x-ray tech, whoever) was very nice and did a great job.  AND, I must also say, that my blood flowing through my veins sounds super cool!!!  It's amazing! 

Now, lest that ER doctor (a 3rd year med-school resident) be slandered, I should inform you that he was very nice, very knowledgeable, and very thorough.  I should also let you know that I conveyed my perspective of the doctor to the nurse, about how I felt like he considered my case to be a waste of time and why I felt that way, and the nurse (who was spectacular) had a heart to heart with the doctor.  

Afterward, the doctor came in prior to discharging me and had a completely different attitude and demeanor, took the time to talk to me like a person instead of a warm body, and displayed the fact that he can not only handle constructive criticism, but that he has a teachable heart and is willing to admit he's not perfect and adjust his behavior to apply things he's learned.

So, Kudos! to the nurse named "Cowboy" at the hospital for caring enough about the patients to listen to them and the resident docs to take them under his wing.  Kudos! to the doc for doing a great job and for redeeming his reputation by showing he actually does care.  Kudos! to my amazing friend and her husband for allowing me to dominate so much of their time today and to my amazing friend for sitting with me for hours and talking sense to me when I was prone to be dramatic and nonsensical.  And Kudos! thanks and praise to God for providing for my needs in a town that is not my home, for blessing me with friends that love me unconditionally, and for keeping me safe and healthy.

I am to follow up with my Primary Care Manager (PCM) in about a week to have another ultrasound of my leg just to be certain there wasn't a clot hiding in my lower leg.  (The week gives it time to travel into my upper leg, if there's a clot, where it can be located by ultrasound.)  Apparently an ultrasound is only done from the knee up on the leg if a clot is suspected.

Thank you to those of you who were so kind to express your concern via twitter!  I appreciate your concern and support.  What a privilege it is to be uplifted so frequently by this community.  Kudos! to you all as well!  ;)



  1. Praying for you sweet friend!! You know where to reach me if you need to talk!



I would love to hear from you! The subject matter of this blog can be very sensitive. This is intended to be a place of encouragement and to be uplifting. It is never my desire to cause pain through what I write here, so please keep that in mind as you share your thoughts. Thank you.