Me: "Who has the best seat in the house, me or daddy?"

Adam: "Well, Daddy's is nice, but yours is best. Your's is squishier."

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Once, Twice, Three times...

The double doors... where all the magic happens.
 "What are you going to do
 with the rest of your day?"  I asked Guy.
"This."  He answered.
"Silly.  We'll be home in about an hour."  I oh-so-wrongly replied.
12 days ago my leg started feeling stiff and a little painful.  Kind'a reddish. 
8 days ago I went to a physical therapy appointment.  My balance is very unstable and my strength and range of motion are nil.  But when the PT saw my leg, she was nervous to touch it.
4 days ago a new doctor looked at my leg and decided that even though it looked okay-ish, my history begged her to further question what she saw.
An hour later we were in the South Hospital getting a leg scan. 
The tech turned out to be Jane, the very same woman who first found my first clot.
She hugged me when she saw me and said, "We started this together."
She took a long, careful time as she scanned.  The blood was flowing out of my leg, she could see, but somehow it did not look right.  She called in another tech who glanced for a few moments and then quipped, "Looks good" and left.  Jane continued scanning, and then said that she "just had a feeling" that something was not right.  She would send a note along with the scan to ask the doctor to look carefully at a few things.
3 days ago I got a message from kind Dr. F. saying that the ultrasound looked good, but if I was worried he would do a contrast angiogram and just make sure.  I almost said no, but that little voice in my head said to take him up on the offer.
One of these things is not like the other...
Yesterday we arrived at the hospital first thing in the morning.  I was casually prepped by the people who used to be strangers, but who now cheerfully greet me by name.  I had not the slightest bit of nervousness.  Sweet Velma and Dinnah admitted me, and David and Jim prepped my leg.  Soon Dr. F. was doing his thing, poking holes, shooting dye, taking ex-rays.
Then he broke the news.  My stents were blocked.  It was unclear if my artery had collapsed the stent, if the stent had perhaps shifted and the artery was now compressing the vein, or if, far more unlikely due to the blood thinners, I had a new clot.  All he could see was that those collateral veins (that had saved my leg health before by creating a bypass routing blood flow to my right leg) were back up and running, full steam.  The dye in my blood illuminated the vein in my leg and abruptly stopped.
Dr. F. was clearly disappointed, almost dejected.

There was another patient waiting, and since I had not been on the docket for an extended procedure I was wheeled into recovery to wait a bit.  Guy came in with the baby, happily chatting with a nurse, thinking we were going home.
I told him the news.  We processed.
While we waited, he called Bishop and asked him to come help Guy to give me a blessing.  He came just in time, and we asked Dr. F. to join us in prayer.  I wanted him there to feel the spirit and to hear the words of encouragement and peace that I knew would be spoken.  I needed this doctor to cheer up, feel inspired and directed, and to know we are all praying for him.  I wanted him to feel the power of the One who has been guiding this whole process.
Waiting for the procedure to be finished.
 More prepping; Andy started an IV and Claudet buzzed around me, hooking me up to heart monitors and taking vitals.

 We went back in through the double doors.
Dr. F. went back into my leg, this time with tools.  It became clear that the stents were now blocked by new blood clots - about 8 inches of them.  Guided by x-ray, he began the careful process of breaking them up and removing them using the drugs that we had refused back when I was pregnant with Natalie.  Because the clots were in the stents, it was less painful than I had imagined it would be.  The most intense pain was in my tender leg vein up in my thigh and from some of the ballooning he did deep in my pelvis.  Really, I was relieved that it was not as bad as before, and I had medication on board to help.
When he was done, Dr. F. held pressure on the entry point in my leg for a while because it continued to bleed.  It took so long that he called my buddy Noss, one of my favorite techs, over to continue with the pressure.  A half an hour later I was still bleeding.  Finally, 40 minutes after the procedure was complete, the bleeding stopped.  I lay still in recovery so as not to start bleeding again, and Guy worked on feeding the baby donated milk (thank you Kathy and Krista!!!), who had blessedly slept the entire time.

We got home last night in time to head over to the Boy Scout fundraiser at church. 
I felt amazingly good, considering the day. 
I was happy to see friends. 
Glad to be with people I love. 
Thrilled to be walking and holding my girl.
We ate and laughed, bid way too much on a cake and a pie (good cause, you see), and then brought Bishop's family home with us to enjoy the desserts together.
This week we've learned of 2 people who have endured amputations due to vein issues and clotting.  We are unbelievably blessed to have been through this for the third time now, and to still be able to walk. 
When Bishop came, the verse he had shared with us was simple and profound;
"Be Still, and Know that I am God."
We know.

Dolly girl slept the entire day. 
I sang "Once, Twice, Three times a blood clot" to her. 
Lionel Richie would be proud.
 Next step: Dr. F. has ordered weekly leg scans, has raised my blood thinners even more, and is conferring with his mentor, Dr. H., one of the leading vascular specialist in the US and internationally known.  He is sending my scans to him at Stanford.

Last night Dr. F. texted with my new dosages and asked me to keep Dr. H. in my prayers.
We are not the only ones whose faith is growing through all this.


julean said...

We are continuing our prayers for all of you. What a crazy journey this is. We love you all. :)

Ellen Hafen said...

I am baffled and dismayed, and curious and hopeful, and scared and faith-filled.

This is the clot that never ends. It just goes on and on, my friend.

You and your family continue to be in my prayers. (And I am considering shaving my legs as a token of support.....Naw!)

Kristi said...

I am glad you have docs that care! Super glad that your little sweetheart played nice for the day (they often are crankiest when they know they need to be calm) - I think your husband must have a very calming influence on your little ones.

I love that last picture - it is the best part of a baby - that snuggling on the chest with their knees pulled up and their bum in the air. I could have held my babies like that all day long - I can and can't wait for grandbabies - *can* because my kids are too young to be having kids (oldest is just 18) and *can't* because I really miss that part. I do steal babies at church but then they get bigger - I still have one that loves me though and she is 1 year old now.