My left foot

Been a few days since I’ve been around, and given the tenor of my last post would be easy to think that something catastrophic had happened. That’s not the case. I’m fine, sort of. It’s been a busy week, and many positives, though one anything but. Let’s start with that.

A few weeks back I wrote complaining about the ongoing issues with my leg – the occasional pain, the persistent and ugly swelling, the utter frustration that it never seemed to get better, and the fear that it would forever curtail my activities. Last week I went and visited my GP about it. She took one look at my leg and muttered “that’s not right.” She sent me to have some tests this last Monday – and ultrasound on my leg, and a CT scan of my pelvis and abdomen.

As it turns out the CT scan was clear, which is good news – they were looking for a tumour, a growth that might be causing compression on some of the vital arteries. It was not so clear on the ultrasound. Even as I was being examined the operator expressed his doubts that all was healthy. Later he showed me – there was an artery, with blood flowing through it in red and blue splashes. Here was a vein running off of it, the same. There was another vein too, somewhere, but invisible pretty much because there were no red or blue splashes to highlight it – there was no blood flowing through it. It was his considered opinion that I had a blood clot.

That assessment has been since formally confirmed: I have another blood clot. I didn’t know what to think about this. Was it good news, or bad? Obviously you don’t want a blood clot, but it was also good to have an explanation for my issues, and hopefully then a treatment plan. It came with much frustration though. Why was this not identified sooner? My unhealthy disdain for so many surgeons and specialists was reaffirmed in that moment.

It seems in my discussions with my GP since that we may never know the origins of this clot. The diagnostic horse has bolted. The options are that this is a new, or recurrent clot, popped up by itself and pointing perhaps to an underlying problem. Or maybe the clot formed after the surgery in March – the surgery that was intended to fix my leg once and for all. Or perhaps been there all along, unseen.

It’s been four years since I was diagnosed first with a DVT. My strong suspicion is that this clot has been there all along – my leg hasn’t ever been right since I was pronounced healed 4 years ago. The initial pain I felt 4 years ago dissipated after about 2 weeks. About 5 months later I was given the all clear after a course of injections in the stomach, warfarin orally, and blood tests every few days. Much fun, but despite their positive prognosis my leg never returned to what it was before – it remained ugly and swollen.

Todays clot is somewhere deeper I’m led to believe, further than they chose to look perhaps. Perhaps it has lurked there all this time, undetected. If so I’m a lucky man – don’t fly they say, but I’ve had long international trips several times since.

If that’s true then the failure to diagnose back in the day is disappointing, but damning when you consider that pre and post my surgery in March I had a number of scans. I suspect the surgeon found what he was looking for after no more than a cursory examination. He wanted to cut me open, and found a reason to do so. Right now, if true, it seems like that surgery was unnecessary, and possibly harmful to my health – a vein that was quite possibly working fine has now been fused shut.

All of this is speculation. You can be sure that no-one will admit to fault. End of day it matters little. This is the situation now, and what needs to be mended.

I’m still waiting to hear what comes next – a specialist I know, including possibly a haemetologist. There will be blood thinning agents, probably warfarin, though I’m hoping to avoid a repeat of the stomach injections. Hospital was mentioned, but I think I’ll avoid that. Right now I just want it fixed. If I can believe that then I’ll be a happy man.

Update: just heard from my doctor that the surgeon is saying that there is no sign of a clot on the scans they took, ergo the clot has developed just in the last couple of months. Assuming that is truthful, the clot probably developed on the plane to and from London.

In terms of treatment, it sounds like a tedious repeat of last time. I have to have daily injections of collexain (sp?) into my stomach, self administered. It’s only a small needle, but you get sick of it quick. Last time my gut was a patchwork of bruises. On top of that is warferin, and every two or three days visits to the local pathology to get my blood tested to check IR levels. Joy.

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