Thursday, January 29, 2009

Day 2 - Blood clot in legs?

Last night went better, but I forgot to take my usual dose of Ativan, an anti-anxiety drug, that helps me sleep. I didn't have a headache last night, but I tossed and turned until about 6 am before realizing I hadn't taken Ativan the night before. Crap! It probably also didn't help that just before going to bed I stumbled across a blog about a guy who had undergone a cord blood transplant, and how his mucositis started on Day 3. It's day 2 for me and last night I started getting that "funny" feeling in my mouth. So being paranoid about that and the lack of anti-anxiety drugs probably contributed to all that tossing and turning.

Around 8 am I finally dosed up on the Ativan, and right afterwards Val came by to get me up, breakfasted and walked. Well, that made for quite a groggy morning :) I caught enough sleep throughout the morning and afternoon so that by about 3 pm, I was well rested.

When the doctors came on their rounds this morning, I mentioned the soreness in my right calf that had been bothering me since last night. It felt like a cramp, and I didn't think too much of it, but since the chemotherapy and bed rest can lead to increased risk of blood clots, I wanted to point it out. They prodded my calf a bit (ouch!) and scheduled an ultrasound for that afternoon. The ultrasound guy came by with a huge machine, and spent half an hour tracing all the veins in my leg from my groin to my foot. Every so often he would make a note and take a snapshot for his report. You could clearly see the skin and muscle tissue, and where the veins snaked through. Along the way, he would squish a vein closed to measure its elasticity, and would also use artificial coloring to show which direction the blood was flowing (e.g. red for vein and blue for artery). Everyone once in a while he would dial in to a vein, and then hit a button which would cause the sound of the blood flowing through it to come out of the speakers. It was really interesting.

His conclusion was that there was no blood clot currently, but that a blood clot had likely occurred in the past, causing the thickening of the vein wall that he was observing. It was also on a shallow vein, so it was less important than if the clot had been in a deeper vein. He also observed the same thickening on the other leg, indicating a clot in the past there too. You could see that the walls were thick when he squished it and it didn't compress much.

Check out the quick iPhone snapshot I took. The thumbnails on the right are places he documented for his report. The area at the top left is the current ultrasound location, and you can see the artificial blue coloring indicating an artery. The waveform below is a real-time sound of the blood pumping through the artery.

2 comments:

George said...

whew... well that's good. You definitely don't want one of those. Dangerous right? Okman well good.

Anti-anxiety drugs are great. Fuuuuun.

--G

Anonymous said...

Steve:
Tried calling you this afternoon. Hope all is going well. Keep a positive attitude Bud...better days are coming!
Uncle Leon