I’ve thought about this post for a week. It’s one part health story, one part important lesson, and one part me bragging about being in touch with my body. I honestly don’t know where to start without sounding pompous. There’s a chance, though, that it could save someone’s life. So obviously, in addition to sounding somewhat arrogant, there will also be overly dramatic statements.
Fifteen years ago, I saved my daughter’s life. I was five months pregnant and wasn’t far enough along to be concerned with fetal movement, but when I noticed her kicking had decreased over a two-week period, I told my doctor. I stressed the change. I told her I felt like it wasn’t right. I told her there was a big difference in what I had felt to what I was feeling. She wasn’t worried, but scheduled an ultrasound. Four weeks after I first noticed a change, I had the ultrasound and my daughter was born via emergency c-section shortly after. The doctor told us that if we had waited just a week or two more, she would have been stillborn.
Fast forward to three months ago. I started taking hormones to control post-surgical pain on my girly parts. Okay, I’ll say it. My uterus. One of the side effects of the medication is blood clots, but I discussed it with my doctor and because I don’t smoke, the risk was low. Two weeks ago, delightfully pain-free, I flew to Miami for work. The day after I arrived I developed severe calf pain. Did you know that flying can case blood clots? It can.
I chalked it up to my new shoes, took some Ibuprofen and dealt with the pain off and on for the next week. I felt the aching at odd times (sometimes when standing, sometimes when in bed) and that’s what made me call my doctor. I wasn’t doing anything to trigger it. I gave it a week, so I knew it wasn’t my shoes. There was no redness, no swelling, the pain wasn’t bad and went away with a couple of Ibuprofen, but it just felt odd to me. Something wasn’t right.
I ended up in the ER a couple of hours after seeing my doctor and started taking blood thinners for Deep Vein Thrombosis the next day. If you have the good fortune of not knowing how dangerous DVT can be, let me just tell you that it can kill you. The blood clot can break off and go to your lungs and you have virtually no chance at surviving.
Needless to say, I’m no longer taking those hormones. I am, however, taking a blood thinner for the next 90 days. I can’t do my beloved workouts; at least not at the level I was. I am limited to upper body strength training, nothing too strenuous and working my calf is forbidden. My uterine pain is back with a vengeance and I can’t have a hysterectomy until I’m off the blood thinners. Catch 22, anyone? Oh, and I CAN’T DRINK ALL SUMMER LONG. But, I’m alive and so very thankful.
Long story, long – KNOW your body. If something doesn’t feel right, get it checked out. Trust me, I know going to the doctor is inconvenient and there is a really good chance that it’s nothing, but there’s also a chance that it isn’t.
Don’t chalk it up to new shoes. Call your doctor. Your body will thank you for it.