Lessons from DVT – Call Your Doctor

posted by Momo Fali on May 30, 2014

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.

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If she wasn’t around, who would harass him?

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.

    Comments

  • Rebecca {foodie with family}


    A) At no point did that sound pompous.
    B) Thank you for listening to yourself and calling your doctor and advocating for your own health. We like you. We’re glad you’re here. Looks like I SHOULD’VE sucked down that beer I held for you after all.

  • Shannon


    I’m glad you are okay. I’m glad you’re here.

  • Karen Sandoval


    I am so glad you caught this. DVT travels to your lungs, poof you are dead. Thank you for paying attention to your body because I really like having you as a friend. xo

  • Anne Parris


    I’m so glad you took care of business. Women ignore pain when they shouldn’t, and sometimes it costs them everything.

  • Liz


    This, right here, is some really scary crud, my friend. Thank goodness you listened! You ARE alive and the world is a better place for it :)

  • Suzy Soro (@HotComesToDie)


    I used to fly a lot, long trips, 17 hours etc. One of the first things you learn about is DVT. You can’t sit on a plane for long periods of time without getting up and walking around. You also can’t wear knee-highs or any socks that constrict right below the knee. DVT can indeed kill you.

  • Leigh Ann


    I’m so glad you’re okay. What a scary experience. xo

  • alexandra


    It can happen to anyone, being below 62 is no safeguard. I knew a young man, only 19, with a blood clot that broke off into his lung after working out. True story. GLAD YOU ARE SAFE.

  • Marci Rich


    As one who has had ten surgeries and is now facing an eleventh, I can tell your readers that you are absolutely correct. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. if something doesn’t feel right, see your doctor. You’ve performed a great public service with this post, Momo. And I’m so glad that both medical crises were caught in time. Sending you strength and light and wellness!

  • Melisa


    No wonder you complained the entire 14 minutes of that walk. Now I feel bad. :)

    SO glad you listened to yourself. You have no idea how glad I am. xoxo

  • anymommy


    So glad it ended like this. I will take the reminder to heart!

  • Melissa


    I was 9 weeks pregnant with my daughter. I had been complaining to my ob, for a couple weeks, of a severe pain in my groin. She thought it was pregnancy stretching…there’s a technical name I can’t remember. Then pain was getting worse…going down my leg into my ankle. Turned out to be a massive DVT from m groin to my ankle. Impressive, is what the doctors called it. I had been reading what to expect and came across the DVT section…which saved my life. Listen to your body. If you know something isn’t right then..it’s not right! XO

  • Susan


    So glad you listened to her body and that you’re safe. I remember my mom ignoring the swelling in her right leg and ankle for far too long and ending up in hospital for a blood clot, and how angry I was at her. Still, I too often have to remind myself to get something checked out. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Debbie


    I had a similar (and also very scary) experience. Now I wear compression stockings for all travel (air and auto) and am really in-tune with what’s going on with my leg.

    Don’t worry about running to your doctor for another ultrasound if it’s feeling weird — better to be safe than sorry! I have been back many times over the past three years.

    Glad you caught it when you did!

  • CyndyBush


    That is an incredible story and I’m so glad we’re all reading THAT story, instead of the story that would have been told had you not went to the doctor!
    Take care of yourself, I’ll drink enough this summer to make up for your share.

  • Joan


    This column should be required reading for everyone. Your message is so important, “Know Your Body and Pay Attention When You Think Something Is Wrong!” Thanks for sharing this. I’m glad everything turned out okay for you. I’m glad you listened.

  • tara


    OMG Momo! I’m so glad you (and your daughter) are OK!. Blood clots totally terrify me. They’re silent killers! Holy crap, totally freaking out for you right now.

    PS: This didn’t sound pompous at all. I’m really bad at listening to myself/my body because I’m afraid I’ll be wrong and will inconvenience someone. So thank you!

  • andy


    I’m so glad that you listened to your body. So many people don’t. I’m even more glad that you doctor listened to you!

  • Marianne


    Wow. Somebody is looking out for you. You are one smart cookie. So glad your girl arrived OK, and your blood is on the mend. I wear a fancy stocking too, when flying. Theses old bodies are quite the challenge, aren’t they? Take care of yourself!

  • AlisonH


    Wow. So glad you’re still here. So glad your daughter made it, and her little brother after her for that matter.

    My husband took off his socks last Thursday complaining about his leg hurting. I took one leg and went wow–you DO see that that leg’s way bigger than the other?! Call the doctor, okay??

    He finally did the next afternoon and the doctor immediately told him to go straight to Urgent Care to get tested for blood clots. Which he did, and they did, and they didn’t find any and don’t know why the swelling. But we know people who’ve died and who’ve nearly died of blood clots to the lungs and you just don’t mess around. *hugs*

  • Blondie


    Yes, yes! Listen to your body! My body always gives me the RED ALERT. Thank you for sharing this information. It will be so helpful to so many. Pat yourself on the back because you are, no doubt, saving lives. And when you’re all finished up, I’ll have a virtual cocktail with you to celebrate!! :) PS: I did know about the flying thing, which is why I wear my lovely “support stockings” ON the plane. Helps with the cankles for sure but also clotting issues.

  • Kir


    thank goodness you are okay. I have high blood pressure (genetically) and can’t take the pill although I’d really like to because of my heavy periods and awful “time of the month” stuff. But I know that it can cause clots and they worry me more.

    I’m just so thankful that you are here and safe.

  • Toni


    So glad you’re OK. I was running around with pneumonia for who knows how long, and ended up severely anemic on top of it. Everyone at work had a cough, and my lack of energy and calling in sick had my bosses think I was “crying wolf”. Spent nearly a month in bed….learned a big lesson – stop and check it out with a doctor before you hit the wall like I did!

  • Trackbacks

  • Trackback from Writer’s Block Does Not Exist - Momo Fali's
    Tuesday, 15 July, 2014

    […] because I don’t make the time to write them down. I schedule time to go to the gym, since my DVT diagnosis I’ve been forcing myself to walk almost every day, I find the hours needed to cook, clean, […]

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