Laughing and crying, you know it's the same release. Joni Mitchell

Laughing and crying, you know it's the same release. Joni Mitchell

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mystery Solved!

After another painful attack last week - this time sharp pain on my left side - I called my nephew who is an ER doc in San Diego. He finally put all the pieces together and diagnosed me over the phone! He said that based on my symptoms he would be concerned about blood clots in my lungs. I called my doctors and insisted on a CT scan which they ordered the same day. Sure enough, the CT tech told me that I had a positive result for bi-lateral pulmonary embolisms (PE), in other words, I had blood clots in both my lungs. I was taken to the hospital via ambulance and admitted overnight. The doctors put me on blood thinners, which I'll need to stay on for six months.

It's not necessarily good news, but I'm so relieved to finally know what's wrong with me and how to deal with it. Those weeks of worry, anxiety and pain were pure hell! Thankfully my nephew was on the ball and they were able to diagnose the condition before it became life-threatening.

The Culprit
The doctors tested me for genetic clotting disorders, but after the lung doctor checked my films he realized that being on the birth control pill was a contributing factor. I had started Yaz over the summer to deal with PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder), which is like PMS on steroids and seriously affects my fibromyalgia.

All through out the summer I felt great. I had finally gotten off the hormonal roller coaster and I had energy to burn. I even went on several hour long bike rides with my husband, which I haven't been able to do in years. I still have that picture in my mind of feeling like a whole, healthy person, even if for a little while - a three month oasis in 13 years of wilderness.

Then it all came crashing down this fall. First came the mother-of-all fibro flare-ups and then the first painful symptoms of a PE that landed me in the ER just before Thanksgiving. It's been a long, strange journey, but I've had a lot of love and support along the way. Thanks to all my family and friends who truly helped me make it through.

And a special shout-out to my nephew, Ryan!

Read how to prevent blood clots in an article from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center:
Sitting May Be Hazardous To Your Health

My bloodwork showed the presence of IgM cardiolipin antibodies which can cause blood clots or even miscarriages. Luckily, my baby factory has been closed for years, but the blood clotting could be an issue. I should be fine as long as I'm on blood thinners but I may have to take an aspirin a day from here on out if the antibodies persist. I can be retested in six weeks to see if the antibodies are still present in my blood.

Accoroding to the Lupus Foundation website: "We do not yet understand why a person's immune system begins to manufacture these antibodies."

1 comment:

  1. So glad you found out before the consequences were worse. Hope this means you'll be feeling much better!!