It has been 3 weeks since my final chemo treatment, and I went back to see my Oncologist today (Wednesday, July 10th) for a checkup. I have good news and bad news...
The good news is that all of my bloodwork is now within the normal range. They are all on the low end of normal, but it is encouraging to see they are going back up and I am no longer considered to be anemic. I do still have weakness in my legs, my muscles are stiff and sore, and my hands are still experiencing the effects of neuropathy. These are all from the chemo, and I will continue to improve in these areas as time goes by.
The bad news is that I have a blood clot near my left collar bone. The fancy word for it is subclavian DVT (deep vein thrombosis). When I saw the doctor for my checkup, we showed him how swollen my arm still is after the removal of my port last Friday. He felt it was a good idea to send me over to the hospital for a Doppler, just to make sure there wasn't a blood clot causing the swelling. I was pretty sure that was not the case, and was very surprised when the tech said I did indeed have one. We are not sure how long it has been there, and the results still need to be examined more closely. We are guessing it has been there for several weeks, due to how swollen my arm has been since my arm port was installed 8 weeks ago.
The hospital sent me back to my Oncologist. We had to wait to be fitted in, since we were not scheduled to be seen again. When he finally saw us, he said we will have to hold off on me taking TAMOXIFEN for awhile, until this blood clot issue is resolved. (If you need a reminder about why I need to take Tamoxifen, go to CANCER JOURNEY #25.) The reason for the delay is because Tamoxifen also has a slight risk of causing blood clots and could make my current one worse. So, instead of taking this medication, I am now taking ARIXTRA, which is a blood thinning medication I need to inject into my stomach once per day. I will be seeing the doc again two weeks from today and we will decide if I should continue with Arixtra and/or start taking Coumadin/Warfarin.
This was not something we were expecting, and I'm not thrilled about it; but I am thankful the blood clot was found and that it has not caused a need for hospitalization. Things could have been much worse. Prayers are appreciated that the clot will dissolve quickly, that the swelling will go down in my arm, and that no other complications will arise.