It all started when I was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. I had an adverse reaction to the chemotherapy treatment, which caused bleeding ulcers to develop from my throat down my esophagus to the site where the cancer had been removed.
This landed me in the hospital for over five days. Because I had lost so much blood, I was a fall risk, so I was bedridden during my duration at the hospital. After I went home from that ordeal, I didn’t feel like myself. I felt weak and could barely scramble two eggs in the pan. I thought maybe it was because I had been through a blood transfusion and my body was trying to get back on track.
But I knew something was terribly wrong when I could only walk a few steps before I became completely out of breath. I was panting as if I had run a mile but had only walked from the living room to my bedroom, which was only a few steps away.
I told my husband that he needed to take me back to the hospital. At the ER, they performed a CT scan and found an acute pulmonary embolism (PE). Not only that, there was also a huge blood clot that saddled both lungs.
Because of the prior bleeding issues, the doctors were concerned. The only way blood clots could be treated was by using blood thinners. My team of doctors had to devise a plan to save my life without taking my life! They treated me with a blood thinner intravenously instead of orally. Within a year’s time, there was no sign of blood clots.
I learned that our bodies were meant to move, not to be stationary for too long. If you are in the hospital for three or more days, be sure to get leg pumps to help circulate the blood flow in your lower extremities.
This series of patient stories focusing on blood clots and cancer was made possible by an educational grant provided by the Bristol-Myers Squibb-Pfizer Alliance.