I completed treatment for Stage 3 triple-negative breast cancer in June 2022. During my treatment, I developed tachycardia, a condition that caused my resting heart rate to be around 100 and could spike up 140.
In August 2022, my oncologist suggested we do a heart study. Two days later, I had a resting heart rate of 150 for almost the whole day. I was quite literally feeling soreness in my chest from my heart beating long and fast for so long.
When I called my doctor, they ordered an emergency ultrasound of my heart and lungs. They found a series of blood clots in my lungs and said they would call an ambulance to transport me to the ER. After talking to my oncologist, we agreed that they would do some more tests at the cancer urgent care and then determine the next steps.
When I got to the urgent care, doctors explained the severity of the blood clots and the danger they pose. I was given a high dose of blood thinners to start, and then a more normal dose to take daily. It’s been almost a year now, and I’m still on blood thinners. My doctors are still determining what the root cause of this could be, but my only risk factor was chemotherapy. As a precaution, they may keep me on blood thinners indefinitely.
This was a very serious condition that crept up without any new symptoms and could have easily been masked by my tachycardia. However, I knew something didn’t feel right and I pushed to get things checked out. If you know something is wrong, push until you’re comfortable with the answer.
I’m so grateful for the timing of my appointment with my oncologist and so grateful she took my concerns seriously. And I’m grateful for her immense expertise to suspect a potential heart/lung issue and get the right tests done right away.
With the number and size of the blood clots I had, I’m fortunate that it did not take a more serious turn. I would like to get off the blood thinners, but until we have a clearer understanding of the root cause, this is part of the new normal.
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.