Friday, December 4, 2015

Seriously Scary Stuff - a WTF Moment

Three weeks ago I sat in the ER at St. Joesph's hospital and had one of the scariest and somehow bizarrely surreal experiences of my life. I had given my test results to the doctor and as he read them he asked me "Do you know what this is?"
"Yes" I did, unfortunately.
"Do you know how lucky you are to still be here?"
 No reply from me as my brain tried to grapple with what was going on.
"You might think your unlucky because you have gotten a blood clot but actually you are very lucky."
And so my year of running hell continues.

Its been over 8 months since I posted here, wow. I would like to chalk it all up to laziness but the truth is I have not felt like talking about running AT ALL. This past year has been highlighted by health issues and been pretty much a disaster. Every time I thought I was about to come out of it I got hit by another bombshell.

Western States was a disaster and it was all down hill from there. In the next few weeks I will be retracing my steps and putting up an couple of posts on exactly what went on all spring, summer and fall. I expect that maybe the most boring series of posts in the history of the internet but I want to get it all down somewhere. The hope is that I will be able to look back at it all at some point down the road and be glad I am past it.

So here is the short version of what is happening right now. After not being able to run since the summer I was given a preliminary diagnosis of Compartmental Syndrome in my lower left leg which seemed really bad at the time. That means surgery and probably 6 months minimum off. Definitely not good but it could be worse. Well turns out it was worse.

I was sent to get imaging done so I would have those tests to give to the specialist I was going to have to see. What those test revealed was that what I really had was Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). You can read about it here. Essentially a large blood clot in my left calf. It was chronic meaning it went undiagnosed for most likely months. This might have started last July but maybe it goes all the way back to March.

From the doctors office it was straight to the ER where they started DVT  periodicals. That meant a visit once a day to the ER for multiple injections of blood thinners into my stomach for 8 days until the oral medication could take effect.

It ends up that a DVT a very serious, sometimes fatal condition (death rate is 1 in 9). Its most dangerous in the first 1-10 days as a piece of the clot can break off and go to the lungs. During that time I didn't even know I had it which is why I was lucky that it didn't turn into something worse.

So where does that leave me now? I can start exercising again so I began to ease back into things with a couple of 4km runs this week. With any luck I will be able to build things back to where I used to be as a runner but that will be a slow process. It certainly doesn't help that I am now really overweight and completely out of shape. I will be okay to run as long as there are no more complications. How long and how far is another question which I have no answers for at this point. The hope is to go back doing all the things I did before but right now there is no way to tell for sure. Next week I hope to get a little bit more information when I see a Hematologist.

One of the issues is that I don't really fall under the categories / risk factors that usually cause this to happen. Was this related to my breathing issues earlier this year? None of the doctors are sure but all my tests (heart, lungs, blood, etc.) came back normal. Maybe that was viral, maybe that was Over Training Syndrome (OTS) or maybe the two things are related. All I know is that at least there is a little bit of a light at the end of the tunnel.
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