Friday, February 20, 2015

Health, Clots and listening to your body

Gluten Dude​ raises excellent points in his Facebook post/article yesterday regarding this article's reason for Jerome Kersey's death (former basketball player):  

1. be aware of something being "off" in your body;
2. pay attention, and;
3. keep after doctors if they repeatedly refuse you.

After my ACL surgery about ten years ago, I had to wear thigh high compression stalkings to bed, and for the first two weeks after the surgery for the whole day as well--minus a couple hours to let the legs breathe. Oh, how The Mike misses giving himself a black eye (slight exaggeration), struggling to put the compression stalkings in his hands to tug them on his wife.  They were very tight, much more so than the compression calf sleeves or socks that athletes wear these days.  [hmmm, maybe men should be required to put pantyhose on their wives at least once. . . mom always said to be sure the husband knows how to dress the wife (and vice versa) before it becomes necessary to do so---something she reiterated after her stroke.]

In 2011 I would run my first marathon in October, but before I did that, in June I had my seventh half marathon to run.  I did a lot of driving and ran my first Hospital Hill Run​.

-Four and a half hours in the car.  Stop and get my race packet.
-Drive for two more hours to Emporia for The Mike's Dirty Kanza event.
-Get up early the next morning, drive two more hours to KC, MO.
-Race in the hot, humid air (even more unusual than the normal June humidity of summer). Eat (while sitting in a restaurant--best GF pizza at Minsky's though, with GF cake!).
-Then drive two more hours to Emporia. Where I "relaxed" while waiting for The Mike to finish his race that night.  By relax, I mean freaking out about the really weird storm clouds, the storm warnings for the areas around Emporia, the dark sky, and knowing we're in flipping Kansas where tornadoes are not that unusual!
-Then six hours in the car in the next day driving home.

Later that week I had a pain in the outside of my left calf, about two to three inches above my ankle. I thought maybe I had turned my ankle in heels at work, or done something in the race. Then I had problems even maintaining a 4mph run on the treadmill. I called my doctor's office at this point and was told by the nurse "you're just over training."

I called in a few more weeks and was told the same thing.  I *knew* something wasn't right, but ignored it because the doctor's nurse kept telling me it wasn't serious.

I perfected the run 30 seconds walk a minute run because I couldn't breathe to keep up a running pace.  [This is NOT something you want to perfect if you're in good health]

Then, on a Friday in July (just before the Quad-City Times Bix 7 which​ I had intended to run), I went out on my morning run and had a HUGE 'blast' feeling from the inside to outside of my chest. Freaked me out, came home, called hubby, drove myself to the ER (which you should never do if you're having cardiac issues!!).  The best description was being punched in the chest from the inside out.  This description perplexed the medical personnel. Maybe they'd never had someone explain it like that before.  HUGE tests run. One of the techs asked what my bracelet was. Road Id. I explained and said everyone needs one and all medical personnel should know what it is.  The tech was a runner and said she needed to get one of those. I believe EVERYONE should have a Road ID, even if just to say your name, blood type, emergency contact name & number.

ER doc said that I didn't have a heart attack, but that I had had a small clot that had broken free and blasted through the veins/arteries and that I was darn lucky. Extremely lucky.  Know how lucky?  My mom had a blood clot in her left arm at the beginning of May, just a few months before (after heart surgery) which may have resulted in her massive stroke a scant fifteen days later.  I should have pursued the issue with the doctor--insisted on an appointment--but I didn't want to 'waste' time off from work when I might need it for other things, like more immediate visits to my parents.  

As a result of this "small" blood clot, I always wear my compression sleeves in the car if we're on a long car ride/drive--something over three hours, or take a baby aspirin before the long driving event. No need to tempt the fates any more than necessary.

Which leads me where I am today and having Super Toe looked at more closely because I knew a freckle --with rings like the planet Saturn --was not normal.

Pay attention to your body. Act if something is not right. If doctor's naysay you. Keep after the doctor, rephrase what you're experiencing (maybe it's just they're not understanding your wording), or find a new one who will listen.

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