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Monday, October 4, 2010

Reality bites

A brief word before I finish up for the night. It has been a dispiriting day after weeks full of positivity and a feeling of progress. I sit now with my right leg aching, as it has been since I got up. The danger is a blood clot behind the knee. I know about this ache because it is identical with what I had before, as explained this morning. The tests which were performed when we waited 5 hours in Emergency at the hospital today are strong indicators of a clot – but this time it is different.  The right leg has swollen visibly and quickly. This is more dangerous than the one earlier in the year.
Avastin has this side effect in quite a number of cases. I admit I wasn’t expecting it, somehow comforted by the fact that 100 injections with Clexane earlier in the year gave me some sort of long term immunity. It didn’t, of course. I also admit the speed and strength of the pain and its suddenness has shocked me. Perhaps it’s a jolt of reality. If part or all of a clot from this place travels through the circulatory system to my brain, or my lungs or heart, the consequences will be very serious. 
The difference between this clot and the one earlier in the year is that I felt I had a relatively long to get rid of the latter. It took 3 months. But with this one [if there only IS one], the risk has increased substantially, if ultrasound verifies its existence. I'll be very surprised if it doesn't.
We started Clexane injections again tonight but there may be increased risks using it while on the Avastin treatment. It looks like a very quiet, controlled period ahead, and there will be no trips out of town – in fact, home, in my bed or in the lounge with my feet up will be my haven for quite some time, barring short trips to the hospital or the GP’s surgery.
Lastly for tonight, this is yet another example of why I am still alive – Tracey’s foresight. If it had been left to me to decide, early today I would simply have thought, as it’s a public holiday today, I’ll leave this for one day, see what happens and go to my GP tomorrow. Dumb idea, really.
But Tracey is far wiser. As soon as she discovered that I had an ache behind the knee, she did what would never have occurred to me – she rang Casualty, told them the situation, and asked their advice. They said to bring me down there immediately.
As soon as we got there they started the process of taking blood tests and seeing if an ultrasound was available. It wasn’t, but through their good work they may have squeezed me into an ultrasound spot tomorrow – or many days before I would otherwise have been able to get one. And we would have started pre-emptive treatment now and not later. In other words, through inertia, I would have accepted delays that could have deadly consequences for me, but Tracey got the wheels rolling, and days that might turn out to be precious may have been saved.


  1. How wonderful that Tracey is by your side!

  2. Absolutely. In these matters she's always ahead of me, breaking the ground. Bad analogy. She's making the path, with an arm there when it's needed.

  3. I'd like to echo John G's comments - how wonderful to have Tracey there - a fabulous loving wife/friend/confidante ... a 'bossy' woman on your side ;)

  4. Denis, I do hope you're feeling better today and the pain has subsided ...

  5. Thanks, Dianne. The 'pain' - more accurately, an ache, doesn't bother me unduly - only what it signifies. Now at least we know where we stand. And the really nice thing about Ms James is that she's only bossy when she needs to be! Otherwise she lets me pretend I know what I'm doing....


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