Hello everyone, my name is Milla; I am an Italian woman of 45 years of age. First of all I would like to thank you for all the advice, impressions and thoughts that the members of HealthUnlocked write every day. This site has been a tremendous help to me since I came back from hospital. Please bear with me while I write my experience, and I also have a couple of questions at the end.
What happened to me is this: one morning at the end of January my husband drove me to the local A&E as I felt an unimaginable pain on my left arm, just below the elbow, and my hand was cold and full of pins and needles. The doctors and nurses understood immediately what was wrong with me: it was a blood clot. I was rushed to a bigger hospital where I was kept for 5 days. Here I was operated right away on the arm to remove the clot using the Fogarty technique (the operation went well; the arm still feels a little sore sometimes, but I think it’s normal). Before this operation, I had a C.T. angiogram and a CAT scan and this is what was discovered:
a) a massive pulmonary embolism (over 50% of my lungs are affected)
b) a huge mass of fibroids in my womb (the tumor is 18 centimetres wide).
It was explained to me that these blood clots were caused by the fibroids pushing on the pelvic artery. From the womb the clots travelled through my body and mostly stopped in my lungs –except for one, which travelled to my elbow and raised the alarm, so to speak.
The doctors still could not figure out why the clot could travel from the lung to the arm, so they moved me to another hospital where I had a few different cardio tests and scans which highlighted a POF (patent ovale foramen).
I was in this third hospital for 18 days, doing tests, trying out various therapies and being looked at and being turned inside out like a sock by the gynaecologists and cardiologists there.
Once I was released, I was given the following therapy (one tablet each):
in the evening: Xarelto 20 mg and Ramipril 5mg;
in the morning: Bisoprolol 1.25 mg and Lansoprazole 30mg.
Before that day in January I had never been sick in my life; I work in a mountain hut at 2400 metres above sea level and not once has my blood pressure been high or have I had a headache (obviously, I have now had to leave this job; no high altitude for me for at least a year). I had never even been in hospital as a patient before! I did not realise I had PE, I was not sick or short of breath. I was coughing a bit but nothing much at all. I am not diabetic or pre-diabetic; my cholesterol levels are good, and my thyroid is working fine. My blood levels in general have always been pretty good.
Yet, I am now here at home doing this Xeralto therapy, and going for longish walks; I live in a mountain village, so it is quite hard to find surfaces that are flat, and the walks often leave me dead tired (going uphill is still a struggle). I am trying to lead a somewhat normal life, doing the house chores. I used to travel a lot to see bands play, but now I am always so tired that I cannot even think about being in a car for journeys longer than 20 minutes. I am due to have an hysterectomy and, perhaps, the operation to resolve the POF, even though no one is sure yet when these operations can happen –it will depend on the state of my pulmonary embolism.
Next Monday I have the meeting with the gynecologist.
If you have not fallen asleep after reading all the above, I have a couple of questions:
a) at night I often feel ‘shivers’ in my body, even though I sleep with 2 duvets and a pyjama. The shivers start from the back of my shoulders, go down towards my legs and end in my arms. It happens almost every night, it never happens during the day. I eat dinner at about 6:30pm, and by 9:00pm max I am snoozing in bed.
Has anyone experienced the same problem? Is it something to do with Xarelto?
b) perhaps this is a stupid question (I can already hear someone laughing at the back!), but can PE be completely resolved through anticoagulant medications? I mean, what scares me the most is not the operations, but the idea of taking medications for the rest of my life. I am 45 years young and this freaks me out. I really cannot phantom the idea of having to take medications for years and years, of being this tired all the time, of feeling my lungs like the insides of an Aero chocolate bar.
Thank you very much for taking the time to read my post, and to all who can give me any answer to my questions.