I potentially saved my own life today? Tuesday night my right side of my back was hurting. I asked @cleverdevil to massage it, but when he started rubbing it felt like he was pushing on a million tiny bruises. Any pressure, even the lightest touch was painful. I got through the night concerned, but thinking this must be some chemo thing, maybe neuropathy related? The pain continued through Wednesday and it radiated from my right shoulder down my back and a little towards my abdomen. Of course I spent the day telling myself “this is not a heart attack, this is not a clot. Don’t overreact. The nurses are already sick of you calling about other concerns.” I stayed laying down and shifted positions trying to stay comfortable. I eventually got up the courage to call the nurse at City of Hope, which resulted in me being instructed to take some Tylenol for the pain. Treat the pain until time to see the NP on Friday. The added instruction was to go to the ER if things got worse, and of course I had my list of other signs to go to the ER, including shortness of breath.

The pain became more localized over night to my back right about 4 ribs up from the bottom, but there was still radiating pain to my abdomen. The new symptom was if I took a deep breath it hurt and I was definitely guarding going any deeper. “Does that count as shortness of breath? Like I can breathe fine if I’m sitting down or not taking a deep breath.” I decided to call the nurse again to ask if I could be seen today or if I should go to urgent care. I definitely felt I needed to be seen. The nurse recommended the ER bc really to determine what was going on would likely take imaging. She asked if I was comfortable going, and I said “honestly, I’m pretty terrified of the germs.” She pumped me up and told me to make sure the ER knows I’m an oncology patient, and she assured me they would take care of me. I hesitated, but I woke up @cleverdevil and said we had to go to the ER.

I arrived around 9:50a.m. Triage happened within 5min, and I was back in a room within 15min. Blood draws, Xrays, respiratory swab, EKG, all the monitors, gallbladder ultrasound, and CT scan all done by 2pm. The CT scan was the longest wait due to needing bloodwork to come back. All the other stuff was done by 12pm. I was able to see as test results came in that I didn’t have a respiratory virus, my blood levels were normal ish, and my gallbladder ultrasound was clear.

The doc came in before I got my eyes on my CT scan to tell me I have a pulmonary embolism (PE). A blood clot broke off from somewhere, and my lungs caught it before it did any more damage. He informed me I needed to be admitted for anticoagulation and more testing to find the source. Yay, more hospital time.

So right now, I am sitting in an ER room waiting on my hospital room. I’m not sure how this impacts my scheduled infusion on Monday. I have tons of guesses for where this came from, and I’m not sure if any of the different sensations I’ve had in the not so distant past are related. Sounds like I’m in for some fun imaging and other tests for the next few days. I have already had my first shot of Lovenox, so my belly isn’t getting thinner but my blood is. And I’m under the exciting, not anxiety inducing orders to immediately inform the nurses if I start feeling more shortness of breath or if I get an intense headache, bc that means things need to escalate. Fun times.

I’ll provide updates as I have them.