Dr. Puhalla did finally call. NED – so, yay! However, the radiologist did see a small blood clot in my superior vena cava, the large vein above the right side of my heart where my port was placed for chemotherapy. It is small enough that she’s not immediately worried about it, but its presence is a concern nonetheless (she is also concerned because I did have another blood clot back in October, also the result of an IV, although that one was in a superficial vein).
I am not surprised this port is still haunting me even after it was removed. It’s no secret that we weren’t best friends for the six-month duration that it was stowed in its pocket underneath my skin. Its scars are still visible and painful to the touch. Don’t I look so bothered? (but seriously, the thing was a fucking bother)
Dr Puhalla asks if I have any symptoms from the blood clot – tightness in my chest or shortness of breath. Since she’s said the word “blood clot” I have felt nothing but tightness in my chest. For months now, I’ve had some mysterious symptoms that I’ve chalked up to living my lift post-chemo. I am dizzy almost every time I stand up after having been sitting for a while; I nearly black out when I get out of bed first thing in the morning, having to steady myself on the wrought-iron pole of the foot board. Every now and then, I have the sensation of a light electric shock that comes from my chest, goes up into my neck and then down my right arm into my finger tips, which are then numb for a few seconds. I don’t tell her about these; she is never truly interested in my symptoms or side effects even when she is the one asking about them.
So what now? Her PA called this morning with a phone number for me to call to schedule more scans so they can get a better look at this thing (a carotid doppler). I was able to schedule it for Monday morning. Dr. Puhalla will then decide if she continues to monitor the clot or if I go on medication (low-dose aspirin or a blood thinner). I was so hoping that I’d get to take yet another pill (sarcasm).
I suppose I’m supposed to be thankful that the scans came back NED and not harp on this small hiccup, but I can’t because I’m too annoyed and frustrated that nothing seems to be easy or clean in this whole situation. No one ever says, “That all went fine. Good to go. See ya.” It’s always, “This is ok, but….” I don’t like acting like a victim (or feeling like one), but it is exhausting, this seemingly never-ending string of bad news or good-but-not-great news. I’d do pretty much anything for some time where there is no news; how about just no news at all?