Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Scoop

Thursday was my 3rd appointment since being out of the hospital. This time we traveled to North Seattle to see my general internist who is also my primary doctor. It was one the best appointments I ever had. We learned that the blood clot I have in my right leg is very small and will most likely dissipate on its own with my current activity level. I walk as briskly as I can for an hour each day. There is a 2% chance that it can travel to my heart and lungs but given the fact that it is so small and it feels better with activity, we are going to monitor it. There is a 20% chance that a clot can form after having a surgery. While in the hospital devices which mechanically squeezed my lower legs were put on to prevent clots from happening. I recall my great grandmother had problems with blood clots so it is possible that I may have a genetic predisposition to them. Later we can do a genetic test to see if this is the case and be particularly cautious about this issue during the next surgery. For now, I have chosen not to take the blood thinners and to monitor the leg by having a second ultrasound next week. Currently there is minor swelling of the leg (it is 1cm larger) but I am not out of breath or coughing up blood which is a good sign. Also, the leg has continued to feel better with exercise. If it is sore I am to elevate it and if any problems I am to contact the doctor. He will be checking his email throughout the weekend.

As a matter of fact, Thursday morning is the first time I tackled the big hill in Daniel’s ranch (photos on my other blog; see the scroll down menu under photos from the top page of the following link: ). Katie and Jake are SO ELATED to have me home and to be walking with them. I was tired going up the hill but things started to really kick in on the way down and my pace is not much slower then what I usually do. Normally I tackle this hill about 3 times but instead today I just walked up it once and covered the entire neighborhood which I think takes about 45 minutes at a fast pace and took me about 50-55 minutes in recovery.

The morning started out good but still I was only sleeping about 3 hours or less at a time. Along the way to the afternoon appointment I started getting a headache and despite taking over the counter pain reliever, the frontal head pain intensified. By the time I made it to the appointment I had a bothersome throbbing head pain accompanied by some sharp jabs. My neuro-ophthalmologist did not feel the headaches were attributed to pressure around the eyes. My primary doctor, Dr. Taagen, felt that the headaches could be from too quick of a steroid taper. 2mg of Decadron is the equivalent of 15 mg of Prednisone. Thus, ending at this dose for only a day may have been too fast of a taper and too high of a dose for me to end with. I just do not do well with medications! Thus, the decision was made to go back on the steroids and be weaned off of them more gradually. The plan is to alternate between 2 mg and 1 mg daily for 1 week, then 1 mg only for the second week, and to alternate 1 mg every other day for the third week.

I have to say that by the time we got home yesterday I really felt like crap. It got worse and I had no choice but to start the steroids again when I got home. It takes awhile to kick in so I was rather sick yesterday evening.

As for the sleep, I have not gotten adequate rest now for almost 3 weeks which is also probably contributing to not doing so well. Therefore, I asked for something to help allow me to sleep. Dr. Taagen prescribed to me Ambien which are sleeping pills. I am to try out ½ a pill and if that is not working I take 1 pill. Even with a ½ pill I woke up 3 times during an 8 hour sleeping period last night. I will try ½ pill again tonight and if not successful I will take a full pill.

That is it for Thursday and the update of my appointment. Harley got the movie “Fantastic 4” but again I was unsuccessful in watching the full movie. The back and forth eye movement of reading the captioned words make me tired and sick. I can only do it for so long and then I have to sleep or do something else. In the case of last night, I had to rest my eyes and fall asleep for 20 minutes or longer.

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