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Update: Life Hijack

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Last time I checked in, I had just had my VTOS surgery (Dec. 8) wherein Dr. Lum removed a huge chunk from my chest. I seemed to recover from that fairly well and did not become a pillbilly. On December 20, I went back to Hopkins for a venogram to check the vein. Disappointingly, but not totally unexpectedly, it was still damaged, compressed and the clot was still there. So I had an angioplasty where they put in 4 balloons to open the vein. Good grief, that really hurt. Not great news, but at least he was able to open the vein. I was told that the second operation had a 70% chance of success; veins that have long been compressed are prone to re-collapse. I survived xmas, but on December 29, I was struck down with an extremely severe case of the flu, which developed into bronchitis. I was really sick for 3.5 weeks -- the sickest I've ever been in my life. I only made it to one PT appt, then had to cancel all the rest. At this juncture, I've decided that I'm not going to bother with PT. I had full ROM almost immediately in any event. My arm is still somewhat swollen, but down from before. I was given a 3-6 month estimate for it to return to normal. My next appt is on March 23 and they will again check the vein with a duplex ultrasound. If there is still damage/clotting, I will need vein reconstruction surgery. I also struggled a bit with the oral blood thinner (xarelto). It made me nauseous and tired. So I switched back to lovenox. Downside is injections 2x day. Still, better than nausea.

So Dec & Jan were just a life hijack. After an epic struggle, I have been feeling pretty normal the last 10 days. I can't do anything high impact or anything with my arm. I've been doing a lot of fast walking on the treadmill, between 5-9 miles a day. My incision is healing fine, so I may be able to get back in the water and kick with my arms at my side fairly soon. My dr really errs on the conservative side wrt the pool. But I know others that returned to the pool 6 weeks after VTOS surgery. I may also go to a spin class or some bikram yoga. Vinyasa is out because of all the down dogs.

Anyway, hope you all are doing fabulously! I persevere.

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Updated February 7th, 2017 at 06:51 PM by The Fortress

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  1. kwhenderson's Avatar
    So good to hear from you - I had wondered how you were recovering. I'm sad to hear that the outcome has not been as good as hoped. Praying for complete restoration without more surgery. Hang in there - hopefully this episode will be a short blip in the long run. Sure miss your posts!
  2. aztimm's Avatar
    How often were you taking xarelto?

    My cardiologist also has me on that. I had to do a special meeting with someone before they'd give it to me, and have to do bloodwork a few times a year. Someone also seems to call me every few weeks to make sure everything is going well.

    With all of that, I haven't had any issues. But I usually have a small snack mornings before I take it. Then I take it before bed, probably an hour or 2 after dinner.
  3. The Fortress's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by kwhenderson
    So good to hear from you - I had wondered how you were recovering. I'm sad to hear that the outcome has not been as good as hoped. Praying for complete restoration without more surgery. Hang in there - hopefully this episode will be a short blip in the long run. Sure miss your posts!
    Thanks Kristin. My age and the fact that it was not detected quickly enough worked against me. I will hang in there!
  4. The Fortress's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by aztimm
    How often were you taking xarelto?

    My cardiologist also has me on that. I had to do a special meeting with someone before they'd give it to me, and have to do bloodwork a few times a year. Someone also seems to call me every few weeks to make sure everything is going well.

    With all of that, I haven't had any issues. But I usually have a small snack mornings before I take it. Then I take it before bed, probably an hour or 2 after dinner.
    Initially after the first operation, I took it 2x day for 21 days, then 1x day thereafter. I tried take it without food, but would have bouts of nausea throughout the day. Lovenox is kind of a hassle, but I can deal with it. You do need to have your blood monitored while taking this stuff. I'm glad that you are side effect free!
  5. Kurt Dickson's Avatar
    That's a lot of walking. I am certainly realizing my mortality (and athletic uncertainty) lately and have had a renewed urgency in getting some bucket list items done for me this year before my shoulders and back give up for good (fingers crossed). Certainly as we all get older, taking good health for granted is long gone. Best wishes on a speedy recovery and the mental fortitude to get through all of this.
  6. The Fortress's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Kurt Dickson
    That's a lot of walking. I am certainly realizing my mortality (and athletic uncertainty) lately and have had a renewed urgency in getting some bucket list items done for me this year before my shoulders and back give up for good (fingers crossed). Certainly as we all get older, taking good health for granted is long gone. Best wishes on a speedy recovery and the mental fortitude to get through all of this.
    Thanks Kurt. Yeah nothing for granted. One minute great health, the next serious medical crisis. Take care of those shoulders.
  7. Sojerz's Avatar
    It seems like its just been a brutal season of colds/flu with very longish recovery. Didn't think my immune system would ever calm the allergic response back down so I could stop coughing. Glad to hear the VTOS may be headed in the right direction. I had to self admin the lovenox shots for about 10 days after leg surgery and was glad I had a little belly fat to pinch and inject into - finally it was good for something.

    Keep up the exercise and take care of yourself, Leslie.
  8. jim thornton's Avatar
    Leslie texted me that she made it back to the pool for 2000 yards of kicking! Congratulations! Come to the Y on Tuesday or Thursday!
  9. The Fortress's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Sojerz
    It seems like its just been a brutal season of colds/flu with very longish recovery. Didn't think my immune system would ever calm the allergic response back down so I could stop coughing. Glad to hear the VTOS may be headed in the right direction. I had to self admin the lovenox shots for about 10 days after leg surgery and was glad I had a little belly fat to pinch and inject into - finally it was good for something.

    Keep up the exercise and take care of yourself, Leslie.
    yes, I've heard of many people suffering for prolong periods. Winter crud and super bugs.

    i dont mind the Lovenox really. Kinda used to it. Sometimes it's hard to remember to take it 2x a day every day.

    I will try to be vigilant about no swimming until after my next appt.
    Updated February 12th, 2017 at 11:11 PM by The Fortress
  10. The Fortress's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by jim thornton
    Leslie texted me that she made it back to the pool for 2000 yards of kicking! Congratulations! Come to the Y on Tuesday or Thursday!
    I couldnt come on Sunday bc I was watching the Lebo masters meet. I'm going to Pitt on Wed. I was thinking maybe Sewy on Friday. You might tempt me come another day to swim with you, but I am very limited.
  11. Karl_S's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by jim thornton
    Leslie texted me that she made it back to the pool for 2000 yards of kicking! Congratulations! Come to the Y on Tuesday or Thursday!
    Ah, the world is returning to is's proper state...
  12. The Fortress's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Karl_S
    Ah, the world is returning to is's proper state...
    Ah, thanks Karl.