After 3 months, the DVT remains! Part 2

Following my previous post, I visited my doctor. The outcome of the visit was not very joyful in itself.

Fibrosis has set in, in the vein in question and has for all intents and purposes been destroyed. It will never work again. In fact, it has become unusable to the point that I can now stop taking the Warfarin tablets since they will make no difference to the vein.

Compression Stocking image by Hutchi

However, I have to now wear the medical compression stockings of type TED permanently. If I do not wear this TED I can develop varicose veins, I will be predisposed to ulcers in the leg and cuts on the leg will be difficult to treat.

The reason I now have to continue wearing this stocking is that the valve in the vein that controlled the upward flow of blood is no longer working. So, with the pressure that the stocking exerts on the lower leg helps perform that function now.

As a result of all this, the doctor informed me, I will be predisposed to more DVTs forming. For now, I will have to keep a check on my body and if I feel any pain in my leg or chest, or if I suddenly feel out of breath and if I battle to breathe I have to contact him immediately.

It is difficult for me to fathom this since my leg has been feeling very good and I haven’t had pain in it for a long time. I really thought that by the time today arrived everything would be fine and the DVT would have dissolved. I’ve been trusting the Lord for a good outcome. Unfortunately that is not the case. In God’s providence He has seen fit for me to remain like this for longer.

All I can do is to stand with the prophet Habakkuk and proclaim:

“Though the fig tree should not blossom And there be no fruit on the vines, Though the yield of the olive should fail And the fields produce no food, Though the flock should be cut off from the fold And there be no cattle in the stalls,  (18)  Yet I will exult in the LORD, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.  (19)  The Lord GOD is my strength, And He has made my feet like hinds’ feet, And makes me walk on my high places.” (Hab 3:17-19)

And to finish off, here is one of my favourite passages in the Bible:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,  (4)  just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love  (5)  He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,  (6)  to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.  (7)  In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace  (8)  which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight  (9)  He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him  (10)  with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him  (11)  also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,  (12)  to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory.  (13)  In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation–having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise,  (14)  who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.” (Eph 1:3-14)

After 3 months, the DVT remains!

Start of a DVT

So, with this eventful year as chronicled here, here, here, here, here, and here, I had to have a sonar done on my leg this morning with the DVT.

I went in early to make sure that I could be done with this part of the day before I saw my doctor with the results at 10:30. I was in and out of the hospital x-ray rooms in 45 minutes! Really efficient!

However, efficiency put aside, I went in with the hope that the DVT in my leg had cleared and that I could stop using Warfarin and wearing a medical compression stocking every day.

The report-back by the doctor that did my sonar was not what I had hoped for. The report is as follows:

“This study was compared with a previous study performed on 28/2/2013. At the level of the previous deep venous thrombosis [] of the left superficial femoral vein, a thrombus is once again noted with no signs of recanalization… Left SFV thrombosis, unchanged in appearance from previous ultrasound, with no signs of recanalization.”

I will the doctor in about an hour’s time. I expect him to simply continue the course as I have been.

DVT-20130618In the sonar, the following can be seen:

  1. At the top image it can be seen from a front view how the vein doesn’t compress when pressure is applied, indicating that the clot, which stretched about 12 inches, has not dissolved.
  2. From a side view the same can be seen.

So, this is the story thus far. Once I am done at the doctor I will report back on what he suggests we do from now.

The doctor that did the sonar said that she didn’t think that a DVT that was as extensive as mine would have cleared after 3 months, and that I probably have to carry on with my treatment for some time.

Back from hospital, and no cancer!

man in praiseI am back from hospital, and I am grateful to say, I don’t have cancer! Apart from the DVT scare (that still exists), this cloud of cancer that was hanging over me was the worst! It was intended that I go into hospital on Monday, 15 April and that the procedure to find and remove the possible cancer was to be done on 18 April.

The reason for this, as explained in my previous post, was to make sure that my blood returned to normal after stopping my Warfarin intake last week Thursday. By Tuesday morning (16 April), my blood INR was down to 1.2 and I was ready for the procedure. So, I went into theatre on Tuesday afternoon around 17:00. I was done and dusted by 18:00 and being discharged from hospital. Since the doctor found no cancer, I was in and out very quickly. My wife went looking for me at the theatre waiting room, and after thinking that it had been 40 minutes since I went in, she thought to go up to my hospital room. By the time she arrived there, I had already visited the bathroom for some business.

When I returned to my bed, the doctor was already there to give me the good news and to discharge me from hospital.

I am really grateful that I have no cancer and can only praise the Lord Jesus Christ for that!

(1) For the choir director. A Psalm of David. O LORD, You have searched me and known me. (2) You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. (3) You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways. (4) Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, You know it all. (5) You have enclosed me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. (6) Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it. (7) Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? (8) If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. (9) If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, (10) Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me. (11) If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, And the light around me will be night,” (12) Even the darkness is not dark to You, And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You. (13) For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. (14) I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. (15) My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; (16) Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them. (17) How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! (18) If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand. When I awake, I am still with You. (Psa 139:1-18 NASB)

Going into hospital tomorrow

So, as the tough months continue, I have to go into hospital tomorrow. And, you can read about why I need to go into hospital here.

While I believe that God will bring about the best possible scenario from this for me and my family, it strikes me that I am somewhat stressed about this whole thing.

This will be the third time in hospital this year. It started with a broken ankle on New Year’s day. Then, two months later I landed in hospital with an emergency for eight days with a DVT (blood clot) of 10-12 inches long in my left upper leg, caused by the ankle operation on New Year’s day.

When I was in hospital with the DVT, they battled to thin my blood enough for about eleven days. They injected me twice daily at hospital with stuff to thin my blood, while I took tablets to help the process. My blood count (INR) only hit the target range of 2-3 after eleven days. Yet, since then, they have battled to keep my INR below 3 and it has been holding its position to close to 4 for about 60% of the time. Because of this I have a bleeding risk.

Now, since I need this procedure on Thursday, 18 April, I had to stop taking my Warfarin last Thursday, and tomorrow I am checking into hospital so that they can inject me with stuff daily to thicken my blood. So, now the very thing that they tried to prevent, stopping a clot from breaking loose and landing in my brain, heart or lungs, becomes a scary thought. Unfortunately, they can’t perform the procedure with my blood in its current condition, since I could bleed to death on the operating table. So, the battle begins tomorrow to bring my INR count down to 1.2.

Then, apart from this battle, what will they find? Will it be cancer? I pray that God will bring complete healing and that the lump is either just missing, or that it is completely benign.

I trust that in all of this, God will still bring about a good result, for me and my family. We do not always understand the outworking of God’s goodness, but I trust that His wisdom is greater than mine. I trust that all things will go well, and that I will re-join my family in health after Thursday.

Even in the midst of our worries, God is good, just and compassionate.

Lawrette McFarlane Photography

Who is Lawrette McFarlane? First of all she is a friend from the church small group that we attend at 3CI. She has an infectious laugh, is physically active (running), and professionally, she is a photographer.

As a professional photographer, she has done all types of photography, such as:

  • Travel
  • Documentary
  • Commercial – studio and location
  • Portraiture
  • Interior and Architectural
  • Stage / Music
  • Medical
  • Wedding
  • Fine art / Lomography
  • Senior lecturer at National College of Photography / Vega (Evening school)

She has done work for a whole lot of companies, such as:

  • ‘Weg’ / ‘Go’ Travel and Outdoor Magazine
  • Bombela Civil Joint Venture
  • NJW Engineering Services
  • Technology Innovation Agency
  • CSIR
  • VBKom Consulting Engineers / Projects
  • SVI Engineering
  • Sainsbury Design
  • FAIS Ombud
  • Realty1 Lynwood – Willem & Letsie Coetzee
  • Habitat for Humanity

Her pictures are absolutely amazing! Go to her website to view the pictures she has taken for clients. She lives and works in the Gauteng province of South Africa, so if you would like to have some photography done of a high standard with lots of creativity, then contact Lawrette McFarlane!

The tough months continue

So, while I was in hospital for DVT treatment, my doctor decided to send me for a sonar check over my pelvic area just to exclude it from possibly having a DVT. While the radiologist (a doctor) was scanning me, she found a large lump in my bladder. Of course, it was not supposed to be there. She checked the size of my prostate and that seemed normal.

My doctor who was treating me in hospital for the DVT, decided that this thing should be checked out as soon as possible. He made an appointment for me at the Urology Hospital here in Pretoria, and I saw the specialist on Wednesday.

After he checked me out he said that usually, if there is something in the bladder, it is cancer, and that he was treating this as cancer until proven otherwise. He also did a sonar on me, and could not really make out what the lump was and said he was hoping that it would just be a case of an enlarged prostate. He also did some other checks (that should not be mentioned here) and said that he thinks that it is an enlarged prostate. They also found blood in my urine.

However, because he cannot be sure, I am having a biopsy done on 18 April, and if any cancer is found, he would remove it immediately.

I was sent for a PSA blood test, and the results came back today and it is normal. So, if the PSA came back normal, and there is blood in my urine, what the heck is wrong?

A complication to the whole matter is that I can’t simply be operated on or have a biopsy done since I am on Warfarin to thin my blood in the battle against the DVT. So, it will not just be a case of going in on the 18th and then having the procedure done. Before they do anything, my blood must return to normal, and so the last time I take Warfarin will be 11 April. Then, I have to be in hospital on 15 April so that they can start treating me with regular injections to normalize my blood. This must be done for three days.

We are trusting that whatever is wrong, that the Lord Jesus Christ will indeed touch my body and bring healing.

(22) For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. (23) And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. (24) For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? (25) But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it. (26) In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; (27) and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. (28) And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (29) For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; (30) and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. (31) What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? (32) He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?(Rom 8:22-32 NASB)

A tough two months and more

I wrote about A tough two months that we had through December and January. Well, that has now stretched into March, making it more than 3 months!

My moon boot was supposed to come off on 13 February so that I could be back physically at work on 14 February.

On 7 February I had to rush back to the hospital emergency rooms with an infection in the wound from the ankle operation (1 January). Luckily, the doctor that operated on my ankle was in the hospital at that time, so he came to emergency immediately. He gave one look at my ankle, rattled off a whole lot of things the nurse had to get for him, and told her: “Nurse, I am going to hurt this man now!” Very comforting! He injected my ankle with anaesthetics, waited a few minutes, and then slid the scalpel into the wound with speed and precision. The stitches did not finish dissolving, and with the moon boot rubbing against it, I got this infection. He cut the stitches loose and then with tweezers he removed the stitches. After this he instructed me to clean the wound every two days and put a plaster over it. So, for a week then, I didn’t wear my moon boot and had to keep my leg elevated. I returned to the doctor for my last check-up on 13 February, and everything had turned out well, and the doctor was satisfied with my recovery. I was walking fine, but still had to elevate my leg at the end of the day and put ice on it.

Fast forward two weeks, and I started feeling a pain on the inside of my left upper leg, about two thirds up from my knee. I wasn’t too concerned as it wasn’t really painful. But, by Thursday, 28 February, I woke up with severe pain in my leg and walked very crippled to the breakfast table. By lunch time, the pain had spread to my knee and by about 14:00 my left calf was swollen way bigger than my right calf, and it was red, hot to the touch and hard. Continue reading

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