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

Blessings come in all shapes and sizes

As some of you know by now, we’ve had a tough two months, but hopefully that is at an end now!

Pretoria-20130104-00143Like I said in my post Sometimes even bad events can turn into something good, it happens sometimes that good come from bad events in our lives—seen from a human point of view.

Well, apart from the new Sony SLT-A37K I received from my insurance, I finally got the rest of my stuff stolen from the first burglary replaced. So, now that whole set has been replaced! I was given a genuine Sony, model SAL55300, DT 4.5-5.6/55-300 SAM, zoom lens; the original external flash was replaced; the camera bag was replaced with a much better one and I was also given a UV filter that I didn’t have before. I am very happy with what I got this time. When I bought my original camera, zoom lens and external flash, it all came to R4,500 ($517). The value of the replacements came to R15,000 ($1,724). Everything I had was upgraded except the external flash. They gave me exactly the same as I had before (for only 4 days, BTW!). And, for all of this, all I had to do was pay an excess of R1,850.

That concludes the saga of the first burglary!

At the 2nd burglary (21 Dec 2012), just two weeks after the first, my Samsung Pro815 camera (with bag), my old Lenovo 3000 C100 laptop (with bag) and an older Sony video camera that still used tape (with bag) were stolen. These were finally replaced and I picked up the replacements on Wednesday (9 Jan). Once again, it is a major upgrade for each of the items that were stolen.

IMG-20130110-00147My old Lenovo (80Gb HD, 512Mb RAM) was replaced with a Toshiba Satellite L755—S1M2 (500Gb HD, 4Gb RAM). In place of the Samsung camera (8.1MP, 15x optical zoom) I asked if I could look at some other compact cameras and I decided to take the Sony Cybershot DSC-HX20V (18.2MP, 20x optical zoom, full HD movie 1920×1080). The old Sony mini-tape camera was replaced by the Sony Handycam DCR-SX22E ( 60x optical zoom, Steady shot Stabilisation). Each of these items were replaced with their bags and I was also given two 16Gb SD cards. The Sony Cybershot was way cheaper than replacing the Samsung Pro815, and so with the difference it created between the original quote and what I actually took, I ended up not having to pay the excess of R1,850. What a deal! I got equipment to the value of about R13,500 ($1,552)!

So, now that everything has been replaced I am very happy, especially with the replacements themselves.

A tough two months

The last two months have been a bit tough on us as a family. It first started with me having a breakdown with my car (1) on my way to work. So, I had to have the car towed and fixed. That cost money we did not have! Soon after that I was involved in a car accident (2). More money we did not have.

Then came December! We were hit by burglars twice during December; on the 7th (3) and 21st (4)! Read about that here.

DSC00494Then came December 29… I decided to make some sandwiches for lunch for the whole family. I was using a cheese cutter to cut cheese for the sandwiches, and as I was cutting, the cheese cutter got stuck and I added some pull to the cutter. Then, in the blink of an eye the cheese gave way, and before I knew it, I sliced a chunk of my thumb away (5). There was blood all over the floor. I ran to the closest tap and let the water just take away some of the blood. I next grabbed some paper towels to stop the bleeding. It took some time before the bleeding stopped. As I am writing this blog post, it is eight days after that fateful event, and my body has almost completely repaired that slice of history.

DSC00512Finally, 2013 had arrived! As usual, the family* got together, this year at our house. We were all in a good mood, had dinner and then as per our tradition, went to the movies, this time to see “Here comes the boom” at the 8 o’clock show and then returned home. Then it was time for the teenagers to play with sparklers and we took some pics of that—like the one shown here.

DSC00542Then came midnight, the start of 2013. After all the well wishes to one another, the family got together to shoot the party poppers and this was then captured on camera. As you well know, this is a very joyous time with lots of exuberance.

We had just taken the first party popper photograph when my father-in-law’s phone rang. We all thought that it was some well wisher for the new year. However, it was ADT calling to tell him that the alarm at his house had triggered. So, as it would be expected of men everywhere, my father-in-law, brother-in-law and I jumped into a car and drove over to his house to check out the situation. You never know in these situations what lies ahead.

Anyway, there we were, off like superheroes of the night ready to save the day? When we arrived we all jumped out of the car. The other two went into the house via the garage and I went around the outside of the property to check for entry points, or something like that. I still don’t know what we would have done of we had cornered a live human alarm-triggerer!

My foot in iceWell, then it happened. It was very dark on the outside of the fence as I zoomed around, and before I knew it I was tumbling to the ground, hearing a click sound coming from my ankle. In the darkness, I never saw the hole that I stepped into. All I knew at the time was that I was in intense pain. The other two also returned to the car. It was the dog that knocked the garage door open, which then triggered the alarm. My brother-in-law helped me into the car. As we were driving home I called home to let them know that they should immediately prepare an ice pack. So, about 15 minutes into the new year, there I was with an injured ankle.

Everybody left and it was time for bed. My wife had bandaged my ankle and at about 2am we got to bed. When we woke up it was time to prepare for my wife’s parents to come for our annual braai (barbecue) with them. I got my son to do some of the braai-ing. My foot was swollen, but I didn’t think much of it. We have our own set of crutches that I used to get around. I thought that I just twisted my ankle a bit and that it’ll sort itself out. However, after the in-laws had left, my wife suggested that she take me to the emergency rooms at Kloof Hospital to have it checked out, just in case.

Waiting for the ankle op
Here I am lying in the waiting room
just before the op on my ankle.

Well, in case happened and it turned out that I had a fractured ankle (6)! We got to the hospital at about 5pm, and before I knew it the orthopaedic surgeon on call was there to check me out—he had surgery at 7pm—and informed me that I would need to be operated on. It would be a quick and easy op, but that it would ensure that my ankle doesn’t cause problems later on. So, on 1 January 2013, at 9pm I was in theatre having an op on my ankle. What a start to the year!

The end result of this is that I am booked off work until 13 February! I can work from home, but my supervisor suggested that I at least take sick-leave until the end of January to recover suitably, and in the meantime they will make sure that my replacement laptop (the previous one was stolen) is loaded with all necessary software, and then they would get the laptop to me by then.

So, a tough two months indeed! However, in all this, God remains good, and while in this life, we will undoubtedly come up against obstacles!

My ankle in a back-slap cast
My ankle in a slap-back cast on my hospital bed.
scan0001_txt scan0002_txt
The screw as viewed from the front of my ankle. A side view of the screw in my ankle.

And finally, below is the scar of my ankle operation!

Ankle op scar

The scar of my ankle operation!

——————————

*family – includes me, my wife and kids; my wife’s parents; my wife’s sister, husband and kids; and my mom.

Sometimes even bad events can turn into something good

As you may have read in my previous post, crime in South Africa paid me two visits in the past two weeks and a day. The first one was on 7 December (visit number 1 – V#1) and the next on 21 December (visit number 2 – V#2).

Sony A200 DSLRWell, just yesterday, good came from V#1! In V#1 my Sony A200 DSLR camera with lenses and external flash and 2 compact flash cards were stolen.

Two days ago, the claim that I made against my insurance was eventually finalized, and so I drove through to Fourways from my home in Pretoria (about 52Kms), to pick up my new camera at Digital Experience. Unfortunately, they did not have my lenses in stock, and that had to be back-ordered and I will probably only get them sometime in January 2013.

However, the replacement that the insurance company got for me is definitely a huge step up from my α200.

My new baby: SONY SLT-A37K DSLRI was given a Sony SLT-A37K! Apart from the step up in megapixels (α200 had 10.2 MP and the α37 has 16.1MP), there are a number of other improvements. Ok, I know that for many of you this is probably a very cheap camera and that you are probably thinking what the heck I was so excited about. Well, this is only my second DSLR and I do not have the money to be extravagant. So, for me, this is way beyond my budget!

α37

α200

7fps in continuous mode 3fps in continuous mode
Full HD Movies None
LCD screen mode and viewfinder mode Only viewfinder mode
Adjustable LCD screen Non-adjustable LCD screen
Panorama pictures None
3D-Panorama pictures None
ISO100 – 16000 ISO100-3200
Multi-point: 9 Area, 8 Line, 1 Cross Sensor 15 points (3 points cross type)

My new baby: SONY SLT-A37K DSLRThat is enough for now!

Well, all I can say is that I am very happy with the new cam and as soon as I can get a break, I will go out and take some pics. From what I have seen while playing with it, the pics are much clearer and especially the macro function delivers much clearer and sharper pics.

 

So, sometimes even bad events can turn into something good!

Another day in South Africa, or Crime is at the order of the day!

Living in South Africa is not easy on the wallet.

Two months ago I was in a car accident—nothing serious—and while the insurance paid for the repair of my car, I still had to pay an excess of R1850 (about $212). While to many, this doesn’t seem like much, to me it is.

Today, two weeks ago, on 7 December 2012, we were burgled in the early morning hours. My work laptop was taken, and also my Sony DSLR camera with its 18-70mm lens, a Tamron 70-300mm zoom lens, an external flash that was 4 days old, 2 compact flash cards (8Gb + 2Gb) and of course the camera bag. On this occasion the thieves used our pool broom pipe to hoist my work laptop and camera bag out of the room. They never entered the room. I put in a claim with my insurance and it will cost me an excess of R1850 to have my camera equipment replaced. The insurance will pay the rest. Just yesterday I heard that my claim was finalized and that my equipment will be replaced by Digital Experience (DE). Hopefully someone from DE will contact me today to go get my stuff.

So, yesterday I heard the good news of my claim being finalized. Today, not so good!

breakinwindow_altWe were woken up this morning at 03:13 by our house alarm being activated. I heard a thump on the window of the study next door and opened our bedroom curtain just to see one dude running right past our window and jumping over the wall of our next door neighbours. The other guy with the flashlight jumped over the back wall. Our armed response security guys were here within minutes, and only about 5 minutes later the police arrived. We looked over the back wall and found my computer screen standing in our neighbour’s back yard. One of the security guys went around to the other side of the neighbour’s house to get entry onto their property. He recovered the screen and also found the bag of break-in tools the thieves used. This time the thieves made off with my personal laptop, a digital camera and a video camera. What upsets me is that I cannot afford to replace any of these things because it will cost me another R1850 in excess payment, which I simply do not have.

As you can see from the photograph above, the gap that they used to enter the study is quite small (21cm x 47cm – 8.27in x 18.5in). The detectives were just here and they couldn’t believe that someone got through that small space.

The good thing about today is that I might get the replacement for my previous stolen camera equipment today. We’ll see!

Crime doesn’t pay!

Yeah!

Especially for the victims!

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