Tuesday, April 25, 2006

An Unwanted Journey: Day 0153 - Vena Cava Filters

I totally panicked today.

This morning as I got out of bed to go to the bathroom, I bled out all over the bed, the floor and eventually the toilet. Even though I understood theoretically that the blood thinners could cause rectal bleeding, nothing like this has ever happened to me before and I completely stressed out.

The nursing staff cleaned up, took me immediately off the heparin, and then started a reversal process using a protamine IV to reverse the thinning effects of the heparin. They took me off all foods and liquids just in case we could schedule an appointment with a radiologist to implant something called a vena cava filter.

This device is meant precisely for patients like me who have had complications with bleeding from blood thinners but who are still in mortal danger of a pulmonary embolism which could rupture a pulmonary artery and cause death. As it turned out, the radiology department couldn't fit me in today, so it looks like tomorrow morning is when the procedure will be done.

The vena cava filter is inserted in a major vein, directed to the heart by x-rays and the skills of the radiologist, and is then deployed in that part of the heart most susceptible to a clot. The filter is like a wire mesh in which regular blood passes through unimpeded but in which clots are caught and prevented from passing through to the lungs.Even with the device, there is no guarantee that the patient will not suffer a fatal pulmonary embolism. But, if all goes well, the device will assist in my recovery from the deep vein thrombosis which is causing my most serious complication to date.

I'm afraid. But I am in the right place should further complications arise. Maybe tomorrow, I'll have better news about making progress on the road to recovery. I truly hope so.
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Katherine said...

We continue to read your blog and send our best thoughts your way as you continue to journey onward.

We will be thinking of you tomorrow morning, hoping all goes well, hoping you begin to feel better soon.

All our love,
Team Siebert - Jare, Kath, Soren, Nate

Deborah said...

Dear Cancer Bloggers:

This is a message to those of you who maintain/read/participate in blogs related to cancer. Might we request your assistance in an academic study about cancer blog usage?

My name is Deborah Chung, and I am an assistant professor at the University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications. My research focuses on the use of new communication technologies and their potential to empower information consumers. Currently, I am interested in examining how health information seekers, particularly cancer patients and their families/friends, adopt blogs.

I am teaming up with Dr. Sujin Kim, also at UK, who is an assistant professor in the School of Library and Information Science and has a sub-specialization in medical informatics. She has been working closely with the UK Cancer Center to build a biorepository information system (UK-BIS) for lung and ovarian cancer samples. Together, we would like to learn about how new information channels, such as blogs, are being used by cancer patients and their families/friends — specifically we are interested in their motivations, uses and consequences of using blogs.

As approved by our internal review board (IRB) at UK, this study is an anonymous survey that does not carry any risks to cancer patients. At the same time, we believe the information gathered from this study will greatly contribute to our understanding of the adoption of new communication technologies by cancer patients. This information will in turn assist in supporting the needs of cancer patients for future information technology and service development.

Thus, we would appreciate your participation in our survey. You can find the survey here. You might get a notice regarding the validity of the certificate. If that happens, please continue to proceed.

We appreciate your time, and thank you in advance for your help.


Deborah S. Chung, Ph.D
Assistant Professor
School of Journalism &
University of Kentucky

Sujin Kim, Ph.D
Assistant Professor
School of Library & Information Science
University of Kentucky