Should I push through the pain?

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Had a bit of a surprise one month ago in the form of a "bilateral main pulmonary artery embolism with right heart strain and pulmonary trunk dilation" (thank you discharge notes). While I was happy just to be receiving some oxygen, the doctors looked concerned and gave me thrombolysis treatment in the emergency department, I spent the night in hospital for observation, and then I was sent home, feeling on top of the world with a week's Clexane injections.

However, at the end of the Clexane I began on Pradaxa and promptly developed a bloot clot in my right calf. Excruciating. (A doctor has since told me that blood clots and starting on some blood thinning pills are not unknown.) After a week of morphine and resuming on the Clexane the blood clot pain subsided (phew) and I have been able to resume life "as normal".

For the last two weeks I have been experiencing chest pains, but another trip to the emergency department and tests showed that there is nothing to worry about, and that the pains are probably normal post PE. (Thanks so much to all those who have shared their accounts in this forum.)

Tomorrow I have a CT scan, and the following week I have an appointment with a haematologist to review the blood thinning options. (I'm hopeful that I will no longer be stabbing myself twice a day, my stomach is looking like a pincushion.)

Anyway... the wisdom I am seeking is that, now that I can walk again (almost) normally (given the DVT pain), can I start going for some walks around the community? My heart always complains if I do walk more than 50m at the moment... (but then again, it complains while I am lying in bed too) do I listen to my heart and hold off from exertion or do I push through and get at least some exercise? Am I trying to rush things?

Thanks for your wisdom,

Chris, 39, New Zealand

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5 Replies

  • Posted

    G'day,

    Listen to your body, I am still suffering chest pains, although I  also have prinzmetal angina, I didn't get the "text book" PE symptoms until about a month ago, doctors just keep saying because you are on anti coagulants nothing new will develop, I'm starting to wonder about that as my calf muscle is starting to swell and getting that hot feeling back with it, on the shin bone I have a red streak going down towards the foot, doctors aren't concerned, I have been told that it can 12 months or longer for the swelling to come and go, same as the breathlessness. My major concerns at the moment are chest pain, leg and foot swelling and now a red streak on shin bone going to the fop of ankle, which direction it actually started I have no idea, from ankle upwards or shin downwards smile, I'm also suffering a lot more breathlessness and heaps of dizziness to boot, sometimes I lose my balance but luckily there has always been something to grab onto to prevent the fall. I was diagnosed with the PE 6 months ago, was put on Xarelto but had to be taken off it due to severe side effect, was switched over to Predaxa but cardiologist wants to put me onto warfin. I have had a few troponin rises and they think it's  right heart strain causing this. Am on endone for pain , this is also used for my prinzmetal angina pain (coronary artery spasms)

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  • Posted

    HI Chris,

                    Please listen to your heart hun,

    Your body has gone through a   Traumatic experience.

    For them to use thrombolytics it must have been life threatening as they don't use this unless there is no other choice as the side effects are lethal ( bleeding in the brain etc)

    Please do take it easy,

    Small steps at a time,one day at a time etc...

    I had my saddle pulmonary embolism in April and at the time I just felt breathless and a bit light headed and was surprised how quickly I was rushed into  resuscitation and given IV thrombolytics, I was in hospital for 10 days.

    But please listen to what your body tells you as like you I started having the chest pain approx a month after and was given morphine etc..

    The morphine will help you but you might need the dose to go up or you might not need it again (hopefully not) but please do take it easy, this is a serious thing to happen to you and I can not stress that enough to you.

    if your body tells you to sleep please just sleep, take small walks, read a book you've been wanting to read but haven't had the time to do so before.

    I know I'm repeating myself but please look after yourself. Tomorrow is never promised to any of us and let us/me know how you get on with your CT scan.

    Warmest wishes 

    Liz 🌺

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  • Posted

    Chris,

    Hi and welcome (although I suspect this is a club you would rather not have joined),

    If you suffered heart strain, I would expect that you would need rest, at least for the near future. Then gentle exercise building up to normal.

    You really should also be seeing a heart guy to ensure there is no damage.  Probably isn't but they should check.  It is a simple procedure, consisting of an ultrasound scan of various parts of the heart. It takes about 20 minutes and they take measurements for the heart specialist to review to see if there are any issues.

    All the best

    Peter

     

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  • Posted

    I'd like to say thanks so much to all three of you for adding your wisdom. It is wonderful to have a community like this to share information with.

    I will duly be patient with myself and endeavour to do only what I feel able to do.

    Now that I no longer need pain relief for my DVT I'm wondering if I should stop completely, or keep taking some at night to stop me from waking with chest pains. Thoughts?

    Still waiting to hear back on those CT scan results. I'm guessing no news is good news...

    Chris

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  • Posted

    Hi Chris,

                    Only every take any pain relief when you need it, especially morphine as it can be addictive.

    I would continue to take it night if you are still being woken by the pain.

    What type of morphine are you on if you don't mind me asking?

    I'm only asking as you said about still taking it at night, which suggest that it could be a slow release morphine like (Zomorph) If that's the case it might be a good idea to talk to your GP/doctor for a more instant pain relief like morphine sulphate (Oramorph) which is a liquid morphine, which taste vile, very sweet but it does relieve the pain in approx 20 minutes.

    I would chase up your CT scans as I know I had to.

    I wish you all the best.

    Warmest wishes

    Liz 🦋

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