Tuesday, March 31, 2009

There And Back Again

Late yesterday afternoon, I had symptoms indicative of more embolism problems: light-headedness, fatigue, tingling in my extremities and shortness of breath, plus an ache under my right arm between my bicep and tricep (I'm actually not sure if the last one is an embolism symptom). After a couple phone calls to the Hematology Department at Guthrie in Sayre, Daniela, Beau & I were on our way to the Emergency Room.

We got there at 7 PM. After CTs of my head and chest both came up negative for additional blood clots and/or masses, they admitted me. At 5 AM. Gotta love emergency rooms. Fortunately, Daniela & I agreed at midnight that it was time for Beau and her to go home. We were pretty positive I wan't going anywhere and I promised to give her a call with any updates.

Since I experienced the said symptoms and both tests showed no changes in the size of the embolism, I was admitted for observation in hopes that a determination might be made. Yet four days is not really a significant amount time to see shrinkage in embolisms.

At 12 o'clock this afternoon, I received an MRI. The intention of the MRI was to determine if the supposed embolism was in fact a tumor. Were the MRI to reveal blood vessels in the mass thought to be the embolism, it would be proof of a tumor in the pulmonary artery. Fortunately, no blood vessels were revealed. Yet because the mass is so small, a tumor can not yet be ruled out. And because the mass has not shrunk, an embolism can no longer be confirmed.

Even better: Daniela and I waited from noon, when I had the MRI, until sometime after 5 PM this evening before I was told no determination could be made. For the first four hours, my stomach was a wreck - as I waited and I wondered if the cancer had metastasized. Daniela wasn't exactly having "a day in the park."

With no proof of an embolism and no guarantee the mass is not a tumor, I must wait until April 13th - when I have another CT scheduled - so my doctor can hopefully make a clear determination.

And that is all we can do because the nameless material can not be biopsied. There is no way to get to it with a catheter because the pulmonary artery is located between the heart and the lungs. And a PET Scan would serve no purpose because the mass is still too small for the PET Scan to pick it up. Quite a lousy situation to be in, but for some reason, my gut tells me it is only an embolism. Only an embolism. Now that's some perspective! Well...hopefully on the 13th we'll have some answers. In the mean time, the anxiety is over because there is nothing else I can do...but wait.


  1. You are not alone. So many people are waiting with you. Praying and loving you into health.

  2. Hey, one thing I forgot to ask... what if you have those symptoms again? Do they want you to come back to the hospital? Or did they give you something for it?

  3. Reply to Vivienne:

    If I have these symptoms again, I would need to immediately be seen by my doctor to determine the reason. Having been diagnosed with a PE already, the docs always look for new clots in the body, which would mean the Lovenox would not be working. And considering how dangerous another would be, they would keep a very close eye on me.

  4. This is the kind of thing that can really get you down. Hang in there, Bert, and know that so many people are praying for you.

    And...April is here. A miracle in itself.

    Wendy in Minnesota