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Pulmonary Embolism

An update from Per:

Last weekend, we got back from a wonderful spring break with the kids in Hawaii. Gina was feeling pretty jet-lagged…or so we thought. But by Wednesday night, her bad belly and fatigue were joined by dizziness, and sharp pain in her right shoulder and neck.

Knowing that area is where referred pain from liver issues presents, we got the twins ready for school and headed to the ER on Thursday morning.

We spent the day there, running Gina through all manner of tests and scans. The good news was that it wasn’t a recurrence of cancer (PHEW), the bad news was that Gina had a pulmonary embolism (PE) in her right lung—the other organ that can lead to referred pain in the right shoulder.

With an Rx for blood thinners in hand and instructions to rest, we headed back home.

Overnight, the pain moved to Gina’s head. It was so severe that it had her in tears. By morning, she just wasn’t herself: dizzy, nauseous, and couldn’t get her eyes to work in unison. So we returned to the ER. After a ton of questions and physical exams by several doctors, they put Gina on a stroke protocol.

For the record, while we knew something definitely wasn’t right, we also didn’t believe that Gina had or was having a stroke. After 6 different scans, EKGs, and an echocardiogram, and an overnight in the hospital; the stroke team and neurologists came to agree with us.

Their conclusion was that the previous day’s PE had triggered a much bigger reaction in her body than is typical—including a massive migraine (her first ever) which accounted for many of the other symptoms.

While it’s not Gina’s first blood clot since her cancer treatment began—more like her fourth—it’s the only one not directly related to a surgery. And it’s annoying, as her chances of having future migraines and strokes unfortunately just went up.

Bring on the blood thinners and compression socks.

The Silver Lining:

We’re headed to MSK next weekend to get scans and meet with Gina’s oncology team—and we’re doing so with a great sense of optimism, with eight different scans over the past few days giving us a sneak preview of what we hope is good news to come.

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