My name is Kelly Nobles, I'm 35, the wife of Eric for 14 years, mother to 4 daughters and follower of Christ. Welcome to a little piece of my life, my daily struggle of living with a DVT and all that comes with it! I am 13 months in the fight of my life. I just had my 7th surgical procedure. Over the next few months I will go back to the beginning of my battle and re-tell the story of where I was, where I am and finally where I hope to be. My heart is to be transparent and to help others. I hope to educate prevention but even more than that I would like to offer a gentle embrace to those affected by this silent killer. So welcome to my neck of the woods, may you be blessed!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Going to War post 7 DVT Testimony

So now that I got the fact that my pregnancy didn't cause this off my chest we can dive into the real reasons why this happened.  While we are in the "wait and see" season I am taking twice daily Lovenox shots and healing from childbirth.  We were also able to do some investigative work.  The first step was a CT scan and PVL Ultra-Sound.  The scan revealed an anatomical deformity that had been hidden for quite some time.  I have a condition called, May-Thurners Syndrome.  The iliac vein and artery cross in the abdomen area but when you have MTS (May Thurners Syndrome)  they don't just cross, the artery pinches off the vein causing pooling of blood which turn into DVT's or blood clots.  Only 2% of people diagnosed with a blood clot have MTS.  DVT's (complications from them) are the number 3 killer of Americans, in fact they kill more people than Breast Cancer.  One in three DVT victims will die of complications such as pulmonary embolism.  Surprised, I know I was.  The longer the DVT goes untreated the more likely you are to have a deadly complication, here I was with a clot nearly filling my leg.  That doesn't happen overnight, I can date pain back months maybe even a year or more! 

I administered Lovenox Shots to myself twice a day in my belly.  I developed lots of bruises and lumps under the skin.  They are expensive and painful.  I stayed on them for a total of 6 months.  After a month of shots another scan revealed the clot had not shrunk at all.  Time for drastic measures.

My surgeon scheduled a 3 part series of surgical procedures.  I would spend 3 days in the ICU.  Day 1: Insert a catheter through length of the clot, inject it with high doses of heparin(strong blood thinning drug) then hook it up to a sonic wave machine to further break down the clot.  Day 2: Remove catheter but oh wait, still more clot so we had to catheterize with a slightly smaller tube and stay hooked up to the sonic machine for another night along with some hefty doses of heparin.  Day 3: Remove catheter, balloon the vein and put 2 stents in the vein to keep it open.  Normally a clot is jello like, my clot had congealed so much it was the consistency of a pencil eraser.  It was so hard the surgeon wasn't sure if he would be able to get the catheter inserted through the clot!  That surgery which usually clears the entire clot cleared about 40% of mine, leaving me with quite a bit of clot still!  After the surgery my doctor came in and told me how blessed I was to even be alive.  He said that he doesn't usually see patients alive with the kind of clot I had! 

This 3 part series marked the first battle of this war.  It was very painful, no relief and the ICU stay was scary.  At this point my baby was just over 1 month old!  We'll stop here for now.  Do you see the Lord in that surgery, I do; rescued from a certain death.  Thank you Lord for saving me, saving me by the cross giving me the gift of eternal life and for saving my life here on this Earth granting me another day with my family. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Lets get one thing straight... post 6 DVT Testimony

During my hospital stay, I was bombarded with a lot of information regarding DVT's.  In weeks to come I received a lot of "advice" from many which were really opinions in disguise.  One thing I kept hearing from professionals and lay people was that the baby somehow caused this.  Every time I heard it I never bore witness with that comment.  In fact it kind of irritated me.

Six years had past since the birth of our 3rd daughter and as I was now mid way through my 30's I began to contemplate our family and if we were done or have more.  I love my babies, pregnancy, nursing and just all of it.  If left up to me I would probably have as many as the Lord would give but I felt my husband, Eric would be better suited for this decision.  I told him that I wanted to follow the Lord's plan for us and not be emotional about this decision.  So, I asked him to pray about when and how to complete our family or if it was already complete.  He agreed but felt like we were content.  In obedience he prayed. 

To our surprise, the Lord had a plan to bless us with a fourth baby, a fourth girl named Chloe.  Eric was sure we were done but continued to pray about it.  We had not heard from the Lord an answer but in Eric's faithfulness to pray and submit to the Lord's will even though he was content with our family we got our blessing!  On an average day about a week after our discussion, I went to the gynecologist for an annual exam and nothing more.  My doc did a pregnancy test for good measure, sure I wasn't pregnant but I had been a little tired so what the hay, right?  When that doc came in and very casually said, oh yeah the test was positive I actually asked her, "positively negative, right?"  Well, we all know how that conversation went.

So having searched throughout the Bible old and new testaments one theme kept coming; children are a blessing from the Lord intended to be blessings and to bring joy.  We are to model ourselves after a child.  To be abandoned and completely unhindered for Jesus!  So if children are a blessing how could this baby bring on a curse of sickness, my DVT situation?  Not possible.  So to be clear, blessings are not curses and nothing bad comes from the Lord's blessing. 

In reality, she helped rescue me.  We are uniquely bonded as the Lord blessed me to allow my body to give birth and sustain her life, her life, her birth extended my life. The Lord gave her as not just a gift of another child but the gift of restoring my body.  See, her birth revealed the spirit of death that had been unleashed on my body.  Her birth revealed the issues in my body that had remained hidden since my own birth.  Guess what, it was not hidden from my God!  Nothing takes Him by surprise.  He, my Lord had been protecting me from death my whole life, He has a plan to prosper me and not to destroy me!!!!!

Tomorrow I will write about what medicine found hidden deep inside that caused this whole mess but for now I'd like to leave you with a scripture or two.

"No weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgement this is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their vindication from Me, declares the Lord." Isaiah 54:17

"Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.  Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's yo8uth.  Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!" Psalm 128:3-5

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Part 2 of my Darkest Night post 5 DVT Testimony

As I lay in that bed wondering if anyone would check on me I still had tears just streaming.  I have never cried like that it was literally like a flood gate of emotion had opened.  Just as I contemplated going against doctor's orders and get myself out of that bed Transport arrived to take me to my room.  As I was being wheeled out we ran into the admitting director who had promised me that she would allow the baby to come to the hospital library where a nurse could wheel me down to nurse.  That was her final offer to keep me in the hospital because at one point I threatened to leave.  I told her, "No baby no Kelly!"  She reassured me she would, "make that happen for me" even though the ER doc insisted she didn't understand what the big deal was, she said, "Just pop a bottle in her mouth and be done with it, my goodness why is this such a big deal?"  Knowing that in just a couple hours I would get to feed and nurture my baby was the glimmer of light I needed to go on.

I arrived at my room assignment where I was greeted by the first angel I would meet along this journey.  A sweet, 20 year veteran nurse greeted me with compassion yet she was a little confused.  She explained that she wasn't sure why I was there because the computer said I had been admitted into the MATERNITY WARD!!!!!!  But as the words were coming out of her mouth and my blood pressure began to rise (you know from yesterdays post that is where I could go and keep my little Chloe with me!) she quickly said while looking at her computer screen, "well, someone is in your file now and oh it looks like OK orders were changed and you are in the right place."  She asked me what happened because she could see that I was distraught.  You would have thought I was her only patient, she sat on the edge of my bed and let me tell her the whole horrible story.  She even gasped in horror with me when I told her how one of the excuses they gave me for not allowing me to be admitted into maternity was because my baby was and I quote, "dirty"!  She gasped and explained that "dirty" was a hospital term and never should have been used in front of me.  It means that the baby has left the sterile environment of the hospital and could now expose the babies in nursery to germs.  But wait, didn't they tell me that the baby would not be the patient therefore the nurses would not even come into contact with her nor would the baby be allowed in the nursery!  Oh well, that is a losing battle, "they" whoever that is, had already decided not to allow me the need of keeping my newborn with me so I could nurse and care for her.  She was only 7 days old!  Can you tell, that got to me?  OK moving on....

Anyway, she knew all the right things to say.  She held my hand and even cried with me.  She divulged hospital secrets to put me at ease.  Things like, the ER Doc who was so mean was known to be mean by all the nurses and also known as the Doctor who hates children!  No wonder she was unwilling to help me.  She even explained that the reason no one came in to check on me was that someone had coded my file as a, "Volatile Patient".  They were all scared of me!  I was not volatile, I was a post pardum, hormonal, in a lot of pain and scared.  I was never rude, I never yelled and I never spoke ugly.  Yes, I was emotional and scared but I treated everyone with respect even though they had not obliged me the same.  Volatile, simply because I challenged them.  They lied to me numerous times, put my health at risk by allowing me to get that upset, unwilling to work with me and they denied me the basic human right of feeding and nurturing my baby.  Volatile?

Well, as we wrapped up the venting session I asked her why I just couldn't go home, after all they had already started the blood thinners so I thought it was safe to go home.  She quickly looked at me and said, "Honey, its not just a little clot, hasn't anyone explained this to you.?"  Of course no one had so she continued, "well, in my 20 years its the biggest clot I have ever seen!  It starts in your pelvis runs all the way down past your knee and back up to your pelvis!"  In fact it was considered a DVT because every deep vein was affected in my left leg.  So she helped me get cleaned up, go to the potty, she got me something to eat (even thought the kitchen was closed), she changed me into some fresh pajama's and just about then Eric arrived.  I told him he didn't have to stay but insisted, he was afraid of what they would do to me if he left again considering what they had done while he was gone in the ER!  My Pastor and his wife showed up and prayed with us, and talked with us.  His wife even massaged me arms and my head to help me relax.  After they left we settled in for the night, I was peaceful and knew that when I woke up I would get to see my sweet Chloe and feed her.

While I slept the admitting director pulled Eric into the hall and said she was not going to allow the baby to come and let me nurse in the library.  She was sorry but he would have to tell me.  When I woke up excited and happy Eric had the daunting task of telling me the news. He requested a conversation with the ER Doc and she refused to come up and see him so she called on the nurse line.  She was as nasty to him as she had been to me.  If this clot was this severe why wasn't a vascular surgeon called in?  Why weren't they doing more?  She refused his answers so he told her that he was holding her personally responsible if anything should happen to me!  When I awoke anticipating seeing my Chloe Eric told me the news but you know what, my fight was gone, I was wiped, I pumped and then quietly cried myself to sleep.

The next morning I got to meet my favorite Vascular Surgeon!  Unfortunately because I was post pardum and still wounded from child birth surgery was going to have to wait, I was a bleeding risk.  The longer you wait the chances of pulmonary embolism and long term damages increase.  We would just have to pray and believe.  So that is what we did.  I started a  routine of
twice a day Lovenox (blood thinner) shots and waited for my next scan to see if the clot was getting smaller. 

Now we wait....

I've enclosed a picture that is similar to what my leg looked like.  Its not my leg but it will give you an idea of how bad it was.  My leg was darker and more purple but the swelling is close to what I experienced.

"Beloved do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings that you may also rejoice and be glad!" 1Peter 4:12-13

Monday, March 28, 2011

Back to the story.... post 4 DVT Testimony

I found myself on a gurney with an ultra-sound Technician telling me what he was going to examine with his machine and for me not to ask him any questions about what he saw since he is not a doctor and he would not be able to discuss his findings with me.  Approximately 3 seconds into the scan his already large blue eyes were just about to pop and he stopped scanning, looked right into my eyes and said, "OK, well, there are SIGNIFICANT findings and I will need to do a lengthy scan to see how bad it is, you are going to be here a while Mrs. Nobles!"  I told him that I would need to nurse in another 45 minutes, and would he be done by then?  He stopped again and said, "No you misunderstand, you are going to be here in this hospital for a long time, you wont be going home tonight!"  Despite the immense pain, the horrific stares from strangers and STAT hospital orders from our OB I still didn't understand the severity of my problem until that moment.  See, this was during the no babies or children in hospital thing, you know, the Swine Flu Epidemic of 2010.  I mean, I had already smuggled in my newborn for this scan and now I had to figure out a way to keep her with me for a whole night?  Geez.  I got my Obstetrician on the phone and he, you know the one who had already misdiagnosed me very carelessly, assured me that the maternity ward would be a safe place for the baby and myself, free of communicable diseases and plenty of room for me.  The only stipulation was that I would need someone to stay with me because the baby was not the patient I was so the nurses would only attend to me.  No problem, I had it covered.

Upon arriving in the ER I met a sweet doctor who informed me there were no clots found in my lungs but I would need to be admitted.  Armed with the permission to keep my newborn with me I quickly retorted that would be fine but I would need to be in the Maternity Ward because of my nursing newborn.  She was fine with that and began the process just as she was ending her shift.  I sent Eric home to retrieve some things for my stay and literally 3 minutes later the new bulldog, I mean Doctor, on shift came in and in one swift conversation informed me: 1.  No maternity ward for me 2. The baby will have to leave immediately 3. You have potentially exposed this little defenseless baby to diseases that could kill her, what kind of mother are you that you would do that!

So after I peeled myself off the floor (figuratively) I began to dial my Obstetrician (yes the one who had misdiagnosed me and assured me that I could keep my NURSING baby with me) and Eric.  There I was hormonal, in immense pain and all alone in my quest to keep my baby.  Between the bulldog, I mean Doctor and her drill sergeant I mean admitting director we must have gone 10 rounds only to end in a technical knock out.  Yes, I fought a long hard fight and used their own words and empty promises against them.  I will spare you the ugly details but if any of you know my personality you know that this is the complete opposite of my character.  I am the most submissive, authority obedient and non confrontational woman you'll meet!  So, I watched my husband take my 7 day old newborn blessing away from me and to my mothers house.  I cried longer and harder than I ever have.  It was to date, my toughest and longest day and night, and that is coming from a woman with 4, count 'em, 4 kids! 

For almost 2 hours I laid in a bed in a glass encased emergency room perched right in front of the nurses station.  The curtains were wide open, I had now been there for several hours with nothing offered to me to eat or drink, I was told not to move out of the bed, no one offered to take me to the bathroom and no one would come in to talk to me.  My call button fell to the floor out of my reach so there I was post pardum, needing to pump milk for the baby, a leg swollen double the size of my other leg, dark purple and a live clot in my leg.  It was past dinner time and I had been there since breakfast! 

Again, the Lord is still God and He was still on the throne even in my darkest hours.  May I encourage you all today no matter what you are going through God is still on His throne and He is still in charge!  Keep your eyes on Him.  I'll see you tomorrow with more of my story.  Blessings!!!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

First things First!! post 3 DVT Testimony

I know I left you at a cliff-hanger but I realized some of you may not even know what a DVT is so today's blog will be first things first.  Once we have understanding we can dive back into story telling!

I am a Victorious Survivor!  I have a DVT and have had it for about 2 years although my doc's debate that I may have had it even longer than that.  DVT stands for Deep Vein Thrombosis.  It's a blood clot in a deep vein resulting from damage to a vein or blood flow slowing or stopping.  Blood clots in veins are common but your body is equipped to dissolve them before they become a problem.  DVT's are somewhat rare in someone like me. I am very active, thin, no family history of clotting, I work out and I am only 35.  Many complications have caused my DVT and this DVT has caused many complications for me!  DVT's are very painful and considered to be silent killers.  One of the biggest risks that may come with a DVT is something called a PE, Pulmonary Embolism.  This is when the blood clot travels to your lungs and can be fatal.  DVT's and their complications kill more people every year than breast cancer!  DVT's are the number 3 killer of people in the United States.  In fact, 1 of every 3 people with a DVT dies from complications of that DVT!  Did you read that: 1 in 3!!!  The more blood clots you get and the longer its there undetected the higher probability you will die from it.  My doctors discovered that I have been battling unknown blood clots for years and yet here I am to tell the story.  God is great! 

I have experienced a gamut of emotions stemming from this battle.  Fear, anger, depression, grief, frustration, and desperation; just to name a few.  I will share my journey with you of how I got from waiting to die to actively pursuing healing and more of Jesus while leaving less of "me" behind.  I was at a point that this DVT defined me, I lost Kelly and no longer recognized myself anymore.  What I didn't realize is that it was ok to lose myself because God had so much more for me and who it was He created me to be.  This is my journey......

Friday, March 25, 2011

How it started...post 2 DVT Testimony

So looking back there were signs something was wrong.  I was in my third trimester of my 4th pregnancy and I noticed during workouts my left leg burned more than the right.  Even after workouts were done, my left thigh felt like I had sprained a muscle.  My Obstetrician actually answered my complaints with, "Well, you're pregnant, that's why your muscle hurts." When I persisted that I had never had this kind of pain in my previous pregnancies her reply was, "Well, you have never been pregnant a fourth time before!"  So I let it go.  You know, I'm not one to complain/whine so I backed down---my first mistake, backing down.  As months went on I gave birth naturally with no complications to a beautiful baby girl, Chloe.  The night before my discharge we asked a nurse to look at my left foot because it was swollen but my right was not.  I was assured it was water retention....and again we persisted why only in one foot but again, were told it happens and not to worry-----we backed down-------MISTAKE! 

2 days upon arriving at home, a Friday, my upper left thigh began to swell (during all this time that sore muscle feeling never went away, months of irritating pain) so we went back to the Obstetrician who told us it was not necessary to send a young, thin, physically active woman for the $1000.00 scan.  In fact he told me it was water retention, yes he insisted it could be in just one limb, and to go home and walk it off!  By Monday morning my leg was unrecognizable!  The pain was astronomical, the leg had doubled in size and it had turned purple.  My husband physically carried me back to the Obstetrician that had originally sent me home to suck it up and walk it off!  There I was; a week post pardum, baby in my arms, having to breast feed while in sever pain, scared, not knowing what was going on with my body and having the doctor tell me to rush right to the emergency room! 

I'll stop here for today.  I want you all to know that even in this state of panic, state of unknown and intense pain my Lord was still on the throne.  He had His eye and His hand on me the whole time.  This might be the beginning of a major battle, in fact, its a battle that is still not over but beloved, the war is already fought and there is VICTORY. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Welcome! post 1 DVT Testimony

Welcome to a little piece of my life, my daily struggle living with a DVT and all that comes with it!  I am 13 months in the fight of my life.  I just had my 7th venogram/surgical procedure.  This is where I am today.  Over the next few weeks I will go back to the beginning of my struggle and tell the story of where I was, am and hope to be.  My heart is to be transparent and help others.  I would really like to educate prevention but more than that I would like to offer a gentle embrace to those affected by this silent killer!  So again, welcome to my neck of the woods, may you be blessed.