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Recovery Time?
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At the beginning of March I developed 3 unexplainable clots in my left leg. I'm a very active 24 year old non-smoking male and I've never had a single health problem before this.

Now it has been a month and a half and my clots are still there. I'm on Coumadin and I've taken Lovanox at the beginning of my recovery but they haven't seemed to do much good. I've had to walk with a cane for the past month and I'm getting to the point where I can barely stand up on my own long enough to shower. Over the past week I've started developing these hard red spots under the skin right above my ankle that are pretty painful.

I went to my doctor last week and got another ultrasound and he confirmed that my clots are still there. The problem is that we are still doing the same treatment. I've been getting worse and yet I'm expected to just remain crippled until hopefully the medicine finally kicks out the clots. How long is this process expected to take? He seemed really surprised that my clots were still there but he sure didn't seem interesting in pursuing a different treatment.
Posted on 04/17/09, 10:10 am
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Reply #1 - 04/17/09  10:49am
" Hi, I'm sorry that you're going through this situation, I know it's very hard, and it seems like your doctor has not explained very well the purpose of the Lovenox or other anticoagulants.

Lovenox and coumadin do not get rid of your clots. It's up to your body to slowly take care of that problem. What the anticoagulants do is prevent your blood clots from growing, which could eventually cause life-threatening complications. You won't "feel" the Lovenox working. It will take time for you to feel better. Follow your doctor's recommendations regarding exercise and treatment. It will get better eventually, but it does take awhile, it's not something that goes away in a few weeks time.

You are likely disappointed to have had the ultrasound confirm that your clots are still there, but actually in my opinion you got good news. Probably the u/s was done to make sure your clots hadn't grown, which evidently they didn't. The fact that they're still there at this point in recovery would not really be a surprise.

I wish you well with your recovery. Just try to stay patient and listen to your body in the meantime.

Sarah "
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Reply #2 - 04/17/09  1:46pm
" It can be a SLOW process and there really is no different treatment unless the clots are so severe that they have to do something surgical.

Can you ask for something for the pain? I usually can suck up pain pretty well, but the DVT pain was worse for me after diagnosis than prior to diagnosis. I couldn't walk or stand without being in intense pain, yet my doc wanted me to get up and walk several times a day. My doc gave me a RX for Darvecet (spelling?). It's not a heavy narcotic. It's like a step up from Tylenol 3,so you don't feel all drugged out and weird. I took it for about a week and then only as needed. I didn't even finish the whole RX because eventually, the pain did subside enough to function. But for me, it was enough to at least take the edge off the pain initially.

This whole thing is a lesson in patience, that's for sure. You're going to be ok, though. "
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Reply #3 - 04/17/09  10:14pm
" The clots usually are still there and actually may never completely go away but your body developes what is called collateral circulation to divert around the clotted areas and circuation is improved. however this takes quite awhile for the body to do and restore that decreased circulation. So I guess just take time for the body to repair itself.
I hope this helps it will probably get better. "
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Reply #4 - 04/17/09  10:44pm
" You did not mention compression stockings. Are you wearing them? That is a big part of the treatment for DVT. They help to push the blood into the deep veins. There are countless posts here about them if you do a search.

I wear Sigvaris 20-30 pantyhose which go from waist to toe. A lot of doctors recommend 30-40, but my doc said he can't get anyone to wear the pantyhose that strong. I only shower and sleep without them. If I do much walking around without them my leg hurts and swells a lot.

Try to drink a lot of water. My doc told me to resume normal activities once I got my hose. I prop my legs at work, get up and move around every half hour or so. I started walking and stretching and it seems to help a lot. I gradually built up the distance. If I sit all day I think my legs hurt worse.

I posted a message almost identical to yours when I was a month out. Now I have had mine 3 months. My doc said my collateral flow is improving and I am in recovery phase. It will get better. The pain will get less and less. If you can't exercise yet at least flex your ankles and move your leg muscles as much as possible while laying. I also put a row of unused encyclopedias under the foot of my mattress to elevate it. I wake up every morning with an unswollen leg. Of course it still swells as the day goes on, but most days are better.

My doc won't talk about another u/s yet. He feels of my veins each time I go in for my INR . It takes a long time for the body to break down the clot. The Coumadin prevents new clots or pieces from breaking off and turning into PE. It is preventative rather than healing.

Hang in there. Of course, please discuss my advice with your doctor. This is just from my personal experience. I pray for your improved health. "
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Reply #5 - 04/21/09  10:37am
" its been 8 months now since I was dx and at first they tell you oh a couple of weeks maybe and you'll be up and around like before, then, after a coupe of weeks and you still got it, they say it could take a couple of months. Well its been 8 months and the clot is just now starting to show signs of blood flow, but by no means is gone yet.The ultrasound results I read 2 weeks ago said ACUTE DVT. Which means still an active dvt.So, I don't tell you this to scare you or depress you,and everyone heals at a different pace, but I wish I had been more prepared for the long haul thats this has been, instead of all the disappiontments along the way. Hope yours heals much quicker then mine! "
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Reply #6 - 04/21/09  10:42am
" Thank you for the comments. I'm glad to hear my recovery time isn't abnormal. It's not easy to hear that I could be like this for a year or more but I'd rather hear the truth. "
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Reply #7 - 04/21/09  11:53am
" My doctor told me two months recovery time minimal, and while I have a chronic clot and chronic pain, the worst of it did subside about two months out. I was told the chronic clot may never go away, so I'm trying to just get used to it.

Definitely wear the stocking, I think that contributes to my lack of pain. Also a bit of exercise, but I've just been able to start that in the last month or so--I'm 6 months post acute clot now. Walking daily or riding the exercise bike seem to help the pain overall. "

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