Wednesday, May 08, 2013

I've been told not to run

My running came to a sudden, unforeseen stop last Wednesday. The doctor told me not to run until my arm had "settled down" — at the moment, it's settled, but settled up! On the Monday prior, I'd noticed significant swelling in the arm, which came on abruptly. A visit to the E.D. and an ultrasound showed numerous blood clots. Turns out I have DVT in the arm — unusual, as when we think of DVT the legs come to mind. The cause in my case is uncertain. It could be due to a trauma (I vaguely recall bashing my wrist into a door a while back), or some underlying 'mechanical' cause. Further blood tests and a ct-scan later this month may shed further light on the mystery.

I'm on a 3-week course of Rivaroxaban (2 tablets per day), followed by a further 3 months of 1 tablet per day. This drug thins the blood and prevents further clotting, but from what I've read, it's the body's own systems that either break down the clots or divert blood around the damaged veins. The danger of running while I'm in this acute phase is that more rapid blood movement may dislodge a clot and move it to the lungs. The doctor said "unlikely now" [that I'm on Rivaroxaban], but that I should be careful. She said light (lower HR?) exercise is okay and encouraged, such as walking but running is out until the swelling has reduced. Apparently this could take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a month or more.

So, my immediate running and racing plans are on hold. No dicing with Janene in the Mother's Day 5k Classic this Sunday! I'm hopeful of being able to race in the City to Surf in August. I think July's Gold Coast 10k could be too soon. In the meantime, I've commenced a streak of not running — now up to 7 days and counting. Go me!

 Left 'normal' arm and right 'Popeye' arm (with skin graft)


Blogger Trevor said...

Best of luck for a speedy recovery Ewen. A local elite runner (female masters champ at Boston in 2010) struggled with clotting in her lungs a couple years back, and is now back as strong as ever ... so there it can happen!

10:20 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How scary and I'll second what Trevor said about best of luck for a speedy recovery. One of my girlfriends had a clot in her calf which she thought was a 'strain' & tried to stretch it out. She was on tablets for a while & is now as good as new.
I'll shout you a beer at the end of the City2Surf. Take care, Fiona

10:55 am  
Blogger Luckylegs said...

Popeye arm...doesn't look as swollen as I'd thought .I think if you do as Popeye did and eat more spinach, you'll be back in no time!

3:13 pm  
Blogger Raina said...

Darn! This is no good, except that you caught it. That part is VERY good.
I had a blood clot in my left leg (the one currently out of commission) while pregnant with, and after having, my third son. I am still not sure what exactly caused it, but my veins on that shin are blown way out. (huge).
The clot was very scary, but it was not en route to brain or lungs, so just a clot and not a DVT. This was nearly 4 years was between the size of a pea and a marble. I never had to take thinners for it, but now I can barely feel it. It's probably the diameter of a piece of rice.
OK that's probably more about my clot that you wanted to know! ha.

Sorry you will miss the mother's day race. I hope you are back on the road really soon!

4:06 pm  
Blogger plu said...

Hi Ewen,

All the best with this setback to your health - running will never be an issue for you. You know how to run and rebuild again.


6:10 pm  
Blogger Thomas said...

Crikey, that's scary - I hope you're okay.

7:22 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Trev. That's reasuring to hear.

Thankyou Fiona - I'll take you up on that offer!

Luckylegs, but I hate spinach!

Raina, I can never hear enough clot stories ;-) I'm not sure what caused mine either - I can recall a hard knock to the wrist so maybe that was the trauma.

Thanks Martin. I'll start with a streak of 6k runs.

Thomas, thanks. Yes, I'm okay. Happened quickly, so worth remembering should you ever get sudden swelling in the arms or legs.

8:04 pm  
Blogger Two Fruits said...

A chance to recharge & get well. After this streak comes to an end, add a walking streak & you could hold all the records. Don't think you will miss those early cold starts at work for a while. Take care.

8:18 pm  
Blogger Jog Blog said...

This is something you need to take seriously even if you feel ok in all other respects. Take the time it takes until all the diagnostics show it's safe for you to run again.

I agree with Plu in that when that time comes, you'll get up to your preferred distance and speed quite quickly.

Look after you.

8:29 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks 2Fs. I'll be happy if I get nowhere near my 414 day running streak. Yes, finally sleeping in to about 7.30.

I will Liz - thanks.

10:07 pm  
Blogger Run, Karla, Run! said...

Ewen, I'm so sorry! I wish you the speediest of recoveries. Be sure and take care of yourself. Keep us updated on your recovery!

10:38 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sheesh, that is scary! I'm glad you got ahead of it before it got any worse. Best of luck with recovery; sending positive thoughts into the universe for you!

1:43 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Best wishes for a speedy recovery

7:30 am  
Blogger TokyoRacer said...

Wow, that's strange...wonder what caused it?
The Wikipedia article recommends compression socks for calf DVT, so see if you can get those or compression are sleeves, or even an Underarmor type compression top.

2:21 pm  
Blogger Cecilia said...

Oh no! That's quite scary - I hope it's a result of that wrist/door injury and not something less temporary! May you have a rapid recovery!

11:15 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Karla, thanks. Recovery is progressing slowly (but surely I hope!)

Thanks Canute.

Bob, from what I've been told there are three causes: Hereditry blood disease, sudden trauma (a fall, graze etc) or 'underlying mechanical' (rib pushing on a vein etc). The specialist didn't say that that compression would help in the case of the arm - think it's more for legs and prevention.

Thankyou Cecilia!

8:30 am  
Blogger Black Knight said...

I am very very sorry and you know how I can understand your feeling.
Take care, don't give up and heal soon.
All the best!

3:27 am  
Blogger RICK'S RUNNING said...

Hope your OK again really soon!
Wishing you a speedy full recovery.

5:02 am  
Blogger Janene said...

Well ET. You could have jogged the MDC quicker than I ran it today. What a fizzer! I hope you enjoyed your walk around LBG!

All the best for a speedy recovery and enjoy that not running streak while you can ;-)

12:38 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Stefano. You're the master when it comes to overcoming health issues.

Thanks Rick - hope you can score an a/g PB in the Rubbish 5k Series.

J, sorry to hear that - missed you afterwards. Can't have been because you weren't close enough to the front row at the start. Glorious morning for a walk!

1:44 pm  
Blogger Lize Brittin said...

Oh man! I am just seeing this now. I hope you are back to normal again soon. Rest well and enjoy the down time.

Thinking of you. xo

12:51 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Lize. It's improving slowly. I'm "enjoying" cleaning up the house and making room for my new toy...

6:00 pm  
Blogger missmia said...

You and me - the not running streak! It's one streak I'd rather not be participating in. Hope things are improving for you.

10:58 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Yes! I've got a head-start on you - up to 17 days. Don't want to hit triple figures with this one! Same to you re improvement.

7:09 pm  
Blogger Alisa said...

I'm a friend of RunningStories and she suggested I check out your blog. I too, have a DVT diagnosis but it is in my leg. They think caused by my foot fracture/immobilization and a long car trip while immobilized.

DVT is scary, at least to me it has been but good to know there are others out there who are getting through it.

For me, running is out of the question for a little while, partly due to the foot fracture but also b/c holy heck this DVT thing hurts!

Unlike you, I wasn't swollen at all and not warm to the touch. Basically a-symptomatic other than pain.

Glad to hear you are doing better! I am really wanting to get back out there but I fear I'm a little bit out from being able to.

7:43 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Hi Alisa,
Thanks for reading. Yes, what you said would cause it - much more common in the leg than the arm. Running would be out of the question, but perhaps swimming will be OK earlier?

I've been off work for six weeks (my work is somewhat physical and I use my arms a lot) - just this past week my arm has been feeling and looking 'pretty normal' (I haven't been favouring it). The drug I'm on, Rivaroxaban, has only been out for a couple of years - good as don't need regular blood monitoring or injections - worth asking about. Definitely not worth returning too early to exercise - do as your doctor suggests!

One of my friends said on FB that a friend of his had DVT (in the leg) one April, and was able to return to running and run the Gold Coast Marathon that July, but I reckon he must have been running early against doctor's orders! Best of luck with your recovery.

7:19 pm  
Blogger Alisa said...

Thanks for your comment on my blog and reply above. I have been swimming and slowly limping/walking around more and more every day. Since I still have a foot fracture I won't be running anytime soon, that's for sure.

I'll be following along with your recovery!

2:19 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

It's a slow process - the body takes its own good time. Limping around is probably better than not moving at all. I'm just back to work after 7 weeks off and jogging about 2/3 the weekly mileage I was before the DVT.

5:59 pm  

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