Arrival back home!

Sherry West

First post: Dec 15, 2016 Latest post: Oct 24, 2018
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Sherry is undergoing treatment for blood clots in both legs. The treatment and recovery will depend on what we learn along the way. The recovery is expected to take months and the path is undetermined.

Sherry began feeling leg pains shortly after having a platelet injection treatment for her knees. Since it happened at the same time, her initial visits were to the orthopedist, who believed they were due to muscle stress from gait changes to compensate for the knee treatment. As the leg pain went on and increased, several treatments were tried, believing it was related to the knee treatment.

After several weeks of the conditioning worsening and Sherry having difficulty walking more than a half a block, she tried a neurologist, who diagnosed it as a blood cell and nerve reaction to the platelet injection and prescribed some medicines.

The following day, Sherry awoke with a knot in her leg and extreme pain walking at all. Having experienced DVT about 20 years ago, Sherry called 911 and was transported to Exeter Hospital.

At the hospital, the initial ultrasound test for the veins were fine, but they didn't like some of the results. They ordered a CAT scan. The CAT scan detected blood clots in both legs and in one hip. It was blocking blood flow to her legs.

The doctors think this is unrelated to the platelet treatment, but more likely clots from her heart due to a recent diagnosed arrhythmia. They say it was just luck and good fortune that they went to the leg instead of her head (stroke) or other organs that could not be treated.

The hospital brought in a vascular surgeon to assess the condition. There was immediate concern due to the length of time it had gone undiagnosed and untreated. They started a treatment to try to chemically break up the clots in the left (worse) leg and made arrangements to transfer her to Dartmouth-Hitchcock, which has a top vascular surgery department.

Once at Dartmouth, the flow of blood to her left leg from the de-clotting chemical resulted in the muscles swelling and compressing the vessels and nerves further, so surgery was immediately scheduled on the left leg on Saturday (9/3). The surgery was to open the left leg to relieve pressure from the muscles and to perform and artery bypass from her thigh to her ankle on the left leg. It took about 6 hours as was expected.

After the surgery, there were complications in her blood flow to the foot while still in recovery. They went back to the operating room to investigate and try again. The second surgery took another 6 hours. During the second surgery they took a number of additional measures to give it the best chance for success. Then, it was wait and see if the blood would would continue to flow to the foot and if the foot would distribute the blood.

At this point, 2 days later, the blood flow is continuing to her left foot. The surgeons, and all of the rest of us are very pleased that this part of the treatment seems to be working.

This is the first of what will be many more obstacles to cross in the recovery. We are focusing on these at the pace recommended by the doctors and trying to follow their advice not to get ahead of ourselves. But we still need to determine how the nerves, muscles and tissues in the left foot recover from the lack of good blood flow for so long. They have not begun to treat her right leg, due to the amount of trauma in the left leg.

Sherry and the rest of the family take a lot of comfort from the support from everyone and want encourage people to continue. At this point, the support has been so great that Sherry is feeling overwhelmed by the individual emails and texts. The family is beginning to have difficulty spreading the word, while caring for Sherry and each other.

We have created this CaringBridge so we can communicate with everyone and all of our friends and family can communicate back to us and each other in a way that Sherry can read and process as she is able to get to it.

Sherry is a rock that many people rely on. She is a winner and a go getter. We have confidence that what ever happens in this journey, that she will aggressively fight to heal and recover in the best way possible. She continues to surprise the doctors with her recovery and fortitude. Everyone's support has helped, substantially. She is fortunate to have devoted immediate family, extended family, and close friends that she knows she can count on the help her and the family through this.

We are all thankful that the situation was not as bad as it could have been and the there are so many people supporting Sherry.

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