A warn­ing about risky blood clots

Antelope Valley Press - - VALLEY LIFE - An­nie Lane Send your ques­tions for An­nie Lane to dear­an­[email protected] cre­ators.com

Dear An­nie: Last year, I lost my dad. He had stage IV can­cer, but that’s not what killed him. In fact, af­ter his first few months of chemo­ther­apy, a scan showed that the can­cer was mostly gone. Then, a few weeks later, he died sud­denly in his sleep. We de­clined to do an au­topsy, but from talk­ing to doc­tors it seems that there’s a good chance it was a blood clot.

I have since learned that there is a strong as­so­ci­a­tion be­tween can­cer and blood clots, and I felt com­pelled to write here and share some in­for­ma­tion.

Both chemo­ther­apy and can­cer in­crease the risk of blood clots. The CDC re­ports that blood clots are the sec­ond-leading cause of death among people with can­cer. Ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Blood Clot Al­liance, blood clots af­fect 900,000 people ev­ery year in the U.S., and one in five blood clots are re­lated to can­cer and can­cer treatment. NBCA notes that the risk of a dan­ger­ous blood clot “is great­est in the first few months af­ter a can­cer di­ag­no­sis.” The more ad­vanced a can­cer is, the higher the risk of blood clots. Other risk fac­tors in­clude per­sonal or fam­ily history of blood clots, hos­pi­tal­iza­tion, bone frac­tures, heart dis­ease, di­a­betes, obe­sity, smok­ing and trav­el­ing for more than four hours.

Symp­toms of a blood clot in­clude:

• Swelling, pain or ten­der­ness in the arms or legs.

• Skin that on the arms or legs that is dis­col­ored and/or warm to the touch.

• Dif­fi­culty breath­ing.

• Chest pain that in­ten­si­fies with a deep breath.

• Faster than nor­mal or ir­reg­u­lar heart­beat.

Al­though blood clots can be deadly if left unchecked, they are pre­ventable and treat­able. I en­cour­age any­one un­der­go­ing treatment for can­cer to talk to their doc­tor about their risk for blood clots. More de­tails are avail­able at stopthe­clot.org.

— Miss­ing My Dad Dear Miss­ing: I am so sorry for your loss, and I’m happy to print this po­ten­tially life-sav­ing in­for­ma­tion here.

Dear An­nie: Grow­ing up, I was al­ways in and out of foster homes. To­day, my par­ents and sib­lings are not there for me or my chil­dren. But my hus­band and his fam­ily have been won­der­ful to my chil­dren and me. They’re not even like in­laws at all; I see them more like my real fam­ily than any­thing else.

My par­ents never get my kids any­thing for Christ­mas, not even a card, yet they give all my nieces and nephews gifts (in­clud­ing, this past year, new iPhones). My chil­dren are older now and are used to it. They don’t re­ally mind it. But I can’t seem to get over the fact that my par­ents ex­pect us to reach out to them when they don’t re­cip­ro­cate. If I ap­proach my par­ents to talk about this sub­ject, they turn it around and make us the bad guys. I just don’t know what to do any­more. I al­ways come to ex­tended fam­ily out­ings just to keep the peace. We dis­tance our­selves aside from those events. I’m so hurt by their ways. What to do?

— Sad Adult Daugh­ter Dear Sad: First, in­ter­nal­ize the fol­low­ing: Your par­ents’ cold be­hav­ior is not a re­flec­tion on you. And it doesn’t mean that they don’t love you. It sim­ply means that they have some se­vere lim­i­ta­tions that make it im­pos­si­ble to have the type of re­la­tion­ship you’d wish to have with them.

I sug­gest at­tend­ing coun­sel­ing to help you es­tab­lish some healthy bound­aries. You might also find so­lace in read­ing “Toxic Par­ents: Over­com­ing Their Hurt­ful Le­gacy and Re­claim­ing Your Life” by Su­san For­ward, a defin­ing work on the sub­ject of toxic par­ents.

It is re­mark­able how you have thrived de­spite your par­ents’ short­com­ings. You have de­vel­oped deep, lov­ing re­la­tion­ships with your hus­band, chil­dren and in­laws. They are your real fam­ily, in the most mean­ing­ful sense.

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