Pulmonary embolus (clot in lung)

I was taken into hospital Dec 22nd as an emergency - pain in my right side, going round to my back. As I was, and still am, awaiting major surgery to resect the last part of my small intestine and first part of the colon, I thought it was my Crohn’s. The gastro had a chest x-ray done and this found a clot in my right lung. I was put on warfarin, and 10 hrly tube feeding to try and put on some weight. I asked if this was mets from my breast cancer (dx 2003 and now in remission) and he said no, they don’t know how these clots form. I was in hospital 2 weeks - gruesome over Christmas and New Year, and now home for 6 weeks before surgery is scheduled for early March. I have searched the internet and found that lung clots do happen in people with cancer,although none of the consultants I saw in hospital mentioned my bc.
Has anyone else had a lung clot, and if so, how long did it take to disperse? I had another chest x-ray last week, and it is still there. The surgeon said if I insisted on surgery, scheduled for Jan 29th he would have to put a vena cava umbrella into the main artery of my heart, to stop further clots during surgery. He said “intervention” like this has a 10% risk of complications, death being one of them! I just burst into tears, yet am usually very philosophical about my poor health.

Having come 6 yrs without recurrence of bc, I am devastated that this could happen so suddenly - I had no problem breathing or walking, the pain just came overnight. I am on 8 hourly tube feeding at home, which is a real pain in the proverbial as the machine often clogs during the early hours. I have a naso-gastric tube stuck on my face, so reluctant to go out - guess the stares are similar to people going bald with chemo. I got lucky with chemo as I used the cold cap.

Hi Lizziecee

I was diagnosed with a PE following my chemo in august - had to have tinezparim injections fro several weeks and I am now on warfarin for approx six months. Whilst people with cancer can get PE I would have thought it would have been discovered far ealier than this as it tends to be a result of the treatment not the condition.You sound as if you have been ill recently and PEs like any other deep vein thrombosis can occur in anyone that has been immobilised through illness, with low hydration and many other causes - like sitting on a plane for a long period of time. Some times the risk of DVT or PEs can be due to different types of medication so it may be due to your current treatment not your previous BC. I am sure if they thought it was mets they would do other tests. It could also be that with everything going on you are thinking the worst which is quite understandable. PEs can be very dangerous but they have found yours and are taking every conceivable precaution. You should talk to you consultant and ask what they think has caused the PE. Take Care - Love & Hugs

Hi Lizziecee

I too had this dx last March a couple of days before my final chemo and was treated with Clexane injections prior to surgery and then Warfarin for six months post surgery.

I understand how frightened you must be feeling, it was this that scared me more than the bilateral mx I was having, especially when my lovely surgeon amended my consent form to include ‘threat to life’ on it or similar!

I hope things improve for you, let us know.

best wishes


Hi Lizziecee

I had a pulmonary embolism while on chemo. The doctor suggested it was a) because of the cancer and b) because of the chemo. I had heparin injections for 6 months and took warfarin for another 18 months (my oncologist believed in being on the safe side). I have not had any problems since, though I am always told that having had one PE I am now at greater risk of another (and that if I do have another I will be on warfarin for the rest of my life). Worries me when I fly and when I had to have another operation, and my podiatrist won’t operate on my bunion because of it (least of my worries, I suppose)!

But at least they have found yours and are treating it, so that’s the main thing. You do seem always to have such a lot to bear - one thing after another it appears.

Thinking of you and hoping all goes well for you.

Best wishes


Hi again - many thanks for your quick responses - makes me feel less isolated.

In addition to the FEC chemo for bc, I have been on weekly injections of methotrexate which used to be one of the bc drugs, for my Crohn’s for the last 9 years, and I did wonder if this could be the cause. I saw numerous doctors of different disciplines when in hospital, but not one connected with cancer. I have an appt with a consultant haematologist on Feb 18th, a follow up fom a consultation and blood tests in Nov 08 for some unusual spontaneous bleeding on my back, inner thighs and lower abdomen. Perhaps there is just something awry with my blood, and this could have caused the PE. I shall be asking questions!

I had not been immobilised in bed (or a chair!), travelled any distance or flown, before this happened, so it is quite a puzzle.
I was though severely dehydrated in Nov when having a colonoscopy, needed some 4 litres of saline, and maybe this is the root of the problem. I have malnutrition, and lost some 25% of my body weight since last September, and guess this doesn’t help. Part of my current problem is strictures in the small intestine, so eating solid fibrous food is a real no-no. The nightly enteral tube feeding, and 6 bottles of Fortijuice a day is helping and pleased to say I have put on 9 lbs since I came home. Hope springs eternal. My surgeon said after I have this surgery I will be a “new woman” and could live another 30 years - I asked if he knew how old I am - 64 yrs!
My grateful thanks for caring and sharing.