Tim, 55-year-old father and grandfather, is a Tulsa native that enjoys tournament bass fishing, hunting, and hosting a weekly Sunday dinner with his family. Over the past four years, Tim has overcome challenges in his health that included colon cancer surgery, chemo treatment and two pulmonary embolisms. His awareness of pulmonary embolism likely saved his life in April 2021.
In 2017, Tim underwent a successful colon cancer surgery that unfortunately resulted in a pulmonary embolism, large blood clots in his lungs, with a prognosis there would be nothing he could do other than the standard anticoagulation treatment in hope that the blood clots would dissolve before they became scar tissue in his lungs. Twice a day for the entire year following his pulmonary embolism diagnosis, Tim injected Lovenox into his abdomen. “I never felt the same once I had the pulmonary embolism. My oxygen saturation rarely went above 95% and I remember being short of breath doing the slightest amount of physical activity,” said Tim about the effect pulmonary embolism was having on his daily life.
A few years later in October 2020, a CAT scan found a tumor in his abdomen, and he began chemotherapy shortly after his second cancer diagnosis. The chemo treatment made him tired, and he noticed he was short of breath more frequently. Initially, Tim did not consider blood clots might be the cause for his lethargy until he woke up at 2 a.m. one morning in April severely short of breath. He went to the kitchen table to check his oxygen saturation and could not believe what he saw on the monitor. “My oxygen levels read 79%. I thought there is no way and changed the batteries on the device,” said Tim. The new batteries showed a reading of 80%. Tim knew it was bad and woke his wife up at 5 a.m. to drive him to Hillcrest Medical Center.
Tim nearly passed out walking to the doors of the emergency department. Once inside, Tim knew it was pulmonary embolism as he was experiencing almost identical symptoms as he had a few years earlier, albeit much more serious this time around. He was brought to a room where he was started on anticoagulation and give oxygen. Dr. Eugene Ichinose, Interventional Cardiologist, visited with Tim to discuss a new treatment for pulmonary embolism. “Tim presented with a high-intermediate risk pulmonary embolism that could cause him to crash at a moment’s notice. He was walking the line of stable or unstable, and I recommended we intervene with FlowTriever to rapidly remove the blood clots from his lungs,” said Dr. Ichinose regarding Tim’s condition.
“The FlowTriever procedure was incredible. I remember Dr. Ichinose took off my oxygen mask within the first 20 minutes of the procedure and I could breathe on my own without any difficulty. I watched him and his team fill up the table next to me with the blood clots they removed from my lungs,” said Tim about his experience. Tim was walking around his hospital room later that day and was sent home two days after his procedure. “It took me over a year to feel better with anticoagulation with my first pulmonary embolism. Within an hour I could take full breaths and had no trouble breathing at all. I would recommend the FlowTriever procedure to anyone that is given the option,” said Tim.
Tim is feeling great today playing with his grandchildren, walking his dog, and doing his best to find that 10-pound bass in fishing tournaments around Tulsa. He is grateful for Dr. Ichinose and the entire Hillcrest Medical team for their flawless execution in his pulmonary embolism diagnosis and treatment.