Tag Archives: blood work

Blood thinning

So after genetic testing came back positive it’s looking like I will be on blood thinners for the foreseeable future. I am working closely with my hematologist to stay on the best course of action for me with everything. The emergency surgery from December has also pushed back the removal of my IVC filter for a few more months, but I know that will happen when it’s supposed to. I was hoping it would be out already, but everything happens when it’s supposed to and I have faith that I am protected just like in December.

I also had blood work to check all my levels to make sure that things have returned to normal. We felt it would be good to re-check my iron, vitamin, and blood volume. After everything it’s good to make sure no more surprises. I mean birthday surprises are good, anemia, not so much! I have been feeling really run down still which is what we have been concerned about, but that isn’t really anything too new.

My shoulder has been bothering me more so we have been doing more physical therapy exercises to try and strengthen it. I am hoping that will help so I have less pain in it. My knee popped really loud so I’ve been upping my knee rehab at home too hoping that helps, I am also going to get new knee braces soon. That hopefully will help soon. The good part of losing weight is that they are big, the bad part is that they are big.

It will be good. On wards and upwards. ALL IS WELL!

NAPS!

Okay fess up who doesn’t like a good NAP? I mean I really think the Spanish have it right with siestas in the afternoon! Take a nap go back to work, you feel refreshed! As a child I stopped napping at 6 months which my poor Mom had to put up with, as an adult I take a nap about everyday now…I think I am making up for lost time…sorry Mom! My Mom really is a saint! She takes me to my appointments, helps with taking me to do odd errands like going to the bank, post office etc. When she jokes about that I am her full time job she’s not kidding!

I am really grateful for my Mom and how much help she has been these last couple of years with getting me to these appointments. I don’t know where I would be without her. It’s been nice to spend some extra time with her. Of course when we spend all this extra time it doesn’t feel like quality time because its always around medical appointments. I am seeing this doctor or that doctor, I’m getting this or that test run. So every once in awhile she and I will pick a day and just go out. We’ll spend some quality time together that is not around some medical appointment or procedure.

I know that my whole life is not going to be based around doctor visits and medical testing but right now that’s what it feels like and it’s exhausting! I have all these pills to take, all these blood draws and tests plus physical therapy. I’m always at this doctor or that’s office for some sort of check up. I have this test or that test coming up. My calendar is already filling up for December and we haven’t even hit September yet… life of anyone with a chronic illness!

Oh Potassium….

For those of you who have been on this journey with me for awhile you know I have this waltz with potassium. For anyone just joining welcome and let me give you an abbreviated version of the story…. Last year right before my 2nd & 3rd spinal surgeries I had my routine blood work done and it was found that my Potassium level was a little low, so they put me on potassium supplements. Then I had a saddle pulmonary embolism (massive blood clot both sides of my lungs), to which I was apparently supposed to die, but I refused..well I’m stubborn like that…to which I continued to battle with the Potassium for months until they stopped one of my medications in hopes that my Potassium would return to normal. I got a good reading and all was SUPPOSED TO BE RIGHT IN THE KINGDOM!!!!

Fast forward to yesterday…..I had to have more routine blood work done for my upcoming surgery (do we sense a theme here?) and I got to see the results this morning and I’m looking at all the results and everything is looking good some stuff is a little on the low side of normal, some on the higher side of normal, but all NORMAL so I’m like good, good, good..and THEN….I get to the line that says POTASSIUM….I think it’s going to become a curse word in my vocabulary. I mean seriously…. it’s LOW. REALLY???!!!!

So I suppose I get to take supplements again until time of surgery…BLAH…however this also just proves my point that I didn’t think it was the medication necessarily lowering my Potassium levels, I thought it was something else. However I don’t have an MD behind my name! After all is said and done I feel like I could pass my medical boards however! (Trust me that is said very tongue in cheek). If Potassium was a tangible thing and we were in the wild, wild west I would be meeting it at high noon!

Luckily I know it’s no big deal and I’ll just have to take supplements and they’ll draw the blood right before surgery and all is well. It does annoy me however because it’s been this on going battle to get the Potassium to STAY UP.

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New Diagnosis?

You’re sitting in the doctor’s office and you get a new diagnosis..what is the first thing that pops in your head?

a) WHAT?

b) NO!

c) IMPOSSIBLE

d) I’m switching Doctors

e) HALLELUJAH!

The thing about having a chronic illness is that often e is the one that pops in your head! You’ve been to the doctor so many times, they have run multiple tests and when you FINALLY get a diagnosis you want to jump up and down and scream and shout! However usually by the time that happens you don’t have the energy to jump up and down or scream and shout! This year alone I have had multiple new diagnoses, some I was happy about, some not so much and I might be getting a couple more by the end of this week…yeah not sure what my response will be.

I am tired right now. I am so exhausted from everything that is going on that I am in survival mode. I am falling asleep at night on the computer in mid-typing which is the clue I need to hang it up and go to bed. I know part of the issue is the heat, it is HOT where I live right now and so being out in the heat is not helping, I have had a lot of medical appointments getting everything ready for the upcoming surgery, but the other part of this is just ME! It takes a lot of energy to do everything. When I walk I have to be aware of my foot placement because my right foot likes to drift and then that puts added pressure on both knees, which I don’t need. So I have to be careful of how I am walking. My left ankle has been sore which I can’t figure out if I just stepped funny at some point in the last week and didn’t realize it, or if something else is going on.

I have really bad balance issues so I am always having to be aware of my surroundings to make sure I don’t bump into something. I don’t want to knock anything over because I am closer than I think I am, which happens. I have been having headaches because of the weather, and my allergies have been acting up as well. So things are just all sorts of complicated right now and I have to work hard at keeping them uncomplicated. That takes a lot of physical and mental energy. Add the fibromyalgia in the mix and I’m done!

Sunday I was walking out of the bathroom at church…this should have been an easy task…but it’s a narrow bathroom. I did not walk to the handicapped bathroom. I lost my balance and my knee brace got caught on the cabinet. Wifey asked me if I was alright and I assured her I was, and I was it was more embarrassing than anything else. I sat down and fixed my knee brace. I wanted to make sure that when it got caught it didn’t get twisted.

I just like to make life interesting for everyone around me! I like to keep everyone guessing! I will be glad to have the rest time after surgery! Right now I feel too busy which I know that will slow down to a halt very soon and I will have time to breathe again!

 

High Fiber Foods + Coumadin = A Delicate Balance

I am obese. I have been working on losing weight since 2014. I found a high fiber meal plan/lifestyle that I LOVE. I have been very successful at losing the weight on said meal plan, THEN comes deadly blood clot in October 2015!!!! *Que super dramatic music* So it’s been a bit of a struggle losing weight since October. I am going to be really honest because a lot of the foods that I got really accustomed to eating like spinach, kale, spring mixed salads ALLL are high Vitamin K foods that you have to really watch when you take Coumadin.

So let me explain a little bit about how they get rid of blood clots, so the body will naturally get rid of a blood clot by breaking it down. Sometimes doctors will try and break up a blood clot, but in my case they felt like trying to break up my massive blood clot would kill me, or cause me to stroke so they decided that giving me blood thinners and seeing if my body could naturally break up the clot would be the safest choice. So they put me on Coumadin which is rat poison. Yes, I am not kidding you, scientist found that by giving rats Coumadin it thinned their blood until they bled out, hence why you have to have regular blood checks to make sure your blood is not too thin!

Vitamin K and Coumadin are enemies (of sorts) because Vitamin K reverses the effects of Coumadin! Which is why you have to watch what foods you are eating that are high in Vitamin K to make sure you are not accidentally making your blood too thick again. For every patient depending on condition there are two basic ranges for INR (International Normalized Ratio) 2.0-3.0 or 2.5-3.5. Now some people might have a bit different based on their own medical needs but those are the two most common ranges.

So I get this massive blood clot and I’m told to stop eating Vitamin K foods until we can get my INR up, so I have to stop eating broccoli, spinach, kale, spring mix, brussel sprouts, greens (collard, turnip, mustard), and many other green foods that I had been packing my diet with! So I also know now that those foods thicken your blood naturally (just saying!) So how am I going to keep up my high fiber diet without eating those foods?

So there are LOTS of other sources of high fiber like beans, fruits, OTHER veggies! So I started looking at foods like sweet potatoes, beans (I eat a lot of beans now!), fruits (in moderation because of their higher sugar content), and because we are gluten free I eat quinoa. So it is still possible to eat a high fiber diet when you are on blood thinners, you just have to get a bit creative at times! I will also do things like add peppers to quinoa and beans (think rice and beans but quinoa has more fiber than rice!). Add some extra fiber to foods by adding in more vegetables to what you are making, adding in white beans to dishes a lot of times works because white beans will soak up the flavor of whatever you are cooking. I am really happy its summer again because there are lots of fresh foods at the local Farmer’s Markets! What’s better than going and helping out the local farmers?

So next time you are making your favorite dish think about ways you could add a bit more fiber to it, you might be surprised what you come up with!

Oh Kiwi maybe I can have 1

So I had my INR check today which was 1.9 (I am supposed to be between 2.0-3.0) and I tell the pharmacist about my knew found knowledge about kiwi fruit and they say what? I tell them to look it up so they look it up and go huh! It is in fact considered a moderate food! So I can eat 1 just 1 and still be okay as far as my INR is concerned and then they ask me if I have been eating a lot of kiwi recently! I tell them NO!!! I have broken up with kiwi because they betrayed me and like a bad girlfriend we are not on speaking terms and I gave a pouty face because well that’s how I roll! So they laugh and tell me that 1 medium kiwi would be okay, just not 5! So I like this! I like that I can have 1, I can deal with 1. I want more, but I can deal with 1!

So life is a bit better now that I have permission to eat 1!

Oh Kiwi you have betrayed me!

So we decided this year to try growing kiwi! Yeah most people would look at me like what? We bought a variety that can withstand cold temperatures and we are growing it in the backyard and if it does well, who knows maybe we’ll get another! So we were looking at the growth the other night and reading the tag and I see where it mentions that kiwi are a good source of Vitamin K…wait WHAT!!!! So I look at the wife and go umm nooo…that can’t be! Not my kiwi!! So I do some research and lo and behold..it’s true!

So a couple of weeks ago one of the stores I like to shop at, had an AMAZING sale on you guessed it! KIWI!!! So I bought 8! Now in case you are wondering I can sit and eat 2 or 3 at a time, so 8 really was not that many for the household. So between me sitting and eating them, fruit salad for the wife’s work and dehydrating them I probably ate 5 or 6 out of the 8 I bought. So in this time frame I had 2 INR checks and my INR was REALLY LOW, and they asked me about Vitamin K foods and of course I go NOO I don’t eat them because I honestly had NO IDEA my kiwi was betraying me!

So I am going to have to breakup with my beloved kiwi until my blood thinner treatment is up and then I’ll probably gored myself on them along with spinach and broccoli! I’m going to be eating the weirdest meals once I’m off blood thinners! The only good news is that the plant in the backyard shouldn’t produce fruit this year, it should start producing next year, so I shouldn’t have to worry about lusting over fresh kiwi in my backyard that I cannot eat. I mean that would be more than I could handle! I might have to beg the doctors to let me eat just one! Please give me more blood thinner so I can eat my KIWI!!! IT’S SO FRESH! It’s calling my name!!!!