Tag Archives: coumadin

Almost a year ago!

So almost a year ago is when I had doctors telling me if you get out of this bed YOU’LL DIE! Normally they say those types of things for dramatic effect, in my case they were saying them because it was true. I have never in my life been that sick. I came pretty close one other time when I had gallstones and developed pancreatitis, but last year when I had a saddle pulmonary embolism that was definitely a brush with death I wish I had not had! There is nothing scarier than looking multiple medical professionals in the eyes and seeing sadness staring back at you.

I said this to my wife, the nurses tried to hide it, but every changing of the guard they would come into my room and as soon as they found out I was their saddle pulmonary embolism patient you would see it in their face. That brief moment before they could plaster on a fake smile that shock of here was a young patient who was given an almost death sentence. I still get doctors who will review my medical records and go this can’t be right and I’ll go yes I’ve had a saddle pulmonary embolism. They just look up at me almost startled. I just smile-the biggest cheesiest smile I can for them.

It’s unusual for a patient to have a saddle pulmonary embolism I have been told that about 1% of the population get saddle pulmonary embolisms and I am lucky to be in that 1%. The thing about blood clots is they don’t discriminate based on age. In my case we feel like all the back surgeries aggravated an underlying genetic predisposition to blood clots (to which I am being genetically tested soon), but anyone can get a blood clot. So it’s important for everyone to realize that no matter how old you are, you can get a blood clot!

The issue with my blood clot which did start out as a DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) is that my leg did not swell any! So I keep checking for my leg to swell, and I do not remember it cramping either. My symptoms were I was having chest pains a couple days prior which I wrote off as getting a possible upper respiratory infection due to change in weather, then two days before I was hospitalized my pulse was going through the roof which I took my blood pressure and my blood pressure was normal. The day before I collapsed I had a bad cough  and I was coughing up blood that morning, but I thought I was having an asthma attack to be honest, and we went to the ER. I was diagnosed with pneumonia. I was given antibiotics and cough syrup and told to rest.

Had the doctor done a D-dimer blood test he may have seen that I had a blood clot, since he never ran the blood test we have no idea if I would have been diagnosed a day earlier or not. However I had the classic symptoms of a Pulmonary Embolism and since I had just had major surgery the doctor should have done a D-dimer blood test on me just as precaution.

I am blessed. I am glad that soon I will be here another year, and I plan to be here MANY MORE!

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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!