Remember that pesky trait I have of being an impatient woman? Yeah, it occasionally bites me in the ass. Like now. I like to think that I’ve been a model patient through this whole pulmonary embolism ordeal by being very involved in my treatment and following all of my doctor’s orders. When I got to stop taking Coumadin at the end of January (totally unprovoked with no whining or bitching on my part I might add), my doc told me to come back after a month for some follow-up blood work. I knew Hubby had to go in for his own blood work mid-March so I just planned to go when he went and calendared it without another thought.
I felt great in February, started training for my half marathon, kicked ass with my weekly yoga class and all around felt great. Then March hit and I started making excuses about mid-week runs, started putting off my long runs and just felt run down. I chalked it up to warming temps in Utah and the return of my seasonal allergies and didn’t think much more about it. I was still active, just not doing all that I had intentions of doing. It happens to the best of us.
My calendar – the secret weapon of my overachiever behavior – reminded me it was time for my blood draw two weeks ago so I stopped in on my way to work to open a vein. My insurance company has this cool tool where you can access your own health records online as long as your doctor participates, which mine does. Lucky for me since Monday night I was impatient to know the results – weird, I know – and logged on to see if they were back already. They were but I was devastated. My levels were still elevated and my doctor had made a note that he wanted me back on Coumadin. I immediately began stressing about what all this could mean and Googled what else could cause an elevated result on this particular blood test. Bad idea to Google anything health related I think in hindsight but hey, I need data!
The next day, stressing about possible cancer and liver disease and heart disease thanks to my friend Google, I got a call from the doctor’s office to schedule an appointment. I continued to stress about the possibility of being required to take Coumadin for the rest of my life on top of whatever else could be going on until my appointment on Thursday. When I finally got there I was reminded again about how amazing my doctor is and how lucky I am to have found him. I told him all the things I’d been stressing about which he was able to dismiss since I had started this whole ordeal with a full blood workup showing no heart disease or liver disease. We decided that we both wanted to know what exactly was going on in my lungs. I was willing to undergo and pay for another CT scan for real answers rather than assumptions that this elevated level was just because I *only* took Coumadin for three months initially. In true Terra fashion, I then negotiated with him on my treatment options. We agreed that if I still had the exact same clots, he’d be okay with only three months of Coumadin and if it turned out they were new clots then I’d give him six months without bitching about it. It was a fair deal that felt win-win for both of us.
Last Monday morning was very unsettling when I had to stop in the middle of yoga class because I was out of breath and wheezing. Considering I’ve been doing yoga since a month post-diagnosis I was super scared that my test later that day was going to yield far worse news than I hoped. Well, it turns out I’ve still got clotting in my lungs but thanks to being able to compare both of my CT scans we know for certain they are the same ones I originally had and that they are significantly smaller. YEAH for no new clots!
So, I’ve resigned myself to Coumadin for the next three months – without bitching about it – and all the crap that comes with it. Goodbye spinach and all my favorite green veggies. Hello weekly blood testing and bleeding issues again. But truthfully if being on the stuff makes me feel well enough to run like it did in late January and February, it will be a welcome addition back into my life until these pesky clots are for sure gone. Especially since I’ve already registered and paid for my half marathon in June.
I have one last hurdle to complete from my follow up – my first mammogram this week. Apparently I’m of the age (yippee!) and since malignancy can cause blood clots my doctor says its a good idea to do it. I was hoping that all the recent controversy in the medical field about doing them in your forties was going to get me out of them for a few more years. But no, I’m not so lucky. Unless you count that I am still kicking and didn’t die from this insanity that I still marvel about happening in the first place. Here’s to the next three months passing quickly so I can finally put this all behind me for good!