Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Coping With My Crazy Coumadin

For the past 12 years I have been taking the drug called Coumadin.  I take Coumadin because in 2000 I had open heart surgery and had my Mitral Valve replace with a Mechanical Valve.  Coumadin is the brand name for the anticoagulant (blood thinner) drug, Warfarin.  I actually take Warfarin and not Coumadin because it is the generic form and it saves a few bucks.  I take Coumadin to reduce the risk of blood clots.  I get my blood checked every 2 weeks -1 month, depending on my levels.  I go to Quest Diagnostics which they do an awesome job.  It is just so hard (for me) to get in and get the blood work done.  I don't mind the actual blood draw.  It's remembering, getting in my car and driving the 15 miles.  I know..I know...I have actually gotten better since I have gotten older.  You should have seen me in my early 20's.  All my doctors and nurses had me on speed dial.

Blood to thin = blood clots, stroke
Blood to think = if cuts or injured too much bleeding
of course this is my crazy thoughts, but there is a realization and truths to the above sentences.  My levels should be between 2.5 - 3.0.

It seems like every 3 -6 months my levels just go crazy.  I just got my results back today and my INR (blood clotting time) and my levels were too low (my blood was too thin).  Not good.  I just couldn't figure out what I was doing or what was going on.

One thing that makes taking Coumadin (Warfarin) tricky is it interacts with Vitamin K.  It makes Coumadin (Warfarin) less effective.  What this means is I just need to be consistent.  For instance I love salad and avocados.  Two rich sources of Vitamin K.  As long as I am consistent with how much I eat I can have as many salads and avocados as I want and my INR levels will not be affected.  There will be a problem if I have 4 or 5 salads one week and then for the next 2 weeks I do not eat any salads.  It is just frustrating sometimes.  Sometimes with my schedule and memory I don't know what I ate for breakfast this morning.  Ha!

Anyway, enough of that.  Tonight I needed to do a little self medicating and get those levels up a little.

"What's that?  Why yes I would like a Bloody Mary, Thank you sir"  

I am honestly very private about anything that has to do with my heath issues or certain things that have happened in my past.  I have also learned these past couple years it helps to talk, write and communicate about certain issues.  You never who could be struggling with the same issues and how they can help you OR how you could benefit them.


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