This is how I operate when bad things happen. I freak-out, I curl in a ball and cry, and I throw myself the mother of all pity parties. Then, I stop all of that and get on with life. In order to get to that getting on with life part, I HAVE to find the good part of the bad thing. To be cliché, I HAVE to make lemonade out of lemons. It is a big coping mechanism for me, along with sarcasm, writing, and macaroni and cheese. So, without even thinking that hard, here are the five positive things that happened because I had a life-threatening blood clot in my leg.
I learned to really pay attention to what I put in my body, for real this time. The “gold standard” medication for blood clots is Coumadin (Warfarin). It is an OLD drug that was once used as rat poison. Ah, yes. That does make me feel super comfortable about taking it. Anyway, in addition to the whole rat poison thing, Coumadin is very unstable and it can be difficult to keep it at a therapeutic blood level. EVERYTHING interacts with it, including vitamin K, NSAIDS, and alcohol. In other words, my previous diet. : ) So, I have to monitor the amount of vitamin K I eat to keep it consistent week to week. Who does that? Who measures portions of green veggies? I think they are usually “free” on all weight loss plans. I have also had to limit alcohol to three glasses of wine per week. This isn’t so bad, but still who does that? If I have pain, I can take Tylenol in limited amounts and that’s about it. I can’t take aspirin, ibuprofen, or any NSAIDS. Up until now, I thought Tylenol was a placebo.
I am a friggin’ subject matter expert after all of the research I have done. I use friggin’ here because “subject matter expert” alone is just not enough, but I try to avoid using other F words in my blog because my boss has been known to read it some times. Anyway, being the anxious nerd that I am, I research everything, especially things that could possibly kill me. My doctor both loves and hates this about me. I know this because she said, “On the bright side, you’re a very good patient.” I love that I have a number of tools to add to my knowledge. In addition to my old pal Google, I also have two iPhone applications that relate to my medical condition. On is a Vitamin K app. Since Vitamin K does not play nice with Coumadin, I look up anything green that I eat or drink to determine if it is safe. The other app I have is Comadin dosing app. I do follow my doctor’s orders with all dosage changes, and there are many, but it is still interesting to understand the why behind moving from 6 milligrams to 7.
I learned the BEAUTY of compression hosiery. Before all of this started, I used to giggle at Spanx. I never wanted to compress any part of me. In fact, I tried to avoid tight clothing as it tended to make me claustrophobic. I’m more of a loose clothing person. This changed when I was told to wear compression hosiery because of the DVT. Compression helps prevent long-term damage like swelling and pain after a clot, and it also helps to prevent new clots by improving circulation. I wear compression hosiery, in the form of socks or tights, every day now. It does wonderful things for my chubby ankles. I have even considered getting an ankle bracelet.
My empathy received a kick-start. I can be hard on people. I have survived a lot of crazy things in my life, so I usually just tell people to buck-up and deal with whatever they are upset about. I am glad I decided to NOT major in Psychology as I had originally planned. I would have made a terrible therapist. Anyway, after having many meltdowns over the past month or so, I have come to the shocking conclusion that it is OK to be upset sometimes. It is normal, and it causes less damage than trying to hold everything in all of the time.
I learned to be more selfish. I didn’t want to ruin Christmas for my family, so I waited a week to see a doctor about my mysterious calf pain. That could have killed me. A lot of people put the needs of their families before their own needs. While I will still strive to be a good mother and wife, I will no longer put my health on the back burner. It is just too dangerous. I’ve learned to stop and rest, and to seek medical care when needed.
I still have my days where I’m pretty sure having a DVT is the worst thing ever. I still get grossed out when I think about blood thinners and the clot, but I’m positive for the most part. I hate PT/INR test days (once or twice per week) as they are usually not in the correct range. The good news is I only have to deal with this for a few more months. There are people who have life-long health conditions. I don’t know how they are sane, but I hope they blog and eat a lot of mac and cheese.