Friday, February 17, 2012

That Won't Be Necessary

Picking up where I left off yesterday...

When I was first admitted to the hospital a few weeks ago and updated my Facebook status about my condition, a co-worker, Leslee, suggested that I make sure they check for Factor V Leiden.
I work with some smart people. It turns out she was right!

From what I understand, Factor V is just one of the many blood clotting mechanisms that kick in when necessary. In my case, my Factor V is a mutant strain that doesn't shut down when it's no longer needed. It becomes hypercoagulable, meaning it continues to cause clotting beyond the point where it should, and unfortunately for me, it resulted in a DVT or Deep Vein Thrombosis. This video gives a detailed look at what actually happened within me. We're quite sure it was one of the falls I took on my Mukluk that caused the initial injury that resulted in the clotting.

This Wikipedia link gives a good summary about Factor V Leiden.

I left the retirement briefing at work fully expecting to hear the worst when I sat down with my doctor; that it would be necessary for me to remain on Coumadin permanently. I had a serious complication from my Factor V condition so why wouldn't they suggest that? I figured long term coumadin therapy has to be cheaper than another PE and the associated hospital stay.

I sat in the small doctor's office playing Hanging with Friends on my Droid Bionic while waiting for Dr. Gay to see me. He apologized for requiring me to come in but he thought it best. I wasted no time in telling him of my concern about having to remain on Coumadin the rest of my life and as he took a seat he gave me the best news I've had since this whole ordeal began, "That won't be necessary" he said. Wow, what a relief! Suddenly the year off my bike didn't seem like such a big deal at all—not in the least. As long as I could look forward to riding my bike in my retirement none of the other inconveniences along the way would matter. It was very good news.

I went on to express some concerns with Dr. Gay about what I thought were side effects from the Coumadin, fatigue being the main one but he assured me that it wasn't the drug causing my tiredness. He said that people who have gone through what I have will sometimes take months to get back to normal. He said that the embolism in my left lung was very large and he reiterated how lucky I was. I took that to mean lucky to still be around. He went on to say that my body is still doing a good amount of healing and that's what is causing my fatigue. Again, this was more good news for me because it tells me that I won't be this tired for the entire year while I'm on the drug—just until my body recovers.

I left Quello clinic and felt like I'd been given a whole new lease on life. Thoughts of selling my Mukluk (yes, there have been some) were suddenly gone. I love that bike!

So, if I could take another stab at the retirement briefer's question to me from Wednesday morning (my previous post) about what my plans are when I retire I think I'd tell him that I intend to do some really long distance stuff on my bike beginning with a week-long trip out to the Black Hills in South Dakota where I'll meet Tammy and fulfill a dream of mine. Maybe I'll even get a touring bike and slow it down some, you know, really enjoy every mile, not hurrying through each one because I've got a job that keeps getting in the way.

Did I seriously just say something about slowing down?

Strike that!


Jackie said...

Sounds like genes have loaded the gun and the events have pulled the trigger. Your Dr. has given you some peace of mind that you can continue once your course of medication is through. Small price to pay for what could have been a very different outcome. As we were talking before it is very stressful when your body must heal physically and emotionally from such an event. It can be emotionally just as exhausting as you are realizing. Take care, love you Bro.

Kevin said...

Thanks, Jackie. One thing in all of this to keep in mind is that there is a good likelihood that I'm not the only one in the family with this condition. I'm not sure it would do much good knowing if you're a carrier or not but I suppose it couldn't hurt especially if you're considering having any kind of surgery.

There are a few risks associated with pregnancy and probably something that any moms-to-be among us will want to be tested for.