the goal is 2.0 to 3.0

With the DVR (Deep Vein Thrombosis) diagnosis, you get to make a new set of friends with the phlebotomists.  Ironically, I went through the holiday weekend, being driven back and forth to St Luke’s Hospital with my friend Bill (who was diagnosed with DVR just 4 days before me) for our daily blood tests.  It was almost OK to go through this crap with a friend.  Except for the fact that I still have stitches in my abdominal wall, and all the stupid jokes hurt.  Anyways, the drill is: 

  1. Get somebody to drive you to the hospital
  2. Hope the place has your orders so you don’t have to go through a big hassle
  3. Get your blood test.  If you can only use one arm like me, hope to hell your technician is really good, and doesn’t rip up your vein too much since it is getting so much attention.
  4. Go home.  and wait.  for hours.  until finally….
  5. The phone rings and the nurse practitioner calls to tell you what your PT/INR level is and how much coumadin to take that day.

Seriously.  Your dose of Coumadin can easily change from day-to-day until you are “stabilized”.  You are stabilized when your INR level (for most people) is between 2.o and 3.0.  Sometimes this can take weeks.  Saturday I was at 1.0.  Sunday I went to 1.1.  Then on Monday, a little hop to 1.3…

And amazingly, I have good news.  The twice daily injections (that is self-injections…..ick) of  quick acting short-term blood thinning drug “Lovenox” and long-term drug “Coumadin” has worked well for me.  Today I was rewarded with an INR level of 2.1!  Might not sound exciting, but it means no more self injections, no more support stockings, and no more daily blood tests.  I have graduated to twice a week blood testing schedule!  (It’s all relative………)  If I am really lucky, my levels will remain in to 2-3 window, and I can get through this medical phase quickly.  Quickly means maybe only six months of this drug.  Of course, it also means putting off the surgery I had hoped to have in August for six, seven months or more………..  Sigh………

Now for the serious news.  I have to meet up with my medical oncologist again to determine if my maintenance drug, Arimidex, is responsible for the blood clots.  A serious question that needs to be discussed is:  Which is more risky…..going off Arimidex and risking recurrence of cancer, or going off of Coumadin and risking blood clots. 



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