On November 19th just 69 hours after I was discharged I began to have symptoms that were described in my initial post and put me in the hospital for 12 days. I happened to be at the salon at the time (no, I wasn’t back to work that soon, I was treating myself to a much needed haircut from one of our awesome stylists Jennifer).
I had just gotten off the phone with my doctor with my INR (Coumadin blood thinning level) results from the day before, a 1.8 which was low but nothing to be alarmed about really but I was concerned that my levels had dropped even lower that day. I expressed my anxiety about not being checked for another 5 days after being checked daily for 12 days in the hospital but he didn’t seem the least bit concerned. I was upset. I know my body and I just had a feeling that I needed to be checked.
Less than 30 minutes after that phone call with my doctor I began to get an aura in my left eye again, this time it was covering my entire eye. I couldn’t see out of that eye at all and I was panicking. My persistent headache was really bad at that time too. I called the doctor’s office back and was told to go to the emergency room ASAP so our salon apprentice Adrianna drove me back to the hospital.I NEVER imagined what happened next.
They wanted to immediately start an IV so that they could do a CTA (a CT angiography combines a CT scan with an injection of a contrast to produce pictures of blood vessels and tissues) to get a look at the dissection again and make sure it hadn’t gotten any worse. hey also wanted to see if there was anything else going on to cause the worsened headache. It took 5 excruciating pokes and an hour and a half to get my IV in. BIG thanks to Marie in pediatrics for getting my baby veins to cooperate!
My INR draw was taken immediately . When I was released from the hospital on that Monday, November 16th my INR was 2.4. (We want that number to always remain in the 2-3 range to prevent a stroke or excess bleeding). Wednesday the 18th it was 1.8 and now Thursday the 19th it’s 1.4. This was not good. In fact, it was downright scary. A whole point down in 3 days is BAD.
Coumadin resistance is rare but does happen. I was told it was most likely genetics that was causing me to take such high doses of Coumadin. When I left the hospital I was taking 12.5mg, average for my age and weight is about 5mg.
I spent the next 7 days in the hospital. The first 2 I was classified as outpatient/observation and on day 3 I was finally admitted and reunited with my old roommate Amy in room 5527. (I’ll be sharing more about Amy and how this miraculously happened VERY soon!) I was so excited to be back in the “dorm room” and out of the CDU where its nearly impossible to get any sleep with a curtain as a “door”.
It appeared my INR was going to crawl back up to therapeutic once again so I braced myself for another long haul. They immediately bumped up my Coumadin to 15mg. They also started me on Lovenox shots twice a day. Lovenox is a blood thinner derived from Heparin that works quicker and more efficiently in the body. As soon as it’s injected it’s like a 12 hour insurance policy. They had me start doing them myself because I will have to do it should the Coumadin stop working and/or I get low. I am praying that I don’t have to rely on the Lovenox not only because it’s expensive and they hurt but because of the rarity of my Coumadin resistance it may be my only option as a blood thinner. In that case our insurance will have to cover it, but not without a fight.
Amy and I continued to walk together every day and night and have shenanigans “downtown”, go shopping at the “mall” and do our Starbucks run every morning. Even the kids were very fond of her and couldn’t wait to see her (and she didn’t need cookies or jello!)
Essential oils also continued to be a big part of my pain relief, emotional well being and overall recovery. Some dear friends totally surprised me and showed up in my room all the way from Alabama and brought me a special blend of Helichrysum and Cistus to support my circulatory system. My hubby also brought in my diffuser so our room smelled amazing and helped Amy and I relax at night.
My Coumadin was increased slowly up to 20mg, my INR literally crept up .1 everyday until Tuesday it was 1.8 and it jumped to 2.2 on Wednesday morning. I was elated and knew it was safe to return home to my family just in time for Thanksgiving! I also got news that Amy was also being discharged that day too!
So now I hope to be home for good. I’ve been resting up, trying to manage this ever present headache so that I can return back to the salon this week. I will be off for frequent blood draws and doctor appointments in the months to come.
We are planning on getting a consult at University of Michigan to discuss my Coumadin resistance, perhaps figure out why this happened to me and make sure this doesn’t happen again. When I asked the neurologist, hematologist, the attending and my doctor if I had any restrictions they said no. I’m not really sure that going back to my 4-5 days a week of an hour long workout is smart. Again, I know my body and something is telling me that I need to take a breather from anything that increases my heart rate. I want to provide the best possible healing environment for my arteries!
What really gets me is how healthy I thought I was. I had lost 100 pounds by eating whole foods,portion control and had just started routinely exercising to tone up and increase overall health. Then BAM! I blow an artery. I think a lot about what may have happened had I not lost the weight. Would it have been worse? Would I have had a stroke and died? I’ll never know but it’s scary to think about!
I’m now mourning the fruits and veggies I’ve grown to love because they have drug interactions with my Coumadin. I feel like this is some sick prank. What do you mean I can’t have kale, broccoli and spinach?!? Shhhh, don’t tell my doctor that I snuck a brusselsprout on Thanksgiving. Most people would be thrilled to have a reason to not eat vegetables but this is a cruel injury for a health nut!
Many of you are still offering help and after a month of this our family could really use it! There are a few ways you can help, we ask for prayer and positive thoughts for me to stay steady, heal quickly and have patience!
Second, I have a meal train that a PTO parent started for us. There are a few dates left, you can sign up here: https://www.mealtrain.com/trains/95vy3v
Thirdly, a friend set up a Go Fund Me account that will help to fund my medical expenses (19 days hospital stay will NOT be cheap, even with insurance!) and also the lost wages for approximately 4 weeks of time off of work. Those of us in the beauty industry do not get sick days, vacation time or disability. We appreciate anything that you can donate to help offset these costs during this holiday season! Click here: https://www.gofundme.com/uta4z97s
I again appreciate all of you who continued your prayers, positive thoughts, sent cards and visited me in the hospital this second time around. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to the top of my torn carotid artery!