Mellanie True Hills explains what being on Coumadin was like.
Mellanie True Hills:
Being on Coumadin was probably one of the hardest parts about dealing with atrial fibrillation. The fear and the concern was one part, but boy, the Coumadin was awful. For example, I was never really able to be stable on Coumadin so that meant for me having to go in to the Coumadin clinic every week to get my blood drawn so that they could measure the INR, the International Normalized Ratio, which indicates your blood thickness or thinness, and mine was never normal.
But I had to do that whether I was at home or whether I was on the road. So it meant time off from work, having to go to the Coumadin clinic, having to deal with that issue every week was really hard, especially on the road.
Then Coumadin also meant that we were constantly having to adjust the dose because I was never stable; my INRs were never normal. So I was constantly ping-ponging from blood that was too thick with a risk of blood clots, to blood that’s too thin with the risk of bleeding to death.
Coumadin also meant that you can’t use anything sharp because if you cut yourself, then it may be over. So I couldn’t use, I couldn’t do yard work, I couldn’t use kitchen knives, I couldn’t even use a razor and shave my legs. So that had a huge impact. That changes everything.
When you need to cook, you have to have somebody else cut things up for you and it totally changed everything, but then the worse part. Coumadin meant bruising, whether just slightly bumping against something or even touching myself, touching my wrist. I’d have a bruise there. It would be black, it would be blue, it would be purple. When your blood gets too thin it just leaks right out of the blood vessels, and you don’t even have to bump into something to start having bruising happen.
So I was covered with bruises all over my arms, all over my legs, my torso, even my face, and it was so bad that my husband felt compelled to tell everyone wherever we went, "It’s the Coumadin. She is not battered," but I looked like I was. So Coumadin is a really difficult to manage drug.
There is no other option, but it’s still a very difficult to manage drug and doctors say, "Well, if you eat right then everything will be fine on Coumadin." That wasn’t the case with me, and in fact in the summer of 2005 a study came out that indicated that about a fourth of Coumadin patients will never be stable on Coumadin for genetic reasons.
Heart Survivor, Author, and Speaker Mellanie is a heart survivor and the author of A Woman's Guide to Saving Her Own Life: The HEART Program for Health & Longevity. After having a brush with death in emergency heart surgery, Mellanie now uses her second chance to coach individuals in creating healthy lifestyles and organizations in creating healthy, productive workplaces.
Heart disease is the #1 killer, and stroke is #3. In the US each day, we lose nearly 3,000 men and women to heart disease and stroke. Forty per cent of us will get, and die from, heart disease or stroke. But it is preventable, if you know what to do.
Women have different heart symptoms than men, and they're typically very subtle, so for women, the first symptom is frequently a heart attack. Knowing those symptoms can save your life.
Mellanie's mission is to spread awareness of how to save your own life. She provides a message of hope and encouragement, sharing how to take control, decrease stress, and protect against heart disease. Audiences consistently say, You changed my life.
To further this mission, Mellanie is the founder and CEO of the American Foundation for Women's Health.
Mellanie also works with organizations that want healthy, productive workplaces to decrease stress and keep employees healthy, including how to leverage technology and culture in doing so.
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