09 January 2010

The More You Learn...

Somewhere in the educational process I remember a teacher telling the class that the more you learn, the more you find out how much more there is to learn. (It may have been as simple as the more you know the more you find out how much you don't know. Pretty much the same thing.)

For the past several INR checks for Ford (checking the clotting rate while on Coumadin), his numbers have been decreasing. The numbers need to be between a 2 and a 2.5 and his has dropped to a 1.5.

As this has happened, the light bulb has come on and I realize that this is what Dr. Alward meant using the term Coumadin Failure.

If I am understanding correctly, blood thinners are all a form of heparin. I have read that there are many types of blood thinners (many more than I realized) and Coumadin seems to be the most common used, partly because of low costs. The low-molcular-weight heparins like Lovenox are much more costly. The success/failure rate of heparins is individual, depending on various factors of medical conditions.

People that have cancer have a higher risk of blood clots and the medicine used in cancer therapy increases that risk. Coumadin is not always the heparin that works in these cases. That is part of what makes Ford a candidate for Coumadin failure.

Monday, 4 January 2010, Ford's INR was 1.5. His dosage of Coumadin was increased to 10 ml and his INR was checked again yesterday, Friday. It was 1.5. No change. He will be rechecked on Tuesday.

We are making an adjustment in his diet to see if that will make a difference. There is much to read and understand about how much diet makes a difference. We are also fortunate to have friends with training and experience in this area that can give us some valuable suggestions.

Other than the Coumadin issue, Ford seems to be doing quite well. The ice and snow has limited his biking for the time being. Actually it is the low, low temperatures that have hindered him. He has accepted that temps below 20 degrees just might not be good for skin, i.e. frostbite. The poor air quality in Utah County due to inversions also is a deterrent. Salt Lake and Utah Counties have alternated as having the worst air quality in the USA. I find that fairly amazing considering air conditions in places like LA and other big cities with habitual smog. News reports explain that the particulates in this pollution can embed themselves in the lungs and create severe health problems, some which can surface years later, especially in children. That is a might frightening.

Anyway...Ford is doing well. His next check at the Huntsman is 21 January 2010. This will be blood tests only. If something unusual shows in his blood levels, then more tests will be done.

Results will be posted. Until next time...

1 comment:

  1. Good luck next week! I hope all goes well.