Thanks to an unknown parental source, I have inherited a sub-par blood clotting gene. My sister tends to blame all physical maladies on my mother, and seeing how her mother had a blood clot not long ago we might have just heard someone call Bingo. But no matter the source of the fault, I am heterogeneous factor V (that’s five for those smart ‘ns in the world who use letters rather than numbers) leiden.
Whilest slow to do many things, it seems I’m speedy to clot.
For the average, healthy 30ish-year-old, this does not pose much risk nor even really require medical attention. But for the gal growing another human, it seems we must be cautious (did you know precautious is not a word? Per google spellcheck, it seems you can be cautious, inferring a timeline of pre-ness; you can also take precautions. But one is not precautious. Just cautious. Enough grammar). While a clot can be quite pesky in the leg or butt (not that anyone I know had a clot in her butt…), it’s downright worrisome when in the placenta or any of the feeding and nourishing mechanisms of the womb. So cautious we become.
Which leads me to treatment options, per my hemotologist (becase, as JE says, “every 30 year old should have one.”): 1) Daily injections of Lovenox. Yes, I said inject. As in, sharp, pointy object becoming embedded in my flesh. 2) Baby asprin 3) Cross our fingers that this pregnancy is like the last 2 and we have no problems. Because I’ve done this twice and the only difference this time is that we actually know I am leiden (haha!) with an abornmality, as opposed to most people’s strong inclination to guess it is such the case.
The doctor left the final decision to me. Well, this is always the case, but he actually vocalized it. The Lovenox is the “better safe than sorry” route and an easy pick for someone who loves the world of medicine. But for someone like me who’s become a bit skeptical and wary of what seems to be a trend toward over-treating for the sake of preventing lawsuits (not just because it’s the best course of action), it’s a bit tougher to decide.
In my brief consultation with Dr. Google, I read that it’s becoming more known that a daily dose of cod liver oil and a few of the B Vitamins also shows to thin the blood to a preventative level. But that’s not what the medical literature, the mainstream, points toward. And though I love a good home remedy, I have trouble anticipating similar results without some sort of proof.
But here’s the breakdown: who’s going to pay to study cod liver oil? Who will make money off that? Certainly not the pharma groups. They’d LOSE money if that came out (right now it seems that the options for this kind of thinner are few and I’m sure Lovenox has quite the corner market). And who pays, at least in part, for a majority of the medical studies on these products? Well, the drug companies. They prove it works and then they market it like crazy, readily providing the studies to the doctors so the prescribers can take confidence in the anticipated results.
Our mainstream medical system operates off economics. My Intro to News Writing professor always said, “follow the money trail.” Someone, somewhere makes money off of it or it’s probably not a readily-available option. The suppliers of our drugs and medical equipment operate off of a supply-and-demand scale, like the rest of the American world. (That is, until it can be made into a generic). No one markets what is readily available and cheap.
So what now? Taking the low-risk chance, even if over-medicating, for the sake that “something could happen”? Or do nothing, returning to a state of “ignorance is bliss”? One shouldn’t make decisions based solely on fear, but also should avoid getting sand in her ears when trying to bury her head in the ground.
I suppose I just need to be grateful for 2 major things: that I have medical options and treatment readily available AND that my options lack the fear and side effects, in comparison to the treatment of other patients I saw today, as the hemotologist is also an oncologist. That can certainly put it all in perspective.