Well, my journey to good health during perimenopause took a crazy twist a couple of weeks ago. If you keep up with the blog, you may have noticed that I’ve been absent – more absent than any of you will ever know. Two weeks ago I almost lost my life due to blood clots (pulmonary emboli) in my lungs and several clots in my right leg. I passed out on a flight from Boise to Salt Lake, was transported to a local hospital and spent four days in the ICU. Luckily, a smart doctor ordered a scan of my lungs. Luckily, a smart me finally fessed up that I’d spent the two weeks prior barely being able to breath walking up a few steps. A typically tough me might have decided that information was nothing to be shared.
How was this incident tied into my health journey? Doctors think that the clots were a side-affect of the birth control pill that was prescribed to me about a year ago. Yes, the same birth control that was seemingly the miracle cure to my heavy bleeding and terrible PMS symptoms. I knew that I was high risk for taking the pill because of my age, but was in total denial that the side-affects that my doctor clearly reviewed with me would in fact – affect me. Turns out that the pill was also the reason for my high blood pressure.
The big lesson in all of this was simply. . .I better start listening to my body. When you are younger, it’s easy to ignore aches and pains because they are just that – aches and pains. They go away and are usually nothing. But, as we get older aches and pains might be something more. As I mentioned earlier, I’d been losing my breath when walking up a few steps. I’d also been having chest pains and my legs hurt. I’d decided I was out of shape because I’ve been working more and not taking my regular daily walks. I was nauseous, so I probably had the flu. My chest hurt, so I most likely slept wrong. Boy, was I wrong. Turns out I was one flight away from death. If that smart doctor would not have ordered that scan of my lungs, I would have been discharged and sent on to board a flight to Reno. Most likely the last flight I would have even taken in this life.
Needless to say, I’m bummed. The pill did work like a miracle for my monstrous monthly period. In fact, I had not had a period for a year. Now, I have to deal with even more bleeding. I’m on blood thinner now for the next six months, which for me resulted in an immediate, nine-day massive period. And, because I’m at risk for bleeding out—my doctor placed an IUD inside me. This is supposed to curb the bleeding eventually. We will see.
The hardest part about all of this is that I feel like I’m at square one in terms of my health. Miraculously, my blood sugar is normal and I’m not testing pre-diabetic. So, I’m no longer on Metformin. My blood pressure is normal, so I’m not taking the blood pressure medications. As a side note, I did learn that my heart is in excellent working order due to extensive tests during my stint in ICU. At this point, I’m only taking the blood thinner and an over-the-counter iron supplement for a chronic anemia condition I’ve had off and on (and, reared its head when I was in the hospital). I’m not sure where my quest to balance my hormones is going to take me. I just have to get through the next six months. The IUD does have some hormones, but I’m not exactly sure what that means. I need to find out.
Bottom-line, life as I knew it two weeks ago is gone. And, not much is in my control. Stay tuned. . .because that is what I’m doing.