Help Liz Stay Safe
Organized by: Elizabeth Summers
Hello, my name is Liz. I am newly married and raising my son who is nearly 1 year old. Three years ago I was found to have pulmonary embolism (bloodclots in the lungs), which kills 30 percent of the people who get it. I had to spend a week in the cardiac unit of a local hospital, hooked up to all sorts of machines and on heparin treatment. Luckily, I came out alive. However, I was found to have a hereditary blood clotting disorder called Factor V Leiden, and am considered a high-risk Factor V patient because I did develop pulmonary embolism. Because of this, I have to be on blood-thinners the rest of my life to avoid another pulmonary embolism or other blood clot.
The blood-thinner of choice for my condition is Coumadin, which requires frequent labwork and monitoring. There are other blood-thinners available to me which do not require constant monitoring, however they do not have an antidote. If you are injured or in an accident while on a blood-thinner, you bleed... a lot. There is a very, very high risk of death. Coumadin is the only blood-thinner with an antidote, which is Vitamin K. This means in an emergency, a patient on Coumadin can be given a shot of Vitamin K that will allow his or her blood to clot normally, which reduces the risk of bleeding to death. Of course, the thought of being injured and having no way to stop the bleeding terrifies me. The safest option for me is Coumadin therapy.
However, I am not able to be on Coumadin therapy right now. The reason for this is because I do not have transportation to the clinic where I need to go frequently in order to do the required labwork. My doctor will not prescribe Coumadin without the labwork. But my husband has the car at work in another city during the hours the clinic is open, and I often cannot afford a bus or taxi. I do not have any friends or family nearby, and no-one to provide transportation.
The solution to this is to acquire a home-use test meter that will enable me to test my necessary blood levels from home, which I can report to my doctor so that my Coumadin can be monitored and I can continue my treatment with this blood-thinner. However, my medical insurance will not help pay for the meter, which costs $636, and we cannot afford it. Money is tight with a baby in the house. I need the meter soon, as I am off of the Coumadin until I get the meter and the longer it takes to get the meter, the longer I am at risk for fatal blood clots. Please help me continue to take care of my family safely, without the looming risk of blood clots.