Tuesday, February 26, 2008

INR & Peer Gynt

Things are slow on the medical front. I was in for another INR (blood clotting) test yesterday and learned today that I have to reduce my Coumadin some more. I will have another INR test next Monday and then my next Dr appt on March 10.

Last Saturday, my son and I went to a play named "Peer Gynt" at the Guthrie Theatre. A good review of the history of the play can be found at Wikipedia. This is a play written by a 19th century Norwegian and most of it takes place in Norway. Portions take place in the Sahara desert and on the ocean. The Guthrie had a unique way to portray the sand dunes and waves with an undulating floor. (Note that YouTube has a couple of other videos of the floor, as well.)

Peer is a story teller that lives in a fantasy world. In the end he meets the "button moulder" who claims that Peer has not been himself and his soul must be melted down because he has no list of sins. I cannot say that I understand it all, but would enjoy reading the script for the play. The only version I have found so far in in Norwegian.

Monday, February 18, 2008

No more Lovenox

I was in for a quick blood test today to check my blood clotting INR. I have been taking Coumadin since last Tuesday and my INR was up to 2.6. This was enough for me to stop taking the Lovenox injections. It is great to over with that after 9 months of sticking myself in the abdomen each day. Since my target INR is between 1.5 and 2.0, I will reduce the amount of Coumadin that I take. I will alternate between 5 mg and 2.5 mg each day and get my INR checked again next Monday.

The cough is still persisting, though primarily in the morning or after being out in the cold. It will be great when the weather warms up some. It was in the 30s for a few days and now back down to zero and headed lower.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Coumadin Again

I saw the Dr today and am progressing towards getting off some of the medications. I started taking Coumadin again (for blood clotting) and will get my INR checked on Monday. If OK, I will stop the daily Lovenox injections, but will continue them until the Coumadin takes hold. Hopefully, when I get off the Lovenox (heparin), my platelet count will get back up to normal levels.

I have also stopped taking two antibiotics, Acyclovir and Levaquin. My prednisone taper is down to 10mg one day and 5 mg on alternating days. Another three weeks and I will be off prednisone, assuming no problems arise. I still have a little cough, but it is a lot better than it has been over the past six weeks. With the temperature below zero for most of the weekend, I have been staying in the house.

My JAK2 genetic test came back negative. It was positive before as it is for most MPD patients. It is another indication that my brother's bone marrow has taken over. Unfortunately, a Coombs test came back positive, indicating I still have problems with my immune system and red blood cell hemolysis. Possibly, the reductions in medications will help this to improve.

My ferritin level is at 4423, well above the normal range of 12 to 300. This is result of iron buildup from the 93 units of blood that I had transfused over the past 3 years. The Dr is contemplating using phlebotomies, with-drawing blood to reduce the iron level. It is too bad I cannot donate this blood. Not sure how many draws it would take since the transfusions were of packed red blood cells which certainly had a higher percentage of iron content than normal blood. An alternative is a drug named Exjade, but my immune system may preclude it.