Oh, Blood Thinner, I Am Happy To Say Goodbye

*The following is my own personal experience and story. I do not claim professional knowledge of any drug listed below. For professional, scientific, and medical information, please seek out the companies that make the drugs, and/or your doctor.*

Let’s start with some background for context. I am a type 1 diabetic and I never bothered to properly care for it.  Fast forward 25 years. Yes, that’s 25 years of out of control diabetes.  25 years of sky high blood sugars. Not surprising I ended up having emergency open heart surgery. Because of the triple bypass surgery, and other screaming symptoms like high blood pressure. bad cholesterol, etc., I was put on low dose aspirin, Plavix, Lisinopril, Pravastatin, and Metoprolol.

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Photo credit, Randy Glasbergen

I don’t care to take a ton of medications, but such is the life of an uncontrolled type 1 and all the lovely complications it causes. I could handle the Lisinopril, Pravastatin, aspirin, and Metoprolol; none of them gave me any terrible side effects.  But the Plavix, gods damn the Plavix!

Plavix (also known as Clopidogrel) comes with all kinds of lovely warnings, restrictions, possible dangers, possible side effects…

Restrictions and warnings include: Keep vitamin K to a minimum, it, in high amounts and mixed with Plavix can possibly stop your heart. Stop blood thinners several days before any surgery because it makes you bleed…a lot, and bleeding doesn’t stop easily. Absolutely no alcohol, it can kill you. Avoid grapefruit.

Possible side effects include (I only list the ones I actually experienced; there are others): Tiredness, headache, dizziness, nausea, nosebleed, swelling, unusual bleeding or bruising, shortness of breath, pale skin, difficult urination.

One side effect they do mention, but lumped in a general statement and not specifically, is that this drug, being as it is a blood thinner, can cause your period to be extremely heavy and last longer.  The only way I can adequately describe it is “The opening of, and extended release of, the floodgates of hell”.  Really, my periods were so heavy I was overflowing a heavy pad every hour.  I was afraid to leave my house…hell, I was afraid to leave my toilet for three out of the five days I was on my period.

Being a diabetic I must check my blood sugar several times a day.  It’s not fun as it is, but when you are on blood thinners…yeah.  I would wake up in the morning and prick my finger.  That one little prick would bleed a lot, and it wouldn’t stop for hours.

bloodI started on Plavix and low-dose aspirin on October 18, 2013. My surgeon told me I would only be on it for 3 months. Six months later I was still on it. I asked my cardiologist if I still needed to be on it.  He said he wanted me on it for a few more months. Every visit with him after that I would ask if I still needed it and he would say something to the tune of, “For a little while longer”.

I had read online several personal experiences with Plavix where the patients would say the longer you are on it, the higher the chances you will never be able to come off of it.

I was worried I would be stuck on this frustrating drug for the rest of my life.

Yes, I am aware that without blood thinners many people with various health conditions may otherwise die. Yes, I am aware that I am one of those patients.  I benefited greatly from blood thinners.  How many deadly, painful blood clots have I been spared from because of Plavix?  Who knows.

This doesn’t change the fact that blood thinners are one of the most loathsome drugs around.  Blood thinners are one of those kinds of drugs where the side effects and dangers almost outweigh the benefits.

I don’t know, maybe it’s just me.  Maybe I was just unlucky enough to suffer more side effects and discomforts than the average patient on this one. All I know for certain is I did not care to be on certain blood thinners.

Back in January (2015) I stopped taking the aspirin. I was bleeding so much and for so long with the tiniest cut. I was bruising so easily at just a small light bump. It was easier to stop the aspirin than the Plavix (I was worried about what I had read online about people getting blood clots when stopping Plavix).  I made the decision to stop the aspirin all on my own because I was afraid my doctor would tell me not to, and I was so fed up with all the bleeding and bruising.  Stopping the aspirin quickly ended the excessive blood and bruises.  I still have very heavy periods and all the other issues, though.

So, today, April 16, 2015, I saw my cardiologist.  I’ve held steady at way too high a weight, my blood pressure is slightly high, my EKG was good.  I spoke with my cardiologist about how I’ve been doing the past four months.  I’ve felt great heart wise, and I am doing much better at keeping my blood sugars good. We talked a bit about my GI specialist (they are good friends), my diet and exercise habits, my overall health, etc..  Last, but definitely not least, I asked him if I still needed to be on the Metoprolol and Plavix.

“Your blood pressure is still unstable so you need to stay on the Metoprolol.  The Plavix you can stop, but take the low-dose aspirin.”

I am most certain he saw the absolute glow in my smile.

No more Plavix!  I am so happy I could explode! No more side effects, no more restrictions, no more worrying about possible horrific hemorrhages, etc.. Thanks for the help, blood thinner, but I am happy to say goodbye!

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7bigspoons.com

So, I am stopping the Plavix and starting up on the aspirin again.  I’m cool with this because the Plavix came with all the side effects and worry.  The aspirin offers no problems for me.  Good trade, I think.

Now my only worry is if I stop the Plavix and end up getting a blood clot!

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Author: Tamra K. Garcia

Stephen King says to "Write what you know." I know diabetes, I know me; so this is what I write about.

4 thoughts on “Oh, Blood Thinner, I Am Happy To Say Goodbye”

  1. I’ve been reading through your blog and just wanted to say it’s hopeful and inspiring. Your candor and writing style are like having the conversation with other diabetics that I wish I knew. While I am a type 2, I can so readily identify with the denial and rebellion. Sad, but true. So glad I’m following your blog and for all the information you share so readily.

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  2. Hey there Tamara. Again I am glad you found your way and have had the courage to write about it so that many others will be discouraged from taking the wrong path, T1D is a painful full time job as it is, so I take my hat off to you with all the extra effort you have to put in.
    But yay no more Plavix!!!

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  3. I was put on Xaralto for a clot in my lung. I had to worry about hitting something and internal bleeding. The drs finally decided that it was a non-viable clot and had been there a while. I was taken off Xarelto and put on high dose aspirin. Plus I take NSAIDS that cause blood thinning. I had a blood test and the blood just ran down my arm. I tend to fall so glad they took away the Xarelto because I lose balance or quick loss of consciousness and fall all the time. I am type 2.

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