I have clots in my legs, but they are getting better — much better.
My “clot story” began when I went to see a vein specialist to remove varicose veins. He first performed a scan which revealed the clots. How could that be? After all, I regularly walk on a treadmill. I was given a prescription for Coumadin (warfarin) and was scheduled for a second scan in three months.
At the end of three months I had another scan and the doctor was not pleased. He upped the dose of Coumadin and said if the clot issue is not resolved I was going to die sooner than later. As a pharmacist, I understand the risks and benefits of taking Coumadin and I was not happy about the new elevated dose.
I decided it was time for a second opinion. I saw another specialist who told me that yes, I did indeed have clots but they have probably been there for a long time and not likely to cause a problem. She advised me to immediately stop the Coumadin and furthermore, she would never have put me on Coumadin in the first place. This doctor is head of the department at a respected health facility.
What to do?
I discontinued the Coumadin, and I have not died — yet.
This is what I DID do:
I have a stationary bike I did not use because I thought walking on the treadmill was all that was necessary. I decided, what the heck. I’ll use the stationary bike for 15 minutes every day (in addition to walking on the treadmill for 30 minutes) and see what happens.
About the bike — it’s a motorized Theracycle. You turn it on, set the desired time and speed, put your feet on the pedals, push the “Start” button and the pedals turn automatically. I let it run at 12 miles an hour for 15 minutes which gives my legs a 3-4 mile workout.
After the next scheduled scan the doctor who told me I was going to die sooner than later was amazed. Not only is my clot issue resolving, but leg cramping at night has improved significantly. His advice was “Keep doing what you are doing — whatever it is.” I told him I attributed the improvement to consistent use of the Theracycle — which he had never heard of.
I’m telling this personal story to encourage you to do three things when you have health challenges: 1.Don’t hesitate to get a second opinion. It may even be appropriate to get a third opinion. No doctor knows everything, and some know a lot more than others. 2. Don’t discount the value of exercise as a tool to help improve or resolve health issues. 3. Have an “I can do anything” attitude. It beats the pants off a “there’s no hope” mindset.