Amanda’s father passed away on March 16, at home surrounded by his family. Amanda had written several articles about her father’s ongoing treatments and his determination that had not been published before his passing. She believes it is important for families dealing with mesothelioma to learn about her father’s ups and downs during his last six months. Here she discusses an issue with his Coumadin levels that sent him to the hospital. The next two weeks she’ll cover other challenges and lessons learned while fighting the cancer.
While Dad was still feeling up to doing household chores, he was loading up the fireplace with my brother Andrew. He bent over to pick up a log and collapsed. Andrew rushed to get his oxygen because Dad was gasping for air and was unconscious. It was very hard for him to regain his breath again, and he did just not feel right, so my mom took him to the hospital.
The doctors kept Dad in the emergency room for a few hours before deciding to admit him. They found that his Coumadin level was too high, and his blood was too thick. He had a few clots in his lungs and this was making his breathing very difficult. He ended up being in the hospital for four days recovering and getting his Coumadin level to where it should be. When a cancer patient is on Coumadin their INR levels have to be monitored regularly. Dad’s tests were too far apart and he should have been monitoring it much more closely with his local doctor.
Because of this visit, Dad ended up switching to the injectable Lovenox shots. These do not have to be monitored, and it does not interact with the patient’s diet like Coumadin. This is one less thing that needs to be monitored and one less trip to the doctor to have his INR level checked.
There are no “how to” guides on how to monitor and keep track of all symptoms that a mesothelioma patient could encounter. My advice would be to keep a daily log of symptoms and a list of conditions. The more you are educated about your condition and the more information you know about others living with Mesothelioma, the more aware you are going to be about your own symptoms. Also, with the amount of emergency room and doctors visits, it is a good idea to keep a log of names of the medications and dosage of each. This makes it easy when dealing with different doctors and keeping everyone on the same page.