Considering Heparin-Based Blood Thinners

The body is complex and the more I learn about it, the less I feel like I know. I dreamed of being a doctor when I was younger. I wanted to be a doctor for as long as I could remember. My high school studies and most of my college studies were geared toward getting into medical school. But along the way, I came to a fork in the road — study medicine or study counseling. By one means or another, I went down the counseling path. It wasn’t really my first choice, but how I ended up there is a long and convoluted story.

For a very long time, I thought that medicine was the exact opposite of counseling. If X, then Y. If you have pneumonia, you get antibiotics. If you break a bone, you get a cast. Counseling was gray, but medicine was black and white. Right? WRONG!

Oh, how wrong I was. The intricacies of the body and the way different systems work together make it ever so complicated. That’s why they call it a second opinion. There is no one right way, just as in counseling.

No "right" way to treat hives

One of the things I dislike most about counseling is how abstract it can be. There are lots of theories that play into counseling theory and different ways to “practice counseling”. There is a right and wrong way to counsel someone, the driving force for being “right” can come from many different schools of thought. One counseling session may use a cognitive behavioral approach and another something more abstract. Two counselors can treat the same person in very different ways, but both ways are still right.

All this to say, there are many “right” ways to treat hives. And there are many different types of hives to treat. And many right ways for many different types of hives mean a lot of rights. And a lot of wrongs too. I would even go so far as to say that there are more wrongs in medicine than in the world of counseling. The “wrongs” in counseling are fairly concrete. The wrongs in medicine are both concrete and abstract.

Now that I’ve had my philosophical gab, let's get to the point, shall we? (If you missed what my doctor and I discussed trying before this article, be sure to go back and read that first!)

Switching blood thinners

Did you know that the inflammatory pathway that can lead to hives intersects the pathway that blood coagulates or clots? Me either! Don’t ask me how it interacts, we just established that medicine is complex, and the more I learn the less I know.

One of the treatment options my doctor and I have considered is by switching the type of blood thinner I’m on. From what I understand, which isn’t much, histamine, inflammation, and heparin-type medications are all interconnected. One of the treatments we have on the table is switching me to a heparin-based blood thinner.

Heparin-based blood thinner

As with other avenues of treatment, heparin doesn’t come without risks. It’s certainly not a first choice, especially for someone who doesn’t need blood thinners for another reason, but since I have to take blood thinners for the rest of my life, it’s just another option that would potentially kill two birds with one stone. We aren’t there yet though. As I write this I am still in remission and am not dealing with daily hives such that we need to add another medication to the list.

For now, we sit and wait until my hives rear their ugly faces again. Hopefully, that will still be a while.

Speaking of two birds with one stone, read my next article for my next option! The plot thickens!

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