Being on blood thinner scares me.
As well as being a cancer blogger, Laura Yeager is a religious essayist and a mental health blogger. A graduate of The Writers’ Workshop at The University of Iowa, she teaches writing at Kent State University and Gotham Writers’ Workshop. Laura survived cancer twice.
I had a hysterectomy six weeks ago to remove fibroids which might have been cancerous. After the surgery, the fibroids were determined to be benign. Great news.
Last week, I was hospitalized for tiny blood clots in my lungs. This condition often results from being immobilized post-surgery. I spent a night in the hospital and emerged victoriously, armed with a bottle of blood thinner.
I’m telling you, if it’s not one thing, it’s another.
A good friend of mine has lived with blood clots throughout her body for years. Needing advice, I called her. She told me to be careful. She said, “Try not to cut yourself or bump yourself.”
On blood thinner, cuts might bleed for a long time, and bruises can be very bad. Quite simply, I’m a little scared. I’m especially afraid to shave. I’ve never liked shaving my underarms or my legs (who does?), but I did shave them every once in a while.
Then, after my first breast cancer in 2011 and the removal of some of my nodes under my right arm, it was almost impossible to shave because the area was so sensitive. But, thinking I had to keep up the American custom, I suffered through and shaved my pits.
Now, I don’t even want to shave at all. The smallest cut could mean a trip to the hospital, I fear.
Should I investigate Nair? What about those devices that rip the hair out? I should probably foot the bill for electrolysis. But would that procedure make me bleed?
No, I think the best idea would be to stop shaving entirely. Grow big bushes under my arms like certain feminists and women in foreign countries. If they can do it, so can I. And on my legs, I’ll have long, black, silky hair.
Strangers would give me odd looks with this notion in their heads: women shave in America; that’s just how it’s done.
I’d rather be alive than be perfectly hair-free.
Maybe this fear of sharp objects will pass. Maybe I’ll get used to the idea that I’m on blood thinner, and maybe I’ll just become super careful.
I’ve gotten used to so much already, like living with the possibility of early death due to more cancer. Surgeries. Medication. And now this—the possibility of bleeding to death.
Health problems seem to breed more health problems. They follow each other. I wouldn’t have a bleeding issue if I had not had the hysterectomy.
There’s a song,“I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly.” First the woman swallows a fly by accident. Then, she swallows a spider to catch the fly. She swallows a bird to catch the spider, then a cat, a dog, a goat and a horse. In the end, the old lady dies.
I hope I’m luckier than the old lady.
I tell you I’m never shaving again.