Saturday, March 23, 2013


This is my heparin injection paraphernalia, which I have not touched for the past week. I have been giving myself an injection twice daily since 2005, two years before I got my Lyme diagnosis and started treatment.

Heparin was my lifeline. In medical terms, I understood my blood was too thick and the micro doses of heparin thinned it. In practical terms, it meant I could stand up, cook a quick meal, even walk for fifteen minutes instead of collapsing for two days from walking two blocks.

Once I was on my Lyme meds, understood heparin was breaking up the "sticky blood" formed around the Lyme bacteria, and also breaking down biofilms (a protective layer Lyme bacteria forms around itself) and this made it easier for the antibiotics to attack the disease.

The injection had its price. It left bruises that were slow to clear up, I had to keep needles and other supplies in stock and hassle with biohazard disposal. I had to pack all the stuff into my luggage when I travelled, and it added a cumbersome twenty minutes to my bedtime and early morning routine. And the dollar price crept up and up, starting around $130 a month and going up to $400 by this year.

And still I clung to it, until a couple weeks ago when I forgot to do an injection and I was fine. So I just thought, why not cut down to one injection a day? Just to make life easier? I also subbed in a different blood thinner, lumbrokinase, which is a joyfully simple pill. I'd tried lumbrokinase years ago and hadn't done well on it, but things were different this time.

I cut the heparin by half and in a few more days I cut it out entirely. I can still walk and run and swim and dance. And giving myself an injection morning and night has been easy to kiss goodbye.                                            

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