I have a friend whose license plate says “THATSWHY”. So many times in life I look back and think “ahhh, that’s why.”
My son was born with a bleeding disorder called Hemophilia. Being adopted I never knew I was a carrier of the gene. For the first 2 decades of his life I was consumed with helping him have as close to a “normal” life as possible Being a parent who didn’t know about hemophilia was hard, being a single mom of a child with a bleeding disorder was a double whammy.
Like many of my stories this isn’t about that, that was give you a short intro for the rest of this. This story is about my “that’s why”. As my son got older and I became more and more involved with people around the country and around the world with hemophilia and other bleeding disorders. I found out something about those of us that carry the hemophilia gene. We often have mild hemophilia. When I realized that a lot of my issues growing up became clear.
Take for example the time I had my wisdom teeth out and the gums bled for weeks and weeks afterwards. No one could figure out why. Or the time I was rushed in for emergency surgery for an ectopic pregnancy when I was bleeding out. Always as I was growing up I had the most bruises and these incredible nose bleeds. Periods? Yeow.
I knew a lot of carriers had bleeding issues but for us it was our normal. But really, it wasn’t, it was our own mild hemophilia. We had been told we were “just” symptomatic carriers and weren’t effected by hemophilia. The more women I met who were also symptomatic carriers the more I became aware of some of the issues we all face.
In 2014 I couldn’t ignore it anymore. That was the year I had a brain bleed. For “no apparent reason”. In reality it was because my low factor levels and years of taking excessive amount of Excedrin for migraines. Excedrin has salicylates. Salicylates are aspirin. Aspirin is a blood thinner.
Anyone with Factor VIII levels over 50% naturally occurring in the body is considered to have normal clotting ability. Many women that carry the hemophilia gene have levels below 50%. The levels with vary with hormonal changes, medication and even the vegetables we eat. Mine are usually between 40% and 48%. Add the thinning effects of the aspirin and they could drop significantly.
Disproportionate bleeding after surgeries, excessive bruising, unmanageable periods and random brain bleeds. All symptoms of a bleeding disorder.
There was my that’s why.