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Sunday, January 24, 2016

Not Today

One of the youngest members of our Fibrinogen Free community recently had a conversation with his cousin that went like this.

Cousin: "Do you have Hemophilia?"

Response: "Umm, not today."

I think I know how he feels. I began this blog six years ago, and I haven’t posted in almost two years. Each time I think about posting I think to myself, “Umm, not today.” At 66 years of age I actually feel like I don’t have a bleeding disorder except for the few hours I spend each week being infused with Factor I.

The biggest change is that fibrinogen concentrate is now available and cleansed of known viruses. The standard of care is to use this concentrate on a prophylactic basis so that it prevents the deterioration of joint tissue and life threatening bleeding. And, gene therapy is in the works. Then there will be no more concern about what undetectable hazard has entered the blood pool. I believe it will not be long before Factor I deficiency is a thing of the past.

When I began this blog I hoped to find some more people who either had a fibrinogen deficiency or had someone who was a family member with little or no fibrinogen. We are a small group yet we know there are more. We learn from each other, support one another, and advocate together. I am grateful that folks younger than I are using social media to reach out and say, “Hello, you are not alone.”

Scars from bleeds in the past now limit my walking. I don’t climb stairs with ease. Knees, ankles, shoulders, and back aches remind me daily that being born with no fibrinogen has taken a toll. My brain does not function the way it did before a hemorrhagic stroke in 2002.

The more we know about preventing unnecessary bleeding incidents the healthier we will be. Because I am currently the oldest member of our online community I remember the bad old days viscerally. My body and mind signal the reminders of insufficient treatments or delayed medical attention. There are still many people who experience this needlessly. There are still doctors who do not properly diagnose or treat those of us with Factor I deficiency.

We all deserve to have more days when we don’t feel like we have hemophilia.