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Pop the Balloon

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One of the worst parts of CTEPH and CHF together is the swelling and fluid retention. The one single thing I can do that makes me feel better is to keep the fluid down. I do this by taking high-doses of diuretics and restricting my fluid t 1 1/2 to 2 liters of total fluid per day. I’m not 100% nitpicky about the amount of fluid–many days I go over, because I don’t always count broths and fluids in foods and such–but I try to keep it really close to that. Mostly, I try to make sure that more comes out than goes in–if ya know what I mean.

Being sick, you’ll learn quickly that talking about bodily fluids isn’t something to be ashamed of–it’s just a fact of life. We poop and we pee and we sweat and we bleed, and our doctors are quite interested in all those fluids. For me, keeping the output higher than the input is a must. It helps keep the fluid out of my abdomen (which is called ascites) and out of my feet and legs, which can increase my risk of DVT, which can lead to embolism, which is what caused the problems I have in the first place. My hematologist said that one more big blood clot could be it for me–the lungs just can’t handle any more. I’ve got plenty in there all calcified over, so I don’t need to add to them.

CHF, no matter what causes it, itself causes fluid production, which leads to fluid retention in the body. My feet and hands swell, my face swells around my chin and cheeks, my belly swells and the fluid backs up in my abdomen and that makes it hard to breathe. I also get fluid retention in and around the lungs. It’s kind of like having pneumonia, but instead of having the fluid in my lungs pushing out, it’s on the outside of my lungs pushing in–and breathing and oxygenation is tough when that happens. (more…)

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