Patient Story: Delaney

Delaney Age: 37 Essential Thromobocythemia (ET)

To me, it’s important for a physician to not just treat flare ups, but to also provide insights into how to eat well to take care of myself and not exacerbate the ET.

The Trouble With K: Questions on Nutrition and MPNs

By: Delaney

I am a 37 year old female & mother of three. I was diagnosed with Essential Thrombocythemia in March of 2012. 

The symptoms that cause me the most concern and debilitation are dizzy spells and headaches/pains. At my last visit with my hematologist, I brought up diet. I asked if there is anything I should add or avoid in my diet. He just said that a good diet is essential to everyone's good health. Although I hoped for a more substantive answer, I let my instincts be my guide and picked up an old but good
habit: juicing. 

I cleaned out the fridge, freezer and pantry of all the processed foods and loaded up on fruits, veggies and lean meats. It felt good to take charge and do so much for my body. At least twice daily, I was juicing. Each juice contained at least one of kale, spinach and broccoli. 

The first week was fine. In fact, as you would expect, my energy improved. However, soon I started getting dizzy spells. By the end of the week, I also had bad headaches that made me feel like I was about to collapse or pass out. 

I was frustrated by the return of the ET symptoms and suspected it was something I was ingesting that was amplifying the headaches, dizziness, etc. I found myself delving into reports of the medicinal effects of the foods I was consuming. Since the dark leafy greens are what I consume the most of, I started there. I typed in "Kale and blood clots" and WOW! Kale is rich in Vitamin K, which actually thickens the blood. This was all brand new information to me. I was blown away. I was taking in massive amounts of Vitamin K and, lo and behold, my symptoms were the worst ever. 

On one hand, I was glad to have found this information so I can cut these out, but I was also upset that my questions about diet went unanswered by my doctor. To me, it’s important for a physician to not just treat flare ups, but to also provide insights into how to eat well to take care of myself and not exacerbate the ET.

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These represent first person accounts of real people living with Essential Thrombocythemia, Polycythemia Vera and Myelofibrosis. It does not represent the views or opinions of anyone associated with the MPN Research Foundation. Please consult your doctor before taking any action to manage your health.

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