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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Bloody Sex...

Written on April 25, 2010...

Yesterday at school one of the trainers mentioned during a presentation that his father-in-law "discovered how blot clots". This trainer is also one of the Executive Directors (I'll refer to him as "Ed" from now on) and although he is very nice, I still didn't feel comfortable enough to approach him about non-sex stuff.  I didn't want to pry. Naturally, Ed's link with the bleeding disorders community peaked my interest enough that I wanted to do some stalking *ahem* research to find out more info. I had a feeling that I knew exactly who his FIL was.

And I was freaking right!!!

In fact, I read a few of his research articles before! Ed's FIL (I'll call him Dr. Blood) did a huge amount of groundbreaking research on the importance of tissue factor's role in coagulation. Dr. Blood's work and dedication made a phenomenal contribution to the bleeding disorders community and mankind as a whole. So, why did learning about who Ed's FIL give me goosebumps?

Well, what were the odds that my long time dream of becoming a Sex Educator would have some sort of link to Factor VII Deficiency?

If you don't understand why this is such a symbolic coincidence, allow me to go off on a different tangent for a moment to educate you on the inner workings of FVII in coagulation. Mmmkay? This may even answer any questions you've ever had about Ethan and Niki's condition. (I put the text in blue if you would rather skip the Pathophysiology part of it all. Although, I *highly* recommend that you educate yourself on this super interesting shit.) ;-)

Dr. Blood pretty much discovered that tissue factor and FVII work together to initiate a very powerful sequence in the coagulation cascade. This portion of the cascade is called the Extrinsic Pathway or "tissue factor pathway". I hate to use Wiki was a reference, but this was the simplest explanation (sans complicated medical jargon) on the Extrinsic Pathway:

"The main role of the tissue factor pathway is to generate a "thrombin burst," a process by which thrombin, the most important constituent of the coagulation cascade in terms of its feedback activation roles, is released instantaneously. FVIIa circulates in a higher amount than any other activated coagulation factor." 

If the Wiki stuff is too vague, I got this information from Novo Nordisk : (BEST EXPLANATION)

"Haemostasis is the human body's response to blood vessel injury and bleeding. It involves a coordinated effort between platelets, numerous blood clotting proteins (or factors), including ‘tissue factor’ which results in the formation of a blood clot.

Tissue factor is a protein that is exposed to blood once a blood vessel is injured (causing bleeding). The process of haemostasis commences when tissue factor binds to a specific coagulation protein called activated factor seven (FVIIa). The binding of tissue factor and FVIIa is the first step in a process that will eventually lead to the development of a strong, stable blood clot that will stop and prevent further bleeding."

If you're a science geek and you're thirsty for more, I also borrowed some of this information for your reading pleasure:

"The extrinsic pathway is an alternative route for the activation of the clotting cascade. It provides a very rapid response to tissue injury, generating activated factor X almost instantaneously, compared to the seconds or even minutes required for the intrinsic pathway to activate factor X. The main function of the extrinsic pathway is to augment the activity of the intrinsic pathway."

"There are two components unique to the extrinsic pathway, tissue factor or factor III, and factor VII. Tissue factor is present in most human cells bound to the cell membrane. The activation process for tissue factor is not entirely clear. Once activated, tissue factor binds rapidly to factor VII which is then activated to form a complex of tissue factor, activated factor VII, calcium, and a phospholipid, and this complex then rapidly activates factor X."

If you're sick of reading this and you're more of a spatial than "pseudo-auditory" learner, click the link below if you want to see an awesome (albeit a little confusing) video on how coagulation takes place in your body. There's a lot of medical jargon, but please do watch all three videos on the Intrinsic, Extrinsic, and Common Pathway to visually grasp the entire process. If you can watch hours and hours of Internet porn, then you can totally take 5 minutes to look at this video.

This is what happens every time you get cut.

So, what does this all mean, you ask?  I guess what I'm trying to say is without Dr. Blood's research, NovoSeven RT (an a lot of other synthetic factor medications) may have never been created.  And you all know Niki lives off of Novo! The sheer importance of FVII's role in the coagulation cascade was perfectly expressed in Dr. Blood's findings. This is why I think the biotech/drug companies took interest in developing in this SPECTACULAR drug. And why Ethan, Niki, and so many other bleeders out there aren't screwed.

Never in a million years would I have ever thought that I would know someone who is so closely related to Dr. Blood. At my Sex Ed class of all places!!!

Ed's wife came to class today to be one of our guest speakers/presenters. What were the odds, right? Sadly, my research from the night before also turned up that Dr. Blood passed away recently. I was thisclose to approaching her so I could offer my condolences and  thank her. (Yes, I realize that I am indeed a little weird for wanting to do that. Lol!

Unfortunately, I chickened out. I didn't want her to think I was a "Hematology groupie". (Lol...If there is such a thing anyway. And if there isn't, don't steal my lingo. Plagiarism is illegal.) :-P

Maybe I'm just reading too much into it, but I took this "blood-sex link" as a small sign that I was meant to do what I'm doing right now. Being a "sex geek" was in my destiny and there was a reason behind why I was selected to be a part of this particular group of SFSI trainees. I know it sounds odd, but I'm a firm believer that God gives us glimpses into our future by sprinkling subtle signs in our daily lives. This was one of them. Did I mention that Ed's presentation had hypospadia as one of the topics when he mentioned who his FIL was?

See, there are signs every where, my friends.

It's irrelevant to talk to Ed about it right now, but I'm working on the gathering the balls to admit that my curiosity got the best of me. Nevertheless, I'm glad that I was able to unearth this sign because it gives me reassurance that things happen for a reason. I'll make sure to share my story with Ed before class is done. I'm hoping that it will offer his wife some comfort because my daughter is a prime example that Dr. Blood really did make a difference in this world.  :)

On another note, this symbolic coincidence has inspired me to do something unique with my newly acquired sexual knowledge. I'm already mentally preparing for a heavily modified "birds and bees" talk with Niki. I've done some homework and I know her sexual future might have quite a few challenges because of her bleeding disorder. So, the fledgling Sex Educator in me would like to do something special to educate the masses on sex and bleeding disorders.

Only time will tell how successful my "bloody sex" talk will be with Niki. :)


  1. Bravo on sharing the info on the coagulation process!! The video was especially helpful; viewing hours and hours of porn has turned me into a "spatial" learner than an auditoy one LOL!!!

    You should have approached Dr Blood's daughter - you should not have chickened out! It would have meant a lot to her to hear your kind words for her father and his work.

    You are a grat person now (and i'm so proud of you) and I really believe you are destined to do even greater things in the future. Please take care of your health, not just for you, but also for the lions in your den.


  2. I love how you've started commenting on my blogs. And I'm glad that you enjoyed the video. (TMI on the "house and hours of internet porn", Pops. Ick.)

    I'll be sure to take a moment to e-mail Ed about his FIL. I thanked him for the inspiration on the last day of class, but I think I caught him off guard. ;-)