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Wednesday, March 04, 2020

March Athlete of the Month

Hello March!

MARCH is BLOOD CLOT AWARENESS MONTH

This is the month where we step it up a notch and promote our cause of awareness against blood clots and blood clotting disorders.  

This is the month when we also celebrate all blood clot survivors and remember those we lost along the way.

Hard to believe how many lives are affected by blood clots every year.

Wonderful to know that many lives are saved from blood clots every year.

Inspiring to read about what blood clot survivors are capable of doing as they overcome the challenges of their condition.

There is no better time of the year to couple the blood clot survivor inspiration with basketball as the fun of March Madness looms in the horizon.

For this month I wanted to bring forward a couple of stories of blood clot survivors that are truly remarkable and worth the read.

The first story comes to us from The Post (THEPOSTATHENS.com) in Athens, OH and it features the story of Katie who will not allow blood clots to slow her down from her love of basketball.  You have to read this story because it one that you will remember...

http://projects.thepostathens.com/SpecialProjects/the-2020-basketball-edition-ohio-university/katie-barker-ohio-university-womens-basketball-college-ncaa.html

The second story for this month's post also features a basketball player - Alli, who is more than ready to battle her condition and return to the court in order to make a difference for her team.  Credit for the article to the DAILYLOCAL.com.

https://www.dailylocal.com/sports/after-scare-with-blood-clots-alli-dienes-is-back-with/article_88ccae9f-ae26-57f8-adb3-773186011f87.html

Once again it is good to remember that blood clots can happen to anyone at any time.

It is very important to be aware of the signs and symptoms because they can be the difference between life and death.

STOPTHECLOT.org is a great resource to learn more about what you need to keep in mind so that you can be alert.

Here is hoping that March is great month for all of you.

Certainly the Madness of Basketball is coming but also spring is getting closer so that we can get the CLOT BUSTER #StopTheClot polka-dots truly out there training and racing.

Blood Clot Survivors CAN DO ANYTHING and there is proof here on both of our basketball superstars who, with their stories and play on the court, are inspiring us all.

Thank you fore reading

The Clot Buster
#StopTheClot

Monday, February 03, 2020

February Athlete of the Month

When the going gets tough you have to dig deep and find some inspiration.

We experience that every day.  Some people more than others for a variety of circumstances.

When doing sport the need to overcome the pain in whatever form it comes is part of the deal of participating and making it to the finish.  

This situation was for sure present when I was attempting my #100 triathlon in Muncie, IN... While grinding out the 56 Miles of the bike I got the chance to hear a shout from a fellow racer calling me out because of the #STOPTHECLOT polka-dots I was wearing.  Getting to hear that recognition got me in gear to keep hammering on the bike when I was feeling at my limit.  But then during the run, once again, that voice came over me to give me the jolt I need to put another foot in front of the other when I was really hurting during the half-marathon.  This voice shouting at me was the voice of a Blood Clot Survivor who was throwing down on that race just like I was.  If a blood clot survivor can do it after all of the challenges their face then I can also get it together to deliver on a finish.

Thanks to the polka-dots this survivor looked me up in the internet and thanks to the magic of the web I have been following this outstanding individual.  We are very lucky that MICHAEL has been willing to share his story of survival with us so that you too out there could be inspired just like I was during that race in Muncie.

Read on and get inspired!

What is you sport/activity of choice? Why do you enjoy it?
I am a runner. I enjoy the freedom of being outdoors. Many of my closest friends are runners. We met through running. I enjoy talking to random runners out on the trail or even during races. It helps the time fly. I also have no problem running solo. This is a great way to clear your mind. Most of all, I love the health benefits. Running does the body good. I want to live as long as I can. Exercise and proper diet is the plan to achieve that.

How did you get started in that sport?
I was on my elementary school football team. The coaches always had us running laps around the field to warm up or for discipline. Everyone hated doing laps. A few of us decided to run off season so we can improve our running. We continued this practice all through high school. I even raced our high school cross country team as a football player. I placed 3rd in the mile.  As I grew older, I incorporated running as the cardio portion of my routine in the health club. Some of the regulars on the treadmill invited a group of us to run outside for some miles. Then the group started meeting on a running trail. One year, one of the runners told me I should run the marathon. I said yes I should do it. Mind you I never ran race, even a 5K. I then began training for marathons.

What is the latest milestone you achieved or plan to achieve?(Long bike ride, some race coming up or that you did)
By the end of 2019, I have completed 31 marathons of 26.2 miles or greater.  The last marathon was a challenge race. Half marathon, then 8K. The following day was the full marathon. This was about 44 miles for the weekend. I have completed 2 Ironman 70.3 triathlon events. The last one is where I had seen the Clot Buster in action!! Yep passed me on the bike!! I plan to complete an Ironman 140.3 in the very near future.

Tells about your clotting episode. Are you on blood thinners now? How long were you out of commission?
October 1, 2018 I was admitted into the hospital for bilateral pulmonary embolisms. Just 1 week prior, after completing a half marathon race I had a pain behind the knee. I thought this was a strained muscle. I took the week off from running as the Chicago Marathon was quickly approaching. Sunday early morning, I was awakened by a stabbing pain in my chest. I have never felt anything this painful in this area. Not sure what to do, I took some ibuprofen to take the pain away. Sunday I rested on the couch all day. I noticed being out of breathe with basic activities. Climbing the stairs took all my energy and had to rest at the top. Through this ordeal I was explaining how I was feeling to my wife. My pain level was not as severe but still painful when I inhaled. Monday morning, I decided to stay home from work with the thought of going to see the doctor. My wife had already told my brother, an Emergency Room Registered Nurse. He gave me a call that morning. He convinced me to not see my primary care but to go to an urgent care center or ER as they may run more tests. I went to the urgent care. The doctor took X-rays and D-Dimer blood test. X-Rays came back with possible fluid in the lung. He sent me for some medication while waiting on the blood test results. A few hours later I had received a phone call from the doctor. He ordered me to the emergency room right away as the test came back positive for blood clots. He gave me all the information that I need to tell them. The doctor made sure I understood I had to go immediately. The ER ran all the same test plus the CT scan with iodine dye. When they brought me back to the ER room after the CT scan, the doctor said he was going to look at the results now. If he does come back right away, it might not be that serious. He came running back. The ER doctor had a shocked look on his face. He said with the huge bilateral PE’s, how was I just sitting there so calm and relaxed with the restricted oxygen levels. Most people would have an oxygen mask on at this point. He concluded it was my endurance training that allowed me efficiently utilize the oxygen I was receiving. He said my running has saved my life. I was immediately put on a Heparin blood thinner drip. A few days later I was prescribed Eliquis 5mg taken twice a day.

All this occurred the week leading to the marathon, the cardiologist had determined my heart was not being stressed from the ultrasound. He said strong runner’s heart. He actually wanted me to start running again in 2 weeks but definitely I would have to sit of this weekend’s marathon. This marathon would have been my 13th consecutive Chicago Marathon. Missing this would have broken the streak. I was bummed but glad to be alive. My wife actually grounded me from running for 5 weeks till my first follow up doctor appointment.

After 9 months, my hematologist said I can come off the Eliquis. My anxiety level was very high just  thinking about coming off the drug keeping my blood from clotting, keeping me alive. The doctor then put me on a maintenance dose of Eliquis 2.5mg.

Another 9 months passed, doctor convinced me to run a test to see how my body is handling clotting. After being off the blood thinner for 1 week, another D-Dimer blood test was completed. The test came back favorable. My body was doing what it is supposed to do. I started this year off of the blood thinner Eliquis.

When were you able to get back into your activity? How did it feel that first time?
I returned to running 5 weeks later. I kept the runs very easy and very local to the house. I gradually increased my distance over the next few weeks. Even though I was dealing with the discomfort of the after effects of the PE, I cautiously began marathon training again.

What is your favorite piece of gear for your favorite activity? 
For the last few years, my race day attire has been my flags. Shirt and headband was the US flag. I had the Polish and Filipino flags. This represented who I was. US born with my father family from Poland and mother from the Philippines. Maybe I will be sporting the Polka-Dots in the near future.


How much are you getting out doing your sport?
When I am in marathon training mode, my week consists of running outside at least 4 times, lap swimming 2x, and weight training 2x.

When I am in triathlon training mode, my week consists of running 4x, biking 3x, open water swim 1x , laps swim 2x, and weights 1-2x. This work load was completed with morning and evening sessions.

😎What is your favorite food? Either generally or after a workout. 
 I love to eat. I love trying dishes from all cultures. The fall of 2019, I  made a decision to change my diet to plant based. I did not feel good on the inside and I considered myself to be a healthy eater. I wanted to give this a try. Will the plant based diet help in my healing process. I am going into my 5 month on this way of eating. I feel great. I have a new type of energy. My last marathon and training was fueled by plants. I do not miss meat. I will eat meat again but very seldom planned meal.

I also enjoy a good craft beer. All my doctors gave me the ok to drink a seldom beer.  Sometimes after a long run and definitley after a race I will enjoy 2 good local craft brew.

If you could go some place to visit and explore, where would like to go?
My long term goal is to complete a marathon distance in all 50 states. I am not rushing this as all the traveling is expensive. I would be happy to add 2 states a year. I have a group of friends that also enjoy this so I am not alone traveling. Friend runcation!


What would like to say to someone who is going through a clotting episode, perhaps very similar to yours? How can people return to do what they enjoy? Tells about your concerns and what you look out after.
In the beginning of this new journey, many people reached out to comfort me. Many of these people were on social media that I did not know. Some of them are blood clot or pulmonary embolism survivors. Some of them were runners who survived this.  They really helped me to find comfort and stay strong. I had many bad days and would often crawl into my personal cave to deal with it. With their help, I was able to keep my anxiety down.

I have had angels help me along my journey training for marathons. I had friends run with me on my longer runs. One of my BF runners, flew into town for a medical conference and ran my first distance over 10 miles. She was a Physician’s Assistant in Cardiology. We went on my feel and completed 14 miles. As the distances grew longer, I found it difficult to find people to run with me. On a few of my runs, somehow I paired up with other runners for a good portion of my miles. Guess what, some of these runner where in the medical field. I really had someone looking out for me. For my first marathon that January in Miami, I had a large group which consisted of 2 doctors, 1 physician assistant, and 1 nurse. I was in good hands. The best angel that surprised me was during that Miami Marathon. It was warm and humid. This was not good running conditions and creating extra stress on my body. The half marathon turned off the course at mile 13. I need to make a decision to turn in  and settle for a 13.1 mile finish or continue on and complete the 26.2s miles.  I said a prayer and asked God to look after me for the second half of the race. Just before the 14th mile, I hear music coming from behind me and growing louder. I hear the song, “One call Away”. I love this song and begin to sing it. The music was coming from a wheelchair runner team, Michael and Jenn from Team Hoyt. We ran side by side for the remainder of the race. They really helped me accomplish my first marathon as PE survivor! Angels come in many forms, knowing when spot them is the challenge. Make that call, and Angel may come your way.

I'm only one call away
I'll be there to save the day
Superman got nothing on me
I'm only one call away
Call me, baby, if you need a friend
I just wanna give you love
Come on, come on, come on
Reaching out to you, so take a chance
No matter where you go
You know you're not alone
I'm only one call away
I'll be there to save the day
Superman got nothing on me
I'm only one call away
Come along with me and don't be scared
I just wanna set you free
Come on, come on, come one
You and me can make it anywhere
For now, we can stay here for a while, ay
'Cause you know, I just wanna see you smile
No matter where you go
You know you're not alone
I'm only one call away
I'll be there to save the day
Superman got nothing on me
I'm only one call away
And when you're weak I'll be strong
I'm gonna keep holding on
Now don't you worry, it won't be long, Darling
And when you feel like hope is gone
Just run into my arms
I'm only one call away
I'll be there to save the day
Superman got nothing on me
I'm only one, I'm only one call away
I'll be there to save the day
Superman got nothing on me
I'm only one call away
I'm only one call away


What else can I say...

Truly a wonderful personal account that for sure will get you off your feet and get you going.

Michael was my angel during that race in Muncie last year... he was there when I needed it.  

Here is hoping that we can see him racing in some polka-dots very soon.  If OH still missing from his list of marathons per state then I am going to have to run a marathon again because I will be running along side him.

Thank you for reading,

The Clot Buster

Monday, January 13, 2020

January Athlete of the Month

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
Here we go 2020! 

For all of you who come across to read this blog HERE IS WISHING YOU ALL OF THE GOOD HEALTH, HAPPINESS, and GOOD FORTUNE YOU CAN HANDLE.

Blood Clot Survivors CAN DO ANYTHING and again this year will see it demonstrated on the incredible accomplishments that I hope to be able to share with you on this space.  No question that we will ALL BE INSPIRED to push on and NEVER GIVE UP just like blood clot survivors do every day!

There is an abundance of stories of what Blood Clot Survivors can do.  To get our year of stories going for 2020 I would like to draw your attention to a story that has been posted on STOPTHECLOT.org and it sure is compelling enough to kick start the new year.   


Always need to be aware of the signs of symptoms of blood clots since it can save your life.

When I doubt... Get checked out!

I am very much looking forward to continue meeting survivors and get the opportunity to have them share their stories of survival.  Recovery and anxiety from blood clots vary from individual to individual.  But the power of knowing that others are going through the same situation that you are presently experiencing can be very beneficial.

Here is hoping that 2020 turns out to be the best year possible for all us

Thank you for reading,

The Clot Buster

My 100th Triathlon Finish !!!

My 100th Triathlon Finish !!!
#100 TRIATHLONS