NOW ON SALE!!!

The "CLOT BUSTERs RACING to STOP THE CLOT" RUNNING SHIRT is NOW AVAILABLE. PLEASE HELP US spread the word and create awareness about blood clots and blood clotting disorders. If you are a CLOT SURVIVOR you need polka-dots to inspire others. If you are a FAMILY MEMBER or FRIEND of a blood clot survivor you need polka-dots to spread the word, create awareness and CELEBRATE your Survivor's Accomplishments! (If you don't see the size you need we can make special arrangements so just ask @ CLOTBUSTERPOLKADOTS@gmail.com)
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Saturday, February 28, 2015

March Athlete of the Month

MARCH = DVT / BLOOD CLOT AWARENESS MONTH

Finally March has arrived!

Many positives come from the arrival of this month.

Possibly the weather will start to improve so that it is "more reasonable"...

Possibly my furnace will stop running trying to keep up with the cold...

Definitely it is time to think about what events will see the CLOT BUSTER #StopTheClot polka-dots this spring and summer...

Definitely it is time to spread the word about blood clots and blood clotting disorders, celebrate blood clot survivors, and remember those who we lost due to blood clots since March is DVT / Blood Clot Awareness Month!

During this month (and pretty much every other month of the year) it is my GREAT PLEASURE to celebrate blood clot survivors by sharing their story because they are simply inspiring and they can teach us so much about overcoming challenges and achieve the impossible.

This month's featured Athlete of the Month is BECKY COMPTON who has been gracious enough to share her story as she prepares to participate in the Cap City Quarter Marathon race as a member of Team StopTheClot!  Please read on Becky's story as she shared with me...

" I want to start by saying I was not an athlete before my Pulmonary Embolism diagnosis, however I will be in Columbus Ohio on May 2, 2015 at the age of 40 to do my first 6.55 miles to raise awareness for a silent killer and give back to help an amazing cause.

June 30, 2006 After several Afib episodes I have a Afib ablation that was unsuccessful and sent home.

July 3, 2006 For three days I just wanted to sleep, decide to call my PCP, I see my usual NP tell her my symptoms and even ask if I could have a Pulmonary Embolism ( I am a CT Tech and work in a Medical Center), she throws her head back and laughs and says People your age do not get PE’s. I was 31 at the time. I go home.

July 5, 2006 I continue to be more short of breath and go to the Emergency Room, within 30 minutes I am diagnosed with a PE, put on Heparin moved to ICU and told that if Tim McGraw would not have cancelled his concert and I would have gone I would have died. (3 months away from work)

For another year between my PCP and Cardiologist I was called fat, out of shape, and blamed for continued shortness of breath and leg swelling and the initial miss of the pulmonary embolism.

September 2007 The day I passed out at work and a local cardiologist who had heard my story offered his services.  Dr M Studeny asked for two weeks to figure out my situation, it took him four days.  May Thurners Syndrome was diagnosed I found a new PCP Dr B Allan who never hesitated to take me or all my issues.

June 2008 Dr Korona ballooned my iliac veins in January 2008 but they collapsed so I had bilateral iliac vein stents placed.

January 2010 I started Pulmonary Rehabilitation because I had multiple hospital stays due to asthma which I could not shake, my lungs were not strong, I completed program and graduated.

I started walking 5ks however I wanted more

Late 2013 Marshall Recreation Center, a public gym on the campus of Marshall University, I found a trainer who would train me, treated me like every other client and member.  Took my history of PE’s May Thurners Syndrome Asthma and Coumadin and said lets get started.

I found four trainers and a gym who only encouraged me who treated me like every other member; I run I lift I do circuits and they push me every day. They also write letters to my PCP of my progress and keep up with my INR.  Stronger and more confident every day.

I have my life back I work full time as a CT Tech at St Marys Medical Center, I am a Hospice of Huntington, World Changer, Street Ministry and Special Olympic volunteer. I am a daughter, sister and proud to say a new #STOPTHECLOT member.

If you are reading this I want you to follow your heart, find a team of doctors who care about you and want to see you succeed and you are going to be stronger after your clots, always inspire people and be your best.

I want to finish by thanking God, my parents and brother David, My Team Dr Allan, Dr Bir Dr Korona Dr Ottaviano, and Dr Studeny,  and four amazing trainers Abe Koroma, Desiree Gibbs, Micaiah Branch and Chris Lane. All the above are my family now and will never realize how much they mean to me."


Becky - We are so glad that you are coming out to race with us and wear the CLOT BUSTER #StopTheClot polka-dots to celebrate your come back and spread the word about blood clots and blood clotting disorders.

Here is looking forward to share the race course with you!

Never ever stop!

Thanks for reading,

The Clot Buster

Sunday, February 08, 2015

February Athlete of the Month

Here is hoping that 2015 is starting off well for you as it has been for the Clot Buster...

By now you probably know that NBCA has been named an Official Charity Partner with the CAP CITY HALF-MARATHON (www.CAPITALCITYHALFMARATHON.com) that will be held on May 2nd.

So, we are putting together a "TEAM STOPTHECLOT" so that polka-dots will be all around this event not only during the race but also with a booth during the expo session prior to the race.  Can't express my gratitude and excitement about this opportunity to RAISE AWARENESS AND SPREAD THE WORK TO STOP THE CLOT!  For sure the better part of 15,000 participants will walk by the booth and least will get a glimpse of the polka-dots and what we are all about!

So, while making the initial announcement of our involvement with this race through social - media (shameless plug here for my Twitter account @CLOTBUSTER) including some groups in Facebook the Athlete I am featuring on this month's edition of Athlete of the Month contacted me about her interest in participating...

... and since she is a survivor JENNIE LOUCKS had a story and an experience that was a "Must Share" and I could not pass it up. 

VERY THANKFUL for Jeannie's willingness to share here story with us so that we can all be inspired to keep going and never ever give up!

Please read on and enjoy...!

"A Little About Me:
*** What is you sport/activity of choice? Why do you enjoy it?
I am an avid runner and cyclist.  I enjoy these activities on some many different levels.  I love the accomplished feeling a workout, race or PR give you. I love the therapy they provide.  I love the ability to continually set goals and reach them, and most of all I love the friendships that have blossomed because of the sports.

*** How did you get started in that sport?
Both are relatively new hobbies.  Running began as a New Year's Resolution in 2013, where I set a goal to spend a year building up to a marathon, and I picked up cycling in the spring of 2014 when I began training for Oklahoma BikeMS.

*** What is the latest milestone you achieved or plan to achieve?
Running: Completed a PR distance of 50K on Jan. 24, 2015 in 6:42:01.  Cycling: I completed Oklahoma BikeMS (2 Days, 150 miles) in September 2014.  I'm participating in OK Freewheel this summer, a week-long cycling event across the state of Oklahoma.

*** What is your favorite piece of gear for your favorite activity?
I love my Nike Free Run 2.0s.  I have several pairs stock-piled in my closet for the future.  I also couldn't live without my Garmin Forerunner 610!

*** How much are you getting out doing your sport? 
I run every day.  I started a streak on New Year's Day and am going to try to keep it alive with 1+ miles a day for all of 2015. I cycle several times per week.

*** What is your favorite food after a race or activity in your sport? 
 Anything salty.  I'm always craving salty things post-race.  That, and chocolate milk!

*** If you could go some place to visit and explore, where would like to go?
I would love to backpack through Latin and South America.  There is so much culture to be seen and experienced, and so many different types of climates, weather, landmarks that I would be able to see and discover.

*** 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?
NEVER NEVER NEVER give up on your dreams.  Clotting, in my opinion, is more of a mental battle than a physical one.  You will fight the fear of the unknown on a daily basis, but don't let it hold you prisoner.  Learn to listen closely to your body; be as in-tune with it as possible.  Take it a day at a time, push yourself, but not too hard, and you'll be back in the saddle before you even know it.  Remember, you're alive, you're breathing, your lungs are working, your heart is pumping, and that is something we should never take for granted.
*** Tells about your concerns and what you look out after as you got back.
At first, every little ache and pain terrified me.  I felt like I lived in a continual state of fear, waiting for the terrible pain I had before to return.  I slowly began to figure out how to distinguish between the residual pain that would always be there from the scar tissue in my lungs and the pains that warranted a call to the doctor. 

I found that anything below 30 degrees was hard on my lungs, and I had to adjust workouts accordingly to be either inside or to wrap my face with something while outside.  Some days I really wanted to go farther, but I've been able to get really in-tune with my body and know when enough is enough for a day.  Although I wouldn't wish blood clots on anyone, I really do appreciate the opportunity this has given me to really get in sync with my body and how it feels. 


Here is my story:

In 2013 I made the decision that I was ready to take on the world.  I was ready to move somewhere new and to start my life the way I wanted it.  I ended up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where I was blessed to find FleetFeet and their marathon training program.  I admit I joined it more to meet people and make friends rather than to train, but I ended up getting both, and when November of 2014 rolled around I was ready and raring to go to DOMINATE the Route 66 Marathon on November 23rd...or so I thought.
October 17, 2014
I'm drowning, I can't tell in what, but I can't get the air I need, it's just not coming.  I jolt awake; it was only a dream.. But wait, I still can't breathe.  My chest is on fire, and I'm only able to swallow puffs of air at a time.  It takes all my strength to reach over to wake Colt, my boyfriend.  Am I having a heart attack?  How is this possible?  We rush to the ER, where I wait and wait to be seen.  Finally, as the pain subsists and my breathing returns to normal the doctor arrives.  One chest x-ray later, and I'm on the way to Walgreens for some pain meds.  Diagnosis: pleurisy.

Every night I fall asleep knowing that the crushing pain will come for me sometime before the morning light.  Some nights I'm lucky, most nights, Colt and I spend the wee hours breathing slowly together, waiting for the pain to subside.  It always does, and then it's back to the day as usual, work, long Saturday runs, Tuesday track nights...  I'm fine, until the night. October 23, 2014

The nightly attacks are really taking a toll on me, and I need relief.  I arrive at Urgent Care, where after a second chest x-ray, I'm giving a higher prescription.  The pesky pleurisy just doesn't want to give up.  I wonder, will the nightly pain become a part of my life that I must adjust to.  The notion is terrifying.

November 11, 2014

Today is different.  I've awoken and the pain is still there, nagging, pulling, blocking the deep breaths I need so desperately. I return to Urgent Care, where I'm advised to head back to the ER.  I suffer through the most excruciating pain of my life, lying on my back for the CT scan, and then, we wait.
The doctor slowing opens the door, and the words leave her mouth, "You should be dead".  Diagnosis: 30 blood clots between my two lungs.  I'm admitted immediately to the ICU, and from there, the next 5 days are a blur.

November 23, 2014

This was one of the hardest days of my life, standing at the marathon finish line, watching all my teammates cross the finish line, one after the next.  I laughed, I cried at least 10 times, and wished with every bone in my body that I was out there with them.

November 28, 2014

Today's the day.  The doctor says I can begin running again.    My first run was to be a short, slow three miles, and the thought of it terrified me.  Would I ever be able to run again?  Guess what, I did.  I pushed away all the fears I'd felt. I told myself that this would not be the end of running.  It started out at a snail's pace, but then I sped up, faster, then faster, then I was flying.  I decided then and there that it'd be a new beginning for running and I.

January 24, 2015
Today was my comeback.  I felt great, stronger than ever really, and I had all the support in the world from my running family.  As I got dressed the reality of the day started to set in.  In less than two hours I'd be at the start line for the longest race of my life. The Go Short Go Long Go Very Long 50K was about the happen, and I was going to crush it.  Guess what, I did.  Crossing that finish line was literally the best moment of my life.  My teammates were there to cheer me on, and as I crossed the mat, I thought to myself, "Take that clots!  You'll never be able to keep me from my dreams!"


TAKE THAT CLOTS!

STOP THE CLOT! So glad that you are back! Looking forward to hear how far and fast you can go!

Thanks for reading,

The Clot Buster

Saturday, January 17, 2015

January Athlete of the Month

Once again HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Here is hoping that 2015 started in splendid fashion for all who is reading this post!

I am very much looking forward to what 2015 has in store for all of us.

I can't think of any other way to start these series of posts on the new year with the story of a blood clot survivor that for sure will get you off your feet and believing that anything is possible!

Please allow me to introduce to you KATHRYN SPENCER who this past January 15th celebrated her CLOTIVERSARY but before that she made an incredible come back that will have you picking up your jaw off the floor just like mine did when I got hear Kathryn's story for the first time...

But I need to stop and let her written voice tell you all about!

"January 15, 2013…that is my clotiversary. I woke up that morning with a stiff right calf. It was quite achy, but I thought it was due to an extra hard workout the day before. I tried to go to the gym and “work the ache out”, but it didn’t go away. By this time, I was finally awake enough to look at my calf, and realized it was swollen. I knew right away that I had a blood clot, but I had absolutely NO idea how serious this was. I called in for a same-day appointment, and the doc kind of rolled his eyes when I told him I thought I had a blood clot. He took one good look at my leg, then rushed me to the Doppler scan area. This primary doc was absolutely fabulous that day, bumped everyone to get me taken care of, and had ordered ALL of the appropriate blood tests before getting me to the ER.
In the ER, everyone was also very solicitous, getting my treatment with Lovenox started right away. My calf was becoming more and more achy as the day progressed. It was at this point that I started to realize that this was not a trivial “take this pill for a week, and you’ll be fine” kind of ordeal. When I got home and started Googling (the worst thing we could do, but we all do it, right?), then I started to freak out. By this time, my calf was about twice normal size.
I tried to get back to my normal work schedule, but could only deal with the pain from my calf for about 4 hours. Sitting was horrible, and standing was excruciating. Grocery shopping was limited to a 10 minute trip, before the pain became unbearable. I had to adjust my commuting schedule to get around rush-hour, because I couldn’t stand the pain.
Oh yeah, and did I mention that I’m a triathlete? I had just started training for my first half-Ironman when I was diagnosed. In retrospect, the first symptom was gasping during swim workouts…I thought it was because the workouts were hard effort, but I couldn’t deal with the controlled breathing – guess that was the PE part. So post-clot, I’m lying in bed, feet elevated, heating pad on calf, trying to deny the reality of never being able to run again. Thankfully, I found Roland’s blog, several FaceBook groups, and a blessed DVT comrade on SlowTwitch. She told me her own experiences and inspired me to believe I could do triathlons again. Still, the major depression was awful and lasted for several months.
I returned to the pool after about a month. Kicking drills hurt, but everything else was OK. My cardiologist absolutely refused to allow me to ride a bike, even after I pestered her with questions of when and what kind of swim/bike/run I could do. After being VERY persistent, she finally said “oh, you’re one of THOSE people”. I thought I had a big fight on my hands. I did try to ride my bike on the trainer, but it was about three months before I could pedal more than an hour (calf swelling from being upright). I worked up to walking a mile, then two, then tried to walk/jog for 20 minutes.
A return visit to my cardiologist lifted my spirits, as she said “since I know you want to ride your bike so much, I’m OK with you stopping the Coumadin.” I wanted to hug her. My first bike ride was so scary, riding the brakes down every hill. It had been 5 months and I was nervous. I did have several return trips to the ER, because of severe calf cramping, but this was due to me trying to return to the workouts I knew. I began to realize I needed to take things slower, but that eventually I could build back up…I just couldn’t do it all at once. After 10 months, I was able to do my one-and-only tri of the year, a sprint. I finished 2 minutes off of my previous best….I’M BACK!!
Over the next year, I slowly worked up to longer distances, competed in an Olympic distance tri with good results, then decided that it was time for that half-Ironman. With my coach, we worked out a slow and steady training schedule. My goal was for the Lake Havasu half-Ironman in Arizona in November.  The training worked well for me, as it was mostly long, slow distance at low heart-rate. I was ready for this half. During the race, I kept thinking “but I’m not supposed to be here; I’m supposed to be dead”. Then I’d get a big grin, and say “but look at me now!” In every picture, I’m smiling. I had a great race, broke 6 hours, and can’t wait to do the next one. I chose to wear the Stop the Clot jersey to show my support for all of my fellow DVTers, raise awareness of symptoms (I answered a lot of questions that day), and to thank everyone who supported me along the way.
I still have to be wary of hard workouts. I’ll have a swollen calf the day after a long run or bike ride (need to plan an easy following day). If I take a break, I need more time than normal to return to previous fitness. Those 8-week plans for a half-marathon? Double that time for me. But I’m back. Thanks to the encouragement of Roland, the FaceBook groups, and other DVT/PE sufferers who’ve returned to triathlon, I’ve become one of the mentors who can tell you it’s possible…possible to return to doing the things you love, possible to compete as good (or better!) than before, and possible to live a normal life.
 
Yes indeed Kathryn IS BACK... AND ALMOST BETTER THAN EVER!

Can't wait to hear and read what else Kathryn will accomplish in the near future.  So glad to see that she is taking the polka-dots and spreading the word while she is out there racing.  THANK YOU!

Be on the lookout for this lady... she may blow past you when you least expect it.

Thank you Kathryn for your willingness to share.  DON'T EVER STOP THE INSPIRATION no matter how hard it gets!

Thank you for reading,

The Clot Buster

My 60th Triathlon Finish !!!

My 60th Triathlon Finish !!!
First Time ever My Son got to cross the finish line with me. Without a doubt a Wonderful Experience