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PLEASE HELP US CELEBRATE CLOT SURVIVORS and spread awareness about blood clots and blood clotting disorders.
If you are a CLOT SURVIVOR you need polka-dots to inspire others and CELEBRATE that you are Survivor.
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Thursday, September 06, 2018

September Athlete of the Month

Holding on to summer just a little bit longer.

I can't believe that we are in September.

The second set of hopefully 10 years of this blog are starting off in great form.  

There is never a shortage of inspiring stories out there from Blood Clot Survivors to keep us going with inspiration and desire to overcome all of our current challenges.

It is truly a pleasure to read stories from individuals from all walks of life and from every where in the world.  It is amazing to see that blood clot survivor experiences can span everywhere.  

This time around we are going to meet a NYC native in THOMAS who is doing everything that he can to live everyday to the fullest while he is aware of his body in order to overcome possible blood clots.

Read to learn about truly a picture of consistency... You will see what I mean as you read on...

*** What is you sport/activity of choice?
My favorite sports is running, i've been running for most of my life, since I was about 12.  I love running to continually test myself, for the unique camaraderie that runners at every level have, for the ability to see parts of the world from a runner's perspective.  I also coach a Brooklyn, NY Based club, The Grand Army Pacers.

*** How did you get started in that sport? 
When I was younger, I was very competitive and loved to race kids in my neighborhood.  That grew into Middle School and High School Track and Cross Country, college and then post collegiate when I began to run 1/2 marathons and finally a marathon that I ran in 2:54.  I also began to compete in cycling races and duathlons.

*** What is the latest milestone you achieved or plan to achieve?
Each year I try to run at least 1,000 miles.  Consistency is critical to improving performance..  I also plan to run until I'm 100 or more.

*** Tells about your clotting episode.  Are you on blood thinners now? How long were you out of commission? 
I first noticed symptoms back in October 2017.  I had just returned from two trips in a week, One on a plane and the other a 9 hour round trip drive in 1 day.  The next night as I was warming up for interval sessions, I found myself unable to breathe while running very slowly. So I stopped.  That eventually subsided over the next few weeks, but I began to have the same symptoms in early December, so I decided to take it slow for the holidays.  Two days after Christmas I went for a run and could only make it 2 minutes before stopping for several minutes to catch my breath.  I made it 2 miles.  I had to go into NYC for a meeting and took the subway.  I couldn't make it up the steps without stopping and my heart rate through the roof.  For the next couple of hours my heart rate was elevated (RHR in the 80s vs 45-50 normal).  When I returned home I knew I had to go see a Doctor and my wife pushed me to go even though it was 7pm (Thank God she did), so I ended up in the ER.
After lots of tests, including a CT Scan with contrast, I was diagnosed with 2 blood clots in each lung.  After 2 days of treatment in the hospital including blood thinners, the clots dissolved and I was released.  I was put on Xarelto for 4 months, told to wear compression socks and watch my travel, especially driving long distances. 
I am now off blood thinners but take a baby aspirin every day.  I also became involved in fundraising through the National Blood Clot Alliance who put in a walk in the memory of Michael Scott, that went across the Brooklyn Bridge.  It was an eye opener to see how so many people are affected by undiagnosed blood clots.

*** When were you able to get back into your activity?  How did it feel that first time? 
I began running again in late January, and immediately noticed that I could breathe normally again. That was great!  I did feel sluggish though, the doctors told me that was due to getting used to the blood thinners.  Mentally, I have been able to get past the thought that I would get another blood clot, but it took months.

*** What is your favorite piece of gear for your favorite activity?
My favorite gear are my ASICS running shoes.  I get 2 pair at a time so that they "rest" between runs.  I don;t have any polka dot gear yet, but I will soon!!

*** How much are you getting out doing your sport?
I'm back up to running 5-6 days a week, about 25 miles per week.  I need to get back to cycling as well.

*** What is your favorite food?
My absolute favorite post workout food is Chocolate Milk.  Nothing better.  At Prospect Park, where I train, there is a Saturday Farmers Market with the best chocolate milk.

*** If you could go some place to visit and explore, where would like to go? 
I've been lucky to travel extensively around the world, but would love to run more races in different parts of the U.S.  That's always a great way to connect with people in different parts of the country and get their perspective on all things local.

*** 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? 
To anyone who is unfortunate to go through a clotting episode, my advice is to follow what your doctors tell you to do.  Once you get cleared to return to activity, you have to have the idea that you are basically starting over.  So do not compare your activity or performances to what you did prior to your clotting episode.  Set new goals for yourself and look at post clotting PRs!  That could be anything from running a mile, to completing a marathon.  Once you are back, do not forget to make appointments with doctors, try to live healthier, but most of all enjoy the fact that you are a survivor and can help others who are in the same position you were.

Can you believe that Thomas can throw down over 1000 miles every year?  That is simply amazing.

For sure we will need to get him to do some of those miles in the CLOT BUSTER #StopTheClot polka-dots.

Anything is possible for those who believe.  In the case of Thomas he believes that he can do anything and hopefully run all over the country as he wishes to do.  Here is hoping that he never stops going forward just like all of us have to do everyday!

Thank you for reading,

The Clot Buster

Thursday, August 09, 2018

August Athlete of the Month

Who doesn't like the heat of summer? 

These are the days in which I want to do nothing else but to be outside playing... 

There is so much more to do than just sitting in an office.  

Therefore don't mind me if I am never available for lunch during the summer months... I need the fresh air for sure.  Breakfast meetings can be a nice alternate option... Not sure how this will fly but you never know until you try...

Speaking of trying.

How about trying to overcome the challenges caused by blood clots? 

How about trynig return to do the sport or sports you enjoy after surviving your blood clotting incident? 

How about trying to spread awareaness and celebrating that YOU CAN DO ANYTHING with the help of the CLOT BUSTER #StopTheClot polka-dots for added inspiiration? 

Well our August Athlete of the Month SAM certainly IS TRYING TO OVERCOME.

Read on to find out more about her story...

"In Nov 2016, I had very unexpected Pulmonary Embolism at age 27. I spent 4 days in the hospital and couldn't work for two weeks. Breathing was a nightmare, and my doctors told me to expect shortness of breath and fatigue for 6 months to a year. This was confirmed by the many many personal stories I read from survivors. I was crushed and completely heartbroken. I felt like my world was caving in on me. I pride myself in being able to push my body to new limits and I was now facing up to a year of dealing with the side effects of this. I had very little hope and there were some seriously bad days. I wanted to just give up.

Just before the new year of 2017 (under doctor supervision), I started some light cardio on a recumbent bike and it felt okay. I slowly progressed to some very slow jogging on the treadmill. My back was still iffy (I ruptured a lumbar disc in August 2017 which brought my previous marathon training to a screeching halt) so my doctor wanted me to stay off the concrete for awhile. January 1 of 2017 I ran a grudgingly slow 2 miles on the treadmill. My lungs had a hard time keeping up, but really it wasn't so bad. The next day I ran 1.5 miles. I physically couldn't make it to two. I felt like a broken shell of who I was.  But I still kept at it. My doctor told me to keep a close eye on my heart and lungs, but they got stronger every day. After 8 weeks, I barely felt any adverse effects. I kept at it. A friend suggested I set a goal for the year to keep me motivated and we decided we each wanted to run 1000 miles in 2017. We kept going, and things got easier. It wasn't long until I was running 4 to 5 miles at a time. Running gave me purpose again. I started to feel like myself for the first time in a really long time. We ran a few races and I told myself if I still felt good come June, I'd try marathon training again. After everything I had been through, it seemed like nothing more than a pipe dream.

Until the day it wasn't. I seriously busted my ass. I stuck to the program (Hanson's Marathon Method), and I made it work. Between the stupid hot/humid weather we had that summer, and working pretty long hours at times, I still can't believe I got it done. I passed my 1000 mile mark in mid August and I couldn't believe it. I even PR'ed my 5k during training - something I had definitely resigned being able to do that year.  Some runs sucked, some weren't too bad. I still enjoyed every minute. I was so excited that I got to share my story, a story that might give others hope if they end up in a situation like mine. I know reading something like this could have been a game changer for me 18 months ago.

I ran my first marathon on October 7, 2017. Less than a year post-PE.  I was told I could feel like hell for up to a year following the PE, but in less than that time I trained for and ran a MARATHON. I think back to that day where I couldn't even make it to two miles, it didn'teveb seem real. I may have had some setbacks and devastation along the way, but this journey has been nothing short of incredible.
I ran the Sleeping Bear Dunes Marathon in northern Michigan (with some seriously tough hills!) with a finishing time of 3:45:41.

Unfortunately I had some back issues over the winter again so my running was slow the first few months of this year, but I am back at it strong now and although I don't feel totally ready for a another full, I'm excited to run the Detroit International Half this October and fundraise in the process!

I look forward to supporting Team Stop the Clot! It's great to see so many strong survivors :)"

THANK YOU Sam for your willingness to share you story.

THANK YOU for your willingness help with your fundraising efforts.  You are making a difference not only with the fundraising aspect but also the inspiration aspect of the equation.

I can't wait to see your success during your upcomig half-marathon.

Never Stop!

Thank you for reading,

The Clot Buster

Monday, July 16, 2018

July Athlete of the Month

Here is to the start of the next 10 years of blogging about Blood Clot Survivors and their respective Inspiring stories of overcoming the challenges of their blood clotting incidents.

Every story is different.

Every story is unique.

Every story is full of Inspiration, Dedication, and Desire to return to normal.

Every story keeps me going to wear the CLOT BUSTER #StopTheClot polka-dots whenever possible so that we continue to CREATE AWARENESS and also CELEBRATE ALL BLOOD CLOT SURVIVORS!

THANK YOU to Blood Clot Survivor MICHAEL for his willingness to share his story as he continues to break down the barriers of the challenges the blood clotting incident has caused for him.  Read on to learn about this story and how he is overcoming...

*** What is you sport/activity of choice? 
Cycling, Running, and Swimming! Why do you enjoy it? I love ENDURANCE sporting activities!

*** How did you get started in that sport? 
Initially Mountain Biking, then after my clotting episode and subsequent diagnosis I transitioned to Gravel/Road Cycling, Running, and Swimming.

*** What is the latest milestone you achieved or plan to achieve?
Tulsa Tough Gran Fondo 102.7 miles - May 2018, Topeka Tinman Olympic Triathlon - June 2017, and Ouachita Switchbacks 25K Trail Run - January 2016 & 2018 Ouachita Switchbacks is Oklahoma's toughest trail run & technically it is 17.4 miles and has over 3,700 feet of elevation gain! My goal before the end of 2018 is a 50K Trail Run! (If I can find the time to fit the training mileage in)

*** Tells about your clotting episode.  Are you on blood thinners now? How long were you out of commission? 
My clot story is pretty weird and occurred two weeks after my 40th Birthday. I developed unprovoked DVT and PE in late December of 2014. I thought I developed a muscle cramp after an easy 4 mile run. The cramp persisted in my left calf for 8 to 10 days and wouldn’t go away. At the time, I was working in cardiology office. I requested one of my coworkers to ultrasound my left calf and tell me I don’t have a DVT. She replied, “you’re too active and healthy to have a blood clot!”  She scanned my left calf and to her surprise, I had a clot in my left calf. After additional blood tests, X-rays, CT scan, etc. I was diagnosed with bilateral DVT and bilateral PE.

My hematologist diagnosed me with prothrombin 20210 heterozygous A. I’ve been on an anticoagulant (Eliquis) for three years. Initially, my hematologist informed me no more cycling. I replied back, “you mean no more mountain biking?” He replied back no more cycling. This was extremely devastating news to me. Even more devastating than the initial diagnosis!  After much thought, prayer, and talking with my wife we decided that yes I should give up mountain biking, but I would continue to ride my road bike and gravel bike once it was safe for me to resume activities.  I was encouraged not to run for at least two months, but got back on the bike after about two months or so and it felt great!  I’ve been actively running, cycling and occasionally swimming since my diagnosis, but with a greater level of awareness. I continue to enjoy what I do even with my diagnosis. I now even ride with my hematologist; who has also become a good friend of mine as well as a great cycling and running partner.
*** When were you able to get back into your activity?  How did it feel that first time? 
My cardiologist and hematologist encouraged me to lay off(running) for at least three months, but I resumed cycling after two and a half months. I WAS SO READY TO GET BACK! IT FELT GREAT!!!

*** What is your favorite piece of gear for your favorite activity? 
I love my "new to me"2016 Specialized Venge Pro paired with my Clot Buster Cycling Jersey!

*** How much are you getting out doing your sport?
I attempt to ride three days a week, run three days a week and swim two days a week! I know that 3 + 3 + 2 = 8, but I double up on some days!!!

*** What is your favorite food? 
We have the best little restaurant called "Frank and Lola's" here in Bartlesville and everything there is my favorite! I especially enjoy the weekend dinner specials, or any of the amazing homemade soups!

*** If you could go some place to visit and explore, where would like to go? 
Definitely would be a summer vacation to Colorado with my family to hike and explore!

*** 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? 
I would encourage them to hang in there and to not get too discouraged.  Being diagnosed or labeled with a clotting disorder can be very scary initially, but the good news is that we now have some great medications to control the disorder with very minimal side effects.  Develop a good relationship with your physician, become aware of the signs and symptoms, and get out there! Enjoy the ride!!!

Someday I hope to be able to take my CLOT BUSTER #StopTheClot polka-dots riding with Michael and keep up as best as I can.  After the ride for sure a trip to "Frank and Lola's" where I will gladly pay for holding him back...

No question that blood clots will be slowing down this blood clot survivor which is inspiring to all of us!

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