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Friday, October 31, 2014

November (and also October) Athletes of the Month

Doing it a bit different this month and the previous one as it is time to highlight the individuals (blood clot survivors and friends) who will be running in the 2014 edition of the NYC Marathon spreading the word about blood clots and blood clotting disorders!

All of the athletes participating this year are running to show that blood clot survivors can indeed overcome their blood clotting challenge...

All of the athletes participating this year are running to celebrate themselves but also loved ones (family and friends) who are suffering and suffered from blood clots...

All of the athletes participating this year are running to raise funds to support the National Blood Clot Alliance - NBCA - STOPTHECLOT.org and their mission to create awareness against blood clots and blood clotting disorders...

If you have it in you and you think you can donate please check out the following link...

It is simply AMAZING and INSPIRING what these guys are doing to get ready for the marathon.

Please read on to meet half of the Team STOPTHECLOT and a little bit of their personal story... ENJOY AND BE INSPIRED! If they can do it so can you! Anything is possible!
Natalie Smoliak


Chances are that you or someone you know has had a blood clot.  Blood clots do not discriminate.  They affect healthy athletes, babies, children, adults, anyone.  The National Blood Clot Alliance (NBCA) sees a future in which the number of people suffering and dying from blood clots in the United States is reduced significantly.
In 2011, I suffered from a blood clot and discovered that I have a genetic blood disorder.  This is something that will affect me for the rest of my life.  It is something I have to think about and manage every day.  The experience inspired me to start my own foundation, The Garnet Foundation, and to proudly support any opportunity I have to help spread awareness about blood clots and blood disorders.

Brittany Connor


Chances are you, or someone you know has had a blood clot.  It may have been called a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or a pulmonary embolism (PE), but nonetheless, in everyday terms, it was a blood clot. And, there's a good chance it was very serious, maybe even fatal.  
Two very important people in my life have passed away from blood clots. One of my best friends, Ashley Medlin, died at the age of 16 on December 3, 2006. She was brilliant, hilarious, and way too young. My former softball coach and mentor, Keith "Poppa" Tuck, died at the age of 52 on November 7, 2013. He no doubt helped me become the person I am today.
Blood clots have impacted my life and the lives of a lot of my friends. I am running this race in memory of Ashley and Coach Tuck in order to raise money for a cause I truly believe in. This will be my first marathon and I couldn't be more thrilled to be a part of such a great team.
Take a look at profiles of people of all walks of life who have been affected. Some of our stories are stories of survival – often against great odds of misdiagnosis or simply being unaware of the signs, symptoms or risk factors.  Others are stories told by family members whose relative’s lives could not be saved. All have asked us to share their story in raising awareness of the impact of the public health challenge imposed by blood clots.  

Chris Kaiser



Chances are you, or someone you know has had a blood clot.  It may have been called a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or a pulmonary embolism (PE), but nonetheless, in everyday terms, it was a blood clot. And, there's a good chance it was very serious, maybe even fatal. 
Be it a baby, child, teenager or a young adult, or perhaps a person in the prime of their life or a senior citizen – blood clots do not discriminate. They can just as easily affect athletes as well as those less physically fit.  They affect men and women; rich and poor – blood clots do not discriminate.
I am one of those people.  I am 25 years old living in Ventura, CA. I love running and athletics and “play” as much as I can. September 18, 2013 I was riding my bike home from work and was hit by a car that ran a stop sign exiting the freeway. I hit the vehicle head on, rolled into the windshield and then to the ground. I suffered a Tibial Plateau Fracture and a Grade IV separated shoulder. By some miracle, my head was untouched. My knee would require surgery to place three screws across my tibia and my clavicle will “poke” out unless I have surgery to correct.
One week after my knee surgery, I began to have calf pain. I thought maybe I accidentally stepped down with my recovering leg and aggravated my calf. I saw the doctor exactly one week after surgery and complained of this pain and showed him bruising on the back of my knee. He dismissed it quickly saying that I just had surgery and I will have some discomfort and that I am Young and Healthy. Young and healthy, perfect, all I wanted to hear. That night, I went to bed with some discomfort in my stomach, specifically ribs. I woke abruptly at 2 am with horrendous pain now in my ribs. I could not breathe deeply, nor lay on my back without tensing up. I called my mom. My family lives in St. Louis, MO so they would not be able to take me to the ER if need be. And of course, this night, my two roommates were out camping. I am in a wheelchair and cannot drive. I told her I thought maybe I had a collapsed lung from slouching in the wheelchair or something? She told me to go to the ER immediately. I’m the kind of guy that disregards most pain, but something was telling me this was serious. I called a taxi and went to the ER. No collapsed lung, so I did the CT and found that I had a Pulmonary Embolism. They located where the clot originated in my calf and showed me on the ultrasound. No doubt about it, that vein was completely blocked.
I had to give myself shots of Lovenox in my side until the blood thinning medication reached therapeutic levels. This turned out to be two months and I took only the pill for one more month until I was cleared, saying the clot was completely gone.  My doctor said that I will most likely not be able to run like I used to and I may have knee complications the rest of my life. No way, I’m not hearing that. The second I was cleared for physical therapy, I was on it. I would ride the bike while I was still in my wheelchair to build strength for the day I was allowed to walk. For months, everything I did was aimed at getting back into shape.
A goal of mine, from before the accident, was to run the NYC Marathon. I’ve been dreaming of this since I went to school in NY and watched my friend run it one year. In January, I started running again. I ran for 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 2 miles, 3 miles and got to a half marathon February 2, 2014. My buddy had run for a charity when he did NY, so I browsed the site and stumbled across Team Stop the Clot. Wow, this hit home with me. I went to the National Blood Clot Alliance website and read all the stories. Prior to my accident, I had no idea what a pulmonary embolism was, or how common blood clots are. And yes, they DO NOT discriminate. Had I known more about blood clots and PE’s, maybe I would have pushed the doctor to do a simple ultrasound that takes 5 minutes to see if that bruising and calf pain was due to a blood clot. I want to get this knowledge out there and raise as much awareness as I can, because again, blood clots do not discriminate. I couldn’t be more excited and thankful to have this opportunity to run the NYC Marathon with such a great organization, the National Blood Clot Alliance.

Amaris White (also the featured August Athlete of the Month)



Two years ago I nearly died. I was 25. As most of you know,  I was diagnosed with a massive blood clot spanning from my left ankle to my heart–I had a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolisms (PEs).
I’m lucky I’m alive and didn’t lose my leg.
After the initial shock, the worst news I received was from the doctors, who told me that although my life would be mostly normal, I should probably come to terms with the fact that I would never run again. Even though I had never considered myself a runner, I was devastated.
DVT left the veins in my left leg a scarred and clotted mess. I couldn’t stand for more than a few minutes without excruciating pain. And because I had been bedridden for so many months, the muscles in my leg had atrophied.
But I was determined to regain use of my leg.
It was slow work, but I started going to the gym. Sometimes my workouts consisted of no more than walking down my stairs and to the gym a few blocks away, but these walks slowly became five minute walks on the treadmill. Soon I could slowly jog 100m on the treadmill. And then 200m. And then 400m.
What I did not realize was that the more I ran, the more my body worked to compensate for my activity. Although I did not have use of my deep leg veins, my body created a web of new veins (collateral veins) to meet the demands I was putting on it. The harder I ran, the harder my body worked.
Six months after I was told I would never run again I ran the Brooklyn Half.
I’ve run more than a dozen races since then, including five more half marathons.
This is where the marathon comes in.
A marathon was something I thought impossible two years ago when I was healthy. A marathon was impossible a year and a half ago when I was in the hospital. A marathon was still impossible when I signed up. But by training for and running the NYC Marathon, I want to prove to myself (and hopefully to you) that anything is possible.
I also want to use my first marathon as an opportunity to spread awareness. By sharing my story, I have already been able to warn all of you about the signs, symptoms and dangers of a blood clot, but I’m hoping that you will help me spread that awareness even further.
TEAM STOP THE CLOT for the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon is raising money to spread awareness and save lives. Each team member is running 26.2 miles with a common goal: Raise funds and spread the word to STOP THE CLOT.
I’ve spoken with and worked with the National Blood Clot Alliance and every cent I raise will be used to STOP THE CLOT (I do not have a charity bib, so none of the money will go to New York Road Runners or another intermediary). The funds you help raise will create awareness for the general public and hopefully prevent more stories like mine from occurring.
Thank you all so  much for all your support over the last two years. Without support from friends and family like you, I would not be where I am today. Marathon training has already paid off -- I'm faster today than I was two years ago (I recently set a new personal record time for the half marathon), and I cannot wait to run on November 2. :)
If you donate to my campaign, I will RUN WITH YOUR NAME on my shirt during the race. No donation is too small, and any amount will help STOP THE CLOT.
Let’s take this TO INFINITY AND BEYOND!

John Posthumus

Chances are you, or someone you know has had a blood clot.  It may have been called a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or a pulmonary embolism (PE), but nonetheless, in everyday terms, it was a blood clot. And, there's a good chance it was very serious, maybe even fatal. 
Be it a baby, child, teenager or a young adult, or perhaps a person in the prime of their life or a senior citizen – blood clots do not discriminate. They can just as easily affect athletes as well as those less physically fit.  They affect men and women; rich and poor – blood clots do not discriminate.
Take a look at profiles of people of all walks of life who have been affected. Some of our stories are stories of survival – often against great odds of misdiagnosis or simply being unaware of the signs, symptoms or risk factors.  Others are stories told by family members whose relative’s lives could not be saved. All have asked us to share their story in raising awareness of the impact of the public health challenge imposed by blood clots.

Here is wishing all these athletes THE BEST OF LUCK ON RACE DAY!
ENJOY IT ALL! It is a remarkable event.

ENJOY THE SWEET PAIN OF YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENT once you cross that finish line!

Thanks for reading,

The Clot Buster 

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

October Athelete(s) of the Month

Doing it a bit different this month and next as it is time to highlight the individuals (blood clot survivors and friends) who will be running in the 2014 edition of the NYC Marathon spreading the word about blood clots and blood clotting disorders!

All of the athletes participating this year are running to show that blood clot survivors can indeed overcome their blood clotting challenge...

All of the athletes participating this year are running to celebrate themselves but also loved ones (family and friends) who are suffering and suffered from blood clots...

All of the athletes participating this year are running to raise funds to support the National Blood Clot Alliance - NBCA - STOPTHECLOT.org and their mission to create awareness against blood clots and blood clotting disorders...

If you have it in you and you think you can donate please check out the following link...


It is simply AMAZING and INSPIRING what these guys are doing to get ready for the marathon.

Please read on to meet half of the Team STOPTHECLOT and a little bit of their personal story... ENJOY AND BE INSPIRED! If they can do it so can you! Anything is possible!

Amy Kearbey
 

Chances are you, or someone you know has had a blood clot.  It may have been called a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or a pulmonary embolism (PE), but nonetheless, in everyday terms, it was a blood clot. And, there's a good chance it was very serious, maybe even fatal.  
I am one of those people.  At the age of 29, I was diagnosed with a PE – a blood clot in my lung.  It was actually a bunch of blood clots that combined to make for a very serious and very scary situation.  My symptom was back pain – severe, electric hot back pain in one spot that radiated.  Never in a million years did I think I had a blood clot. By the grace of God, my doctor connected the dots and insisted on testing to see if I had a PE.  By the end of the day, I was in the hospital experiencing a pulmonary infarction. Months later, further testing would reveal that I was at continued high risk for blood clots and would be on blood thinning medication for life. In the years since, I have come to learn how very lucky I was that I went to my doctor and that he insisted on testing me for a clot.  With the care and support of an amazing team of doctors, I have also been able to bring two amazing little boys into our family, with no clots and no complications!  My gratitude runs deep, and it is time to give back.

Carolyn Leslie
 
Chances are you, or someone you know has had a blood clot.  It may have been called a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or a pulmonary embolism (PE), but nonetheless, in everyday terms, it was a blood clot. And, there's a good chance it was very serious, maybe even fatal.  
Blood clots do not discriminate. They can just as easily affect athletes as well as those less physically fit.  They affect men and women; rich and poor – blood clots do not discriminate.   
I am one of those people. One night in late March of this year, I started experiencing pains in my ribs as I'd breathe in. I didn't think it was anything serious, and went to my chiropractor the next day thinking he could "adjust it" away. He thought it was intercostal neuritis and sent me home with some biofreeze. That night, the pain became so bad, I felt like I was being stabbed in the ribs and could not breathe. My husband took me to urgent care in the middle of night, even though I was stubbornly reluctant. The doctor there diagnosed me as having Pleurisy, and sent me home with some Vicodin. The pain continued for the next day and a half - which I spent propped up with pillows all day and night. I knew Pleurisy was painful, so I put up with this pain as long as I could. Thankfully I went to my GP when I was not getting any relief with the Vicodin. When he saw my symptoms, he sent me straight to the ER and ordered a CT.  Within minutes they came back and informed me that I had several blood clots in both lungs. Wow. It did not even occur to me that this might be the cause of my pain! 
Thankfully, they found them in time, and as soon as I started taking the blood thinners I started to feel some relief. If I hadn't questioned that Pleurisy diagnosis, and just toughed it out, I could have been in serious, serious trouble. 
I had some other warning signs that I was oblivious to at the time. I had a major calf cramp shortly before the rib pain. I thought it was just a sore muscle from running. 
The reason I am so passionate about this cause, is that some simple information and awareness can literally save lives! There are things you can do to lower your risks and there are warning signs that can alert you to see a doctor. I just want everyone to know these things, and that is why I was so excited when I discovered Team Stop the Clot!

Samantha Shelton


Chances are you, or someone you know has had a blood clot.  It may have been called a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or a pulmonary embolism (PE), but nonetheless, in everyday terms, it was a blood clot. And, there's a good chance it was very serious, maybe even fatal.  
I happen to be one of those people. As an 18-year-old avid soccer player, I had reconstructive knee surgery after tearing my ACL, MCL and meniscus. Unfortunately, that surgery led to the development of seven blood clots in my left leg—putting me at high risk for a heart attack or a stroke. Fortunately, we caught the problem in time (the immense amount of pain gave it away) and walked away with a year's worth of blood thinners and a varicose vein.
Then, 3 weeks before I began training for my first marathon—the New York City Marathon to fundraise for the National Blood Clot Alliance—I discovered I would need leg surgery once more: this time to fix some (not all is reparable) of the serious vein damage left behind by the clots, remove my varicose veins and improve blood flow in my leg to reduce the risk of future clots. 
While some would say this is all rather unfortunate, I'm glad it happened—it led to my diagnosis of a rare genetic disorder, Factor V Leiden. Five to eight percent of Americans have this disorder, but very few even know about it until it becomes a major health risk, like what happened to me. I can no longer take any hormonal medications, and at the time of diagnosis, I was told I likely wouldn't be able to run more than six miles at a time due to my vein damage. 
Six years and 10 half-marathons later, I'm proud to say I've disproved that notion about running. When I met with my surgeon just a few months ago, the one thing he said likely saved me from having more clots: running. Funny how things work out.  And now, I'm ready to run my first full marathon. While doing so, I want to help those who have also been affected by blood clots.

Stef Rubino


In the Fall of 2013, we nearly lost my sister, Meg, to multiple pulmonary embolisms - only 10 days after she gave birth to a healthy baby girl.
After battling increasing pain over the course of an evening, Meg woke up in excruciating pain at 2am, gagging and unable to breathe. Her husband (a SWAT officer) was able to stabilize her until she was transferred to the ER. An emergency CAT scan found multiple clots in her lungs and a lower right lung infarction - clots that could easily have killed her, leaving her newborn baby and 2 year old son without a mother.
The NIH estimates that 300,000 to 600,000 people are affected by blood clots each year - and approximately 30% of those cases are fatal.
On November 2nd, almost a year to the day since multiple blood clots almost killed Meg, I'm running my first marathon (the NYC Marathon!) to raise funds for, and awareness of, the National Blood Clot Alliance - a group dedicated to significantly reducing the number of people suffering and dying from blood clots in the US.

Rachel Jemison


Chances are you, or someone you know has had a blood clot.  It may have been called a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or a pulmonary embolism (PE), but nonetheless, in everyday terms, it was a blood clot. And, there's a good chance it was very serious, maybe even fatal.  
I am one of those people.  At the age of 23, I was diagnosed with a DVT – a blood clot in my leg.  After being laid up with a respiratory infection, I had been having pain in my calf that began to radiate through my back for over a week.  I initially thought I pulled a muscle and later thought I had a bladder infection.  Thankfully, I had an already scheduled follow-up doctor appointment from being sick and mentioned this pain.  I was lucky that my doctors felt the lowered pulse in my ankle and suspected a DVT.  They put me in an ambulance and at the ER I was diagnosed with a clot that ran from my ankle to my groin.  I was in the hospital for a week and was put on blood thinners for a year. 
Further testing revealed that I have a genetic mutation called Factor V Leiden.  Men and women with Factor V are at an increased risk of blood clots.  About 3-8% of people with European ancestry carry this mutation.  Women with Factor V are at an increased risk of blood clots when levels of estrogen are high – birth control, pregnancy and estrogen therapy all increase this risk.  Having Factor V and taking birth control pills could have been a deadly combination for me.  I am blessed to have 3 healthy daughters – through each pregnancy I was required be on blood thinners.  I credit my healthy pregnancies to having the knowledge about Factor V – many women don’t know they have it and suffer recurrent miscarriages or clots during pregnancy and post-partum. 
I will be running 26.2 miles on November 2nd with Team Stop the Clot to raise awareness of DVT and PE – to let people know that blood clots do not discriminate – that they can happen to anyone – good or bad health, men or women, young or old.  I am raising awareness so people know of risk factors and symptoms. 

Here is wishing all these athletes THE BEST OF LUCK ON RACE DAY!
ENJOY IT ALL! It is a remarkable event.

ENJOY THE SWEET PAIN OF YOUR ACCOMPLISHEMENT once you cross that finish line!

Thanks for reading,

The Clot Buster 

Friday, October 03, 2014

From the back...

The view of a race is far different...

The people around you are very different...

The people around you get the chance to talk to you...

The people around you are much more nicer...

This year I've been both at the very front of some races but also in the very back... I mean DEAD LAST in one case...

But regardless of how last I was I NEVER GAVE UP...






















Perhaps because I am older now I can process the frustration of falling behind but at the same time continue to move forward...

Perhaps because I am older now I want to make sure that I get my money's worth of everything the race has to offer...

Perhaps because I am wearing the CLOT BUSTER #StopTheClot polka-dots I feel that if I don't keep going I am not honoring those blood clot survivors who are truly battling to overcome the challenges of their clotting incident...

I tell you what wearing the polka-dots always keeps me honest and provides an additional level of accountability from which I cannot shy away...

There have been a number of races this year that smacked me on the face...

Perhaps my preparation was not on point...

Perhaps I got hit by a car...

Perhaps I drank too much of an energy drink that I was not used to..

Perhaps I suffered 7 flat tires in the course of 20Miles due to poor equipment selection....

In the end each and everyone of the races in which I battled myself left behind a mountain high pile of lessons learned from which I know I can draw pointers and improve.

There is plenty of room to improve.  However, one thing I don't need to improve is racing in the polka-dot kit because it definitely gives me wings... Not necessarily to fly but to just keep going and finish.

Not much racing left now in 2014.  Just a couple of more running events for me and a lot of tweeting and blogging about clot survivors running the NYC Marathon and other endurance events before the end of the year.

For now it is time to prepare the roster for my oldest son's 1st Grade Soccer match and see if we can remain undefeated...and of course rest so that my body can heal and recover.

Looking forward to racing and spreading the word about blood clots and blood clotting disorders in 2015.  Definitely some of my luck HAS to improve next year.

Thanks 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