Get YOUR very own CLOT BUSTER #StopTheClot polka-dots

The "CLOT BUSTERs RACING to STOP THE CLOT" RUNNING SHIRT + TRIATHLON TOP + CYCLING JERSEY and PERFORMANCE HAT!!! 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. 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, June 24, 2017

CLOT BUSTER #StopTheClot polka-dots in Madison, Wisconsin...

Two weeks ago I raced in my CLOT BUSTER #StopTheClot polka-dots in Madison, Wisconsin...

Wonderful opportunity to get the #StopTheClot message out there.

Got the chance to meet several folks who learned about the polka-dots and why they exist.

But above all, connected with Clot Survivors which always erases the pain of finishing this brutal event because it is likely that we will have more polka-dots racing in the future!

So as the recovery continues ahead of my next challenge at the of July keep an eye out for polka-dotted people racing alongside you... If you see any greet them because they overcame a monumental challenge... Surviving Blood Clots...







Thursday, June 01, 2017

June Athlete of the Month

At last summer is here and the CLOT BUSTER #StopTheClot polka-dots are free to race far and wide...!

Very excited about all the places the CLOT BUSTER #StopTheClot polka-dots are getting shipped to... Many blood clot Survivors and friends are survivors are ready to help us spread the word about blood clots and blood clotting disorders.  While also celebrating Survival and being able to Overcome!

One of those Survivors is GAIL AVEDANO our June Athlete of the Month.  Poor Gail was inquiring about the polka-dot gear and little that she know she was going to be "interviewed" so that she could share with all of us her story of survival.

We are very lucky that she is willing to share her story as ANY OF US, regardless of age - race - physical condition, can suffer from this silent killer.  We have to always be aware of the signs and symptoms because it could saver your life.

Get reading and be inspired this summer to not ever give up if you are battling to overcome... because a come back to normal or almost normal is always within reach...

1)  What is you sport/activity of choice? Why do you enjoy it? 
I primarily do three different activities: running, Bikram Yoga, and walking my two dogs. I'm a huge proponent of cross training and find that these activities complement each other. They all help keep me sane in different ways. 

2)  How did you get started in that sport? 
In terms of running, I completed my first half marathon in 2007--intending to walk the whole thing. The day of the race, I got so caught up in the excitement that I ended up running parts of it and from then on, I was hooked. My story is the typical "mom runner" story. My three kids were young when I started running and running gave me the alone time I needed while also helping me to de-stress. I'm certain that running made me a better mom. I also learned early on that I needed to be signed up for an upcoming race in order to have motivation to run. That, for me was key.


3)  What is the latest milestone you achieved or plan to achieve?(Long bike ride, some race coming up or that you did) 
As of January this year, I've completed a half marathon in all fifty states. It took me ten years to do it, but it was a wonderful goal that kept me focused on my workouts and gave me a great reason to meet up with my best friend from college a few times a year. She and I completed the goal together and it was great to have her support and motivation through it all. Now I sign up for races I consider "fun" and don't care what state they are in. I'm still managing to keep my race calendar full and I'm looking forward to completing the Portland (full) Marathon in October.

4)  Tells about your clotting episode.  Are you on blood thinners now? How long were you out of commission? 
I'm on Xarelto after a trip to the emergency room on December 31, 2016. For about a month, I had a dull, nagging pain along my lower right side and was certain that I had pulled a muscle. After getting a massage, the pain subsided--confirming (I thought) that my pain was muscular. During the holiday break, I found that it hurt to lie flat on my back when I tried to go to sleep and the pain was worse when I took a deep breath. At no point would I say I had shortness of breath, though. I also never had leg pain so I'm pretty sure my clot did not start there.

The night of December 30th, I went to bed and could not get comfortable. The pain increased to the point where it was unbearable so I went to the emergency room--certain that I was having a gall bladder attack or something similar. I was shocked to learn that I had a clot that took up a third of my lower right lung. I was in the hospital for two days and took a week off of work, but I never had to be on supplemental oxygen. I credit my running and regular yoga practice for having strong lungs that could withstand the blockage. A sonogram on my heart showed no damage, and I was cleared to return to normal activities very quickly.


5)  When were you able to get back into your activity?  How did it feel that first time?
My 50th state half marathon was scheduled to take place less than three weeks after my emergency room visit and there was no way I wanted to give up my week-long trip to Hawaii. My doctor thought I was a bit overzealous, but said I could do the race if I walked most of it and didn't overexert myself. So, my last state race was--on one hand--a huge bummer because I had to do it so slowly, but--on the other hand--a huge relief and celebration that I was physically able to do it. I describe that race on my blog: https://halfsandhikes.wordpress.com/2017/01/28/aloha-series-50th-state/

6)  What is your favorite piece of gear for your favorite activity? (Bike brand, running shoes, perhaps a running singlet or the Clot Buster's Running Polka-Dot Technical Shirt...) 
I look forward to wearing my new Clot Buster's hat in all of my upcoming races, but my favorite gear would have to be my Garmin Vivoactive HR+. Not only does it have a GPS tracker, but it also tracks my heart rate--something I never cared about before but now do.

7)  How much are you getting out doing your sport?  (Everyday you do some training, 2, 3, 4 times per week) 
Every day I either run, walk, or go to a Bikram Yoga class. I would say I generally run three times a week.

8)   What is your favorite food?  Either generally or after a workout.  For me there is nothing better than a Chipotle Burrito... 
My favorite post-race meal is a cheeseburger, fries, and a beer. In normal life, though, I try to eat much healthier than that.

9)  If you could go some place to visit and explore, where would like to go? 
I live in Utah, which has the most amazing hiking options. I could explore forever in my own backyard and never see it all. 

10)  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 as you got back. 
I would tell them to ask as many questions as they can and seek out information from reliable sources. I am lucky because my doctor's wife went through a very similar experience to mine and is now on anti-coagulants for life because she had two clotting episodes. I can't begin to tell you how understanding and helpful that made my doctor when it came to my situation. 

I also know, from reading so many stories, that everyone is different and people have different side effects. Shortness of breath and anxiety are common symptoms, but I haven't experienced either. I have, however, noticed that my heart rate spikes pretty quickly and I feel like I have to be careful about that. I started getting back into running by walking. I also know I will probably never get anohter sub two-hour time, but that's okay. Now, five months out, I am still taking walking breaks during my runs. I'm staying active, though, and that is helping to prevent future clots. Staying active also helps to strengthen my heart and lungs, and the fact that I was already in good physical condition when I got a blood clot is why I recovered so quickly.

My concern now is in looking ahead. I'm pretty sure my clot was caused by being on birth control pills so I now know any hormone replacement therapy is out of the question for me. I'm also pretty sure that means I will only have to be on an anti-coagulant for a year (my doctor's recommendation) since I can identify a known cause. I haven't had blood tests, though, to identify any clotting abnormalities in my blood and I plan to have those done when I can. Finding out I have Factor V Leiden, for example, might prompt me to be on an anti-coagulant for life.

I share the fear that others have regarding medication. I'm scared to be on it because of a potential bleeding episode and I'm scared to be off of it for fear I will develop another pulmonary embolism. You can't live your life in fear though, and you can only control so much. No matter what, I'll keep living one day at a time and putting one foot in front of the other on as many race courses as I can reasonably afford. 


How about that..?!?!? 50 Half-Marathons and one in each of the 50 States is an incredible feat.  Talk about dedication...

Certainly Gail is overcoming the challenges of blood clots with a remarkable positive attitude that is for sure contagious.  You can't stop her and blood clots can't even slow here down... There is a big world out there and probably a Half-Marathon available in every country... Never to late to start on a new goal...!

Here is hoping that I get the chance to share in a post-race cheeseburger and fries with Gail as I attempt to keep up with that energy and dedication.

Enjoy the Summer coming up!

If you see Clot Buster #StopTheClot polka-dots out there say hello and ask about their story.  If nothing else remember that StopTheClot.org is out there as a resource for you to learn about blood clots and be aware.

Thank you for reading,

The Clot Buster

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

May Athlete of the Month

As the months continue go by and I am lucky enough to share with you these blog posts about Blood Clot Survivors I am beginning to wonder if all of the States in the United States have been represented with the post...

I know that I've had a number of international Blood Clot Survivors featured but it would be interesting to see how many States have been actually represented...? 

One thing is for sure there is a big country (and world) out there with a lot to see and experience.  One of the states that I have not had the chance to visit yet is IOWA.  Perhaps some day I will find my way there and get the opportunity to ride around in our CLOT BUSTER #StopTheClot polka-dots with this month's CLOT BUSTER Athlete of the Month - TODD ROBERTSON.

Again the magic of the internet and social media has been able to connect me with Todd so that this month we can share his story that is sure to make you reflect and inspire you to overcome the challenges of blood clots.

Please read on and enjoy...    

What is you sport/activity of choice? Why do you enjoy it?
Normally, I would say that paddling and spending time on rivers whitewater canoeing, kayaking and paddle boarding is my greatest passion activity and it’s also my job as an instructor. That said, cycling is my main passion right now because that is the vehicle I use for spreading blood clot awareness!



How did you get started in that sport?
I discovered rivers 20 years ago when I was given a used canoe. Once I hit the river, I was hooked for life. It later turned my new passion into a job as Rivers Outreach Coordinator for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and I also became a certified Level 3 instructor. Teaching people how to paddle efficiently and safely is an important job to me, especially teaching children. As for cycling, I bought my first road bike 2 years ago and ride as much as I can. I think riding RAGBRAI, the oldest and largest group ride in the world will be a great way to spread awareness as I wear and rotate the “polka dot” jersey and my own custom made Pulmonary Embolism Survivor jersey. I’d like to see some of the Team Stop the Clot on RAGBRAI 2018!! Let’s have our own little group of clot-busters riding together for a week.

What is the latest milestone you achieved or plan to achieve?(Long bike ride, some race coming up or that you did)
My most recent milestone reached was getting my certification to teach stand up paddle boarding. It was no easy task. At 53 years old, Lake Superior really put me through the meat grinder as the limits of my physical power was truly tested!  The waves and swells were huge! But, I made it. Other potential instructors in the brutal week long course were in their early 20’s or younger! I was the old man in the group!

 Tells about your clotting episode.  Are you on blood thinners now? How long were you out of commission?
Easter, a time of resurrection, was my 90 days out.  My 3 month PE clotiversary.  I made it to 50 years of age before having a clot and finding out I have Factor 5 Leiden, the homozygous variety. Both of my parents had the mutated gene and BOTH passed it on to me. How fun!  My first traumatic “bloodletting” injury came when I fell off of a canoe trailer, suspended in midair by a big hook in my leg. I now know what it feels like to be a hooked fish. After ER surgery, I developed a blood clot in my leg at the site of the injury. They attributed it to the injury itself. Then a few months later, another clot, this time a DVT. They then did a blood test and gave me the F5L news. Anticoagulants for life. They say homozygotes have an 80% increased chance of clotting abnormally over the non F5L person. Not sure why they bother with that 20%. I mean if the weather forecast calls for an 80% chance of rain, are you really thinking about that 20% chance you will stay dry? No, you’re too busy trying to find the umbrella because you know you’re going to get wet! I’m now on Xeralto, 20mg daily. So this year, my former “not so bright” doctor took me off Xeralto 4 full days prior to my colonoscopy. That was a mistake on his part. That long off Xerlato is not the way to bridge. For 3 full days I had no anticoagulant medication in my system.  But he wasn’t the only one at fault. I had a bad habit of missing doses here and there and taking X in the morning on an empty stomach. That entire combination gave me a Pulmonary Embolism on January 17th, 2017. It was the size of pregnant earthworm (makes you envision it, right?) and it slithered to the bottom of my right lung.  I went to work the next day. I was weak, and was told I looked like walking death, but I was very lucky. Now, 90+ days later, my lung has healed 80% and I am back to normal.  But being a F5L homozygite, I am constantly, in the back of my mind, on clot watch.  I do look at all of this as a blessing. Maybe best thing to ever happen to me. It has turned me into an “awareness raiser”.  A recent newspaper article and interview went nationwide and I heard from over 600 survivors. I have started an Iowa based support group and campaign with the support group being backed by two local hospitals, Mercy and Methodist.

When were you able to get back into your activity?  How did it feel that first time? 
I was able to start running and exercising within a month. I just did my first 20 mile bike ride last week to test my lung out. It felt awesome, although at the end of a 28mph sprint, that spot where the clot had come to rest, showed signs of soreness, reminding me that I still have some healing to do or could be damaged permanently. I plan on riding all 400+ miles of RAGBRAI this July. I will also be back to instructing in just a few weeks.


What is your favorite piece of gear for your favorite activity? (Bike brand, running shoes, perhaps a running singlet or the Clot Buster's Running Polka-Dot Technical Shirt...)
My favorite gear is my “no brainer” item: my rescue lifejacket when on water. I also have my Scott Speedster road bike, my Boardworks touring and racing SUP and I love my clot-busting running shirt, bike jersey and tri jersey! I wear the dots every chance I get and when I rotate out on the bike, I wear my PE Survivor jersey! I need a polka-dot clot-busting lifejacket!

How much are you getting out doing your sport?  (Every day you do some training, 2, 3, 4 times per week)
I stay active. I paddle about 1000 miles a year and will bike as much as possible, including commuting to work on many days. I also have signed up for quite a few 5 and 10ks. Next up: The Drake Relays Road Races!

What is your favorite food?  Either generally or after a workout.  For me there is nothing better than a Chipotle Burrito...
I am addicted to multi meat pizza and chocolate milk. Also love my ribeye’s on the grill. I’m an Iowa native…and that means I’m a homegrown corn, meat and potatoes boy.

If you could go some place to visit and explore, where would like to go?
Our many National Parks. I love the NPS. I want to go to Yosemite and Yellowstone and bike and paddle in both locations!

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 as you got back.
The NUMBER ONE thing to remember is: You need to be your own advocate. Not all doctors finished at the top of their class and not all have a grasp on blood clots. Find a good team if possible, especially if you have suffered a PE. The team should include at least one visit with a cardiologist, a pulmonologist and a hematologist.  Having a good GP/MD for regular visits is a plus. Remember, you can “fire” any doctor you wish if you are not getting your questions answered or if you feel you are being “blown off”. We all suffer post traumatic shock and we need emotional support. Also, give yourself time to heal. We as people are like snowflakes….no two people are the same. Recovery time can range from weeks to years and everyone is going through something different. It does not have to be a death sentence and clots and clotting conditions can be managed.  Make raising awareness a goal. Blood clots are NOT talked about like they should be. We need to spread the word. By doing this, we can help ourselves and help others. We got this!

And if you have not been tested for a genetic clotting disorder and have suffered clots previously, do so, especially if there is no reason known of why you clotted abnormally.  Again, be your own advocate, get educated and spread the word!

Also while you are reading this check out this video Todd had the opportunity to participate to discuss the dangers of blood clots and the awareness needed to be alert in combating this potentially silent killer...

Sounds like Todd and I could hang out for sure!

For many years now I've been wondering about riding RAGBRAI as one of the most epic and famous state crossing routes in the United States.  I am not sure I can keep up with Todd during this challenge but for sure I think that getting a team of people in CLOT BUSTER #StopTheClot polka-dots would be FANTASTIC!!! Perhaps in 2018 we will have to make this happen.

Also, I will need to get some pointers from Todd to improve my Kayaking skills... not to mention how I would love to get into doing more Stand Up Paddling... For sure sounds like Iowa will be on my short list of states to visit next... Specially now that I know I have tour guide in #StopTheClot polka-dots.

THANK YOU TODD for your willingness to share your story.  YOU ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE!

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