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Friday, June 03, 2016

June Athlete of the Month

There is no shortage of inspiring stories of blood clot survivors out there.  I love coming across people and learning about their stories.

At this time of the year when the weather heats up is when my CLOT BUSTER #StopTheClot polka-dots get going so that I can do my part to spread awareness about blood clots and celebrate survivors while racing whenever I can.


Speaking of celebrating survivors... Once again we make a turn to another month in 2016 and as such I would like to share with you another remarkable personal account of survival and dedication to return to action.

Please allow me to introduce to you LIZ SHEETS HOSKINSON who is an individual from which you can draw great inspiration as you learn from her challenges with blood clots and how she was able to overcome them.

Thank You Liz for your willingness to share your story!

1)  What is you sport/activity of choice? Why do you enjoy it?
I enjoy running and biking. Running has helped me relieve stress and anxiety.

2)  How did you get started in that sport?
Got started running 18 yrs ago was suffering from post Partom depression.. I tried everything.. Running helped a lot.

3)  What is the latest milestone you achieved or plan to achieve?(Long bike ride, some race coming up or that you did)
I've run a lot of half marathons. I ran my first in memory of my brother who died in a car accident 7 yrs ago yesterday. It really helped me with my grief. I am currently signed up to run my First Marathon. Chicago.

4)  Tells about your clotting episode.  Are you on blood thinners now? How long were you out of commission?
I had a DVT in my calf 3.5 yrs ago after foot surgery. Got tested Dr. Said I only needed to be on blood thinners if I went on a long plane ride or became unable to walk around.

This year on January 23rd I ran the F 3 half marathon on the lake in Chicago and felt great. The next day my chest and back felt tight. The day after that I went to work and had the nurse I work with listen to my lungs but she didn't hear any air moving in my left lung.

Went to walk in care and the Doctor who saw me wanted me to take an ambulance to the hospital after making his evaluation.  I refused since I didn't feel that bad. But considering the urgency indicated by the Doctor I ended up driving myself to the ER.. Later after many different tests I found out that I had multiple pulmonary embolisms in both lungs. I seriously thought maybe I had pneumonia or something. It was a Total shocker!  I was told that I am very lucky as I could have just dropped dead at that race a few days before.  Now I'm on blood thinners for life. My mom has a strong history of clots and so do other of my family members. I seriously didn't feel that bad. Just felt tight and just didn't feel right.

Liz finishing that faithful race this past January in which various blood clots almost brought her down...

5)  When were you able to get back into your activity?  How did it feel that first time?   
Well... after being released I ran like two weeks after the clotting incident and Haven't stopped... 

The picture above is of Liz at the finish of her first race after her multiple PE's... she reports that it was hard and some of the hills were rough but despite the effort her smile always remains...

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 love my Saucony hurricane shoes. I'd love a clot buster singlet I'd say I've earned one... 

>>> Liz from the editors desk you are right... We need to have you running your FIRST Marathon in Chicago in the CLOT BUSTER #StopTheClot polka-dots... Drop me a line and we can make arrangements!

7)  How much are you getting out doing your sport?  (Everyday you do some training, 2, 3, 4 times per week) 
I've ran 5 days in a row...my longest streak...!

But I run as much as possible when life allows... Love racing and try to do it whenever I can so that I can push my limits by running with pacers who can make me faster.

8)   What is your favorite food?  Either generally or after a workout.  For me there is nothing better than a Chipotle Burrito...
Favorite food steak tacos.

9)  If you could go some place to visit and explore, where would like to go? 
I been dying to go to Hawaii.

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 fell and hit my head at the gym of course about a month after my PE's had to get a CT and had a slight concussion. I've learned to be more careful but I've also learned to live everyday like its your last... 
Did my first speed work out ever this past Tuesday...Getting ready for Chicago...!  ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE for those who believe!

Here is wishing you the best of luck as you are preparing for your first marathon in Chicago... which of course your will be running in the CLOT BUSTER #StopTheClot polka-dots!

Thank you for reading,

The Clot Buster

Sunday, May 01, 2016

May Athlete of the Month

How is it May already...?!?!?

Not too long ago we were only a family of 4... and now we are 5 strong with this kind of smile to keep me going every day...



We are very lucky for sure not only to have him but for EVERYTHING!

I suppose that part of the luck has to do also with my interactions with clot survivors over social media.  Everyday brings me the opportunity to meet new people and keep up with those that I already know.  Every story of survival is inspiring regardless of who it is. 

Not too long ago I saw a post about a clot survivor completing a Spartan Race which caught my eye.  I've heard of the Spartan Race Series before and the newer format of obstacle course racing but I don't recall seeing blood clot survivors going after a demanding event like that.  So naturally I had to look into this and find out who was brave enough to take on that sort of physical challenge after surviving blood clots...

Please allow me to introduce to you Mr. SCOTT FISHER and his blood clot survival experience and come back! 

1)  What is you sport/activity of choice? Why do you enjoy it?
I love participating in boot camps and spin and for the last two years my primary focus has been high-intensity interval training with Orangetheory Fitness.  They are 1 hour group training sessions divided into different blocks consisting of a combination of cardio (on the treadmill and water rowers) and weight room training, which combines TRX straps, BOSU balls, medicine balls, dumbbells, and other non-weight exercises like burpees, push-ups and step-ups.  You set your pace of base, push and all-out running on the treadmill and rower.  You have the choice to wear a heart-rate monitor that displays your heart-rate and calorie count on an overhead board during the work-out and your results also get emailed to you. I enjoy it since it is total body conditioning in only an hour and I burn the most calories than any other exercise routine I do.










2)  How did you get started in that sport? The local Orangetheory Fitness franchise opened in my neighborhood about two years ago.  Prior to that I had been doing different boot camp training sessions at my local gym and I thought that the Orangetheory  Fitness concept would take me to the next level, which it has.

3)  What is the latest milestone you achieved or plan to achieve?(Long bike ride, some race coming up or that you did)In mid April 2016, I participated in my first Spartan Sprint Race at Citi Field.  My work outs at Orangetheory Fitness helped prepared me for the endurance, strength and power I needed to complete the Spartan race.  It was intense and I pushed myself to the limit to finish the race and tried my best to complete all of the course obstacles.


4)  Tells about your clotting episode.  Are you on blood thinners now? How long were you out of commission?
In early May 2015, I developed flu-like symptoms.  I was feverish, lethargic, and developed a wet cough.  I also felt like I could not focus.  After a week, I went to my primary care physician, who felt that I probably had a virus and prescribed antibiotics.  I took the antibiotics for almost a week and felt no relief.  During that week, I also developed severe pain in my right calf.  After a few days, I was unable to work out and by Mother's Day I could barely walk.  The next day I went to the orthopedist, The working diagnosis was a muscle sprain and I was recommended for physical therapy.  Right before I was leaving the office, the orthopedist said that the chances were extremely low but he gave me a prescription for a sonogram of my leg to rule out a blood clot.  I immediately went to the radiologist and a DVT was discovered in my right calf.  It was after business hours by then and the orthopedist told me to go to my local emergency room with the radiological results and tell them to start me on blood thinner.  The ER doctor had the foresight to consider all of my symptoms and scheduled me for a CT scan of my chest.  The CT scan revealed multiple bilateral PEs and I was admitted to the hospital, where I stayed for 5 days.  I started a course of treatment on Xarelto and I am still on it almost a year later

5)  When were you able to get back into your activity?  How did it feel that first time?  
I was told not to work out for about a month.  The pain in my right calf substantially subsided after about 2 weeks.  I decided to go back to working out by the end of June 2015.  I started slowly and took my time getting my stamina and strength back.  When I started back, I felt like it was the first time I had ever worked out.  It was a slow process to get all of the strength back.  I am back to my regular work out routine but my stamina and energy levels are not where they were pre-blood clots. I now also try to take at least 1 day off per week from working out and try to listen to my body if I am sore and tired.

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 don't really have a favorite piece of gear but I would say that my running shoes of choice are New Balance 990s.

7)  How much are you getting out doing your sport?  (Everyday you do some training, 2, 3, 4 times per week)
If I am feeling strong, I will work out 7 days/week.  5-6 of those days will be at Orangetheory Fitness and 1-2 days will be at a local gym doing spin or other cardio machines like the Stair Master.  If I am tired, I will work out most likely 6 days/week and follow the same schedule.  When the weather is nice I may also go for long walks and cycle outside. 


8)   What is your favorite food?  Either generally or after a workout.  For me there is nothing better than a Chipotle Burrito...
I don't have a favorite food.  I like to generally maintain a healthy lifestyle so I tend to avoid eating red meat and pasta.  Lately, I have been eating Bird's Eye frozen Protein Blend - Italian which combines whole grains and vegetables in a tasty, light sauce.  For a treat, I enjoy Yasso Greek Frozen Yogurt bars (all the flavors) which are high in protein and low in calories.  Of course, I'll eat at Chipotle but I tend to go with a salad bowl with grilled chicken.


9)  If you could go some place to visit and explore, where would like to go?
One of my bucket list items was to visit the Grand Canyon.  I had the opportunity to go a couple of months ago and it was a surreal experience.  It was so majestic and peaceful to see the beauty and grandeur of nature at its best.
 


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.
The key is to never give up.  To be strong in the face of adversity.  There was no way I was going to let blood clots prevent me from continuing to work out.  Being active and staying fit are essential to my life and I was not going to give that up.  Fortunately, my strength came back and even though my stamina is not where it was, it is close enough that I am satisfied with my journey back.  You have to be smart and listen to your body.  It is also easy to worry that every ache can be a clot.  If there is doubt, then seek medical advice. I have learned to try to find the right balance between pushing myself and knowing how far is too far.  When you have a passion for something, you can't give in.  You have to mentally and physically challenge yourself to keep that passion alive and to strive for continued success.  And the support and encouragement from family and friends also helped tremendously.

THANK YOU Scott for your willingness to share your story and your personal experiences with blood clots.

There is not question that you will have plenty more obstacle course races to conquer in the future as you celebrate that you were able to overcome your blood clots.

For sure someday we will find the CLOT BUSTER #STOPTHECLOT polka-dots participating on that sort of event... I just hope that it is one of those in which the polka-dots can stay relatively clean...

Blood Clots CANNOT stop us!

Thanks for reading,

The Clot Buster

Friday, April 01, 2016

April Athlete of the Month

Listen Up!

This post is NOT an April Fools Joke about a blood clot survivor that can inspire all of us with her dedication, discipline, determination, never quit attitude, and pure love of her life.

I am not sure I can keep up with her as she is always on the move... with family, working, training and racing... I sure admire her energy and would love to know her secret to keep her going...

I am very fortunate to have had the chance to meet her in person one time as she slowed down enough to catch a bite to eat last year.  I very much enjoyed learning about her story and how she is determined not to let her clotting incident slow her down because she has many (and I mean many) very cool items on her bucket list that she is checking off one at the time...

Personally I don't know how she does it but I hope that as you read her story some of NANCY KUSHINSKY's drive rubs off on you as it has with me... Don't leave for tomorrow what you can do today...

Read on...

"1)  What is you sport/activity of choice? Why do you enjoy it?
- I'm a runner.  That's pretty much it anymore.  It's a sport I can easily take on the road with me since I travel so much for work.  I love running because it is my escape from stress and it gives me a chance to clear my mind and/or work through problems. I have also been lucky to find two great running groups that are very different from each other but are full of great people and are really supportive.


2)  How did you get started in that sport?
- I was a runner in high school but then didn't run again until my 30s.  I was tagged in a Facebook photo and when I first saw it I couldn't figure out why I was tagged in it.  But then I hovered on my name I realized the person I was linked to was me.  I didn't even recognize myself.  So I untagged myself (of course!), had a good cry, and signed up for my first half marathon that night.  I went to being sedentary to training for a half marathon in the click of a button.

3)  What is the latest milestone you achieved or plan to achieve?(Long bike ride, some race coming up or that you did)
- I am working towards I half marathon in all 50 states.  Injuries derailed me a bit last year, but I am back in racing shape.  I'll be knocking Arizona, Oklahoma, and Missouri off the list this spring.  So far I am at 30 half marathons total, covering 19 states, DC, and Ireland, Iceland, Italy, and Spain.

4)  Tells about your clotting episode.  Are you on blood thinners now? How long were you out of commission?
- I went for run and not even a third of a mile in I had a horrible pain in my neck and along my right shoulder.  I thought it was a pinched nerve so I continued with my run as well as going to work.  Over the next week or so I had trouble breathing on my right side.  I thought I had pulled a muscle or separated a rib.  Trying to lie flat at night to sleep was torture.  Then one night I woke up around 2am gasping and desperate for air but every breath hurt worse than the last one.  Went to the emergency room where I walked in under my own power because I refuse to use wheelchairs (and bedpans!).  They did chest x rays and diagnosed me with pneumonia.  I was given an IV drip of antibiotics and would be discharged when it was done.  Lucky for me, there was a shift change before the drip was done.  The new doctor ordered a CT scan.  Shortly after everyone started freaking out and that's when I was told it was multiple bilateral PEs with infarction and not pneumonia.  I was in the hospital for five days, did lovenox shots at home for a bit, and then was on warfarin for over 18 months.

5)  When were you able to get back into your activity?  How did it feel that first time?  
- I went to see my primary care doctor after being discharged from the hospital and asked her about running.  She told me I could start walking again when I felt ready and slowly work back into running.  She told me to expect it to take a while and that my speed might not get back to where it was before.  So I asked her if a half marathon in two weeks was out of the question.  She laughed...and then realized I was serious.  LOL  She said I could try to do it but I might not finish.  So I got on a plane to Idaho two weeks later and did my 8th half marathon.  It was hard and it wasn't fast, but I did it!  I felt like I couldn't ever get a deep breath most of the race and had to walk at times.  The air was really cold, which for me has become an issue since get the PEs.

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 love Asics for road running, Saucony for my trail shoes, and my Simple Hydration water bottle is perfect for me since I hate holding anything in my hands.  And I do looove my Clot Buster's polka dot shirt.  Whenever I wear it in a race someone tells me they like it. 

7)  How much are you getting out doing your sport?  (Everyday you do some training, 2, 3, 4 times per week)
- I'm streaking right now.  So as of writing this, I have run 113 days in a row.  That included doing laps in the JFK airport terminal when my flight canceled due to a snow storm!

8)   What is your favorite food?  Either generally or after a workout.  For me there is nothing better than a Chipotle Burrito...
- I love Buffalo Wild Wings!  I'm pretty much a regular there, especially during March Madness.  Pre race I like pizza and beer (preferably an IPA) the night before a race.  Post race I want a Diet Dr. Pepper.


9)  If you could go some place to visit and explore, where would like to go?
- Iceland was a bucket list destination and I knocked it off last fall.  It was amazing!  I travel a lot, but of the places I haven't been yet I would say South Africa, Morocco, and Cuba are high on my list.  I've never been to South America, but the plan is to get to Chile, Argentina, and maybe Uruguay this fall.

10)  What would you 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.
- Don't be afraid to speak up if something doesn't seem right.  You know your body better than anyone else.  If you feel like you aren't getting answers or are getting dismissed, get a second opinion.  You also have to be your own biggest support system.  Most people have no idea how rough the road back from PEs and DVTs are so even friends and family may seem unconcerned simply because they don't understand."

 WOW...

Nancy - THANK YOU for your willingness to share your story.

You certainly have a plan and I HOPE THAT YOU GET TO ACHIEVE ALL OF IT if not more.

From here in Columbus, OH I will continue to follow your progress anywhere in the world... Although I am jealous most of the time you give me the inspiration to plan "racecations" to unique destinations.  I would love it if you could take me with you some time... just know that I am fluent in Spanish so I offer free translation for a half-marathon race in South-America or Spain (Second go around in Barcelona..?) with the CLOT BUSTER #StopTheClot polka-dots...

By the way, I never thought that the CLOT BUSTER #StopTheClot polka-dots could end up in Iceland... Where are we going next...?!?! Where ever it is take pictures and share them with us!

Anything is possible for Blood Clot Survivors!

Get inspired and do what you can one step at the time!

Thank your 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