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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.
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 @









Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Better later than never... I guess‏

Well, keeping up with my posts has become a challenge... somehow I will find the time to get around this issue and get back on track. THANK YOU for coming back and checking in!

So, two Sundays ago I got the chance to race again on one of my favorite races around here. The Nationwide Better Health Columbus International Triathlon (formerly just the Columbus International Triathlon) is by far one of the most spectator friendly courses around here. I enjoy having people cheering for you all over the place as the transition and finish lines are organized such people can see a lot of the action without walking very far. If you want for your fans to see you more than at any other race this is the one you need to try! I know that Mrs. Clot Buster and Clot Buster Junior enjoyed seeing the polka-dots a lot. Of course it was SENSATIONAL for me to see them as well.
So, all together I saw them and they saw me....
1) Coming out of the water and running to transition (Wow, this one was a slow swim... Swimming only one time per week has slowed me down... 6 minutes from last year's time. Well, I guess that is the price I have to pay to get the chance to kiss Clot Buster Junior's cheeks that much more...)

2) Because of where they were they could see me all through T1.
3) 5 times as I rode by to complete my required laps ( I think that they started to notice as I was slowing down after each lap... )

4) Entering T2 (glad to be off the bike as the legs were starting to feel like they could do no more...)

5) Exiting T2 (this was my first brick workout of the season... just a little shock to the system...)

6) Going down to the lake and beginning the shuffle (I had really no expectations of being able to run the whole way but much to my surprise I was able to get into my slow pace and get to it).

7) One time around the lake and coming back for the final mile (I can't say that I remember much from Mile1 to Mile 5... just a lot hard breathing, sweat, the green of the trees, and the trail infront of me).

8) Final stretch as I attempted to lift my pace and look as if I was actually running.... I don't think I fooled anyone...
It was a pleasure to get the chance to race again. I don't get to do many this season but the three I am doing I am enjoying greatly as the polka-dots representing NATT and our mission to educate and create awareness against blood clots and blood clotting disorders flew high throughout the race getting people to notice.

So, in about two weeks we will be making our way north for the SECOND ANNUAL - GREATER CLEVELAND TRIATHLON NATT RAFFLE FUNDRAISER. If you have the chance come on out and race on of the finest events you can race in this region. Mickey Ryzmek puts up a great show so DON'T MISS IT!!!

Thanks for reading,

The Clot Buster

Friday, July 18, 2008

Racing this weekend...?

Well, I was planning on doing one of my favorite races here very close to home at Antrim Park... and I almost missed completely.

Here I was thinking that it was going to be the last weekend on July so I left registering for the race for a "later date" because I thought that I had time... well on Monday, I checkout the website of FatRabbitRacing and I realize that the race is this weekend...!!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!?!

So, here I am signed up for the Olympic Distance race and I have no idea how in the world I am going to do. All I know that I am VERY LUCKY to have the chance to go out there and do it and have my new support crew of 2 looking out for me... although I am racing less this year I have to say that it is simple awesome to have the two people you love the most cheernig you!

It will be fun on Sunday, I'll be sure to let you know how it goes... I will be bringing up the rear of the race, I am sure of it, but I will finish!
Thanks for reading,

The Clot Buster

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

It is been a while...

What a challenge to find some time to update the blog or to check my email... Clot Buster Junior is definitely a handful but one that we don't mind at all. He is doing something new every day and it is simply amazing to see it all taking place right in front of our eyes.What is it about grand-parents and their connection to their grand-child? I cannot believe the incredible love displayed by my parents while the visited us for the last 10 days. You had to see it to believe how radiant their faces were every time they got to hold little Clot Buster Junior. I did not realize this until the very end of their visit but between my dad, Clot Buster Junior, and I we had 3 generations of Varga's under the same roof. That was/is incredible.IT IS TOUR TIME my friends! Last week I found a new appreciation for what the Tour riders go through. You see last week since my parents were in town I decided to take half-day vacations every day. This allowed me to car pool in with Tom but then ride home and get my workout out of the way so that I could hang out with my parents that much more. So, every day last week I got to work in the AM and by 11:30AM I was riding my 20 to 25 Miles home. I was not just cruising home I was riding hard just so that I could make good time and really take advantage of the effort. The first day it did not feel bad but every day there after I was hurting that much more as I made way home. So, if you really break it down in a given day I did a quarter of what Tour riders do on a given stage and I only did it for 5 days, the tour riders go out there and do it for 3 weeks! So, although my 94 Miles for the past week were impressive to me I am in awe as to what those professional bike riders go through during the Tour.

PLEASE DON'T FORGET that coming up on August 9th and 10th we will have the 2nd ANNUAL STOP THE CLOT RAFFLE at the Greater Cleveland Triathlon. We are having a number of great prizes to give out so if you happen to be in the area for the race please stop by the polka-dot tent and get your tickets! The more you buy the better are your chances to score some great gear!!!

Thanks for reading,

The Clot Buster

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

July Athlete of the Month

Dear Readers,

It is with great pleasure and honor that I introduce to you LESLIE SMITH. One of the most inspiring stories you can ever come across... Please read below:
I have found my purpose in life, but not without great tragedy, to figure it out. Despite my misfortunes, I am a better person now and I would not change one thing about myself or the many challenges I have faced over the past few years. I honestly believe everything happens for a reason and my newly discovered mission is to inspire and motivate people. This is really where my story begins.

In 2001, I volunteered to deploy to Bosnia for a peacekeeping mission with the 29th Infantry Division. I served as a Public Affairs Officer in the Joint Visitors Bureau where I planned and executed itineraries for distinguished visitors including high-ranking military, government leaders and celebrities. It was the best job I held during my 12 years of military service and I wanted to extend for another tour. However, two weeks before the end of the eight month deployment, I developed a DVT in my left leg. I wanted to stay and return with the Division, but I was considered a health risk and returned stateside to Walter Reed Army Medical Center. While at Walter Reed, I was diagnosed with the blood disorder Factor 5 Leiden. I was placed on coumadin and experienced coumadin-induced skin necrosis six months later. The doctors noted how rare, unusual and unpredictable this was and that it affects a very small percentage of patients. I was immediately taken off of coumadin and placed heparin. Within a week, I suffered a severe allergic reaction that started with spontaneous hemorrhaging in my legs. The pain was so intense, I could not bear to stand, walk or sit. It felt like razor blades were running up and down on the insides of my legs. I was rushed to Walter Reed, admitted and diagnosed with heparin induced thrombocytopenia (HIT). My symptoms continued to worsen and my condition progressed to disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC). I had such life threatening symptoms that the Army retired me immediately and I was placed on imminent death status with less than 24 hours to survive. The doctors were so certain I was going to die that the social worker asked my parents if they preferred to have me buried at Arlington National Cemetery or to take my body home. Even in this dire time, the doctors continued every effort to save me. They attempted one last hope with the medicine rifludin, and by a miracle, my condition started to reverse. Fortunately, I had survived, but not without losing my left leg below the knee on Saturday, 28 September 2002. I also had extensive tissue damage on my legs and buttocks which was removed through many debridement surgeries. I also had two pulmonary emboli.

My time at Walter Reed was seven months. It took longer for my leg wounds to heal than my amputation. I had to wear vacuum pack machines to remove any infection and speed up the recovery of wounds for grafting. The gauze packing was changed every three days during an operation because it would have been too painful to change bedside, even though I was on an incredible amount of pain medication. Overall, I underwent 20 plus surgeries including several skin grafts on my legs and rear end. I finally took my first steps in January 2003 after being in bed so long.

My life was changed, but I knew I had two choices, either give up or make the most of the situation and my life. I chose the latter and realized why it had happened to me in March 2003 when the first group of amputees from the war arrived at Walter Reed. I was still in therapy and would see the newly injured soldiers in the clinic. I would kindly approach them and introduce myself. Their responses were always that they did not need any more candy or other comfort items. At that time, I would pull up my pant leg and say “I am a soldier too” while showing them my prosthetic. In that very instant, a bond was made and the soldiers would ask me questions about being an amputee. I knew I was chosen to be a role model and inspiration, especially as a female officer. Their attitudes changed when they said, “if you (she) can do it, so can I,” as they faced the same difficult physical and mental challenges ahead.

This new mission gave me great strength and motivation to better myself and continue helping the wounded soldiers after I was released. I got actively involved with several athletic organizations including the Achilles Track Club, Disabled Sports USA, U.S. Paralympics and the Wounded Warrior Project. I have completed four marathons, one triathlon and now both snow and water ski, kayak, scuba dive and hope to skydive someday. Sports gave me a new found self confidence that I encouraged all of the injured soldiers to try sports as well to help aid in their recovery and rehab.

As I continued to flourish in sports and started work for DoD as a Public Affairs Specialist at the Joint Warfare Analysis Center in Dahlgren, VA, I unexpectedly sustained another injury. Without any symptoms or warning signs, I suffered another blood clot or minor stroke that caused permanent vision loss in my left eye. Yet again, I found the reason why when I attended a dinner at the Italian Embassy with a large group of wounded warriors. I was at a table with five other soldiers and as the conversation progressed, we discovered each of us was blind in one eye. Only one soldier wore an eye patch, for the rest of us, it was not obvious. As we went around the table stating this fact, I knew right then I had lost my vision as another way to reach out and connect with the soldiers with similar injuries. We instantly shared stories of the trials and tribulations of vision loss. Some were funny, some were not, but the important thing I realized was that we all have each other to lean on, to laugh and even cry.

Through my experiences, I discovered an inner fortitude that I did not know existed before. I have depth and character that shows in my outlook on life and with my interaction with people. I have applied this new empowering attitude to even more outside work with wounded warriors. I am a certified peer counselor with the Amputee Coalition of America, a national outreach coordinator for the Achilles Track Club Marathon Freedom Team, comprised of wounded warriors from Walter Reed, Bethesda Naval Hospital, Brooke Army Hospital and Balboa Naval Hospital, a trained counselor for kids with disabilities with Disabled Sports USA and an Area Outreach Coordinator with the Wounded Warrior Project.

I also serve as a national spokesperson for the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial. I am honored to hold this position as the Memorial represents all disabled veterans from the past, present and future. It will be a place for healing, closure and new beginnings and I look forward to the day it is proudly dedicated. I work closely with actor Gary Sinise, as he serves as the official spokesperson for the Memorial. I have had the pleasure to speak with him at events on Capitol Hill, the National Press Club and in both the local and national media. I have visited injured soldiers at Walter Reed on several occasions with him as well.

My active involvement has given me the opportunity to narrate an upcoming documentary, The Road Home, about several wounded soldiers, including myself. It follows us from injury, recovery, rehabilitation and entry back into either military or civilian life.

Again, I strongly believe that everything happens for a reason and my combined experiences led to my selection to recently serve on the President’s Commission on Care for America’s Returning Wounded Warriors, co-chaired by both Senator Dole and Secretary Shalala. I was the Wounded Warrior Advocate and had the most important job. I took the phone calls from over 500 veterans and helped them with their situations, but more importantly, listened to their stories. My role was very rewarding and I will always be thankful for that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, just as I will always be thankful for my second chance at life.

Still today, doctors have not been able to provide exact diagnoses as to why these complications occurred. More than one doctor has stated I may have a clotting condition that has not been discovered. Even though I live in the unknown and can never be sure what may happen next, I have finally found an inner peace that keeps me strong, motivated and loving my life!

Friday, July 04, 2008

Enjoy the Fireworks!

HAPPY 4th of JULY!!!

This year we are not ready to take Clot Buster Junior to see fireworks yet. Maybe next year... but as I sit here writing this I can hear them go off in the distance. This tradition of celebrating this holiday with fireworks is fantastic. I have enjoyed it a great deal ever since I came to this country and I started to participate in the celebrations.

I am in awe of Mrs. Clot Buster and how wonderfully she has been able to recover from the birth of our son. She is already running here and there and tomorrow we are running a 5K course because she wants to see where she is at in terms of her fitness. The human body is an incredible machine as it has the ability to adapt so well to soo many different circumstances. I am afraid of her new found capabilities now... I've read about the cardiovascular improvements ladies go through after giving birth... she may end up kicking my butt... I am looking forward to see her race in the Columbus Half Marathon later on in the fall.
As for the Clot Buster, well, I continue to do training when possible as I am trying to get ready for a race at the end of July and then the 2nd Annual Clot Buster Raffle at the Greater Cleveland Triathlon during the first part of August.

If you are interested on the shirt PLEASE CONTACT me and let me know your size. No better way to spread the word about blood clots and blood clotting disorders than wearing the STOP THE CLOT banner!

Thanks for reading,

The Clot Buster

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Cincinnati One World Triathlon

Wow, The feeling of racing once again. It was sesational to be out there for my first triathlon of the year and actually have 2 people cheering for me! Mrs. Clot Buster and Junior were out there in full force and I LOVED every minute of it. It was an incredible experience to see my wife pushing the stroller around with that incredible cargo inside. I think that I raced with a smile on my face the entire time. Although I only did a sprint distance race it was fun to get the sense of competition once more. The polka-dots were once again flying high, specially through my helmet's new look. People really liked the look of it even more so that what I thought. This was a fun venue in downtown Cincinnati. The swim was unfortunately cancelled due to high levels of bacteria in the water because of the heavy rains during the early part of the week. It did not matter to me at all because I had my family cheernig for me every step of the way!So, I hear Junior cry and I better go see what this is all about. Let's see we just fed him so we must chaging and hope that we get some solid 3 hours of sleep before his next feed. Did you know that you can get sore from holding a baby in your arms very long? No one ever mentioned anything about that... this is one of the hardest things for me to deal with... the soreness seems to be there a lot of the time... something very strange indeed.Thanks for reading,
The Clot Buster

My 100th Triathlon Finish !!!

My 100th Triathlon Finish !!!