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Friday, March 13, 2009

March Athlete of the Month

Spring is almost here... I am tired of the cold. It is been a long winter that does not want to go away just yet. How can we go from a high of 70 degrees one day down to 40 degrees the next...?

Let me see if I can bring some Florida heat up north as I introduce you Jennifer Gray our March Athlete of the Month with her account of a clotting incident and the come back to do the things that she loves...

"I’ve always been a woman on the move. Growing up, I was a dancer and a gymnast for nearly 20 years. Ever since, I have been an active runner and just recently have gotten into sport fishing. Being a girl on the move, moving to Miami two years ago was a dream come true. I’m 26 years old and a meteorologist at the NBC station here. Whether it’s in studio covering a severe storm, or reporting from the Keys during a hurricane, there’s so much adrenaline and the job keeps me busy – I love it! However, six weeks after moving to Miami, I was stopped dead in my tracks. I felt tired and had flu-like symptoms for nearly two weeks before doctors realized they were misdiagnosing multiple PE in my lungs. I spent the next several days in the hospital, and the next few weeks at home recovering. Doctors later discovered it was due to my birth control pills combined with what I learned I had Factor V Leiden. The combination nearly killed me. I was on coumadin for the next year, with doctor appointments nearly every week. I suffered through high anxiety over the next year, that I had never experienced before the incident. It was a daily struggle on the air, as I tried to get through a forecast sounding solid and relaxed – when my insides felt like they were sprinting. But I stayed focused and determined. I wasn’t going to let this setback slow me down. Now I am grateful for every day given to me, and every breath I take.
I was back running just six weeks after my blood clots. I ran a 5K nearly four months after the PE, and continue to run everyday. I was scared to get back into it after the incident, but I knew my fears would only defeat me. I had to learn to trust my body and pay close attention to any pain or weakness I had. Now I can run with confidence that I will be okay, as long as I take care of myself and take every change in the way I feel seriously.
I have spoken out at every opportunity given to me to tell my story and spread the word about the dangers of birth control and blood disorders. I recently did a story on the news about what happened to me to try and raise awareness. I got responses from people all across the country who had been through the same ordeal. Most of them were scared and lived with fear everyday. I always tell them to try and live as normal of a life as you can. Yes, having PE changes you, and changes your lifestyle, but you can’t let it take control of you. God has allowed us to be survivors of this, so it’s our job to spread the word of awareness and hope for prevention. I hope every female realized what she is putting in her mouth when she takes birth control. I hope to continue to educate young women with my story, and I hope to inspire others who have been through this, that life doesn’t have to stop. I feel so much stronger now and I feel smarter. I won’t let Factor V stop me from living my life and I hope it doesn’t stop you."

As Jennifer explains above there is a way to come back from a clotting incident even if your life gets turned upside down. There is always a way we just need to find the way that suits us the most. Will it be an easy road? Probably not, but it will be one that can provide you with incredible rewards.

Thank Jennifer for your willingness to share your story and your experience. I look forward to see more pictures of you catching those big fish!
Thanks for reading,

The Clot Buster

P.S.: If you know of someone that I should consider contacting to feature on the Athlete of the Month blogs please let me know at .

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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