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Monday, December 26, 2011

December Athlete of the Month

What better way to close the year and celebrate the Holidays than reading the following inspiring story of survival from a clotting incident.

Let me introduce you to Mr. CEDRIC BILL and his story as told by him...
"As U.S. Army Master Fitness Trainer, I was used to physically challenging my body. So it was not unusual, when in August of 2002 I shrugged off a sharp pain in the calf of my leg – a pain that had jolted me from a restful morning sleep. “What is it,” I thought, and quickly determined that I had a muscle sprain. Shortly thereafter, I went about my business without any concern.

But as the days passed, the pain worsened despite my efforts – such as massaging. A noticeable shortness of breath soon started a few days after the onset of the leg pain. Yet, I continued my work routine. But on the fifth day since my initial calf pain, a most alarming thing occurred – my leg started to swell!

Finally, I went to an emergency room where doctors found that I was suffering from a DVT (deep vein thrombosis) and a bilateral PE (pulmonary embolism). I was successfully treated for the clotting issues and I began to restart what I thought would be a normal life.

Unfortunately, a normal life was not something that was going to follow because since that day in August of 2002 I have had repeated episodes of DVT’s and PE’s. My most frightening occurrence happened in February of 2005 while I was stationed in Hawaii. That incident produced a very life-threatening clotting situation and I was laid up in a hospital bed for three weeks.

What surprised me then, after leaving the hospital, was how long it took me to learn how to walk properly again. If you don’t know, blood clots are very painful and this one had affected my entire leg, even extending into my vena cava valve that leads towards the heart. It seemed like my body was out of control.

Doctors had inserted a filter in my vein to catch clots and prevent them from traveling to my lungs. Despite their efforts, I still managed to get clots in both lungs. Medication eased what was a critical life-threatening situation. Meanwhile, my military career was in shambles. In March, I was medically retired from the Army, receiving a 70 percent disability rating. I never saw my career ending this way – especially since I had trained entire units of soldiers (and individuals) with physical fitness programs to get and keep them in shape. I had never been seriously ill and I was way too young to have medical problems. Besides, I WAS a Master Fitness Trainer!

Physically, my body was suffering as each episode created more damage to veins in the legs – causing a condition known at post phlebitic syndrome. In addition to the filter in my chest, I now wear a compression stocking on my affected leg every day and a permanent handicap sticker now adorns my car.

The thing I learned as a personal trainer was to always train around injuries – most importantly was to keep moving as much as possible to so that good health is maintained. I do that today – walking everyday for 30 minutes and weight training at least three times a week.

What I didn’t realize before all this happened was that clotting disorders are not age discriminating and they don’t just affect those in poor physical condition. Having had three DVT’s and multiple PE’s, my life has changed completely. At age 41, I’m not done living an active life while taking my daily Coumadin and watching my diet.

I wonder how things would have been if I had only known the warning signs of this silent killer. I was very lucky. Many others are not. Remember, the best cure for this condition is prevention and knowledge of the warning signs. Seek medical attention immediately. For me, I’d much rather be running again, playing softball, and playing with my children. But I am lucky and alive."

Although Mr. Cedric's life changed due to his clotting episodes he definitely has not slowed down. After retiring from the military after 22 years of service as an Army Officer he found a new calling in which he inspires others through his motivational speeches. He is know as "Cedric "The Edutainer"" and from what I can read he does an outstanding job.

For me knowing Mr. Cedric's story only gives me more drive to do what I can to keep spreading the word and make as many people as possible aware of the warning signs of blood clots as early treatment can make a significant difference in the outcome.

Thanks for reading,

The Clot Buster

Friday, December 23, 2011

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Training... sort of... I am good at pretending.

As I mentioned before in the "November Athlete of the Month" post on December 31st I hope to participate "virtually" on the


NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY SWIMMING AND DIVING "HOUR OF POWER" in Honor of Anna Frutiger.

Please CLICK HERE for more detailed information about the event.

I am not sure how I will measure up to what the "young" guns will do during this hour but I will give it my best shot. My training has been very limited to about 1200 yards sets couple of times per week. I don't have any idea how I will be able to swim for an hour but we will find out on December 31st. I guess that you will never know if you don't try.

John Frutiger - If you ever get the chance to read this >>>

THANK YOU for organizing this event.

THANK YOU for spreading the word about blood clots and blood clotting disorders.

THANK YOU for honoring the memory of your sister.

Your leadership provides great inspiration to keep spreading the word about blood clots and blood clotting diorders.

See you at the pool!

Thanks for reading,

The Clot Buster

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

November Athlete of the Month

This month's athlete of the month will be somewhat different.

I want to use this post to honor the memory of ANNA FRUTIGER who this world unfortunately lost last year due to a blood clotting incident. It is very sad to learn about a story like this but sadly it is the reality of the danger of blood clots.

One of the reasons why I selected Anna's story is because of the effort her brother as a swimmer at Northwestern University is putting forward to raise funds to STOP THE CLOT and to spread the word about blood clots and blood clotting disorders.

The swimming and diving team isndoing a very special event they call the "Hour of Power". What is the “Hour of Power?” Simply put, it’s an hour-long continuous relay in which our teams will swim as many lengths in one hour as possible. During the relay the memory of Anna will be remembered. If you would like to donate to this event please CLICK HERE.

Just know that on this blog post I am making a commitment to participate in the "Hour of Power" remotely from Columbus, OH. I may not be able to swim all of the hour in one effort but I will give it my best try. Follow along to see how far I can make it on December 31st!

I hope that you find it within you to donate for this very worth while cause. If you are not convinced please take some time to read Anna's story below...

"Anna Frutiger embodied brains, beauty, compassion, athleticism, and as such, seemed the picture of health while she was living her dream of becoming a dentist. No one expected that a blood clot would end her dream, and it seemed beyond belief that Anna died on May 20th, 2010 from a pulmonary embolism (PE) due to an undiagnosed deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a month after her 23rd birthday.

Anna felt pain behind her knee and in her calf four months before she died, and she attributed her pain to the stress and strain of training for a half marathon or a muscle pull. Her friends at dental school noted that she limped, and Anna was aware of becoming short of breath whenever she ran.

When her leg pain persisted, Anna saw an orthopedic surgeon who found no injury to suggest a muscle pull. After a thorough physical and review of her medical history, her doctor suspected a blood clot in her lower leg. Anna’s only known risk factor was that she was taking a third generation birth control pill. Results of an Ultrasound/Doppler of her leg were negative for DVT. At a follow-up to that exam 3 weeks later, her leg was normal shape and size, and she no longer felt any leg pain. As a result, her doctor discharged her.

After her first year finals at the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine, Anna traveled quite a bit, and flew for six hours over two consecutive weekends, then went to see friends in New York City the next two weekends which involved an eight hour bus trip with one ten minute stop. Anna complained of not being able to breathe easily when she carried groceries up to her apartment right after the bus trip. She told her parents that her symptoms were probably stress–related, since vacation was over, and the demands of school were resuming.

The next morning, Anna called her best friend to drive her to school because she felt extremely weak and didn’t think she could walk on her own. She wanted to push herself to class, because she had two quizzes that day. Anna collapsed on the lawn outside her apartment after walking downstairs, and blacked out for several seconds. Her friend called 911 and an ambulance arrived within minutes. Anna was conscious at that point, and asked her friends to call her parents in Michigan.

Anna made it to the Emergency Room, but had a cardiopulmonary arrest a few minutes after she arrived. She was immediately taken to surgery to try to dislodge the huge blood clot that caused her massive PE. Over the next two days, a team of doctors and nurses worked round the clock to keep Anna alive in hopes that a miracle would happen, something her family and friends wished for with all their hearts. Her family was euphoric two days later, because she moved her arms during the night, and their hope was that she would awake from her coma. Their hopes were dashed almost immediately when the neurological tests showed that she no longer had brain activity. Anna’s family had to make the agonizing decision to remove life support.


Despite their grief, they chose to donate Anna’s organs. Anna gave life to another, so continues to be life-giving even after her death.

Her doctors immediately tested her family and found no genetic blood clotting disorders. Her autopsy determined that Anna was not predisposed to blood clots. It seems that the birth control pill and her concentrated travel in one month were her major clotting risks.


Although Anna tuned in to her health status, 23 year olds do not suspect that anything fatal is brewing, and she probably did not link her birth control to her leg pain, or the possibility of a DVT. Although her doctor suspected a blood clot, he saw her as a low risk. Moreover, the Ultrasound/Doppler testing is effective for DVT diagnosis only 3 out of 10 times. Her family believes strongly that had Anna and they had the awareness and knowledge of the risks factors and signs of DVT in the months before Anna died that she might be alive today.

Anna loved her friends and family with every ounce of her being and always gave 110% to others, no matter what was at stake. Two of her closest friends, Sally Vitez and Michael Ratajczyk, fundraised for the NBCA/ Stop The Clot® by running a marathon and half marathon respectively in Anna’s memory."

Thanks for reading,

The Clot Buster

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Athlete of the Month UPDATE


Today was the running of the ING NEW YORK CITY MARATHON

and it our JANUARY 2010 CLOT BUSTER ATHLETE OF THE MONTH - KELLY HOGAN was participating.

and guess what...?!?!?

SHE DID IT ! 26.2 Miles she completed!

OUTSTANDING WORK KELLY!

You continue to provide others with inspiration to keep going despite your blood clotting incident.

CONGRATULATIONS! You should be OVER THE MOON!

Enjoy the pain and satisfaction of having crossed the line!



Thanks for reading,

The Clot Buster

Monday, October 31, 2011

HAPPY HALLOWEEN !!!


Next year I am going to attempt a polka-dot themed carving...

Let's see how it turns out!

Here is wishing all of you out there who are linked to the CLOT BUSTER Network in one way or another a Happy Halloween!

WHAT IS THE BEST CANDY OUT THERE TO GIVE AND/OR RECEIVE?

Considering the Clot Buster's MASSIVE sweet tooth anything will do. However, a Kit Kat bar can provide lots of enjoyment! But really for me anything with Dark Chocolate will stop me on my tracks...

Thanks for reading!

The Clot Buster

Monday, October 24, 2011

October Athlete of the Month

If I am not careful this month of October is going to fly by without giving me the chance to show case a CLOT BUSTER Athlete...

But since I've been maintaining this streak of posts for the better part of 3 + years now I am not about to just skip a month simply because I've been busy... So with that being said I think that I just found a little time to get this going.

Based on the last post about the NBCA newsletter that was featuring some of the AMAZNIG NBCA VOLUNTEERS I thought that I could go a step further and highlight the last volunteer shown as yet another example of the tenacity and inspiration that any clot incident survivor exhibits as they make their remarkable come back into sport.

For the October's Issue of Athelete of the Month I wanted to feature JANA WASSERMAN who coming up January of 2012 will be partcipating in the ING Miami Half-Marathon in Miami, Florida.

Although I've never met Jana the little that I know about her makes a powerful statement of that tenacity and dedication I wrote about earlier. Please read on to learn a little bit more about JANA ...
"Jana, who noticed a blind spot in her right eye, went on a mission to find out what happened. A blood clot was diagnosed; she met her hematologist and after extensive blood work, had an answer: not one, but two genetic clotting disorders. Now, she confidently manages her conditions and is sure she will "dodge another clot". Jana tells us, "I'm excited to train in honor of this wonderful cause. I've always enjoyed running and know that staying active and healthy is one way to decrease the chance of forming another clot. I'll run the ING Miami Half Marathon and be proud to wear the NBCA's red dotted shirt to remind others to Stop The Clot!""

We are PROUD OF YOU JANA for your willingness to spread the word about blood clots and blood clotting disorders. You will represent the CLOT BUSTER polka-dots during your event with great style.

I hope that someday I can meet you in person and get the chance to run along side you!

Good Luck in your final months of training.

Thank you for the inspiration and we look forward to hear how this race went and what will be your next challenge!

Thanks for reading,

The Clot Buster

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Letter from the NATIONAL BLOOD CLOT ALLIANCE (NBCA) that I wanted to share with all of you!

Please read on to learn about some AMAZING VOLUNTEERS!

"We hope you had a great summer and are ready for fall. Join us in congratulating this season's Most Valuable Volunteers...making a difference in their home field by raising funds and awareness to Stop The Clot. NBCA is proud to honor these outstanding volunteers for bringing help and hope to their clotting community and beyond!


Who: Jim Fenton
What: Triad Half Marathon & Cannon Ball Run
When: August and October 2011
Where: Greensboro, NC
Jim is pulling out all the stops to Stop The Clot - he competed in the Triad Half Marathon in August and raced this past weekend in the Cannon Ball Run (which he also finished last year!) In both events he reached a personal best and completed the courses in less than 2 hours while raising about $1000 for NBCA! Jim tells us: "People commented and asked me about my polka dotted race shirt through out the day so I was able to spread the word about the fight against blood clots as well".



Who: Dan, Steve and Andy Flanagan
What: Jim Flanagan Memorial Golf Tournament
When: August 13, 2011
Where: Indianapolis, IN
Dan, Steve and Andy hosted the Jim Flanagan Memorial Golf Tournament to honor the memory of their father. Jim died this past January of a fatal pulmonary embolism (PE). Touched by so many people who paid tribute to their dad upon his death, his sons organized this event as a means of spreading awareness about blood clots and clotting disorders while raising funds for NBCA. Thanks to the Flanagan Family thirty foursomes enjoyed a day of golf at the Eagle Creek Golf Course and raised over $5200 to Stop The Clot!


Who: Cheryl Fishman
What: 2nd Annual Kicks for Clots
When: September 10, 2011
Where: Ocean City, NJ
Cheryl, a multiple blood clot survivor at 26, successfully organized a second kickball tourney for NBCA last month and we can't wait for next year! Cheryl and her brother, Nate, make sure everyone has fun in the sun while bringing awareness and education about the risks, signs and symptoms of clotting disorders to her community for a cause close to her heart. Cara Lynch won the top fundraising prize of tickets to a Yankee's game and team Brother Shamus took home the priceless trophy! Over 40 players from all over the country raised over $6400 while kicking that big red ball!

Who: Sally Vitez
What: Funky Blues Bar Fundraiser
When: November 12, 2011
Where: Washington, DC
Sally's involvement with the NBCA began in memory of Anna Frutiger, her dear friend, who died at only 23 from a PE due to an undiagnosed deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Sally's efforts at raising funds and awareness to Stop The Clot started when she became a NAthlete for the Marine Corps Marathon and raised nearly $6000. Next month, Sally hosts a super Saturday night event at Madams Organ Blues Bar , 2461 18th Street NW, Washington DC from 7:00 - 9:00. Entry to this bluesy fundraiser is only $10 and all proceeds benefit the NBCA. Join Sally and her friends for great musical performances by Steve Kolowich, Noah Bein and Bernardo Guzman.


Who: Jana Wasserman
When: January 29, 2012
Where: Miami, FL
What: ING Half Marathon
Jana, who noticed a blind spot in her right eye, went on a mission to find out what happened. A blood clot was diagnosed; she met her hematologist and after extensive blood work, had an answer: not one, but two genetic clotting disorders. Now, she confidently manages her conditions and is sure she will "dodge another clot". Jana tells us, "I'm excited to train in honor of this wonderful cause. I've always enjoyed running and know that staying active and healthy is one way to decrease the chance
of forming another clot. I'll run the ING Miami Half Marathon and be proud to wear the NBCA's red dotted shirt to remind others to Stop The Clot!"

With a little coaching, you could be our next MVV!

Are you already a runner or just thinking about walking in that local 5K? NBCA's NAThlete program is designed to turn your activity into an opportunity to raise funds and awareness to Stop The Clot! We'll help you tackle the challenge - contact Kristen at kholgerson@stoptheclot.org

More good news, Dan Flanagan joins past MVV's, Traci Wilkes Smith, Kara King and Sara Wassenaar and new board member Shawna Baffone on NBCA's Special Events Committee. This committee is positioned to mentor volunteers interested in organizing an event to raise funds and awareness in their community. Contact Judi at jelkin@stoptheclot.org if you'd like to start you own Stop The Clot event!

Approximately 350,000-600,000 Americans have blood clots each year. About 100,000 die, meaning up to 1 out of 3 people are killed by venous blood clots. "

Thank you for reading,

The Clot Buster

Friday, September 30, 2011

Septmber Athlete of the Month

Thanks to the magic of the web and twitter I am incredibly lucky to get to connect with folks from all walks of life...

This month's Athlete of the Month is yet another virtual connnection but one that is worth sharing so anyone out there reading this can get that additional inspiration to get the back doing what they love...

Get inspired with DAVID DUBE's story as he shared it with me...

"I've had an interesting experience. Started in May of '09 when I noticed I could only run 20min on the treadmill before I became winde (I had been doing hour long training runs during lunch). The following day I could only do 10 minutes. I had similar experiences when riding... if I was in a pack on flats, I was fine, but hills would kill me. After about a week I went to the doctors, and due to an initial negative d-dimer, the doctor spent the next month trying allergy meds, checking for exercise induced asthma, and even scheduled an echo... everything was negative. At that point my doctor kind of "gave up" (I should have pushed him). After another month of no answers to my breathing issues, I decided to go to an Urgent Care center - I was convinced it was some bronchial infection. When I got there, I realized I forgot my wallet. As I started going back home, I decided to call my Doctor's office one last time. A fellow co-worker's mother manages the office, and she picked up the phone. I explained the situation, and she said to come in immediately - she would talk to the doctor.

When I got there, my doctor was still perplexed, but agreed to set up an appointment with the head of Duke's Pulmonary medicine the next morning. That evening, while walking the dogs with my wife, I started having issues breathing... sweat pouring down... concerned, my wife remarked I was dragging my leg, and that's when she said I collapsed (I still say I made a conscious decision to sit down). It took about 20 minutes of rest to feel like I could continue... 200 yards and a hill later I had to sit down again. It's about that time when a neighbor came and asked if he could help. I had never seen him walking the trails before - turns out he is a cardiologist (how lucky was that?). He looked me over, helped me home, and made sure I had recovered. I told him of my trip to Duke the next morning, but said to immediately go to the ER if anything went wrong.

Next morning I woke up and I knew something wasn't right. My breathing was labored just laying in bed. My wife took me to Duke and we started out with a spirometry test - passed with flying colors. The next test was the 6 minute walking test which I thought was going to be a joke. Typically, my issues were occurring outside - I thought it was the thick NC humidity that was causing the problems. They insisted we had to perform the test in the office. Well... that's when I knew things were serious. The nurse shut the test down before we had even completed one lap in the office (less than a minute), yelled for the doctor to come immediately, and put me on oxygen. My SpO2 level had dropped to 70%! Long and short... I was fast tracked into ICU.

CT Scan showed significant number of PEs in both lungs, and a subsequent sonar found the DVT in my leg. Unfortunately, all of the genetic tests have come back negative... no long trips in my recent history, no recent injuries, no family history... nothing to point to why I had the DVT and PEs.

Interesting side story... I finally made it back to the office after about 2 weeks. After I had explained what had happened to my co-workers, one of my friends (also an athlete) pulled me aside and asked me to repeat my symptoms. He said he was feeling exactly the same thing over the past couple of weeks. I urged him to go to a doctor... suggested a d-dimmer just in case. What could it hurt? After seeing the doctor that day, he went home and saw he had a message waiting for him. His doctor had called and told him to go to the ER immediately. It turns out he too had a multiple PEs and a DVT in his leg.

In my situation, since there was no known contributing factors, my doctors suggested I try getting off warfarin after 6 months. Three weeks after getting off the drug I started having breathing issues again. A subsequent VQ scan found new blockages in my lungs, and a sonar found a new DVT (before getting off the drug, I had a clean VQ scan, and sonar had shown the DVT had dissolved).

Long story short... it looks like I'll be on anti-coagulants for long term now. Other than no longer playing Ice Hockey, I've continued an active life style. My wife and I completed our first english century last fall, and are planning three this year along with several more metric centuries. Interestingly enough, it was the active lifestyle that saved my life. Originally, I only noticed signs when I was training hard (early warning sensor if you will). The fact that I was in decent shape allowed my heart and lungs to over compensate. Although this has been a long story, there are several other small nuances that make me take pause (not having my wallet at the Urgent Care Center, my co-worker's mom picking up the phone, cardiologist neighbor on the trails, having my story impact the life of another friend)...

Life is good... I'm alive... and I'm making sure to live it well!"


What a pleasure to make such a connections!

David thank you for sharing your story. I am sure that it will get others going and probably I will get to feature them here!

Thanks for reading,

The Clot Buster

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

60 Down!!! All Started and All Finished


60 Triathlons Completed!

Every single race that I started I FINISHED!

Looking back this is hard to believe.

Some races were awesome and some not so good...

I have suffered in many races but in all of them getting the chance to finish has been an unique experience.

Racing triathlons as the Clot Buster spreading the word about blood clots and blood clotting disorders continues to add an incredible flavor to my passion of triathlon that I wish to continue for MANY MORE TRIATHLONS to come!

This 60th triathlon had by far the best finish so far as I had the chance to run with Junior and cross the finish line together!

Look at that smile! What an incredible treat for me...!

Thanks for reading!

The Clot Buster

Monday, September 12, 2011

On September 18th I will be reaching a nice round number...

Guess what will happen on September 18th?

Do you have any idea?

Here is a hint = It has to do with this blog. Well, to clarify what this blog talks about...

Here is another hint = It is a nice round number...

Here is hint # 3 = It has taken me the better part of 9 years to get to this point...

Here is hint # 4 = I hope that some day I can make it to the Century mark...

Do you have a better idea now?

Well, on September 18th I will be racing my 60th Triathlon!

Can you believe it !?!?!

Looking back through my records I can proudly say that I HAVE FINISHED EVERY SINGLE RACE that I EVER STARTED.

Some races have been harder than others... I have struggled big time, I have walked miles to the finish, I have crashed and got up, I have suffered flats, I have raced in down pours, I have jumped off ferry's, I once drove 14 hours to a race destination, I have raced in a different country, I have cried in frustration but also laughed at my luck...

But above all I HAVE TRULY ENJOYED EVERY RACE THAT I'VE DONE regardless of the outcome. The memories from all the events all come rushing through as I read the name of the event and its date. I can pretty much remember something from each race which surprised me as I went through the list the other day.

I am very lucky to be able to enjoy this hobby with the support of my wife and family. I am VERY THANKFUL for the willingness to come along and cheer for me when possible. I can't put in words how nice it is to hear the familiar voice and to see the familiar faces even if it is for a split moment. I am VERY LUCKY to have this support and I can only hope that I can continue counting on it as I make my way to celebrate 100 triathlons a few years down the road...

Thank you for reading,

The Clot Buster

Friday, September 09, 2011

UPDATE on June 2009's Athlete of the Month

This Gentleman is a machine!

I featured him back in 2009 and he has not allowed that clotting episode to slow him down one bit.

He truly is an inspiration as once more he made the decision to race a Half-Marathon and fund raise in the process.

This year Mr. JIM FENTON completed the Battle of the Triad Half Marathon and to make it even sweeter he did it by beating his goal of going under 2 hours with plenty of time to spare.

Jim continues to spread the word about blood clots and blood clotting disorders and I cannot Thank him enough for his efforts. I understand that during this race a fellow runner got educated about blood clots between miles 10 and 11 which in turn was Jim's fastest mile of the race... go figure!

It is a pleasure to write updates like this. It is a great thrill to me because these stories I am able to share with others who are just starting their return journey and the inspiration they provide is well beyond words.

Jim >>> THANK YOU for the inspiration and dedication. Keep it up! I look forward to hear where else the Clot Buster polka-dots will end up!

Thanks for reading,

The Clot Buster

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

The mind games of triathlon runs...

I've done triathlons for the better part of 8 years well over the half century mark.

Olympic distance races are by far the most common length of race that I do.

Why is Mile 3 to 4 during the 10K so hard to fight and get through?

Why after so many years and races I battle that mile to the point of tears?

Regardless of my training and the conditions I dread the 7 or 8 minutes it usually takes for me to get through that miles and move on with the rest of the run.

Perhaps if I get faster and can do under 7 minute miles the pain of that mile will be over soon.

Interestingly enough from all of my races the struggle at Mile #3 is what I remember the most.

Why is that?

Without a doubt I have to make it pass by faster so I better drop the hammer regardless of the pain. That voice inside of my head asking me to slow down can be very persuasive and there is been times when I almost broke down and walked...

I suppose that I am able to finish strong when I know that I beat that dreaded mile and all I have left is 2 more... I do get a sense of relief when I see the Mile #4 banner and I know that I am that much closer to the end.

Will I ever feel comfortable during Mile 3?

To be honest after all of this time I probably like for it to stay as is... I just resolved to run it faster and get it over with sooner...

Thanks for reading,

The Clot Buster

Friday, August 26, 2011

August Athlete of the Month

This edition of athlete of the month is special because it features non other than a fellow BALD MAN...

That is right, for the first time in three years doing this series of posts sharing inspirational stories of people with blood clots that a bald man has been featured...

Although it is a bummer that for this Professional Athlete the 2011 season was shut down due to this blood clotting incident there is no question in my mind that he will be back to give it a try again in 2012.

This post is also special to me because it features someone who evidently likes to ride bikes as much as I do since this person does it for a living...

After winning the Tour of California and going into the Tour of France with very high expectations of succes Mr. Chris Horner suffered a very nasty accident on Stage 7 that took him out of the race. As a professional cyclist I don't believe this crash ranks amongst his most serious one however the resulting diagnosis of a blood clot in his lung surely provides ground to make it one to remember.

It is unfortunate that such fine tuned athlete had to suffer from a clotting incident. Certainly not fair to him and all of his work to be on top of his sport but sadly blood clots don't care. Under the appropriate circumstaces anyone can be a victim. In the case of Mr. Horner he was lucky to listen to his body as well as to the advise of his physician and took action in order to be treated.

I have no doubt that he is already on the come back trail and maybe even donning some spandex hopefully only indoors for now...

Here is hoping for a full recovery for Mr. Horner. Finding his way back to the pro-peloton sure is a story that I plan to follow for multiple reasons...
*** The inspirtation that it will provide.
*** Because as a member of the brotherhood of hair-challenged men I support him.
*** Because this guy rides bike and that is beautiful...

As life will have it is unlikley that I will ever be able to meet Mr. Horner let along ride him... or I should say watching from behind as he speeds away from me in an attempt to keep up with him... but his story of returning to top form in the pro-peloton will be on that I plan to follow closely.

Now we are not only connected in the balding man brotherhood but also in the community of athletes with blood clots which inspire each other every day.

Here is wishing Mr. Horner a speedy recovery and I look forward to see the sort of damage he is looking to dish out upon his return...

Thanks for reading,

The Clot Buster

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Summer SLOW DOWN...!

Where is the summer going?

How did it become the middle of August already?

Good fun all around which is why I wish that the summer would slow down some so that we can enjoy more time outside...

Checkout these pictures of us messing around...


Early start in the work force...



Junior doing his very own "triathlon" at home... that was very cute all around.


Sad photo of the Clot Buster in action at the Giant Eagle Columbus Triathlon... I was hurting on that race... This weekend I hope to do much better...We will see!



Junior with his soccer kit... we can't play without it on!

Here is hoping that this comfortable summer weather sticks around for a while.

The polka-dots will be racing this weekend in Springfield, OH @ Buck Creek State Park. If you see the Clot Buster please say Hi!

Thanks for reading,

The Clot Buster

Saturday, July 23, 2011

JULY ATHLETE OF THE MONTH

Here we are in the middle of the summer fighting the heat as we attempt to get ready for our summer events... I have 3 more races to go this summer and to tell you the truth I need some inspiration to get out there and represent the STOP THE CLOT polka-dots as I battle the elements...

This month's athelete of the month provides me (and I hope that for your too) the inspiration I need to keep training and racing to create awareness about blood clots and blood clotting disorders. Also, to keep me cool all I need is to think of her training grounds in Scotland where mild temperatures, rain, and wind make me think of cool thoughts as I am sweating buckets...

I am very fortunate to have the chance to introduce you to BECS WILLIAMS who from across the pond has been kind of to share her story of survival with us. How amazing is today's world of technology that allows us to be connected and learn/get inspired by other thousands of miles of away... Becs HUGE THANKS for sharing your story!

1) What is you sport/activity of choice? Why do you enjoy it?
I don’t really have a specific sport, I like to do quite a range of things, so I guess you could call it multi-sport. I enjoy it because it gives me variety and stops me from getting bored. Before I got ill I was regularly road biking, flat and hill running, mountain biking, kayaking, and open water swimming; last year I took part in around 5 or 6 triathlons or duathlons; when I’m back to full health I’m planning on pursuing adventure racing which also involves a bit of orienteering.

2) How did you get started in that sport?
I got started in multi-sport as a result of my boyfriend – when I lived in cities I was always an avid gym goer and also enjoyed running outside in parks etc, but after moving to Scotland in February 2010 I’ve not set foot in a gym since; I’ve got a new road bike, a new mountain bike, a wetsuit and access to various kayaks, a few great training buddies and some of the most beautiful countryside in the UK on my doorstep to train in.

3) What is the latest milestone you achieved or plan to achieve?
I’m doing a race at the weekend www.wickedwolftriathlon.co.uk, last year I was 2nd female and was planning on attempting to take the first spot this year after my boyfriend bought me a nice new mountain bike and I’d been training pretty hard (for me) up until May. Unfortunately I’m not able to do the bike or run sections this year so have formed a team with a friend, I’ll be doing the kayak and she’ll be doing the rest (using my new bike!). I’ve not been able to do any running or biking since May, but have done a bit of yoga, swimming and kayaking so hopefully my fitness will be ok. After this weekend, I’m not sure what my next race will be – I’m keen to rest as much as possible until my leg looks as normal as possible!
4) Tells about your clotting episode. Are you on blood thinners now? How long were you out of commission?
I got my second blood clot in the middle of May this year (2011) – almost 2 months ago – it actually feels like a lot longer. I had my first clot in September 2001 (I was lying in my hospital bed when the twin towers were struck); it was an extensive clot in my left thigh, and I was on Warfarin for 6 months. My left leg has always been weaker as a result of the damage my first clot did to my main vein, however it’s not really stopped me doing my training and I learnt to recognise when I was doing too much, it would swell up occasionally, but I just rested it when I needed to. My second clot was a bit of shock, particularly due to the fact I was probably at my fittest in terms of lifestyle and the volume of exercise I was doing. I had recently come back from a cycling trip in Majorca where I’d done over 350 miles of mountainous cycling in one week, my leg had been swelling up a bit during the trip, but no more than I’d expected it to. The week following Majorca my muscles in my left leg were hurting more than usual so I decided to go to the doctor for a check up. As a result of my history then sent me for a scan on my leg, however it came back negative, as did the follow up scan 10 days later. I then carried on with my training which involved regular hill runs and bike rides; however I did another race which involved a 37mile cycle and following that my leg never really recovered. It started to swell and hurt a lot, deep down I knew it was a clot but still hoped that it would go away. Following over a week of taking painkillers and travelling around the UK with work I decided it was time to go for an emergency scan. The scan showed that I had a clot in my left calf… I have been out of action ever since and will be on Warfarin for the rest of my life.

5) When were you able to get back into your activity? How did it feel that first time?
I haven’t done any running or cycling yet, I still have mild feelings of panic when my heart rate goes up, particularly if I’m on my own – largely as I’m conscious that I probably still have some form of a clot in my leg so will still be at risk of an embolism. My leg still hurts to walk too far and if I push it by doing a slight jog (perhaps to the shop) the aching feeling comes back. I’m finding it a lot harder to get over my clot mentally this time than I did the last time in 2001, I’m not sure whether it’s because I’m older, or because I feel like I’ve got more to lose now. I think I’m unlikely to do much in terms of serious training this year; I’ve bought a new digital SLR camera to fill the void of exercise and have increased my focus on my voluntary work. My boyfriend is still doing a lot of races, so I’m going along to them and meeting up with friends and enjoying the social side of it instead.




6) What is your favourite piece of gear for your favourite activity?
My favourite bit of kit has to be my road bike – I love it – it’s a Kuota Korsa and I’ve had it for just over a year. It’s light and fast and I’ve covered a lot of miles on it. I miss riding it a lot.


7) What is your favourite food? Either generally or after a workout. For me there is nothing better than a Chipotle Burrito...
My favourite food is smoked haddock risotto – I love it!


8) 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 say to anyone else who’s going through the same thing… don’t rush it – your bike or running shoes will still be there a few months down the line – your body’s recovery is way more important, so listen to how it feels and don’t take it for granted. My main concern now is that I’ll always be on Warfarin – I’m not too bothered about the blood tests etc, and I’m happy that being on the drug reduces my risk of yet another clot, however it’s more the fact that I have to be more careful not to injure myself and the impact this is going to have on my performance – will it make me even more weary when descending hills on my mountain bike or road bike for example? I don’t know, I’ll just have to see how I get on. On a positive note, I survived, I’m here to tell another tale and I’m lucky that I know one day I should be able to return to what I enjoy. It’s important not to mope around, but to make the most of your time off and maybe focus on some other area of your life that may benefit from some attention.
Keep smiling, life is good!


Thanks for reading,


The Clot Buster

Monday, July 11, 2011

It has been too long...

Hard to believe how fast time goes by...

It seems like it was yesterday that I raced the Half-Iron Distance Triathlon in Canada.

My still feels the pain from that effort.

I am still having a hard time getting some good workouts down.

I am still THRILLED with my effort in Canada and how I was able to finish the race.

A lot of people LOVED the CLOT BUSTER's polka-dots... mostly those who passed me... believe me up in Canada I did not get the chance to pass many folks.

All things considered it was a great experience.

I never thought that I would come that close to my PR based on how I felt starting the run.

Somehow I managed and I am very happy about that. I can't believe that I was able to complete that grueling 1.2 Mile swim. I never had to swim under a bridge/overpass which I thought was really cool.

The bike was flat and fast which I enjoyed but I was not ready to do either for 56 Miles... My legs were pretty fried before the start of the run. I did not think that I was going to pull off a good run at all. It was not a stelar but good enough to get me to the finish line.

Without a doubt I can do better.

Without a doubt I will have to shy away from Ironman... as I cannot even begin to imagine doubling the pain I felt after finishing... for that reason I am sticking with half-iron distance races if I feel like I need to challenge my self down the road.

For now I think that shorther races are in my future. However, I am turning 35 next year so I may have to "do" something special to celebrate my entrance into my new age group.

A MILLION THANKS TO THE MANY WHO CONTRIBUTED TO MY FUNDRAISING EFFORT, I am starting the process of puttnig together a new CLOT BUSTER polka-dot design that should make a lot of survivors out there look AMAZING while spreading the word about blood clots and blood clotting disorders.

For now let's hope for a speedy recovery.

I just wish that my body would feel normal again as I am racing again at the end of July.

Thanks for reading,

The Clot Buster

Friday, June 24, 2011

CANADA Here we come!

The Clot Buster Polka-dots are going over the border!


Half-Ironman Distance Triathlon is waiting for me over the border!


Wish me luck so that I don't crawl to the finish line over the border!


Junior is looking forward to see the bigger bigger bigger water falls over the border!


After the race we are going camping over the border!


Will they let me back in from over the border?


We are on our way to get over the border!


Junior is very excited for the road trip over the border!


I am going OVER board on this post...


See you when we come back! Stay tuned for update tweets from the race and our travels.


Thanks for reading,


The Clot Buster

Thursday, June 23, 2011

3 Years & Counting!!! How Sweet it is!?!?!



Hard to believe but in June of 2008 I started with these series of "ATHLETE OF THE MONTH" and without a question it has been one of the most


AMAZING


INSPIRING


LEARNING


Did I say INSPIRING...


things I've done on this blog. Every time I get a hold of a story or meet someone and learn their story I find myself thrilled, excited and motivated even more to keep going. Perhaps I will get the chance to touch others who may also get that little extra inspiration to return to a normal life after their clotting incident.


THANK YOU for coming along for 3 years!


Let's make it another 3!


Thanks for reading,


The Clot Buster

Monday, June 13, 2011

June Athlete of the Month

Hard to believe that both yesterday and today were our first "nice days" in a long while... at least here in the Mid-West. The heat has been BRUTAL so early... Here is hoping for a milder summer...

Once more I have the privilege to come across a personal story of a clotting incident that can provide a great of inspiration based on the difficult and lengthy process she had to go through.

It is amazing how these clotting incidents can bring down anyone with very different presentations and with severe life-style impacts that not only affect the individual but all those around them.

Please read on...

"My name is Caroline Kelly. I was diagnosed with a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in my right leg four years ago when I was 19 years old. It started when I noticed pain in my right leg. At that time, I had not even heard of DVT or its symptoms. I play soccer, so I thought it was just a muscle spasm. I went to the emergency room (ER), because I could barely walk, and it felt like something was tightening in my leg. Nothing was found. However, the pain got worse, and my leg became warm and swollen, so I returned to the ER, which is when the DVT in my leg was diagnosed. I was taking birth control pills to regulate my menstrual cycle, which is the likely reason for my DVT, and it changed my life forever. I was tested for blood clotting disorders, but none were found, nor has anyone in my family had a blood clot.

I think this illness changed my life because I had to leave college. On top of that, I lost financial aid and college funding, and my mother had to quit her job to take care of me. My life was at a standstill. I went from being free to do what I wanted to total bed rest for 4 months. I could not stand or walk, because my leg pain was so excruciating. I had to keep my leg elevated to ease the swelling. I injected a blood thinner by needle into my stomach every twelve hours. It was a very painful and traumatizing experience for me, and I kept asking myself “Why me?” and “Will I be alright?” I found myself with tears in my eyes.

I learned that DVT affects thousands of people a year. I learned more about blood clots and the blood thinners that treat clots and the risks for blood clots, including birth control pills. If clots travel to the lung, a pulmonary embolism (PE) can occur. It’s very important to spread the word about the signs and symptoms of DVT and its associated risk.

I look at life differently now, and I am thankful every day when I wake up, and my faith sustains me. I now appreciate everything life offers, both good and bad. I’ve learned that life has lessons. I’m so blessed and fortunate that my blood clot was caught before it traveled to my lungs, so I was never short of breath. My advice to others is to stay healthy, move, and keep in shape to keep your blood flowing. It is also important to be aware that birth control pills carry risk for blood clots."

Thankfully Caroline's clotting incident was treated on time before it got worse.

As you read the impact on her life and on the life of others was very significant. But as the clotting incident brought the hardships described together, Caroline and her mother, can begin the journey to allow Caroline to have as a normal life as possible.

Here is hoping for her to return to college and to the soccer fields!

Thanks for reading,

The Clot Buster

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Need Your Help!

This year's "big" race will be in Canada.

It will be a Half-Iron Distance Triathlon for a total of 70.3 Miles.

The training is hurting.

But it is worth it if I can fundraise the amount I need to design and manufacture dedicated cycling and triathlon jerseys to continue spreading the word about... STOP THE CLOT.

We need more polka-dots out there to wake people up and let them know that blood clots and blood clotting disorders are a GREAT danger.

If you have in you and can spare as little or as much as you can please checkout the link below...

http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/roland_theclotbuster-varga/2011wellandontariohalf-irondistancetriathlon

Your help is very much appreciated!

With that I will hubble down stairs and continue my ice bath... 65+ Miles of biking and intense running have me wrecked...

Thanks for reading,

The Clot Buster

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

May Athlete of the Month

As I was looking through the www.STOPTHECLOT.org website I came across the following profile article that sent chills down my spine...

I have not had the opportunity to meet KARA KING - CLOT BUSTER MAY Athlete of the Month, but if she and her friends are working to get a STOP THE CLOT 5K race organized in order to spread the word and create awareness she qualifies as SURVIVOR and an ATHLETE in my book.

Please read Kara's story below and if you are in Austin, TX checkout this event which I would love to do... Does Southwest fly to Austin...!?!? Can I get a deal if I bring my polka-dots !?!?!

"September of 2010 in Austin, was busy in the King household. The kids had just started a new school year, I was neck deep in volunteer work at school, and I was teaching cooking classes on fall cooking techniques. We were so busy that I never stopped to think about the weird pains that started affecting my body. The first occurred when I awoke with a sharp stabbing pain in my left chest. I did not feel any shortness of breath, but I felt pain when I took a deep breath. When my chest pain persisted for a few hours, I called my doctor, who said it was just a pinched nerve, and to take a muscle relaxant, which didn’t help. I was miserable for 2 more days, and then felt the same stabbing pain on the other side of my chest. I immediately called my doctor again. His assessment was that I was straining my right side to compensate for the pinched nerve on the left. The doctor again said to keep taking muscle relaxants, even though I told him that they were not having any effect.

I knew something wasn’t right. I even asked my doctor during our phone conversation whether I could be having a pulmonary embolism (PE). I knew my symptoms were classic for a PE, because I have an undergraduate degree in biomedical science. His answer was “You don’t have a PE, take the muscle relaxants, and you’ll feel better in a few days.” I listened to my doctor’s advice, and did not seek a second opinion. I should have trusted my own instincts and gone to the emergency room.

Like we all do, I didn’t spend too much time thinking about things, just got busy with my daily life as best I could and tried to ignore the pain. I decided to go for a walk to try to “work out” the pinched nerve after my second call to my doctor. During my walk, I felt winded and noticed that my left leg felt very tired, heavy, and it took a lot of effort to move it. It was a 95 degree day so I told myself I was dehydrated. Later that night, my leg felt like I pulled a muscle, and it woke me during the night. I took more muscle relaxants without relief.

The following morning began like any routine day. I put my 2 little boys on the bus for school. My 4 year old daughter was eating breakfast as she watched cartoons, and I was drinking a cup of coffee and paying bills.

I had gotten up to get ready to run some errands, and all of a sudden, my leg stopped moving. I literally couldn’t lift it or bend it. I looked down and was shocked at what I saw: my left leg was purple and twice the size of my right! I screamed so loud that my husband, who works from home, came running.

It was at that moment that all my symptoms “clicked.” I knew I had a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and that I was right about having a PE. My husband, Ben, rushed me to the nearest emergency room (ER), with our daughter in tow. In retrospect, I realize that an ambulance would have been a wiser choice in case my symptoms worsened enroute, but we thought we’d get there faster by car, and we were in a panic. I was put through a series of tests, including an ultrasound and chest CT in the ER.

When the official diagnosis came in, both my husband and I were terrified. I had a blood clot that completely blocked the length of my left leg, and had PEs in both of my lungs. I was taken to ICU, because I was at extremely high risk for the clot to break off and travel within the next 24 hours. Because I already had 2 clots in my lungs we know the DVT was breaking apart, and the fear was that another break could occur. The doctors saw the first 24 hours as critical, and let me know, in no uncertain terms, that I could die at any moment. The fear gripped me and it was difficult to remain calm, especially because my sweet little girl was so frightened. Thoughts were racing through my mind. I was feeling upset that I had told my sons “see you this afternoon” instead of “goodbye” in the morning rush, and now I was in a situation that might prevent me from watching them grow up. I wondered if my wonderful husband would cope if I didn’t make it home. I was terrified knowing that my next breath might be my last.

I spent 5 days in the hospital, 3 in the ICU. My recovery has been long, slow, and painful. I decided I wanted to find another doctor, so I did research and found a hematologist, someone who knew how to treat DVTs. I waited 3 weeks for an appointment, but it was worth the wait. I was in intense pain to the point that I couldn’t walk, and I was taking pain pills around the clock. She put me on low molecular weight heparin injections instead of oral blood thinners, and the improvement in my symptoms was dramatic. The swelling in my leg decreased, and I stopped pain medicine within 10 days. Nevertheless, I still had a long recovery ahead, because I also developed a pleural effusion and lung infarction on my right side, both very painful. My hematologist referred me to a vascular surgeon, because I was still feeling pain and heaviness in my leg after 4 months.
The vascular surgeon diagnosed May-Thurner Syndrome, which is a compression of my iliac vein. The compression caused my blood to pool behind my iliac vein, and caused blood to clot in my abdomen and left leg. I had surgery in February 2011 to place a stent to open the collapsed vein. The vascular surgeon discovered an extensive clot in my abdomen, and he inserted three times as much stent as he anticipated.

Since then, the blood flow in my leg is much better. The heaviness is gone and I’ve resumed cooking for my catering business, without having to rest every 20 minutes. I almost feel normal again. I feel like it’s important to note that my chest pain came before I felt any discomfort in my leg. Had the 2 clots that went to my lungs been any bigger, I would have died without every having symptoms of a blood clot.

It’s been a long road, and I will never fully heal. My femoral vein is damaged permanently, and my emotional scars will be tough to overcome. I was depressed, scared, and convinced that at any moment I would stop breathing right after my diagnosis. I held my kids constantly and cried because I couldn’t cook their dinner, attend their sports games, or even take them upstairs to bed. As time went on, I was able to climb the stairs again, and trek out to the soccer field, but my fear of leaving my children persists. Even though I don’t have a clotting disorder, I will be on some form of blood thinner for the rest of my life because of my May-Thurner Syndrome. I have learned to make everyday count, to make sure my children and husband know I love them, and to fight this clot with everything I have.

My husband and I, along with our best friends David and Jill Mapes, are organizing Austin’s First Annual Stop The Clot® Race. I am determined to raise awareness about signs and symptoms of DVT and PE, so that no one else will wait a week with chest pain and leg pain because a doctor dismissed their symptoms.

Blood clots kill more people every year than car accidents, yet there are driving rules and seatbelts for safety. Very few people know the signs and symptoms of a DVT or PE, and I am bound and determined to change that. I want to help raise money for people to increase this awareness, for better research in this field, and for those who may be financially strapped by a blood clot. Even though fear lurks constantly in the back of my mind, I want to show my clot that it awakened my spirit to fight and to Stop The Clot®.

For more information on the Austin TX, Stop the Clot race, go to www.pathfinderracing.com"

Thanks for reading,

The Clot Buster

CONGRATULATIONS!!!


By now you have seen my posts about a clot survivor determined to cover ALL of the 26.2 Miles of the Flying PIG MARATHON.

On the first weekend of May TOM WISEMAN donned the STOP THE CLOT - Clot Buster polka-dots and conquered all of those 26.2 Miles to show everyone out there that even after suffering from a clotting incident it is possible to complete the marathon!
I don't know about you but I am sure inspired to get out there and continue to prepare and spread the word to all who is willing to listen.

Tom - THANK YOU for the dedication and inspiration!

But don't fear! I just got word that Tom is not done yet... he has decided to take on his next challenge head on and even set a time goal for himself that looks to improve on his time from the Flying Pig.

Tom we will all see at the AIR FORCE MARATHON in Dayton, OH!!!

All Clot Busters out there will be rooting again for you!

Thanks for reading,

The Clot Buster

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Flying Pig Marathon >>> TOM WISEMAN - CLOT BUSTER in ACTION!!!

Hey Cincinnati!

Be in the lookout for some STOP THE CLOT Polka-dots out in the marathon course!

Mr. TOM WISEMAN will be walking the 26.2Miles sporting the CLOT BUSTER polka-dots!

If you see him give him some encouragement.

He is a survivor of blood clots and an example to all of us to keep going!

GOOD LUCK TOM!!!

Looking forward to hear how it goes!

You are an inspiration!

Thank You,

The Clot Buster

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Photo Update from the Last Month

It is been a while since I posted some pictures...

I guess time just gets away from me and with the ability of cutting corners with 140 characters I am falling behind here...

Check out some pictures of what we have been doing lately...

10 Miller Race from early April...


My Birthday...

.


Easter...


Amazing times without a question.

I am very lucky that is for sure.

Looking forward to more pictures over the summer as we gear for a season of racing, STOP THE CLOT work spreading, fundraising, and more...!

Thanks for reading,

The Clot Buster

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

April Athlete of the Month

This month's feature of Athlete of the Month is taking us to the other spectrum of individuals who are not world class athletes but on their own right are making HUGE strides to beat and recover from their clotting incident.

April's Athlete of the Month has an inspiring story that I am very proud to share as it is very inspiring to me. As I find myself looking at what I can do this summer to spread the word about blood clots and blood clotting disorders I think of this person and what he has been through and where he is going. Knowing of his story of come-back makes the polka-dots on my jersey brighter and far more meaningful...

Please allow me to introduce to you Mr. TOM WISEMAN. As a blood clot survivor he is getting ready to tackle the FLYING PIG MARATHON in May and he is raising funds to help in the cause. Check out TOM's FUNDRAISING PAGE HERE.


Please read on below Tom's story and get inspired!

"My name is Tom Wiseman, and I am from Sidney, OH - born and raised. All of my life, with the exception of 4 years of college and a 6-year stint in Cincinnati, I have lived in my hometown. My college years were spent in Dayton at Wright State University, where I received my B.S. in Business, but more importantly received the love of my life, Lori Lynn Belmaggio from West Milton, OH. I have returned to college a couple of times, once for MBA classes at Wright State, and also at Edison State for technical training during the brief time I was working in sheet metal fabrication. I am currently pursuing my ChFC designation in an effort to enrich my career as a financial advisor. While none of this seems to have much to do with a DVT / PE story, it actually does. During my life, I have prided myself on being relatively educated, intelligent, and pretty health-conscious. Since high school, I have always continued my life's education and tried my best to keep myself in shape. In fact, right after high school I got into running, and completed many 5K's and a 10K. But as things got busier, I got away from running, but always tried to get back into it.


The years of 2001-2008 was filled with challenges, turmoil, failures, and perseverance. My family and I struggled with job changes, address changes, family and health issues, depression, and ultimately financial struggles. I bounced around from job to job in the financial industry - and ultimately worked in an industry for two years that I was not trained or educated in, moved back to Sidney from Cincinnati, my parents both became ill (however, they are TOUGHER THAN HELL - they are BOTH cancer survivors !!!), and we nearly lost everything because of the financial difficulties that were a compound affect of everything else. Although never clinically diagnosed, I am sure that I was suffering mental depression during a good period of that time, angry at myself for my lot in life. I was too smart for all of this to have happened to me !!! In hindsight, I was able to get through this time because of these primary reasons: My supportive wife (a weaker woman would have left my sorry butt), a supportive family, and my faith in my savior, Jesus Christ.

But regardless of all of that, my life changed forever in March of 2008. While working at the sheet metal factory (and during a time that I wasn't exactly taking care of myself at all), I noticed that my left leg was swelling and hurt alot behind my knee. I dismissed it as an injury, perhaps from jumping off of a forklift at work, or playing in a dodgeball tournament at the YMCA. When the swelling got worse, I tried to treat it with heat and cold. At the suggestion of my aunt, who is a nurse, I went to my doctor, who suggested I take a blood test at the hospital. It wasn't much more than 45 minutes later, and he ordered me to the ER. After a short stay, it was determined that I had a blood clot, but was SENT HOME with Lovenox and a small dosage of Coumadin.


I was told to stay off work for a couple of days and keep my leg elevated. During my time at home, the area near my lower lungs started to have sharp pains (which I had had before for a few months), and I just didn't feel right. I couldn't breathe. My wife, who is infinitely smarter than me, said "You don't feel well, do you?" After agreeing, she called my doctor, who ordered me to the ER again. It was then determined that I had massive DVT in my left leg and that the clotting had gone to my lungs, and had formed PE's all the way through my lungs. This was April 1st - April Fool's Day - how fitting. As I sit there in the ER, a team of doctors kept going past me with that "concerned look" on their faces. After giving several gallons of blood, having an ultrasound and a CAT scan, I was told that I may have to be put in the ICU. I had just turned 36.


36. ICU. Are you kidding? All the other troubles I had in the past 7 years paled in comparison to this. I had a wife and 4 children. What would they do? Interestingly enough, during this time I was being recruited by my current firm to return to the financial services industry. After contemplating the fact that I was so thankful I had enough life insurance that my family would be fine if I died, the choice to return to the career I knew was an easy one to make. I now had a story. I had my passion.


Fortunately, I was admitted to the telemetry unit, was drowned with heparin, and was released 3 days later. The PE's had all gone away, although I did have some slight tissue death in one of my lower lungs, but nothing to be concerned about. I will be a coumadin "lifer," because I have had DVT / PE and I tested positive for the Factor V Leiden protein. My left leg does swell slightly from time-to-time due to slight valve damage. But other than that, I am a healthy 39-year-old.


I have had my "wake up call." Now I want to help awaken the world to what I call the "silent killer." I was blessed. I got back to the ER in time - the head physician on duty that night had said that if I had waited another 24-36 hours, I probably would have died.


Everyone needs to know the dangers of DVT and clotting disorders, which is the indirect or direct cause of many deadly heart attacks, strokes, and respiratory-circulatory arrests.



I plan on living a long, full life - and I want to help raise awareness to prevent any unnecessary deaths or disorders associated with the Factor V Leiden condition, DVT, or PE. All of the things I have been through some would consider somewhat tragic or unfortunate. I feel exactly the opposite - I have been blessed to have experienced things that some people will never be able to experience. From having myriad difficulties, to raising a developmentally delayed child (our 8-year-old has an undiagnosed general delay), to having DVT / PE...I have been given the privilege of all of this - because God knows I AM STRONG ENOUGH TO HANDLE IT ALL. Bring it. My motto: MOST EXCEL AT EXISTING...THE BEST EXIST TO EXCEL."

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