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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

My 95th Triathlon Finish !!!

My 95th Triathlon Finish !!!