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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

1 comment:

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My 100th Triathlon Finish !!!

My 100th Triathlon Finish !!!