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If you are a CLOT SURVIVOR you need polka-dots to inspire others and CELEBRATE that you are Survivor.
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Sunday, February 08, 2015

February Athlete of the Month

Here is hoping that 2015 is starting off well for you as it has been for the Clot Buster...

By now you probably know that NBCA has been named an Official Charity Partner with the CAP CITY HALF-MARATHON ( that will be held on May 2nd.

So, we are putting together a "TEAM STOPTHECLOT" so that polka-dots will be all around this event not only during the race but also with a booth during the expo session prior to the race.  Can't express my gratitude and excitement about this opportunity to RAISE AWARENESS AND SPREAD THE WORK TO STOP THE CLOT!  For sure the better part of 15,000 participants will walk by the booth and least will get a glimpse of the polka-dots and what we are all about!

So, while making the initial announcement of our involvement with this race through social - media (shameless plug here for my Twitter account @CLOTBUSTER) including some groups in Facebook the Athlete I am featuring on this month's edition of Athlete of the Month contacted me about her interest in participating...

... and since she is a survivor JENNIE LOUCKS had a story and an experience that was a "Must Share" and I could not pass it up. 

VERY THANKFUL for Jeannie's willingness to share here story with us so that we can all be inspired to keep going and never ever give up!

Please read on and enjoy...!

"A Little About Me:
*** What is you sport/activity of choice? Why do you enjoy it?
I am an avid runner and cyclist.  I enjoy these activities on some many different levels.  I love the accomplished feeling a workout, race or PR give you. I love the therapy they provide.  I love the ability to continually set goals and reach them, and most of all I love the friendships that have blossomed because of the sports.

*** How did you get started in that sport?
Both are relatively new hobbies.  Running began as a New Year's Resolution in 2013, where I set a goal to spend a year building up to a marathon, and I picked up cycling in the spring of 2014 when I began training for Oklahoma BikeMS.

*** What is the latest milestone you achieved or plan to achieve?
Running: Completed a PR distance of 50K on Jan. 24, 2015 in 6:42:01.  Cycling: I completed Oklahoma BikeMS (2 Days, 150 miles) in September 2014.  I'm participating in OK Freewheel this summer, a week-long cycling event across the state of Oklahoma.

*** What is your favorite piece of gear for your favorite activity?
I love my Nike Free Run 2.0s.  I have several pairs stock-piled in my closet for the future.  I also couldn't live without my Garmin Forerunner 610!

*** How much are you getting out doing your sport? 
I run every day.  I started a streak on New Year's Day and am going to try to keep it alive with 1+ miles a day for all of 2015. I cycle several times per week.

*** What is your favorite food after a race or activity in your sport? 
 Anything salty.  I'm always craving salty things post-race.  That, and chocolate milk!

*** If you could go some place to visit and explore, where would like to go?
I would love to backpack through Latin and South America.  There is so much culture to be seen and experienced, and so many different types of climates, weather, landmarks that I would be able to see and discover.

*** 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?
NEVER NEVER NEVER give up on your dreams.  Clotting, in my opinion, is more of a mental battle than a physical one.  You will fight the fear of the unknown on a daily basis, but don't let it hold you prisoner.  Learn to listen closely to your body; be as in-tune with it as possible.  Take it a day at a time, push yourself, but not too hard, and you'll be back in the saddle before you even know it.  Remember, you're alive, you're breathing, your lungs are working, your heart is pumping, and that is something we should never take for granted.
*** Tells about your concerns and what you look out after as you got back.
At first, every little ache and pain terrified me.  I felt like I lived in a continual state of fear, waiting for the terrible pain I had before to return.  I slowly began to figure out how to distinguish between the residual pain that would always be there from the scar tissue in my lungs and the pains that warranted a call to the doctor. 

I found that anything below 30 degrees was hard on my lungs, and I had to adjust workouts accordingly to be either inside or to wrap my face with something while outside.  Some days I really wanted to go farther, but I've been able to get really in-tune with my body and know when enough is enough for a day.  Although I wouldn't wish blood clots on anyone, I really do appreciate the opportunity this has given me to really get in sync with my body and how it feels. 

Here is my story:

In 2013 I made the decision that I was ready to take on the world.  I was ready to move somewhere new and to start my life the way I wanted it.  I ended up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where I was blessed to find FleetFeet and their marathon training program.  I admit I joined it more to meet people and make friends rather than to train, but I ended up getting both, and when November of 2014 rolled around I was ready and raring to go to DOMINATE the Route 66 Marathon on November 23rd...or so I thought.
October 17, 2014
I'm drowning, I can't tell in what, but I can't get the air I need, it's just not coming.  I jolt awake; it was only a dream.. But wait, I still can't breathe.  My chest is on fire, and I'm only able to swallow puffs of air at a time.  It takes all my strength to reach over to wake Colt, my boyfriend.  Am I having a heart attack?  How is this possible?  We rush to the ER, where I wait and wait to be seen.  Finally, as the pain subsists and my breathing returns to normal the doctor arrives.  One chest x-ray later, and I'm on the way to Walgreens for some pain meds.  Diagnosis: pleurisy.

Every night I fall asleep knowing that the crushing pain will come for me sometime before the morning light.  Some nights I'm lucky, most nights, Colt and I spend the wee hours breathing slowly together, waiting for the pain to subside.  It always does, and then it's back to the day as usual, work, long Saturday runs, Tuesday track nights...  I'm fine, until the night. October 23, 2014

The nightly attacks are really taking a toll on me, and I need relief.  I arrive at Urgent Care, where after a second chest x-ray, I'm giving a higher prescription.  The pesky pleurisy just doesn't want to give up.  I wonder, will the nightly pain become a part of my life that I must adjust to.  The notion is terrifying.

November 11, 2014

Today is different.  I've awoken and the pain is still there, nagging, pulling, blocking the deep breaths I need so desperately. I return to Urgent Care, where I'm advised to head back to the ER.  I suffer through the most excruciating pain of my life, lying on my back for the CT scan, and then, we wait.
The doctor slowing opens the door, and the words leave her mouth, "You should be dead".  Diagnosis: 30 blood clots between my two lungs.  I'm admitted immediately to the ICU, and from there, the next 5 days are a blur.

November 23, 2014

This was one of the hardest days of my life, standing at the marathon finish line, watching all my teammates cross the finish line, one after the next.  I laughed, I cried at least 10 times, and wished with every bone in my body that I was out there with them.

November 28, 2014

Today's the day.  The doctor says I can begin running again.    My first run was to be a short, slow three miles, and the thought of it terrified me.  Would I ever be able to run again?  Guess what, I did.  I pushed away all the fears I'd felt. I told myself that this would not be the end of running.  It started out at a snail's pace, but then I sped up, faster, then faster, then I was flying.  I decided then and there that it'd be a new beginning for running and I.

January 24, 2015
Today was my comeback.  I felt great, stronger than ever really, and I had all the support in the world from my running family.  As I got dressed the reality of the day started to set in.  In less than two hours I'd be at the start line for the longest race of my life. The Go Short Go Long Go Very Long 50K was about the happen, and I was going to crush it.  Guess what, I did.  Crossing that finish line was literally the best moment of my life.  My teammates were there to cheer me on, and as I crossed the mat, I thought to myself, "Take that clots!  You'll never be able to keep me from my dreams!"


STOP THE CLOT! So glad that you are back! Looking forward to hear how far and fast you can go!

Thanks for reading,

The Clot Buster


Anonymous said...

You rocked the clots Jennie! We were all so scared. So insanely proud of your comeback and ability to put the fear behind you. ~Aunt Cindy

Anonymous said...

You should also tell your readers about the med they have you on, meds you can't take, past and future testing, and family trees. All very interesting stuff! (Oh...and that polka dotted clot shirt makes my lungs hurt...)
-Your Mother

Kathy A said...

Wow, you are an inspiration! I was diagnosed on January 11th and I'm just feeling well enough to start running again, but it's scary! I've been running for 5 years and cycling for at least 10 - bike MS was my first ride too. :)

My 100th Triathlon Finish !!!

My 100th Triathlon Finish !!!