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Sunday, December 04, 2016

December Athlete of the Month

Do we often think about the "Gift of Being Alive"?

After doing these blog posts for so long I find myself very aware that being alive is a gift that I must enjoy each and every day regardless of what I am doing...

It is amazing the stories I am able read from clot survivors by simply asking about their clotting episode... I AM VERY THANKFUL that these stories are being shared as they are very powerful for the reader as well as for the writer...

ROBERT CASTRO is a clot survivor who purchased his CLOT BUSTER #StopTheClot polka-dots shirt and as a result he received my noisy questioner that he willingly shared with me and now I am sharing with you thanks to his willingness...

No doubt that Robert will put his polka-dots to good use while CELEBRATING that he is alive and spreading the word about blood clots and blood clotting disorders.

Read on and get inspired...!

"Yes, I am a survivor.  I was diagnosed with a DVT and multiple PEs August 12 of 2014.  The symptoms all started seven days earlier when I thought I had a pulled calf muscle from cycling.  I had just gone out for 35 mile bike ride I was stung by something in my left ankle and it was so painful I got off my bike and applied my frozen water bottle to my ankle.  After about 10 minutes, I started to ride back home in pain.  It had crossed my mind that this incident could have caused my blood clots but this has been dismissed by the doctors.  The next day, Sunday, I went out for a 27 mile bike ride and I still had some pain and discomfort from that sting.  

Bill Flaws -
I don't recall when exactly when my calf started to give me discomfort.  I think it was a couple of days later on a Tuesday.  As the week went along we pulled some long days at work do to an incident out of our control.  The discomfort got worse and my coworker suggest I see my PCP.  Unfortunately my PCP moved out of state.  He had just given me my last physical in mid-July.  I passed with flying colors.  Before he left he recommended two different Doctors.  They shared the same office and I went ahead called their office.  I asked who could get me in first.  It was Dr. Obermyer.  

The night before my visit I ended up burping a lot just before going to sleep.  Each burp caused a little bit of pain in my lungs.  I didn't think much of it.  The next day, August 12th, I decided to stay home and work before my appointment at 1 pm.  As the morning went along I knew something was wrong.  My lungs started to hurt.  In 2012, I was lucky enough to have experienced pneumonia but It wasn't at the time.  It was the worst pain I had experienced in my life.  Leaning on that experience I was now able to determine something was really wrong with me.  While on a conference call with the office I hardly spoke and my coworkers knew something was really wrong.  

The CEO, Mike, called me after wards and told me he was driving the 30 minutes to pick me up and bring me to doctor.  I was early to the appointment but when I finally saw the doctor I told him about the sting, the calf, and how my lungs felt.  He ordered the x-rays and saw nothing in my lungs.  He then sent me to the local hospital to do an ultrasound of my leg.  Mike drove me to the hospital and they performed an ultra sound.  When the tech came out he informed me that I had a blood clot in my leg and that I needed to be admitted to the ER.  At that moment I didn't know anything about blood clots except that people die from them.  I was entering my new world...  I was brought down to ER and they performed a CT scan of my lungs and that is when they found multiple PEs.  After wards I was admitted to the Hospital and as they pushed me into Hospital room a lady was sitting in the corner.  At first I thought she was with the Hospital and then I realized it was my mom's best friend.  My mom had told her I was at the hospital but my mom didn't know the state of my condition and with my parent's living out of state she showed up.  It was nice to see a familiar face.

I would remain in the hospital for next three days.  On the second day they were going to release me and an hour before my brother was supposed to pick me up my temperature rose unexpectedly.  I wasn't leaving and I felt relieved.  I stayed for another day. 

While at the hospital the doctors that I saw asked me several questions, family history, traveling, injury etc...  They performed several tests and could not determine why I developed clot.  All they could tell me was that it was an "unprovoked" episode.  The night before I was supposed to be released the nurse walked in and told me that I would need to learn how to give myself shots of Lovenox in my stomach.  I have always had to look away when I received shots and the thought of giving myself shots was terrifying.  She said if I didn't learn to do it that evening that the morning nurse would make sure that I did.  She then stepped out for several minutes.  I was terrified.  As I waited for her to return logic took over and I realized that I had to do it.  I live by myself who else would give my shots and if I didn't give myself shots I could die.  The thought of dying gave me the will to move forward.  When she returned I gave myself my first shot.  About a week later and a little bit more energy I started working from home again.

Once I came home I started trying to answer the question, "why".  It became my obsession to find the answer.  I had many theories and I passed them onto my Hematologist and even a family friend who is also a Hematologist.  In my research I found a cyclist who had a clot but my doctor explained to me based off the information I provided why this cyclist had his clot. It was not same.  I remembered that professional cyclist, Chris Horner, was sidelined several years ago because of blood clots. So I looked into his background checked his twitter account and website.   I was a big fan of his and eventually his name lead me to your blog.  It was refreshing to read the stories you shared.   

Researching as much as I could I never stopped asking my doctors and pharmacists questions.  About a year later I just ran out of questions to ask them. Now I ask them about the status of the antidotes for drugs like Eliqious. I was never able to find the answer to my "why" and I am now okay with that.  

About a month after my diagnosis I went walking with my father.  We didn't get very far probably less than a quarter of mile. I still remember turning around, it is was one of those moments that is etched in my head.  I wanted to keep walking but my body couldn't.  My thoughts were to walk again but also to go cycling again.  I wanted to get back on my bike and my Hematologist encouraged me to do so.  It wasn't until November that I was able to get back on my bike.  In my first ride I put my bike in the car and headed to the trail. I had always rode there but I knew I wouldn't make it and I wanted to take it really easy.  The constant pain in my lungs was still there but I went for about four or five miles.  Gone were the days of riding 35 to 40 miles.  I started increasing my distance when I felt I could.  I let my body tell me what I could do and I never tried to push it.  

That December I went to visit my parents for a month.  I was really excited to be able to ride in warm weather and on my first ride I crashed and fell hard on my hands.  The front tire got caught on even surface.  I saw a hand specialist and knew I wouldn't be riding for several weeks.  When I returned home in January I went to the Anticoagulant clinic the very next day.  My INR levels had dropped below 2.  That night I didn't sleep well. There was some discomfort in my leg again.  I went to the office and something told me I had to go back to the ER.  I cried not knowing what was next.  I had been looking forward for my six month evaluation and this put a damper into it.  They did another ultra sound and couldn't determine if I had a new clot or if it was the existing clot.  The doctors suggested that I should raise my target INR level between 2.5 and 3.0. 

I finally saw my PCP in February of 2015.  We looked at my hands and we talked about my clots.  The hand pain eventually subsided in April.  That spring my coworkers noticed a change in my behavior.  I was no longer myself.  I just didn't care and I was hardly sleeping.  I knew something was really wrong again.  After speaking with my Doctor's office they said I should go back to the ER.  I arrived at the ER and they started evaluating me.  I was very lucky, it turned out that I had allergies.  They gave me an antihistamine and my life quickly changed.  I was able to sleep again.  I thought this whole time that the reason I felt the way I did was due to the clots and that it was my new normal.  Eventually I would find out that I'm allergic to all the grasses, some weeds, dust mites and cockroaches.  I believe that with my weakened immune symptoms I developed these allergies.  After nine months I knew there was finally hope and I couldn't believe how good I felt. 

I set my hope towards finishing a two mile run in July for the local Independence day festivities.  I had run the 5k back in 2012 with a different brother.  I used to be an avid runner.  I ran track and cross country in high school and continued to run through most of my twenties.  I stopped running because of some injuries and eventually took up cycling instead, I thought it would be easier on my body. I was already watching the Tour de France every year because of Lance Armstrong and in 2010. I bought a bike.  I started walking and jogging trying to prepare myself for the July race.  When the Race day came I told myself that I would not walk and that I would finish the race.  At mile 1.25 I felt some discomfort in my right knee.  I ignored the pain and slowed down a little and eventually finished the race.  I had done it!  To my surprise when they announced the winners I ended up finishing second in my age group with a time of 18+ minutes.   Turns out there were only three of us in the 30-39 age group but that didn't matter, I felt that I was the winner.  This year I ran the same race again and again without any real preparation, just my cycling conditioning, I knew I wasn't going to be able to do the 5K so I stuck with the 2 miles.  I finished in a time of 16:50.  I didn't get second but fifth this time.  Apparently there is more competition with the forty year olds.  So now I've decided that I would start seriously running again and I'm looking forward to next year's race.  That one will always be special to me.  I've already started training and now I'm targeting a 5K in September.  

Thanks for asking me about my story.  I've never really put it all done on paper but it was also therapeutic."

Robert here is wishing you ALL THE BEST in your upcoming races... YOU CAN DO IT!

NEVER EVER GIVE UP THE HOPE THAT DRIVES YOU... Anything is possible as long as you go at it one step at the time.

Get those polka-dots out there and CELEBRATE being ALIVE as it is truly a gift!!!

Thanks for reading,

The Clot Buster

Friday, December 02, 2016

CLOT BUSTER #StopTheClot polka-dot FUN in Cincinnati...

... during the 2016 version of the THANKSGIVINGDAY RACE...

18 years and counting doing a race during the day of Thanksgiving... and most of them in the company of the one who got me into running... 

... I am still trying to keep up with her...

(Note who was the cooler shirt on... 2016 Boston Marathon VS. CLOT BUSTER #StopTheClot polka-dots...)

Thursday, October 06, 2016

October & November Athlete of the Month

I guess fall is in the air...

Well the weather is not exactly reflecting fall weather but I am NOT complaining about the extra and abundant sunshine with the more than comfortable temperatures...

Very hard to stay indoors with this sort of weather... Shhhhh...Don't tell my boss but I am taking some extra walks at work just trying to soak it a little more.

But with the arrival of October the final preparations are being done by the runners on TEAM STOPTHECLOT who will be tackling the 2016 NEW YORK CITY Marathon.  

Back in August we were introduced to Ang as one of the members of the 2016 team and during this post I wanted to introduce to you the rest of the team who are all a tremendous inspiration because of their diverse backgrounds, desire to overcome blood clots, and continue living!

Please read on and if you have it in you consider helping out their fundraising which is helping our message of STOP THE CLOT!!!

I will be running my seventh marathon in November, the New York City Marathon! I am honored to be running for a charity near and dear to my heart and lungs...The National Blood Clot Alliance.  
As you may know, I survived a pulmonary embolism (PE), blood clots in both lungs, in October 2012 while traveling on business in Switzerland. 
I want to bring awareness to this life threatening condition as I was so surprised that as an active person in my fourth season of triathlons at the time, that this could happen to me. I had signs over several months that I ignored including a pain in my calf. I would put a heating pad on it every day after work and thought all of my training was given me these leg pains. I had just completed an 8 day, 525 mile bike ride two weeks prior to my PE so thought new cramps in my legs were from the ride. But the long flight to Switzerland likely contributed to pushing blood clots in my legs to my lungs. Luckily, my mom who was traveling with me, called a doctor to the hotel when I was completely out of breath and my heart was pounding so hard. I went to the ER and was diagnosed with PE and spent a week in the hospital in Switzerland, far away from home.
The cause was likely birth control pills. Please consider the side effects of any medicine you may take and weigh the pros and cons. 
I am running for this charity to bring more awareness and education about blood clots that can strike anyone and is frequently fatal.

I ran my first 5k in August, 2010.  Afterward, my husband Bob and our friends and family were all celebrating together in the local pub at the finish line.  It was a great day.  What we didn't know was Bob had a major blood clot (DVT) in his leg while we were celebrating.  We just thought he had an achy leg.  Six months later Bob suffered a second DVT and ensuing PE.  That’s when we learned that he suffers from Factor V Leiden clotting disorder. As a result we wanted to learn as much as possible about blood clots and his disorder.  We were referred to the National Blood Clot Alliance and Team Stop the Clot by Hackensack University Medical Center.  NBCA has been very helpful and we have been impressed with the Team Stop the Clot efforts to support all those with these illnesses.  
I will be running the NYC Marathon on November 6th.  This will be my first marathon and probably my last - and by finishing it I will achieve a major life 'Bucket List' goal.  I'm beginning my adventure today, some 200 days from race day.  As I go on this adventure of highs, lows and long runs, along with my fellow Team Stop the Clot members, I'm asking you to make a donation to the National Blood Clot Alliance so they can further their work in raising awareness of blod clots and clotting disorders.  I would like to take advantage of this opportunity to fundraise on behalf of Team Stop the Clot as a way to give back to the organization that has provided us with great support.





Here is wishing our runners THE BEST OF LUCK in their upcoming adventure through New York City.  Without a question it will be an experience they will never forget.  

The TEAM STOP THE CLOT polka-dots will be well represented!

Thank you for reading,

The Clot Buster

Monday, September 05, 2016

September Athlete of the Month

Inspiration is all around us.

Sometimes you will find it where you least expect it.

I am very lucky to have a fountain of inspiration as I come across stories of survivors through social media... I am very lucky that those I approach are willing to share their story so that all of us can learn something... 

From my part I always appreciate the tenacity to overcome the challenges that blood clots can throw our way... It just does not get old and honestly it is energizing.

For the month of September I have a special personal account that you need to read... EMMA JANE has a story that will resonate with you not only because she is a clot survivor but also because she was able to overcome the challenges and come back to accomplish milestones she did not think she could do...!

Read on...

"As a kid I was always active . My swim teacher encouraged me to strengthen my core with running and sit ups and press ups  to help my swimming . Later I started running a bit further to keep fit and deal with stress. Only in 2013 did I start taking part in organised races. And within 9 months I ran my first marathon. I'm about to run my 35th marathon now. I thoroughly enjoy it all.

I also love a variety of sport activities. Mainly running, also cycling and swimming including working out at the gym.

My longest race was 37 miles . I have completed 2 half iron man triathlons and my fastest marathon is 4h 4 mins which I completed 3 & 1/2 weeks after my PE was diagnosed. I was astonished!  How did I do that??!  
I'm brick training more lately (2 or more disciplines back to back) as I want to take part in a full ironman (2.4 miles swim. 112 miles cycle. 26.2 miles run) totally bonkers but I'm so motivated to do it. 

I noticed a funny cramp in my left lower leg . Down the front of it last year (2015) in mid September. It went on for 3wks then disappeared when I had some osteopathy. Then in mid October I was bitten several times on the left calf by a cat ( I'm a vet nurse part time) it didn't go nasty. I bathed it in salt water and it healed quite well. A week later I felt what seemed like a knotty muscle in the back of my left calf just below the knee . It was quite painful. Massaging it seemed to help and I carried on running. It had almost disappeared when I noticed my left calf was swelling up . It was the 2nd of November. I couldn't get in to see a Doctor at my local office so a nurse at A and E examined me. By then it was so painful I felt very sick with it. The nurse thought it was an infection from the cat bite and referred me to my Doctor for an emergency appt that day. I didn't think it was a cat bite infection. It didn't look or feel like a typical infection . But I kept an open mind. The doctor also didn't think it was infected bite or a DVT as I didn't fit the profile. I am slim, fit, non smoker. So he told me to take pain killers and rest it thinking I had pulled a muscle. But it didn't improve . 3 days later my leg was so painful and swollen ( 6 cm bigger than the other leg!) I was crying in agony and being physically sick. I phoned my doctors office again . I was given an emergency appt but again it wasn't thought to be DVT. After I persisted the doctor agreed to test my d-dimer levels and put me on a short course of xarelto just as a precaution. By now I couldn't walk on my leg at all. Later that day my test results came back . D-dimers are supposed to be no more than 500. Mine were 4800!!! I was given an emergency hospital appt . I had two clots in my left leg extending above the knee. One blocking the vein . The other nearly blocking the vein. Each more than 6inches long!!! I was numb with shock. Why had this happened? More blood tests were booked and a mammogram as cancer can cause clots and both sides of my family have experienced cancer . Lucky for me no cancer was found. And the DVT s were attributed to the cat bite. I continued my running etc. Ran another Marathon 20days after my leg first swelled. I know . I'm mad 😀 . But I had already booked it. Paid for it. It was a lapped course so I could stop at any time if I needed to. I struggled with it but finished in 4h 34. Felt very dizzy at the end but happy. Then 5  weeks later I ran a flat road 50k race . Felt super fit. No leg problems or breathing problems and achieved 5h 32. I was so happy 😊 . Felt on top of the world. I could still run and run well at that. My hobby would continue to develop and I could enjoy it to the hilt.

Near the end of February I finished my tablets and had an appt with a specialist for more blood tests and a consultation . Again the DVT s were attributed to the cat bite. I felt happy with that and continued on with my life, work and hobbies . A fortnight after I had finished my blood thinners. I experienced flu like symptoms and quickly became exhausted but as the symptoms improved within a few days I dismissed it as an infection and carried on with my running. I did another marathon called The Larma Tree marathon. Held in a beautiful rural estate. Lots of my running buddies were there. I took it easy but enjoyed the event nonetheless for being recently sick. Then during my 28th marathon on 3rd April 2016. I experienced funny breathing and tight chest. 'Weird' I thought but I finished and  felt fine after I finished  so again I thought nothing of it (oh dear) but the next day I felt awful. Breathing was hard work. My chest felt tight and heavy. I thought it was another infection and just had to tough it out . The next night at about 3am a searing pain across my left shoulder woke me up. I was in agony.  My breathing was extremely difficult and my chest was tight and I also felt uncomfortable lying down.  Any pressure on my back hurt in my chest. I had had similar symptoms 8 years before and it had been dismissed as muscular (!!!)  I felt unsettled enough though to phone the NHS helpline who immediately called an ambulance out to me. I thought what a lot of fuss! No abnormalities showed up on their equipment. Oxygen fine. Temperature fine. ECG fine. Blood pressure all fine. I was advised to take some pain killer and see my doctor the next day on the 6th April 2016 . I managed to get a last minute appt to see a nurse practitioner. Who instantly panicked and sent me to Bath Ruh A &E. I didn't believe  I had PE . I didn't want any fuss. I refused the emergency clopidogarol injection saying 'don't waste it on me' (hahahaha) I spent 10hours in MIU being tested poked and prodded and scanned. My DDimers were high again. 1100 ! I broke down at that point. I was there all on my own and something awfull was happening to me . I had to go off and have a good walk. It helped and thank goodness for FaceBook!! The support I was getting from my friends was amazing. I will never forget and always be grateful. After a few minutes I pulled myself together thinking . I need to get on with this. I can do this/deal with this. I have been through tough times before and survived. I can do it again. 
      I was then booked in for a VQ lung scan. My body would lie in this huge doughnut shaped machine while I was sandwiched between two massive plates that take the images of the air ways and blood vessels in the lungs. I was pumped full of radioactive gas and iv fluid for contrast then lay there listening to Enyas soothing music in the background. I soon started snoring 😀!! The machine attendant was very good, very caring and never once indicated what my scan results were . Once I was back in the MIU though the expressions on the nurses faces registering outright shock at my results completely gave the game away. I found myself laughing under my breath . When the doctor on duty in the MIU next spoke to me she tried to cover up just how bad my results were with her jolly voice and jargony words . I was not impressed and it was still a big mystery as to why these clots were occurring. Next thing I know I have an appt to be checked out for cancer!! Again!! Nooooo . Lucky for me its less than a week away. My results were clear but I still felt very uneasy and less than reassured. The very next day the specialist was due to call me and she had some great news! I have Factor V Leiden's . Yahooooo ! I hollered down the phone. I didn't have cancer!!! I felt such relief . I knew about Leiden's . Had researched it along with other causes of clotting and I knew I could deal with having it . Yes I'm on xarelto for life and all the gremlins that brings with it but I was in all other ways Healthy. I was very fit so my body dealt well with the symptoms of multiple PE very well . Yep multiple PE, five areas in my lungs were riddled with blood clots. Too many to count. I was stunned!!  And filled with anxiety which I then handled by going for a 3mile run just hours after my diagnosis . I was a bit breathless and slow but it felt great to offload the anxiety. I then tested myself physically over the next two weeks. I was happy with my body's performance and doing breathing exercises helped enormously so on the 1st May 2016 I ran a hilly road marathon . Very Carefully. I set a new personal best record !!!! My previous one set over a year ago was 4h 12. My new one this day was 4h 4m !! I could not believe it. I asked if the clock was accurate lol!! Then when it had sunk in I was ecstatic. My life would always have the shadow of PE and Leiden's and hence xarelto over it but it was good and going to get better 😀 . I have since completed another 5 marathons including 3 ultras (30 + miles)  and a half iron man triathlon . Not without difficulties but I persisted and overcame and threw myself all into it and I'm succeeding. 

I only took time off work for hospital appointments. I kept going otherwise. It was hard but it helped an awful lot with the anxiety. I'm a self employed beautician and love my work. My favou
rite piece of gear has to be my garmin sports watch. Its a 910 forerunner and does my swimming and cycling too. And where would we sporties be without Strava ?! Lol Someday I would love to visit Club la Santa on lanzarote a sports persons paradise . All sorts of sports activities and socialising to do. As well as a cruise as I have many cocktail dresses and not much opportunity to wear them..."
Emma here is hoping that you get to wear those cocktail dresses while still running and eventually doing that elusive IRONMAN,  For sure you will have to do that race in the CLOT BUSTER #StopTheClot polka-dots..!!!

Thank You for reading,

The Clot Buster

Friday, September 02, 2016

Still Enjoying the Sweet Pain of My Accomplishment...

The CLOT BUSTER #StopTheClot polka-dots Flying High...!!!

I still can't believe that I was able to pull off a new Personal Best.

Celebrating CLOT SURVIVORS and SPREADING AWARENESS carried me on.

This race sure was a blast.  You should consider it if you want a fast 70.3 Triathlon!

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

August Athlete of the Month

Are we feeling the heat...?!?!

I can't get enough I have to confess...The hotter the better for me.

But although it is hot I need the inspiration that I can harvest from reading the SURVIVAL STORIES of BLOOD CLOT SURVIVORS I am fortunate to learn about.

Overcoming the challenges of blood clots is a journey that is unique for every individual.  But it is a journey in which you can re-discover yourself and come back as best as you can.

Certainly the story you can read below can serve as a perfect example of that inspiration and commitment to overcome and never stop.

Please allow me to introduce to you ANG who is a member of the 2016 Team Stop The Clot that will be running the TCS NYC Marathon in November.

Please read on and take it all in!

"It happened so fast that it almost seems like a bad dream.  The picture on the left was taken during the Steamtown Marathon in October 2013.  I was on my way to running a 4 and a half minute PR from the previous year's marathon and feeling terrific.  I was in the best shape of my life.  Fast forward to about two weeks after that, I started getting out of breath doing normal things, like walking up stairs, and my resting heart rate was higher than normal.  I thought that I was just trying to do too much too soon after the marathon and that I was a little overtrained.  I was having a bit of an annoying chest pain with deep breaths, but nothing that set off any alarms in my head.  
I kept running during the week with friends, feeling winded at an what should have been an easy effort, and by the Saturday run with my local run club, I ended up cutting a run short and walked it back two miles after going that far out.  Friends asked if I was ok because it was so unlike me to be walking, and I said yes.  Something was wrong, but I had no idea the seriousness of it.  I went home and rested.

Sunday, things got worse.  I remember having a panic attack; crying on the floor of my bedroom, my heart was racing, I was short of breath and my lips looked a tinge of blue to me.  My husband helped to calm me down and wanted me to go to the ER.  I got control of my breathing and not wanting to believe I wasn't invincible, I convinced myself that I was just hyperventilating and that I would be fine.  In hind sight, I absolutely should have went to the hospital.  But I didn't.
I am so thankful that I woke up on Monday.  That morning I started coughing up blood.  That answered the question right there about something really being wrong.  I headed to the walk in clinic and was seen by a nurse practitioner.  My oxygen level was ok and because of the shortness of breath and breathing pain, she was talking about pneumonia or costochondroitis.  I told her this was very unusual for me and what she was she was saying didn't explain the blood because I wasn't coughing much.  I know she didn't want to jump to worst case scenario, but she decided it was questionable enough to send me for a CT Scan.  I was told to head right over to the hospital.

I did just that.  I remember having a hard time walking from my car to the hospital.  I felt short of breath and dizzy, as if I was going to pass out.  After the CT scan, I was told I needed to talk to the nurse practitioner who was on the phone.  As if she couldn't believe it herself, she told me I had multiple blood clots in both lungs.  I thanked her for sending me for the test, and I shudder to think what would have happened if I went home from her office with one of the alternate diagnoses. 
I was taken from the CT room to the emergency room.  From there, an ambulance came to take me to a bed at another hospital. Things went from bad to worse.  I developed pleurisy and an infarction and I couldn't breathe without an intense amount of pain.  I cried a lot.  But that only made things worse, because it involved taking even more breaths, and I felt like I couldn't catch my breath.  I was hooked up to a blood thinner drip and given pain meds.  They worked well for maybe half the time they were supposed to until my next dose came.  It was horrible.  I cried through my entire EKG, and at one point during my stay, the neighbor in my room came over to comfort me from all the pain I was in.  I could only speak in sentences broken by heavy breathing, as if I had just finished a race.  My resting heart rate was ridiculous for someone who was supposed to be in the best shape of her life.  I was told this was all caused by birth control pills.  On the bright side, I was also told that being in such great shape may have saved my life.
I am so thankful for the support that I had from family and friends over that whole ordeal.  I spent the first week or so after coming home mainly in bed, watching the entire Breaking Bad series, and I especially feel blessed for my husband, who made sure I had all I needed and took care of everything for me and the kids.

I am also very thankful for the National Blood Clot Alliance, which was an invaluable resource for me in my recovery.  I had questions.  Oh, so many questions.  They gave me hope and much needed guidance at the time I needed it most.  I've been wanting to run for Team Stop the Clot for some time now and I am thrilled to be able to fund raise for them and help in their goal of promoting awareness.  I had no clue and neither do so many others.  Many people think it is something that only happens to the elderly or overweight folks.  This is not true at all.  It can happen to anyone and knowledge is power!  1 in 3 people with blood clots in the lungs will die and often the first symptom is death.  Very scary indeed!
Recovery from PEs is very individual and I've heard stories that run the gamut.  Thankfully, I had a swift recovery and things improved greatly for me.  I worked my way back to health.  I took my first running steps in my third week out of the hospital.  By five months after my diagnosis, I was able to toe the line at the Boston Marathon, which I had signed up for before falling ill, and ran it 7 minutes faster than the year before!  A month after that I ran my first ultramarathon, a 50 miler. I have gone on to run Steamtown two more times since then, running another PR there in 2014, and am currently training to run the Boston Marathon again in April.  In the fall, I will most likely run Steamtown again, and then, what I am most looking forward to, a celebration run at the NYC Marathon with Team Stop the Clot!  I am so honored to be a part of it!"
THANK YOU Angela for being a part of this year's team.
No question that you will make the CLOT BUSTER TEAM #StopTheClot polka-dots look amazing during the race in November.
Thank You for reading,
The Clot Buster.

Sunday, July 03, 2016

July Athlete of the Month

How fun is it to play outside during the summer? 

From sun-up to sun-down it is non-stop at my house.  

Sometimes we even sleep outside...

Pretty much we do it all... you name we do it.  We now even do "American Ninja Warrior" courses on the play set.  Who knew the slide would work as the coveted "Warped Wall"...?

Although it feels like it we are not engaged in playing for 24 hours continuously... 

However I can tell you about a Blood Clot Survivor who can indeed "play running" for more than 24 hours while Ultra-Marathoning...


Please allow me to introduce to you Mr. Steven Stewart who has been very kind to share his story with us so that we can get some inspiration from the insight he can provide to overcome the challenges of blood clots and run crazy distances...

1)  What is you sport/activity of choice? Why do you enjoy it?
Running. Can do it any time of the day or any season of the year.

2)  How did you get started in that sport?
The company I worked for sponsored a 10k race and I thought that would be a good challenge... The rest is history.

3)  What is the latest milestone you achieved or plan to achieve?(Long bike ride, some race coming up or that you did)
I ran 2 self-supported 250Km stage races in the desert.  In June I will also be running my 4th 100Mile Trail Run.

4)  Tells about your clotting episode.  Are you on blood thinners now? How long were you out of commission?
 My first dvt was in the spring of 2013. On warfarin for 6 months. Ran Boston marathon one month after diagnosis. Was hard due to leg getting tired so easily. 2nd dvt (and PE) was spring 2015. After that one they put me on xarelto indefinitely. The dvt was in the other leg. I notice now that I cannot run as fast as before and sprinting is very tough. However running slow I can run for a long time though. First incident was worse. Off my feet for a week then walked a bit more each day.

5)  When were you able to get back into your activity?  How did it feel that first time?  
My first incident was worse because of the swelling by far but the second one involved a suspected PE too. I was off running for a few weeks. I notice now that my legs get tired sooner and have a decreased lung capacity.

6)  What is your favorite piece of gear for your favorite activity? (Bike brand, running shoes, perhaps a running singlet or the Clot Buster's Running Polka-Dot Technical Shirt...) 
I wear my polka dots at all races now and always get lots of comments. This weekend will be my 25th race of marathon or greater distance --- SIMPLY AMAZING!

7)  How much are you getting out doing your sport?  (Everyday you do some training, 2, 3, 4 times per week) 
I run 3-4 X per week plus I walk about 60k plus I bike when I can.

8)   What is your favorite food?  Either generally or after a workout.  For me there is nothing better than a Chipotle Burrito...
In the summer I feast on toasted tomato and cheese sandwiches. I make rhubarb squares too but they don't last long around our house. Coffee is a good post-run treat and so is a beer with my friends.

9)  If you could go some place to visit and explore, where would like to go? 
There are so many places I would like to go. If I had to pick a few it would be Scotland and Western Europe.

10)  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.
Don't give up. Realize that even healthy people are not immune to blood clots and be aware of your body.
I was able to diagnose clot #2 faster because I knew what it felt like even though the swelling was not the same as the first one.

I am still not sure how this guy can do what he does... 

I can't wrap my head around running for 100Miles regardless of how fast you are going.  I am so impressed that a blood clot survivor can do this that I want to push my own body to see what it can do.  I 100% agree that you should NEVER EVER GIVE UP and keep on trying despite the challenges.  I always smile when I learn of one more his successful races and just hope I can do  small fraction of what he is able to do.

Thank you for reading,

The Clot Buster

Friday, July 01, 2016


This weekend celebrate the RED - WHITE - & - BLUE in style...


No matter your talent level...

Just the simply fact that you are able to train and eventually competing is a POWERFUL message about the fact that blood clots CANNOT and WILL NOT stop you...!

Send me your best photos of CLOT BUSTER #StopTheClot polka-dots in action.

With or Without polka-dots get out there and enjoy each and every day to the max!

Thanks for reading,

The Clot Buster

Friday, June 03, 2016

June Athlete of the Month

There is no shortage of inspiring stories of blood clot survivors out there.  I love coming across people and learning about their stories.

At this time of the year when the weather heats up is when my CLOT BUSTER #StopTheClot polka-dots get going so that I can do my part to spread awareness about blood clots and celebrate survivors while racing whenever I can.

Speaking of celebrating survivors... Once again we make a turn to another month in 2016 and as such I would like to share with you another remarkable personal account of survival and dedication to return to action.

Please allow me to introduce to you LIZ SHEETS HOSKINSON who is an individual from which you can draw great inspiration as you learn from her challenges with blood clots and how she was able to overcome them.

Thank You Liz for your willingness to share your story!

1)  What is you sport/activity of choice? Why do you enjoy it?
I enjoy running and biking. Running has helped me relieve stress and anxiety.

2)  How did you get started in that sport?
Got started running 18 yrs ago was suffering from post Partom depression.. I tried everything.. Running helped a lot.

3)  What is the latest milestone you achieved or plan to achieve?(Long bike ride, some race coming up or that you did)
I've run a lot of half marathons. I ran my first in memory of my brother who died in a car accident 7 yrs ago yesterday. It really helped me with my grief. I am currently signed up to run my First Marathon. Chicago.

4)  Tells about your clotting episode.  Are you on blood thinners now? How long were you out of commission?
I had a DVT in my calf 3.5 yrs ago after foot surgery. Got tested Dr. Said I only needed to be on blood thinners if I went on a long plane ride or became unable to walk around.

This year on January 23rd I ran the F 3 half marathon on the lake in Chicago and felt great. The next day my chest and back felt tight. The day after that I went to work and had the nurse I work with listen to my lungs but she didn't hear any air moving in my left lung.

Went to walk in care and the Doctor who saw me wanted me to take an ambulance to the hospital after making his evaluation.  I refused since I didn't feel that bad. But considering the urgency indicated by the Doctor I ended up driving myself to the ER.. Later after many different tests I found out that I had multiple pulmonary embolisms in both lungs. I seriously thought maybe I had pneumonia or something. It was a Total shocker!  I was told that I am very lucky as I could have just dropped dead at that race a few days before.  Now I'm on blood thinners for life. My mom has a strong history of clots and so do other of my family members. I seriously didn't feel that bad. Just felt tight and just didn't feel right.

Liz finishing that faithful race this past January in which various blood clots almost brought her down...

5)  When were you able to get back into your activity?  How did it feel that first time?   
Well... after being released I ran like two weeks after the clotting incident and Haven't stopped... 

The picture above is of Liz at the finish of her first race after her multiple PE's... she reports that it was hard and some of the hills were rough but despite the effort her smile always remains...

6)  What is your favorite piece of gear for your favorite activity? (Bike brand, running shoes, perhaps a running singlet or the Clot Buster's Running Polka-Dot Technical Shirt...) 
I love my Saucony hurricane shoes. I'd love a clot buster singlet I'd say I've earned one... 

>>> Liz from the editors desk you are right... We need to have you running your FIRST Marathon in Chicago in the CLOT BUSTER #StopTheClot polka-dots... Drop me a line and we can make arrangements!

7)  How much are you getting out doing your sport?  (Everyday you do some training, 2, 3, 4 times per week) 
I've ran 5 days in a longest streak...!

But I run as much as possible when life allows... Love racing and try to do it whenever I can so that I can push my limits by running with pacers who can make me faster.

8)   What is your favorite food?  Either generally or after a workout.  For me there is nothing better than a Chipotle Burrito...
Favorite food steak tacos.

9)  If you could go some place to visit and explore, where would like to go? 
I been dying to go to Hawaii.

10)  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 fell and hit my head at the gym of course about a month after my PE's had to get a CT and had a slight concussion. I've learned to be more careful but I've also learned to live everyday like its your last... 
Did my first speed work out ever this past Tuesday...Getting ready for Chicago...!  ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE for those who believe!

Here is wishing you the best of luck as you are preparing for your first marathon in Chicago... which of course your will be running in the CLOT BUSTER #StopTheClot polka-dots!

Thank you for reading,

The Clot Buster

My 100th Triathlon Finish !!!

My 100th Triathlon Finish !!!