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PLEASE HELP US CELEBRATE CLOT SURVIVORS and spread awareness about blood clots and blood clotting disorders.
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Monday, June 04, 2018

June Athlete of the Month

10 Years of posting personal accounts of Blood Clot Survivors... 

Not my words but theirs...

Not my feelings but theirs...

Not my experinces but theirs...

Our collective INSPIRATION to OVERCOME!

This has been a wonderful journey for me.  Getting to meet all of these amazing individuals.  Most of the only virtually but making a connection because their stories resonate with me.  I hope that they resonate with you as well.

Here is hoping that I can continue doing it as long as it helps people in their blood clot survivial journey.

But above all THANK YOU TO ALL who for the last 10 years have been willing to share their story.  You guys are the ones making the difference for others who are in need of a lift.

Speaking of a lift.  This month's CLOT BUSTER #StopTheClot Athlete of the Month has a one of a kind experience and story that you don't want to miss.

Please allow me to introduce to you ANGELA who very graciously agreed to share her story with all of us.  You are not going to find a more dedicated person than her... So buckle up and enjoy the ride...!  

What is you sport/activity of choice? Why do you enjoy it? 
I’m a runner, short distances for racing, longer for fun. I love the freedom of running, I can do it anywhere, out on the trails no matter the weather. I can let my mind wander and enjoy the beauty surrounding me. I sometimes ski, bike, play tennis, do a bit of yoga, swim but I always run.



How did you get started in that sport? 
I ran as a child, we’d have races around the block. I could beat the boys, I loved how it felt to accelerate at the end. I stopped in secondary and started again in graduate school.

What is the latest milestone you achieved or plan to achieve? (Long bike ride, some race coming up or that you did).
My latest race was a 5 x 10K relay, it’s an annual race I do with friends. It was the same race I was running four years ago when I couldn’t breathe. On the milestone list,  I ran the Dublin City Marathon with my son in 2016 and I hope to run another in 2019 with my son and daughter somewhere exotic, maybe New Zealand.

Tells about your clotting episode.  Are you on blood thinners now? How long were you out of commission? 
I was in great shape, training for a 10K relay.  Six weeks before, I was working in Seoul, Korea. The day I headed back to the US, I went for a fabulous 10-mile run to explore the city, taking photos of the fish market and other sights. Then I flew to Detroit and on to Denver. I had a glass or two of wine on the plane and slept most of the way (don’t do that…). The next morning, I went skiing at Winter Park. I may have fallen skiing moguls, I may have hit myself with the ski pole, I don’t know. I ran every day in Denver then I flew home to Madison, WI. Fast forward 6 weeks to my weekly speedwork with Movin’ Shoes Track Club running 1000M repeats. After the second 1000M, I had a severe coughing attack, I couldn’t stop. I now realize my lungs were trying to clear something. I rested until race day on Saturday.  I ran the first leg of the relay. On the first hill, I couldn’t breathe. I stopped, caught my breath, told myself to ease up, I always go out too fast.  I kept starting and stopping. I was passed by people who wouldn’t normally pass me. As I didn’t want to disappoint my team, I asked the volunteer at Mile 2 to call the start. I had my team mate Cliff come out the reverse direction to get my baton as I was ruining our time (I didn’t think there was anything wrong with me other than a bad race). I walked up the next hill, the hill I normally do speed work on. Cliff met me at the Mile 4 and finished my race. A friend drove me back to the start. I made excuses and left to go to a 5K Cancer Society race with my good friend who’s a cancer survivor. I couldn’t get out of the car but eventually I did and I walked the course. I was really dragging up the hills. I figured I had a cold. On Monday, I went to the Nurse at work looking for an excuse why I was so slow. She asked me could it be I was just getting older. I tried to explain I couldn’t breathe, my blood was 96% oxygenated (okay). We agreed it might be asthma related to a cold.   That week, I kept trying to run and every time I couldn’t breathe. I did singles tennis drills the next Saturday and was leaning on the wall between points completely winded bemoaning how bad my season was going to be if I was this out of shape. On Easter Sunday, convinced I had asthma I used my husband’s inhaler then met my running friends for our long run. Even running downhill, I couldn’t breathe so I let them go on and stayed out on the trails walking and running for an hour. I finally realized there was something wrong, I was fairly sure I must be having a heart attack (family history) but I was still in denial. I thought about going to urgent care but it was Easter and we had plans. I waited until Monday to see the Nurse. She sent me to the emergency room, they did an EKG and D-dimer blood tests. The D-Dimer was high so they sent me for a lung CAT scan.  My lungs were 60% blocked with bilateral Pulmonary Emboli (high clot burden). They gave me a Lovenox injection and sent me to a cardiac unit overnight. I immediately felt better and was walking around the cardiac unit that evening. They found my primary clot in my Iliac vein the next morning. I was released on Xarelto.

When were you able to get back into your activity?  How did it feel that first time?   
I went for a 4 mile walk with my husband the day I was released. I felt great. The Lovenox helped let me breathe. I wasn’t supposed to run for a few weeks. I celebrated my first run with my running group, I felt great.  My struggle was with speed work, I didn’t want to be out of breath, no pushing. I came off Xarelto after 6 months. Anytime I had a coughing attack, I struggled mentally. Any time I was out of breath, I worried. I’d had a lot of trouble running in the cold and I’d cough a lot, basically the only symptoms I’d had before. Ultimately, I was diagnosed with asthma, I believe it was related to the PEs. I take Advair now and it helps a lot.

What is your favorite piece of gear for your favorite activity? 
Whatever is clean and weather appropriate.

How much are you getting out doing your sport?  (Everyday you do some training, 2, 3, 4 times per week) 
I run 4-5 times a week and play tennis a few times. I travel a lot so running is easiest for me.

What is your favorite food?  Either generally or after a workout/race
I daydream of ice-cream on my runs.

If you could go some place to visit and explore, where would like to go? 
My favorite place to run is a trail around Howth Head, north of Dublin, Ireland. There’s a spectacular view of the city. When the weather is good, it’s tropical. It’s a few miles from where I grew up and I run it every time I’m home. Dublin and its surroundings has beautiful runs including the Wicklow Way.
I travel every month, I wear compression tights, get an aisle seat and make sure to walk around every hour. I hydrate, take salt tablets and aspirin to minimize the possibility of another clot.

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.
 If something feels wrong, pay attention to it. If you can’t breathe, take it seriously, go to the ER. Don’t be embarrassed. To get back, walk then walk-run. I used a heart rate monitor to understand what was going on. Talk with other survivors, I found the Facebook group “Running after a Pulmonary Embolism” very helpful. I collaborated with my Hematologist about my treatment. I had multiple D-Dimer tests after I came off Xarelto, they were frequently very high and always false positives. I stopped having the test. I struggled a lot mentally when I had coughing attacks and subsequent trouble breathing during runs. Ultimately, I was diagnosed with asthma, the symptoms mirror though were far less severe than when I had PEs. The uncertainty was the hardest part. With the Advair for my asthma, I breathe well.
I fly every other week and am meticulous about minimizing my risk. I try to build awareness of the risk even on relatively short flights (3 hours).

PLEASE PLEASE take me to your favortie trail in Ireland... I am going to need a personal tour as long as you give me the chance to stay with you and you take it easy on me.

Simple amazng to see Angela being able to battle the fears and overcome to continue living the life of travel that her work demands.  I truly admier this resolve and determination.

Looking forward to see where else this lady will be running and I will just day dream about keeping up with her...

Thank you for reading,

The Clot Buster

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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