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Tuesday, December 04, 2018

December Athlete of the Month - HAPPY HOLIDAY EDITION...!

What a year...!

Celebrated 10 Years of sharing the AMAZING and INSPIRING personal stories of Blood Clot Survivors who have been kind of enough to allow me write about them.

Celebrated Blood Clot Survivors achieving amazing milestones.

Remembered several friends that we unfortunately lost along the way due to blood clots.

Celebrated the fact these killer blood clots can in fact be prevented.

Celebrated the fact that awareness can be effective for both the patient and physician.

Celebrated that personally I am 4 races away from from reaching the 100 triathlon completion threshold... 86 of those races have been completed in the CLOT BUSTER #StopTheClot polka-dots.  Here is hoping that in 2019 I am able to keep this train going along with many other Blood Clot Survivors and friends or family of Blood Clot Survivors.

Speaking of Blood Clot Survivors... I am once again incredibly fortunate to have found another survivor who has been willing to share her story with us.  

Read on to learn about Rebecca's experience and what she is been able to do to overcome the challenges she has been facing.

What is you sport/activity of choice? Why do you enjoy it? 
Running! I enjoy that I can essentially do it anywhere, and I am able to set my own goals.

How did you get started in that sport? 
My dad. Since I was a kid, he would run on a treadmill before dinner to keep his blood pressure down. About seven years ago, his doctor suggested a 5K. My dad scoffed he couldn't run that much... but he signed up for one and asked me if I wanted to try it. The rest is history!

What is the latest milestone you achieved or plan to achieve?
I ran the Chicago Half Marathon in September. This was a goal before my PE and became an obsession after!

Tells about your clotting episode.  Are you on blood thinners now? How long were you out of commission? 
It happened the day before Thanksgiving 2017. I had had some leg pain about a month prior that I chalked up to a pulled muscle. Then the dry coughing started - I figured it was an upper respiratory infection. The day I ended up in the ER, I woke up in the middle of the night feeling like a truck had slammed into me. I was diagnosed with a saddle pulmonary embolism with infarction, and sent home with heavy opioids and a Xarelto prescription.

During my first follow-up appointment, my wonderful internal medicine physician said to me: "If you can run, run. If you can't, don't. Your body will tell you when it's had enough". That gave me the confidence to start trying.

When were you able to get back into your activity?  How did it feel that first time?  
Although I was ready to go back to my "normal" immediately, my body was not. I was incredibly sore and couldn't believe how much I slept!
It was incredibly frustrating, so I created a list of small milestones to keep me motivated: walk 0.25 miles on the treadmill, walk up a flight of stairs, etc. Each time I crossed one off was a huge relief - I knew I was recovering.

Towards the end of March, I was finally able to one mile on the treadmill. I remember smiling like a lunatic in the middle of the gym :)

What is your favorite piece of gear for your favorite activity? 
LOL a good sports bra.

How much are you getting out doing your sport? 
Typically I run about 3 times a week (more when the weather is nicer!)

What is your favorite food?  
 Tuna salad sandwiches

If you could go some place to visit and explore, where would like to go? 
I have a trip planned to Costa Rica this summer

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
Immediately, I read through everything the hospital gave me and sought out information online - I found great advice, like questions to ask my physician, what might affect my lungs for awhile (yup, humidity is ROUGH!), and how to order a personalized medical bracelet. I can't explain the relief I felt when mine arrived and I put it on. I also carry a laminated card with information on it, and I updated the Med Alert in my phone.

I think it's also important to have a supportive physician - I sent mine questions via the hospital portal at least twice a week for MONTHS. Being able to get a response was so calming!

I have been very open about my experience with EVERYONE: my coworkers, trainers at my gym, family, friends. I want them to be aware of the signs and symptoms, but I also want them to know my history should anything happen to me again. The best defense is a good offense, right?

For sure without a doubt Rebecca will continue to smile like a lunatic as she keeps on achieving all of the goals that she is setting for herself.

In 2019 we will need to get her on her own set of CLOT BUSTER #StopTheClot polka-dots.  Perhaps if she is enjoying the sunshine in Costa Rica and doing some running down there.

In the end anything is possible for those who believe.

Believe indeed that this Holiday Season will be wonderful.  May the new year be filled with good fortune, good health, and happiness!

Thanks for reading,

The Clot Buster

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My 100th Triathlon Finish !!!

My 100th Triathlon Finish !!!