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PLEASE HELP US CELEBRATE CLOT SURVIVORS and spread awareness about blood clots and blood clotting disorders.
If you are a CLOT SURVIVOR you need polka-dots to inspire others and CELEBRATE that you are Survivor.
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Friday, November 01, 2019

November Athlete of the Month

PART 1I

Blood Clot Survivors CAN DO ANYTHING!

Friends or Family of Blood Clot Survivors CAN ALSO DO ANYTHING!

This is the time of the year when the inspiration is abundant from both camps... 

Blood Clot Survivors and Friends or Family of Blood Clot Survivors join together wearing the CLOT BUSTER #StopTheClot polka-dots while running in the iconic NYC Marathon.

But this effort is not only about running it also about raising funds to support the great work that STOPTHECLOT.org is doing everyday.  Take a look at the team's fundraising page...


On this edition of the Athlete of the Month post I would like to highlight the second part of the 2019 volunteers who will be taking part on this iconic race representing the CLOT BUSTER #StopTheClot polka-dots.  Each of these runners have an unique reason as to why they are running which can provide a great of inspiration to us all.

Read on and get inspired by the stories of the second part of our OUTSTANDING VOLUNTEERS!

Perhaps next year you can consider joining Team #StopTheClot to participate in the experience of your life while running through the streets of NYC!


Here you go MIMI & CHRISTIE...


Early on the Saturday morning before Mother’s Day, I suffered a massive pulmonary embolism that travelled from my legs to my lungs,  stopping my heart. Having been revived twice in the ambulance en route to the hospital, I spent 36 hours in an induced coma, and two additional weeks in recovery. I’d nearly lost my life due to a medical condition caused by hormonal birth control, which had been 100% preventable. The symptoms were obvious, but neither my doctors, friends, nor I knew enough about blood clots to seek adequate and timely treatment. Fortunately, I am now fully recovered from this incident and training for the New York City marathon. But I will always need to monitor my health through a hematologist. My involvement with the National Blood Clot Alliance has already made a difference. For example, this past year, I urged a colleague to visit a doctor based on the symptoms he described, which were common early warning signs of blood clots.” - Mimi
Immediately after Mimi passed out, I called 911, and the quick response time of the EMTs was critical to her survival. Luckily, I’d been there for the incident and knew enough about Mimi to help the EMTs rule out possible explanations. However, it took a second ambulance and a female EMT who understood the dangers of birth control as a trigger for blood clots to suggest that her condition might be the result of a pulmonary embolism. The first responders, doctors, and nurses seemed to try a little harder that morning, but in the moment nobody there could have guessed this story would have such a fortunate outcome. For years after I suffered from anxiety attacks worried that I, or those around me, would have a blood clot and the outcome would not be so fortunate. Becoming better educated about blood clots has enabled me to move past the stress brought on by Mimi’s ordeal and allowed me to address anxiety. Running the New York City marathon is a way to celebrate Mimi’s recovery.”- Christie

Here you go MELANIE...

"In February of 2019, I noticed some very minor swelling in my right ankle along with some trouble breathing while going up the stairs.  Knowing that I was already at a high risk for venous thromboembolism with 2 copies of the Factor V Leiden mutation, I went to the Dr not really realizing how  serious of a situation I was in.  Once examined, I was diagnosed with a full blockage DVT in my right leg and multiple pulmonary embolii in both lungs.  If I had not gone to the doctor that day, who knows where I would be today.  
I hope that with your support, I can spread the word about blood clots and drive awareness around the dangers they can cause due to lack of understanding around how serious the creeping symptoms can be.
I will run with "Team Stop the  Clot" wearing my spots proudly, I will run for my parents, who have both had blood clots, for my husband who holds a copy of the Factor V Leiden mutation and for my daughter who has surely inherited the risks from me.  I run for other friends and family who have been afflicted and for those who have lost babies due to blood clots in utero."

Here you go ELIZABETH...


"I am delighted to join Team Stop the Clot in NYC and fundraise for this important cause that is so close to my heart!
 I have been a part of NBCA since it’s Founding,  serving as an original Board member.  I became involved due to my own diagnosis of thrombophilia which preceded my training in genetic counseling.  During my  terms  on  he  Board  and  later  the  Medical  Advisory  Committee,  I had the opportunity to meet so many people and families struck by blood clots, and those with familial risk.  I am so proud to see the progress that has been made in providing educational resources, increasing awareness, providing support, and helping advance public policy and prevention of blood clots.  I am proud to point patients and families to the valuable tools on the website, and know the women’s health campaign  specifically has saved lives.  I also know individuals who have received an early diagnosis of DVT/PE because they knew the signs thanks to NBCA, and therefore took their symptoms seriously and advocated for appropriate diagnosis and treatment.  I could not be more thrilled to support NBCA’s efforts and mission.  Thank you for joining me!
Oh  and PS- I am also the wife of the self-proclaimed clotbuster triathlete who started this whole campaign 😉  "


So that you can remember here are the fine folks who were featured on our October Edition of the blog.

Here we go BRITTANY...


Here you go CHRISTY...
Here you go THOMAS...
Without a question their tenacity and dedication is very much appreciated!
Here is wishing the team the best of luck with what is left of their training and the race itself.  This is an experience they WILL NEVER FORGET.
Thank you for reading,
The Clot Buster

Monday, September 30, 2019

October Athlete of the Month

PART 1

Blood Clot Survivors CAN DO ANYTHING!

Friends or Family of Blood Clot Survivors CAN ALSO DO ANYTHING!

This is the time of the year when the inspiration is abundant from both camps... 

Blood Clot Survivors and Friends or Family of Blood Clot Survivors join together wearing the CLOT BUSTER #StopTheClot polka-dots while running in the iconic NYC Marathon.

But this effort is not only about running it also about raising funds to support the great work that STOPTHECLOT.org is doing everyday.  Take a look at the team's fundraising page...


On this edition of the Athlete of the Month post I would like to highlight part of the 2019 volunteers who will be taking part on this iconic race representing the CLOT BUSTER #StopTheClot polka-dots.  Each of these runners have an unique reason as to why they are running which can provide a great of inspiration to us all.

Read on and get inspired!

Perhaps next year you can consider joining Team #StopTheClot to participate in the experience of our life while running through the streets of NYC!

Here we go BRITTANY...


"When I was a sophomore in college I woke up at 4am one night with an intense sharp pain in my abdomen and chest. Thinking I was having a muscle spasm  from  a  work  out  earlier  that  day, I loaded up on Advil and tried to sleep it off. A day later I found myself in the emergency room and after  a few ultrasounds, x-rays, and cat scans, I was admitted to the ICU with a pulmonary embolism. For those who do not know, a pulmonary embolism is a condition where one or more arteries in the lungs are blocked by a blood clot. At 19 years old, I didn’t understand why this was happening. I was a healthy, fit and young college student and overnight found myself to be the youngest patient on the ICU floor. 
After further testing, I was diagnosed with Factor V Leiden, a genetic blood disorder, which makes me prone to clotting. The combination of flying for spring break trips, birth control pills, and my unknown blood clotting gene created the perfect storm. I am thankful for my parents who pushed me to go to the ER and for my doctors whose immediate attention and care is why I am still here today. I feel compelled to share my story with others and help educate those, like me, who knew so little about blood clots until I experienced first hand."
Here you go CHRISTY...
"When I was 25 years old, my mom passed  away very quickly and tragically from a Pulmonary embolism.  This is a blood clot that had traveled from her leg into her lungs.She had just had a simple outpatient surgery and two days later she was gone. We were extremely close and there is not a day that goes by that I don’t miss her.

Over the years, I have always wanted to do something to honor my mom and raise awareness to blood clots.  The New York City Marathon has always been on my bucket list and I know that this would be an amazing way to honor my mom who has been such an influential person in my life."
Here you THOMAS...

"My name is Thomas and a significant portion of my life has been dedicated to running and being in the best shape and health possible. However, on 10/21/2018* I woke up with a cramping pain in my rib cage and upper back that would change my life forever. It turns out I had a blood clot in my lungs aka a pulmonary embolism. I went from being in the best shape I had been in years to not being able to walk down a hallway without getting out of breath. My primary care doctor was in shock when they recieved the report from the hospital saying I had a pulmonary embolism  and that it happened to someone so young and in good health up to that point.  Since then I have fought hard to get back to where I was before the embolism. I still get dizzy often and have about half the energy I had before, but I'm fighting every day to get back to where I was before I got sick. Since it's considered an unprovoked embolism meaning they do not know what exactly caused it I am on anti coagulants(medicine that keeps your blood from clotting normally) indefinitely. 

The NYC marathon has been on my bucket list for a while now and when I saw that I had the opportunity to run for Team Stop the Clot almost exactly a year after my pulmonary embolism I had to give it a shot. Nothing would mean more to me than showing myself that this embolism didn't beat me by running a marathon in the Big Apple almost exactly a year after it happened. 

One silver lining of all of this is that I found a race team to represent in Team Stop the Clot and I now don the Red Polka dots of the Clot Busters for every race I run. Another reason is because I want to raise awareness about blood clots and blood clot related illnesses and their symptoms. I waited almost 4 days to go to the hospital because I had no idea what was happening to me. I thought I was just sore from doing pushups, and when it got worse I thought that I had broken my ribs or something. It wasn't until it felt like I was being stabbed while driving to my parents house that I decided to go to the ER. So I would like to use my running, something that the pulmonary embolism almost took away from me, to raise awareness about the symptoms and hopefully give people information that could save their life or the life of someone they love. This has taught me what is important in my life: My wife Allison who has been my ride or die through all of this, my pets, my family, the runners I coach, and just being able to run, something I took for granted until I could barely walk without losing my breath. I hope you will consider donating to this cause and educating yourself on the symptoms and risks of blood clots."

Can't wait to see these runners in their very own polka-dots running down the streets of NYC.
Next month we will get to meet the rest of the crew of volunteers that are part of the Team StopTheClot.
Without a question their tenacity and dedication is very much appreciated!
Here is wishing the team the best of luck with what is left of their training and the race itself.  This is an experience they WILL NEVER FORGET.
Thank you for reading,
The Clot Buster

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

September Athlete of the Month


Change is always challenging.

From the very simple or minor to the more complicated or major.

From the outdoor pool closing for the season the change of the season is certainly upon us... I don't like it one bit... Not because fall is coming but instead the dreaded winter... But this type of change is certainly minor and I can suck it up...

But the major changes are the ones that take a lot of effort and dedication to overcome.  Health issues like facing the diagnosis of blood clots is one of those major changes that represent a mountain that you must climb in order to return to normal... or at least the best normal that you can given what your body and mind went through.

Anything is possible for Blood Clot Survivors... time and time again it has been demonstrated... and it never gets old because it is INSPIRING!

Speaking of INSPIRING... September's CLOT BUSTER Athlete of the Month is a story that without a question will make you reflect on how anything is possible to those who believe.

LESLIE has been able to overcome the challenges of her own clotting incident and turn things around that are truly inspiring.  Please read below to learn more about her story as she has been willing to share it with all of us.

What is you sport/activity of choice? Why do you enjoy it?
My sport of choice is boxing. In addition to it being a great cardio workout it is an amazing mental release for me. However, I also incorporate weight training (slightly below boxing) and other forms of cardio. I am definitely doing HIIT (high intensity interval training) That said, I go for a walk every morning which I refer to as my moving meditation.

How did you get started in that sport? 
I fell into it by luck. Back in the mid 1990’s I had a personal trainer who introduced me to it. The first time I worked with mitts I missed the mark and the first time he had me jump rope I tripped over my feet and could not get past 15 seconds without getting winded. But I loved it and got much better!


What is the latest milestone you achieved or plan to achieve? (Long bike ride, some race coming up or that you did)
I have never been a runner but after my PE I discovered the Alt G treadmill. I loved it, I was weightless! It was part of my rehab. Once I got good at it we progressed to interval training on a regular treadmill. I am now running and in October I will be running my first ever road race!!! A 5k. I am nervous but excited to do it. In the back of my head I am already thinking about my first mini triathlon! I truly did walk before I ran.

Tells about your clotting episode.  Are you on blood thinners now? How long were you out of commission?
My PE happened in June 2018. I live in NYC and the hospital I went to could not figure out my shortness of breath issue. 6 hours later they finally did a scan of my lungs. I had bilateral clots.  I was immediately taken to the ICU where they put me on heparin. Up until that day I had no idea what a blood clot was.  When I left the hospital I transitioned to Xarelto. 

I started short walks shortly after my PE. Literally walking around the block. I remember two weeks after my PE I had a day where I actually felt “good” and I walked up a hill. When I got home I had to get in bed because I was so wiped out. I could hardly function. That day happened to be my birthday. I kept telling myself to think forward one year from today. My 2019 birthday was very different. I exercise with intensity 5 days a week. And I have lost 50 pounds since my PE while also incorporating a vegetarian diet. I hate that word because my food intake is anything but a diet. Fuel is probably a better four letter word than diet!


When were you able to get back into your activity?  How did it feel that first time?   
I started boxing again about 8 months after my PE. I was terrified my lungs could not handle it-and I have had moments of anxiety when I became winded-but it is simply me getting to an anaerobic state, it means I am working hard! And I recover.  After my session I went home drenched and so happy, I cried walking home. But they were tears of joy. I was back!

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 fitbit and my apple watch! It is great to be able to monitor my results and set goals. For several months after my PE I was obsessed with monitoring my SPO2.  I still monitor it but I monitor all my stats!

How much are you getting out doing your sport?  (Everyday you do some training, 2, 3, 4 times per week)
I walk 7 days a week and get those 10,000 steps! Or at least try. 5 days a week I do a combination of boxing, running, strength training, HIIT, swimming and balance exercises.  I mix it up so I don't get bored. 

What is your favorite food?  Either generally or after a workout.  For me there is nothing better than a Chipotle Burrito..
You may laugh but I am obsessed with the Beyond Meat burger. I crave it!

If you could go someplace to visit and explore, where would like to go? 
Rome. I have been there several times but the art history is amazing. You can just walk everywhere, into a small church for example, and find a priceless piece of art. And through different time periods. They all thread together and tell a story. 

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.
For me, I got very depressed after my PE. Eventually I started to feel a little better and setting small exercise goals helped me tremendously. Setbacks were normal, still are. But I kept moving forward and telling myself “a year from now” think about where will you be “a year from now”. Last year I was just starting light weights. This year I am deadlifting 175!  I hope “a year from now” I will be telling you about some great event I am training for. Nope, I will be telling you! Honestly, you can come back from this. I am probably in the best shape of my life now. . Keep thinking about where you can go not where you are. 


Can't wait to see how Leslie will tackle her upcoming 5K!

Without a question that she will overcome the distance challenge with the same dedication and effort as she was able to overcome her clotting incidents.  Small steps will add to great distances and MONUMENTAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS.

Everyone has their own monumental accomplishments ahead of them.  Go ahead, find them and achieve them!

Thank you Leslie once again for your willingness to share your story.

Thank you for reading,

The Clot Buster

Saturday, August 03, 2019

August Athlete of the Month


I love how the network of Blood Clot Survivors that I know continues to expand.

From sport to co-workers to school related activities I keep coming across individuals who are Survivors or know someone who is one.

Every story has an inspiring impact on me that keeps me going with this effort.

Getting the chance to send the CLOT BUSTER #StopTheClot polka-dots all over the country and sometimes around the world is truly a pleasure because the message of creating awareness about blood clots and celebrating all blood clot survivors continues to expand.

Speaking of this growth and expansion the following story featured on RUNNERCLICK.COM came across my feed and I could pass up the opportunity to share. 

This month's Athlete of the Month features TINA's story of overcoming the challenges of an unfortunate big crash, the onset of a clotting incident and her return to BEAST MODE triathloning...


Blood Clots can happen to any one that is why we must be aware and vigilant.

At the same time there is hope to come back after your clotting incident.  It make time but a come back is always possible.

Never stop believing that BLOOD CLOT SURVIVORS CAN DO ANYTHING!

Read on!

Thank you for reading,

The Clot Buster

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

TRIATHLON #100

Hard to believe that I have been able to do 100 Triathlons...So lucky to be ale to pursue this crazy hobby and to push the boundaries of my own limits. 

For me it was truly a celebration of doing these 3 sports... It felt easy as crazy as that sounds... 

I was inspired by multiple racers throughout the event letting me know that THEY WERE BLOOD CLOT SURVIVORS... IT WAS FANTASTIC to see them go and get after it.

Very much enjoy what the CLOT BUSTER #StopTheClot polka-dots can do while out training and racing... 

BLOOD CLOT SURVIVORS CAN DO ANYTHING!







Here is hoping that I have another 100 races in me...!

Thank you for reading,

The Clot Buster

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

July Athlete of the Month

Love Summer Time!

Bring on the Heat!

Can't get enough of being outside when the sun in shinning.

Every day Blood Clot Survivors complete huge achievements as they battle to overcome blood clots and blood clotting disorders.

July will bring a major challenge for me... Checkout twitter through my handle @CLOTBUSTER to learn more about what I will be having going on.  It is not going to be easy but if blood clot survivors can overcome monumental challenges so can I in mid-July.  WISH ME LUCK!!!

Speaking of being able to overcome.  July's Athlete of the Month ALEXIS has remarkable story to tell which I am certain that you will find very interesting.

MANY THANKS to Alexis for her willingness to share her story.  Read on and get inspired to overcome any challenge!

1)  What is you sport/activity of choice? Why do you enjoy it? 
 I love to run. I truly believe that I love this sport because of my fellow runners and the comradery we share on the trails and roads. Runners are a special group of people and I’m thrilled to be among them!
2)  How did you get started in that sport? 
 I started running in middle school as a 400 meter track athlete. I continued to focus on middle distance racing in high school, also running cross country as a means to build up a solid base prior to track season. 

3)  What is the latest milestone you achieved or plan to achieve?(Long bike ride, some race coming up or that you did) 
 I recently ran my first 10 miler post-clot in preparation for my upcoming comeback (I’m calling it a “clot-back”) full marathon. It felt amazing to be able to comfortably increase my mileage and heart rate. MCM 2019, here I come!

4)  Tells about your clotting episode.  Are you on blood thinners now? How long were you out of commission? 
 My clotting episode occurred in October 2018 amid a myriad of work, travel, and activity. I was 24-years-old and just weeks out from my second full marathon. I was working full-time as the Marketing Director of a Pittsburgh-based law firm, training for the marathon, and applying for MBA programs in my evenings – talk about a full schedule! I had no time to slow down, let alone get sick.
I had just spent two days in South Bend, Indiana interviewing for a seat at Notre Dame’s MBA program when I returned home to Pittsburgh via midnight train. I was traveling alone and was admittedly afraid to spend the night sleeping on public transit, so in order to ease my nerves and get some shuteye, I popped two Benadryl pills, put my legs up, and crashed for a full 8 hrs into the city. When I awoke the next day, I noticed a lump and tightness in my right leg, just behind my knee, of which I foolishly attributed to a tight IT band from a rough night’s sleep. As it turns out, I had a big race planned for the following morning, so when I stopped at the race expo to pick up my bib, I had a physical therapist, occupational therapist, and nurse check out my leg to ensure that I was fine to race…and got the all clear. No one realized that my “tight IT band” was actually a DVT!

The next day, unaware that I had a serious medical problem, I ran my race as planned. I PR’d in the 10k, knocking 5 minutes off my best (I was in the best shape of my life) but noticed that my heart rate was lingering above 195 (a first for my Garmin!). My leg pain, however, was gone, so we no longer thought anything of it.

The next day, I began to feel short of breath. It started gradually – a feeling of windedness on that first early morning run – and progressed to major SOB walking up short flights of stairs by the week’s end. I was stubborn and on a strict schedule, however, so I persisted into my last 20-miler of training that Saturday morning. That run went terribly as I struggled at mile 2 to keep my heart rate below 175. I felt lethargic, my vision spotted/blacking in and out, and my body just not wanting to move. I shut the run down at mile 9, and the next day attempted my 20 again, this time only reaching mile 6 before I called it quits. Something wasn’t right and I knew it, but my coach, running mates, work demands, and MBA dreams were counting on me to keep going, so I continued to press on. 

The following week – 1.5 weeks post-DVT to be exact – I finally went to see my PCP. I told myself I felt fine aside from this annoying inability to breathe, and just wanted to feel better in time for race day. Upon examination, my doctor told me I must have had a virus and sent me home with a prescription for a Z-pak and script for bloodwork, which thankfully included a d-dimer…even he initially missed the signs and symptoms! Thankfully I was called the following morning as my d-dimer was positive. One CT-scan later and I had the entire emergency room staff scratching their heads – I had 3 acute pulmonary emboli residing in 3 different lobes of my lungs…and I RAN that morning! 

5)  When were you able to get back into your activity?  How did it feel that first time?   
 When I finally mentally allowed myself to get sick, I got really sick. After spending 2 days in the ICU on a heparin infusion, I was discharged with strict orders to stop running and overscheduling! I felt relatively fine leaving the hospital (and actually drove myself home as the determined and willful woman I am) but after 2 days of fighting myself, the intense dizziness, chest pain, increased SOB, constant elevated heart rate, lethargy, and nausea began. I spent weeks at home trying to rebuild my stamina and regain balance. After six months spent on anti-coagulant therapy (I took 1xdaily Xarelto, of which I cannot speak more highly!), I was finally approved to run again! 

My clotting episode is still baffling medical professionals to date. I saw three different specialists, one of which blatantly admitted to having no idea how to treat such a young PE patient, before being diagnosed as having an unprovoked clotting episode. I’ve tested negatively for all hereditary clotting disorders, including Factor V. My new hematologist believes that the combination of extensive travel, paired with 10+ years of daily hormonal birth control, caused my DVT. We hypothesize that my racing the day after I contracted the DVT day caused the clot to break off and travel in parts into three different lobes of my lungs, and the length of time between clot break and treatment caused the clots to grow.

I’ve had many medical professionals tell me that I’m lucky to be alive, of which is true on paper and considering my continued attempts at training mid-clot. However, I genuinely believe that my running is the reason I’m so fortunate! Had I not been so conditioned, I may not have realized that my shortness of breath and elevated heart rate were out of the norm. With so few symptoms to base such a serious, life-threatening diagnosis, I am fortunate that my self-awareness and absurd training schedule allowed me to know that something wasn’t right, and am thankful for my amazing PCP for running that “just to be safe” test to ensure my safety and proper recovery. 
 
6)  What is your favorite piece of gear for your favorite activity? 
 I’m partial to my SPIbelt and Powerbeats wireless headphones for long runs, but I am SO looking forward to spotting my dots at MCM this fall!

7)  How much are you getting out doing your sport?  
I train with a running group 6 days per week. When time allows, I also like to incorporate strength training, yoga, piyo, and/or cycling as a second daily workout.

8)   What is your favorite food?  
I am obsessed with cheese – I have yet to meet a cheese I haven’t liked!

9)  If you could go some place to visit and explore, where would like to go? 
 I’m planning a trip to Africa in 2020!

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. 
 You have to be your own health advocate. No one knows your body and your health better than you do, so listen to it and speak up/out often! Many amazing and talented medical professionals missed my initial DVT diagnosis because my age and overall health didn’t fit the stereotypical criteria for a DVT patient…if it can happen to me, it can happen to you. Stay vigilant!

To those running MCM this fall, I’ll see ya on the course! Let’s make it a “clot-back” to remember!

Here is hoping that Alexis gets her "CLOT-BACK" !!! 

For sure all of us will be looking forward to see you crush your come back race.

Get inspired to BE VIGILANT and TO ALWAYS BE AWARE!

Thank you for reading,

The Clot Buster

Saturday, June 01, 2019

June Athlete of the Month

NEVER GIVE UP...

That seems to be the appropriate theme for this month.

As summer is finally settling in and racing season is here the CLOT BUSTER #StopTheClot polka-dots are ready to race.  Well that is true if we are talking about the polka-dots because physically right now I am on battle to recover from this injury that has me on the struggle bus.


I am 4 triathlons away from completing my 100th.  My four races have been scheduled but for every step I take forward in my recovery it seems like I take two steps backwards.

For sure I am keeping my goals alive and on target but it is going to be a battle.  

On a very VERY small scale I can somewhat relate to the challenges that Blood Clot Survivors experience and the many set backs that can be encountered along the way.  But every day counts.  If I have learned anything from keeping this blog going for 10 years is that EVERY DAY COUNTS when it comes to survival and we most take advantage of what we get to experience.

From the STOPTHECLOT.org Patient Story archives I found the following personal story from KATIE that for sure is representative of many of the struggles that can be faced during recovery with the finishing message of NEVER EVER GIVING UP!

Read on and get inspired to get out and make the best of what we get to have....


I ran my first marathon in 2017, started graduate school for a Masters in Accounting, and accepted a job with a public accounting firm post-graduation. I have always led an active lifestyle throughout high school and into college, which is why it is still difficult for me to wrap my head around the fact that I was diagnosed with bilateral pulmonary emboli on November 29, 2014, two days after my 20th birthday.
It all started about a week after I ran a 5k race for Halloween. I started experiencing shortness of breath and attributed it to the cold weather during the race. The shortness of breath escalated into pain that radiated throughout my chest and back whenever I took a breath and it soon became too painful to do almost anything. With finals approaching, it was the worst possible time to be feeling sick. I believed it was only something temporary, and I could push through it.
My roommate finally convinced me to visit health services on campus. When I met with the doctor and explained my symptoms, he told me that it was most likely just stress, and that he could give me a hug, but that all was fine. I headed home later that week for Thanksgiving break. My parents made a last-minute decision to take me to an urgent care before I returned to school, just as a precaution. None of us believed it was anything serious.
I was admitted into the hospital that same day where doctors performed a d-Dimer test, which showed a risk for blood clots. They performed a CT scan of my lungs, which revealed multiple clots in both of my lungs, and swelling in half of my heart. This is the first time I had ever heard of a pulmonary embolism, or PE. They told me it can occur from birth control containing estrogen, in rare circumstances. I was told I could no longer use that form of birth control, and that I had to be on blood thinners for the next six months. If I were to ever get clots again, it would most likely be worse, and I would be on thinners for the rest of my life.
Going from working out everyday to barely being able to walk, took both a mental and physical toll, and it took awhile to feel like myself again. Despite this, I am now the healthiest and strongest I have ever been. Blood clots are often fatal, and I am extremely thankful everyday that mine were discovered in time. My advice to others is to take it seriously when your body is trying to tell you something is off, and to seek a second opinion from a doctor if you feel like your concerns are not being addressed.
NEVER GIVE UP just like Katie did... She is a survivor and now also a Marathoner!
Thanks for reading,
The Clot Buster

Thursday, May 02, 2019

May Athlete of the Month

Once again this year I had the chance to go and witness the Boston Marathon.

Once again this year I took the CLOT BUSTER #StopTheClot polka-dots to the Boston Marathon.
This year I got to go with 3 boys while we attempted to cheer on Speedy Mom... For sure the 2019 edition of the Boston Marathon was rough for all who participated.  This event has a tendency to push the limits of people.  Participants overcame whatever challenges this course threw their way.  It is so inspiring to see people battle and overcome to reach that famous finish line.
Blood Clot Survivors not always have a famous finish line to get across.  

For many the finish line is to attempt to live a normal life.

For some the finish line is at an actual race someplace, long or short, that can bring closure to all of the events leading to overcoming the challenges of their blood clotting incident.

Anything is possible for those who believe.

One of those survivors that can provide us with some of that inspiration is our May Athlete of the Month KIM who is here sharing some of her experiences with all of us... As the racing season gets underway please read on so that you too can find some of that additional spark to get your fire and desires going!

What is you sport/activity of choice? Why do you enjoy it? 
My activity of choice is running; trail running when I have the time and can fit in longer runs. Running gets me out of my head and clears my mind. It gives me time to listen to my body. Something about connecting with my breath and my feet pounding the pavement is very therapeutic.   
How did you get started in that sport? 
I wish this was a simple answer. Growing up and in early adulthood I never like
running. I would see people running in the rain and snow and think I could
never be that committed to anything, let alone running. I had a stress induced
cardiomyopathy (takotsubocardiomyopathy) in 2013. After that event I
struggled with ongoing chest pain and shortness of breath. After numerous
visits to my cardiologist it was determined the lingering symptoms were due to
anxiety. I did the only thing I knew how to do to deal with the “anxiety” andthat
was to expose myself to the symptoms. So I essentially started running as
exposure therapy. When I started I couldn’t even run a quarter of a mile. I used
a run/walk training plan to build my endurance and provide structure. This was
really helpful because I could see my improvement over time. It was grueling
and totally unenjoyable at first, but after a few months of sticking with it I
slowly began to enjoy it. I ran my first race, a 10K trail race, in 2016.

What is the latest milestone you achieved or plan to achieve? 
I have a 50K trail relay race on May 4th. I’m super pumped to be back out on the trail and rock my new polk-a-dots!

Tell us about your clotting episode.  Are you on blood thinners now?
How long were you out of commission? 
I was diagnosed with bilateral pulmonary emboli, with a very large clot in my right lung, on December 14th, 2018. I took a long flight to Australia in September and I think that’s when I got the clot. I had some symptoms when I landed in Australia but they resolved in a few days and I even participated in the Blackmore’s Sydney Running Festival and enjoyed a 10K over the Sydney Harbour Bridge. When I got back from Australia I noticed increased shortness of breath and heart rate when running, but nothing extreme. It wasn’t until I completed a work out at Orange Theory in December that I realized something was seriously wrong – I felt faint and my heart rate was over 200 for most of the class. I went to the ED a few days after that. In hind sight, I waited far too long to seek medical attention. However, with a history of cardiac issues and being told numerous times that my ongoing SOB was due to anxiety it was easy to brush it off.

I was out of commission for a good month and eased into walking in February. I started run/walking in March and was back to full on running in April.

I’m currently on blood thinners and may be for life. I now know I’m heterozygous for Factor V Leiden and am currently ruling out Still’s Disease with my rheumatologist. Still’s Disease can also cause you to be in a hypercoagulable state. I have an appointment with a hematologist soon who will have the final say.

When were you able to get back into your activity?  How did it feel that first time?   
After getting back to running and feeling like myself again (for the most part), it’s really made me appreciate the physical ability I do have and to not take that for granted. Having to take time off from running also made me realize how much I rely on running for stress management. I think my family would agree we’re all happier when I’m running. ☺
What is your favorite piece of gear for your favorite activity?
I haven’t worn my polka-a-dots yet, but I suspect that will become my favorite gear! For now it’s my La Sportiva Bushido’s and pair of Oiselle leggings.

How much are you getting out doing your sport?
I run 3 times a week and do Orange Theory once a week. That seems to be the right amount for me. With autoimmune issues I have to maintain a fine balance of rest and exercise. If I push myself too hard I can tip myself into a flare.

What is your favorite food?
After a long run, especially on the trail, there’s nothing better than a cold beer!

If you could go someplace to visit and explore, where would like to go? 
There are too many even to begin to list...

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
I recommend people listen to their bodies and return to activity slowly. I learned the hard way and pushed myself too soon and would pay for it the next day. I think it’s difficult to know when to return to exercise and we received very vague guidance, very similar to what I just stated above. But in hindsight it’s very true. One day and one step at a time.  
Here is wishing for Kim to be rocking the CLOT BUSTER #StopTheClot polka-dots while racing on May 4th. Can't wait to see pictures of polka-dots out and about on the trails.

No question that we all have to take "One Day and One Step At the Time" there is no really any other way to overcome any of the challenges that we face.

Sounds like Kim is ready to race her 50K and many more races.

I hope that I am ready to race this summer as well... 4 Races to go ahead of my #100th Triathlon. Let's see how it goes.

Here is wishing ALL THE BEST to all reading this who will be going after a finish line out there this summer and beyond. NEVER EVER STOP TRYING!

Thank you for reading,

The Clot Buster

My 95th Triathlon Finish !!!

My 95th Triathlon Finish !!!
WHAT A JOY TO SEE THAT SMILE!