BENEFITING: National Blood Clot Alliance
EVENT DATE: Apr 15, 2017
My goal: On April 15th, I plan to run my first 5k since my initial diagnosis of deep vein thrombosis in 2010! Just getting to this point has been a long, difficult and emotional journey. This is a BIG deal!
I want to make this race even more meaningful by running it in support of the National Blood Clot Alliance (NBCA) as a member of their Team Stop the Clot. I attended a Stop the Clot event hosted by the NBCA in Chicago in 2012 and have been following their advocacy and prevention work ever since! I know firsthand the toll a blood clot can take on a patient's life and want to support the wonderful work the NBCA does on behalf of people just like me. If you would consider making a contribution in support of this amazing organization which offers support for those affected by blood clots and works tirelessly to advance their message of prevention and awareness across the country, I would be so grateful!
My story in a nutshell: In February 2010, while living abroad in Ecuador, I woke up to my left leg being so swollen that it was hard as a rock and felt like a dead limb. I could not even lift my leg. I was hospitalized that morning and diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis. In retrospect, I began to have symptoms 3 or 4 days beforehand, and had even been given an anti-inflammatory shot earlier in the week as the doctor thought my symptoms were related to the sciatic nerve that had been bothering me for a few months.
Initially manifesting as an ache in my groin and progressing to me having trouble walking up steps, my symptoms continued and the night before I was hospitalized my calf began to swell. I was an active 23-year-old, so I also originally thought that it might be a pulled groin muscle or the effects of a running workout I had completed recently. I was not familiar with the symptoms associated with a blood clot and that was not anywhere on my radar. After a week in the hospital, I was sent home but I was not able to stand on my leg and it took almost 2 months for me to be able to regain my mobility. I was taking coumadin, and about a month after my hospitalization noticed that my fingers were bruising. The lab work initially came back incorrectly and it turned out that I was severely over anticoagulated. I was immediately admitted to the hospital where I was given fresh frozen plasma in order to regulate my bloodwork and to avoid any risks of internal bleeding. The entire experience was physically and mentally exhausting.
Unfortunately, the blood clot in my groin had affected my entire left leg and did not resolve, leaving me not only with physical pain and discomfort such as swelling, heaviness and varicose veins, (a chronic condition known as post-thrombotic syndrome), but also emotionally exhausted as I tried to adjust to this new reality and reduced quality of life. Since then I've been through 7 years of ultrasounds, CT scans, venograms and MRIs; more doctor appointments, blood draws, medications and tears than I can possibly count; 6 stents, 5 procedures, 1 temporary IVC filter; and a diagnosis of May-Thurner syndrome. I'm still waiting for drug eluting balloons applicable to the femoral vein to hit the market which I'm hoping will continue to improve my condition. There are definitely more procedures in my future, but I'm grateful to have progressed to this point. My hope for the future is that I play a role in blood clot prevention and treatment advocacy efforts and that I am able to connect with and offer my support to anyone who has experienced a blood clot.