Blood Clots in the News

In the news Farina collage.jpg

As I browse the news headlines from day to day, I am often discouraged at what I perceive to be lack of coverage of blood clots and their potential to kill. Headlines are riddled with people battling cancer, heart disease, obesity and diabetes – and not that those things aren’t important too – but, I feel like not enough attention is brought to blood clots. We are regularly schooled on what symptoms of heart attacks and strokes are, but not blood clots. There are fundraisers, races, walks, charity events and endless support for breast cancer and heart disease survivors, but not blood clots. And, the reality of it is, blood clots are a leading killer – DVT occurs in about 2 million Americans each year, and up to 600,000 people are hospitalized in the United States each year for DVT and its primary complication, PE.An estimated 300,000 first-time cases of DVT occur in the United States every year.More people die in the United States from PE than from breast cancer and AIDS combined (//preventdvt.org).

When incidences of blood clots in the news do appear, it is sadly because someone passed away or because a famous person was injured. While I am glad we are spreading the news – I don’t always feel like we are spreading the awareness until it is too late, as in the case of death. Many cases of blood clots are completely treatable and death is preventable if we know the signs and symptoms and seek medical attention before it is too late. I did not, and it almost cost me my life.

Whether I notice it more or not since I suffered from a PE in 2012, I feel that once a celebrity is affected by a blood clot, it makes news for a day or two and then blood clots are once again overshadowed by other diseases, ailments and tragedies.  The truth is, though, word is getting out. Each time someone suffers from a blood clot and it is reported, a small piece of information also gets out; whether it be a sign, symptom, statistic or warning. Little by little and bit by bit, the word is getting out. I am, however, saddened that many have and will pass away or have their lives radically altered by a blood clot.

Here are some of the recent headlines, in case you haven’t read them yet-

 

hillary blood clot

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was treated with blood thinners on Monday at a New York hospital to help dissolve a blood clot in her head and doctors were confident she would make a full recovery. The clot was located in the vein between the brain and and the skull behind Clinton’s right ear and did not result in any stroke or neurological damage, her doctors said in a statement. Clinton was treated with blood thinners to help dissolve the clot and would be released once the medication dose had been established, they said. – CNN.com January 2013

 

tollman blood clot

The fashion world is shocked by the sudden death of the celebrity stylist and former fashion editor, Annabel Tollman who suddenly in her sleep at 36. The British stylist lived and worked in NYC, where she was best known for her affinity for old-Hollywood glamour and for dressing celebrity clients. – HollywoodLife.com June 2013

 

mumford blood clot headline

Mumford & Sons bassist Ted Dwane is at home recovering after having brain surgery. The 28-year-old musician had emergency surgery last week after a scan revealed a blood clot on the surface of his brain, but he is now convalescing and has thanked fans for their messages of support. – CTVNews.ca June 2013

 

farina blood clot

Dennis Farina, a former Chicago cop turned actor, died suddenly this morning in Scottsdale, Ariz., from a blood clot in his lung, ABC News has confirmed. He was 69. – abcnews.go.com July 2013

stephanie blood clot

Taken into emergency theatre, she never imagined her sudden chest pains and difficulty breathing were sparked by a near-fatal pulmonary embolism or PE. But it was when surgeons operated they found five others in her lungs – the biggest 9cm long – they knew just how close to dying she had come. Now 28 and on medication, the mother-of-one wants to warn other young Australians about the deadly condition which affects one in 1000 Australians, and kills one in ten within a month of diagnosis. – HeraldSun.com July 2013

Share your story. Do you feel like blood clots are not given enough attention by the media? Have you heard of any more stories not listed above? Share in the comments!

There is hope for healing and you are not alone,

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Let’s talk about blood clots

Let's talk about blood clots

I don’t know about you, but I think that not only is recovery brutally slow, at times painful and almost as scary as the blood clot itself, but also funny. Not funny in a laughing sort of way, but funny in a way that makes you see things differently and question the bigger realities in life. The things that once mattered, might not and the things you never paused to consider, now become the most important things to you. I like to call it a heightened since of awareness. Physically, emotionally, spiritually – good or bad – I feel like I am living in a constant state of heightened awareness. The bad is worse, the good is better and the fear is real. While some things are beneficial like a greater appreciation of the fragility of life, others wear on me like my short fuse and lack of patience with other people. I often find if I am talking to someone I either don’t know or haven’t seen in a while, I feel like I am talking from afar to them. The simple how-do-you-do’s and how-can-I-help-you-today just don’t add up. I don’t make small talk well anymore – maybe because there’s no time for it or maybe because it pains me to know there are bigger, more important things we could talk about. So, let’s talk about blood clots.

While I can’t just walk into a grocery store and tell the cashier to read up on the symptoms of DVT and PE (okay, let’s be honest, sometimes I really do wish I had a fact card to hand out to everyone I see), if you ask me how I am or what’s been on my mind, chances are it’s blood clots. Even if I were to tell some people, they don’t understand, won’t understand or can’t understand until (or if) it happens to them, which I hope it doesn’t. That is partly why I wanted to create BCRN, to build a community of survivors, advocates and loved ones to talk about blood clots and their effects (so, feel free to talk). Sometimes I do talk about what’s on my mind to the stranger or person I haven’t seen in a while (especially when they comment on my bracelets) and then I watch them fade away, undoubtedly wishing they hadn’t asked. The pedicurist was not thrilled to be a captive audience for 30 plus minutes while he scrubbed, washed and polished as I told my tale.

It makes me sad and angry. I feel like I can’t do enough and I wonder, does anyone else who has survived what I have feel this way?

Then, I happen upon an article or two – and see it is from a major media outlet – about DVT’s and think, slowly, but surely the word is getting out. Like this one from CBS online, posted yesterday:

 CBS article headline June 18 2013

I highly suggest you read the entire story, as the author’s experiences and sentiments echo several of my own.

Or this story or even this one. Slowly but surely, the word is getting out.

Truth be told, I know people get tired of me personally talking about blood clots all of the time – if you tell me my toes look pretty I will tell you they are painted burgundy for APS Awareness #GoBurgundy Campaign. When – and if – you ask about the campaign, you will get a sermon about blood clots. That’s just the new me.

Share your story. Do you talk about blood clots often? Do you feel like you are doing any good? How can we help get the word out? What stories have you seen in mainstream media?

There is hope for healing and you are not alone,

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