Patient Story: Running Down A Road to Blood Clots by Rachel McCulloch

This patient story “Running Down A Road to Blood Clots” was written by Rachel McCulloch for the Blood Clot Recovery Network Blog.

It was October of 2015 when I got to run one of the biggest and most important races of my life, which was the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco, California. The day of my race was amazing, inspirational, and in the end, I finished in pain with a knee injury. Flash forward to January of 2016, the pain had started to slowly intensify in my left knee, and I couldn’t take it anymore. After visiting my orthopedist, it was determined I had torn my meniscus and would need to have it surgically repaired. I was scheduled for arthroscopic surgery on February 2, 2016.

I was told it would be a super easy surgery and even easier recovery. I went into surgery and came out with no complications and feeling pretty good. The day after my surgery would be the day my life would change forever.

I woke up that morning with a very swollen foot and calf. I didn’t think anything of it, and attributed it to the surgery and the wrap that was protecting my sutures. I brushed off the swelling and went to my first physical therapy appointment that afternoon. After my physical therapist assessed my knee, she told me she was more concerned with the swelling and redness in my calf and foot.

My physical therapist told me I needed to go to the emergency room. My dad drove me straight to the ER and after being taken back for an ultrasound, it was discovered that I had a deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, in my calf. I was immediately put on Eliquis. I was able to go home after a few hours in the emergency room, but I had to go back the next day with shortness of breath and dizziness. After having a chest cat scan done, I was diagnosed with multiple blood clots in my lungs and was admitted to the ICU for further observation.

I remember clearly that first night in the hospital as I reflected on my life. In a matter of a few months I had gone from a very healthy active 29 year old woman to a very sick individual facing a life or death situation. I kept thinking, “How could this happen to me?” The doctors were able to run blood work in the ICU, which eventually revealed the true cause of my blood clots to be factor V Leiden, a genetic blood clotting disorder.

“Wait, I have factor V Leiden?,” I thought, “The same disease my grandma and grandpa have.” Why had this not been found earlier on in my life? Why had I not taken any precautions? What if I wouldn’t have run that race at all? Then maybe I wouldn’t be in this situation.

All of the whys and what ifs won’t change the fact that I had this happen to me. My life has changed forever, but I don’t look at what happened to me as a negative. I try to always remain positive.

Life is a precious gift that can be taken away so fast, it’s best to look at all of the good things in life and put the negative stuff behind us. The one question I get asked all the time is if I still run, and of course, the answer is yes.


Editor’s Note: Thank you, Rachel, for sharing your story with BCRN. Connect with Rachel, or share your thoughts, in the comments below.


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Stop the Clot Chicago 5K – Run, walk, donate and make a difference! By Christina Martin

 

Christina Martin Survivor Speaks

About 3 years ago I started my journey as a “real runner”.  I have always liked to run but very short distances. In high school I ran 100 meters and in college I would jog to keep my weight down.  I always watched the larger marathons on TV from Chicago, New York and Boston but thought…yeah, that is not for me.  In October 2013 my best friend Manu and I watched the Chicago Marathon on TV. I cried because I always wanted to do it but thought I couldn’t, it’s 26.2 miles. As I sat there in self-pity and tears, he stared at me with a blank look and walked out the room and said “just do it” for crying out loud.

LOL! That was the trick. I thought why not. If I fail I fail but at least I tried, then I could go back to say “I told you so”.  After many weeks of researching races, shoes, training books, and running gear I signed up for my 1st marathon 2011 Huntington Beach, Surf City on Super Bowl Sunday.

Manu was right by my side ordering movies on TV to get me inspired, buying racing gear and listening to my stories about how many miles I ran, how cold it was to train in Chicago winter, how bad my feet and knees hurt, and all the gritty details. Manu and I made plans to fly into LAX to make it happen. On Feb 6, 2011 I was officially a marathoner at 4 hours and 54 minutes. I remember crossing the finishing line and seeing Manu’s smiling face. I was so so happy. That horrible Charlie-horse since mile 23 was gone, I didn’t feel nauseous and the cuts from my race day shirt on my back didn’t feel so bad…it was officially the happiest day of my life. Manu supported me and made my dreams coming true.

Manu continued to support me through 5 more marathons over the last 4 years. As was preparing for Chicago Marathon Oct 12, 2014 (2) days before his birthday when I was informed by Manu’s best friend that Manu passed away from a blood clot. I knew he had issues in the past but he was 36 years young so I didn’t take it that serious.  His last blood clot was misdiagnosed as a hamstring pull and on September 28, 2014 he passed away at the hospital. My heart was officially broken, as my best friend who I love with all my heart went to be with the Lord.

Manu was buried on October 10, 2014. I ran the marathon in his honor on October 12, 2014, the hardest thing I have done in my life. Running with a broken heart is 10X more difficult that running with stress fractures, sore knees and medical issues. Instead of looking for his beautiful face at the finish line, I looked at the heavens and said “we did it”! October 14, 2014 was his birthday. I went to his grave site with my marathon bib and knew that I wanted to make a difference.

I’m hosting the 1st Annual Stop the Clot Chicago 5K on Mother’s Day May 10, 2015. It’s to honor Manu Ajamu Williams. I’m working with the National Blood Clot Alliance, a charity that supports awareness and research of blood clots.

Come run/walk with us this spring if you live in or around Chicago so we can STOP THE CLOT.

To find out more (including registering for Stop the Clot Chicago 5K), please visit: //www.stoptheclotchicago.com/

Blood Clots in the News: 3rd Edition

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I think it’s important to be aware of blood clots in the news. Here are some recent stories that have been circulating among regular media channels.

Austin Mahone Recovers After Blood Clot in Throat

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Source: rollingstone.com

Austin Mahone sent his millions of Twitter fans into a tizzy when he told them of a blood clot in his throat a few weeks ago, postponing his MTV Artist to Watch Tour. “I’ve never felt so bad,” the YouTube sensation-turned-teen heartthrob wrote on Instagram earlier this month from his hospital room. Now the singer’s health is improving. “I’m feeling a lot better than I did a week ago,” he tells Rolling Stone. “Still not feeling 100 percent, but trying to get better.” [Read more]

Heavyweight Abdusalamov stable after blood clot removed from brain

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Source: sports.yahoo.com

Russian heavyweight boxer Magomed Abdusalamov is in Roosevelt Hospital in New York in stable condition in intensive care following surgery to remove a blood clot on his brain suffered in a bout Saturday with Mike Perez at Madison Square Garden. The bout was the HBO debut for both men and was an entertaining, but rugged scrap. Abdusalamov, 32, also incurred a broken nose and a broken left hand during the unanimous decision loss to Perez. Nathan Lewkowicz of Sampson Boxing, Abdusalamov’s promoter, told Yahoo Sports that doctors removed a small portion of Abdusalamov’s skull in an effort to reduce swelling on the brain. [Read more]

Outrun Danger: Why Fit Women Get Blood Clots

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Source: fitnessmagazine.com

You can be this fit and still suffer from the health threat that affects almost a quarter million women. Here, the must-know facts about what could be lurking in your veins and how to protect yourself. Jenny Fletcher should have been at the top of her game. In the fall of 2012 the triathlete and former model had scored her first victory in a half-Ironman, just three years after turning pro. But seven months later, in April 2013, she found herself struggling to cross the finish line at an all-woman half-marathon in New York City. “After the race I was nauseous and had to sit down,” Jenny, 37, says. “I ended up back in my hotel room, sleeping all day.” [Read more]

Jets’ Postma ‘in shock’ after blood clot diagnosis, out indefinitely

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Source: /prohockeytalk.nbcsports.com

Winnipeg Jets defenseman Paul Postma spoke to the media on Monday about the blood clot in his calf that will sideline him for a few months. “It really startled me. I was in shock,” Postma explained. “I still can’t really believe it happened. You don’t hear about [blood clots] too often.“I guess it’s just a different situation, and I’ll take it day-by-day.” The 24-year-old blueliner, who’s appeared in eight games this season, said he felt something wrong in his leg following Saturday’s 2-1 win over Dallas, a game in which he played 15:10. The issue got worse after the team flew into Colorado, and Postma didn’t play in Sunday’s loss to the Avalanche. [Read more]

 

NeNe Leakes hospitalized with blood clots in her lung

VH1 Divas 2012 held at The Shrine Auditorium - Arrivals

Source: latimes.com

NeNe Leakes had a health scare, yes, but it wasn’t a heart attack, the “Real Housewives of Atlanta” star said Tuesday. “My arms are hurting wit these IV’s #blessedtobealive,” the reality TV star and actress tweeted Monday with a photo of her arms laden with tubing and tape. On Tuesday, the 45-year-old clarified the situation with a post on her official website. “Late last week I wasn’t feeling well and was feeling a little short of breath. I know my body and I know when I should be concerned so I went to the hospital to get checked out,” Leakes wrote. After some routine tests, she said, she was diagnosed with blood clots in her lung. “I’m told this happened to me because of the constant traveling around the country that I do for my job.” [Read more]

Share your story. Have you noticed blood clots in the news lately? Have you heard of any more stories not listed above?

There is hope for healing and you are not alone,

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