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Lisa Thomas is Mrs Rosemount and is a contestant in the Mrs Minnesota pageant. She is using her pageant platform to promote awareness about risk of blood clots, because she is a survivor of a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and wants to use the pageant microphone to help Stop The Clot®.
My name is Lisa Thomas, and I remember clearly the day that my blood clot story began, since it was the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the day the Twin Towers fell. My story begins with a fall as well. I slipped on a painted cement floor as I was leaving a restaurant after meeting my husband for lunch. The fall caused a pull in the hamstring of my left leg, and the pull was so severe that I could barely walk, and ultimately needed to use crutches. My husband took me to Urgent Care, I followed up with my doctor as instructed, and began the prescribed physical therapy.
At that time, I worked as a learning development consultant in a health insurance company, so was flooded with medical information every day. I tried to limit myself to three essential questions at all my doctor appointments, because I believe in what is called the “Ask me three” protocol. The one question I didn’t ask was about complications, because I never expected any complications from a pulled muscle. I expected the deep purple bruising and swelling from my waist to my calf. What startled me was the swelling I noticed in my foot and ankle that were not injured in the fall.
I went back to Urgent Care, where the doctor requested an ultrasound and mentioned the possibility of a blood clot (deep vein thrombosis/DVT). After the ultrasound, the technician said she was very glad I came in. I was puzzled by her comment, because I was unaware of anything serious at that moment. However, the doctor confirmed a blood clot, and ordered low molecular weight heparin injections for 10 days to treat the DVT, after which I was put on warfarin for nine months. He advised me to go to an Emergency Room (ER) immediately if I had any problems breathing. I had one episode of shortness of breath which was thankfully due to my asthma rather than a pulmonary embolism (PE). Tests for genetic blood clotting disorders were all negative.
I was still on crutches when I returned to work. A student in one of my health insurance classes told me that her boyfriend’s mother died when a DVT formed after she broke her leg, and the clot traveled to her lungs as a PE. An employee experienced shortness of breath, and ended up collapsing in the shower. She was rushed to the hospital, and was found to have a PE. She later learned she had an inherited clotting disorder and is on blood thinners (anti-clotting medication) for the rest of her life.
I feel very fortunate to be alive and in good health at this time. Had my shortness of breath been a fatal PE, I could have missed the birth of my grandson and the joy he adds to my life. I am competing in the Mrs. Minnesota International pageant this month, where each contestant selects a platform to promote. I chose to support the National Blood Clot Alliance (NBCA), even though I work with other volunteer organizations. The NBCA mission is advancing prevention, early diagnosis and successful treatment of blood clots, clotting disorders and clot-provoked strokes through public awareness, advocacy and patient and professional education, summarized simply in their Stop The Clot® phrase that I am including in my platform.
My platform is, “Are you at risk? Educating to save lives, Stop The Clot®” Every opportunity I have, I tell my story to others. Either people have little or no knowledge of blood clots, or they know about them because someone they knew died from a blood clot.
I hope my education effort increases the number of happy endings due to prevention, early and correct diagnosis and treatment of blood clots. When I wear the Mrs. Rosemount banner of my city in Minnesota (MN) during appearances or speeches, people ask what made me decide to enter a pageant. I know that a crown can provide a loud microphone to promote awareness about blood clots. I could also have the opportunity to travel throughout MN, and perhaps on to the International pageant to help National Blood Clot Alliance to Stop The Clot®!
Take Home Messages
- Persist in seeking care when symptoms remain
- Blood clots can occur after injury (this patient) or a broken limb (person she heard about)
- DVTs can travel to the lungs as PEs and be fatal (person she heard about)
The National Blood Clot Alliance’s mission is to advance prevention, early diagnosis and successful treatment of blood clots, clotting disorders and clot-provoked strokes through public awareness, advocacy and patient and professional education.