Blood Clots Changed Our Lives: Corey Capman’s Story, as told by His Mother

Categories: Patient Stories

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Capman, CoreyMy name is Tammy Capman and I would like to share a story about my son, Corey Capman. He is 17 years old and his story changed our lives in August 2014. Corey is a typical teenage boy. He has school, sports, friends, etc. He is outgoing and confident with goals for his future. Corey had never experienced a health problem and we had no idea anything was wrong until we were rushing to the hospital.

I was away on a business trip, my husband had gone to work, and Corey woke up to find that his left leg had swelled and was turning purple. He called me very upset and didn’t know what was wrong. I knew my sister-in-law was nearby and would know what to do. I gave her the information for our pediatrician and they went. The pediatrician knew right away this was serious and directed them to the ER. At this point, my husband arrived at the ER as well. After an ultrasound, it was determined that Corey had a massive blood clot that went from his knee to his hip, a deep vein thrombosis (DVT). The ER doctor decided it would be best for Corey to be taken by ambulance to a hospital in Orlando.

When Corey arrived, he was admitted to the ICU. I arrived at the hospital shortly after, it was a blur for me. We met an interventional radiologist. Her first goal was to insert a filter through the jugular vein in Corey’s neck and thread it through his heart into the inferior vena cava (IVC) — the large vein that circulates blood from the lower half of the body into the right atrium of the heart. This filter would protect Corey’s heart and lungs from any fragments that could break off from the blood clot in his leg during surgery.

During that procedure, the doctor learned that Corey’s IVC was blocked by multiple blood clots that had hardened over time and there was no way to know how long they had been there. Corey never had any symptoms to alert us of a problem. We had no idea what was happening inside him. We did learn that Corey’s body had developed a new system of collateral veins to move the blood around the IVC and that is how he was surviving.

Next, the doctor had to get the blood clot out of his leg and pelvic area, as he was in danger and could have lost his leg, or worse. She inserted a tube through a vein in the back of Corey’s knee and upward to the pelvic area. The tube delivered medication overnight to help soften and clear the clot. The following day, she took Corey into surgery again, removed the tube, and used another to break the remaining clot and gently suction it out of the vein with a technique known as mechanical thrombolysis.

After three days of surgeries that seemed to take forever and a week in the hospital, we were very thankful to have Corey resting safe and sound, but we still had a hurdle to deal with, the clotted IVC. After consulting with colleagues, our doctor advised a plan that was in line with the very latest medical thought and current practice. She suggested a conservative treatment for Corey’s blocked IVC. Rather than performing additional surgery, they put him on an anticoagulant called warfarin to reduce the risk of more clots forming, which he will be on indefinitely.

Today, Corey is doing great. He has had every test possible to find a reason for the clots and we have come up with nothing. He doesn’t have any of the blood disorders associated with clots, nothing genetic, and no underlying risk factors. There is absolutely no reason that we can find for his body to have formed the clots in his IVC. So, those clots will remain and we are thankful every day that we were able to get immediate care for Corey and that he is able to live a normal life. He can no longer play lacrosse, which has been upsetting to him as a teenager; but, other than that, he still has the same positive outlook on life with the same goals in place for his future.

As a Mom of a DVT patient, my advice for others is to be aware of the symptoms and act on them fast! Additionally, once everything is calm and you are home from the hospital, be supportive, positive, and always stay on top of medication, testing, and follow up appointments. Blood clots can return so you can never let your guard down.

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Author: SW

3 Responses to "Blood Clots Changed Our Lives: Corey Capman’s Story, as told by His Mother"

  1. Vein Specialists of the South
    Vein Specialists of the South Posted on March 16, 2016 at 10:12 pm

    So grateful that Corey is recuperating and doing well. 🙂

  2. Elyse Babinski
    Elyse Babinski Posted on March 17, 2016 at 3:25 am

    Hello Tammy, wow so blown away by reading this!!! My son Cory age 22 had stomach back pain and the ER doctor said it was his appendix. Took it out and he was sent home. He got worse every day. I took him back to the ER and then discovered he had clots in his legs through the groin area, one of his kidneys veins blocked and like your son his Vena Cava was 100 percent blocked. So his body made new ones to keep him going. Dont hear of that happening very often. He is a student in Cal Poly in Cal. So we were at that ER. Nurses said that they really did not know what to do with him. MANY tests and scans. Four days later he got ambulanced down to UCLA where he was in ICU for 6 nights. Everyone said how rare his problem was. He had the procedures to soften up the clots and try to get rid of them for four days in a row. So it sounds very similar to your sons clots. But the treatment is very different. We had the head doctor do the last procedure to unclot his vena cava. No filter was put in, he said he got blood flowing the way it should be. I would love to talk with you! So many questions have never been answered!! Dont know how long the clots were there. Did all the tests and they all came back negative, so no answer why they happened. This was in June of last year. Since then we got a hemotoligist here in Santa Barbara, who ran more tests, no answers. So we went back to UCLA to see the specialist a vascular doctor, really no new insight. Then back down again to see the special hematologist. And he said because they could not find a reason that the plan was after six months take him off of the eloquis, kinda scary. How is your son feeling? My Cory says his legs sometimes feel not normal. And he has had some anxiety over this all. We have it set up that he can get a D dimer blood test whenever he is worried he may be getting another clot. So he has been off bloodthinners since Jan and every negative D dimer test makes him feel better. We go see his doctor here for one last visit befor he moves south for his new job. Really a great and scary time for us. How is your son doing now? And how are you doing with all of what you went through? Well really great to read your family story thank you for sharing. Oh one more thing, even though Corys clots were in both legs he never had any symptoms of clots there, that is also scary. Do you have any theories why your son got them? Well thank you again, Mom, Elyse Babinski.

  3. Nikki Imbrogno
    Nikki Imbrogno Posted on March 23, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    Hi all, I am so glad I found this website! My heart goes out to both Corey’s and families. I have a similar story I would like to share. My name is Nikki and back in 2013 my daughter Ashley tore her ACL in a soccer game. About a week after her surgery her calf became very swollen, red and painful, they do warn you of a clot after surgery so we went straight to our ER and an ultra sound confirmed a small clot in her calf. They gave her a shot of Lovenox and sent her home on baby aspirin assuring us it would dissolve. I worked night shift at the time and my husband leaves at 5 am, when I got home at 7am her entire leg was swollen, red and hot, she was also running a fever of 102!! I took her straight back to the ER and sure enough she had a DVT from calf to groin just overnight! This is the best part, the DR still did not want to admit her! I had to beg them, I stayed in her hospital room that night with her, the pain she was in was tremendous, she couldn’t put any weight on her leg because of the knee surgery then it became so swollen and painful on top of that. Any way they sent her home with Lovenox shots that I learned to give her in her stomach. Her symptoms were the same, fever and all. I called the Dr everyday she wasn’t getting any better. Finally after 4 days we took her to children’s hospital in Pittsburgh, Pa (about 2 1/2 hr drive) our family Dr. Faxed all her records to them and we went straight in their ER. After another ultrasound she was clotting in her abdomen too, they admitted her to the ICU. Next was surgery to roto root the vein and insert the tube calf to groin of straight warfarin. They inserted the filter also. The clot would not break up and when they would push it out with the balloon another would form almost immediately. Turns out Ashley has 2 blood disorders, May-Thurner syndrome and Factor V Leidens. They had to put 2 stents in her veins up in her groin to open them. She had 5 surgeries each one was unsuccessful at breaking that clot. She was in the hospital for 2 weeks!! The some of her surgeries were 5 hours long, it was so scary and so heartbreaking to see her in so much pain. When the surgeon came out to tell us after the last surgery that it didn’t help, maybe need a vein transplant, or the other veins will detour the clot and take over. That is what happened! Thank god! Ashley is now on Pradaxa twice a day for the rest of her life. She is an amazing athlete and played every sport, so this was devastating to her. I forgot to mention she was 16 at the time and in her Junior year. I only wish I was more informed on clotting disorders so I would have taken her to Children’s hospital the very first day. At least we know what caused hers, it must be scary for you all to not know why. Thank you for listening and prayers for your children and you.