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My name is Martin R. Lemieux, and for over 20 years now I’ve survived five DVTs – blood clots in my left leg, one clot in my right leg, and another clot in my left pelvic area. As if that wasn’t enough, I’ve also had to manage three massive chronic wounds that will not heal.
My chronic wounds, measuring between the size of a baseball to the size of a football have been open for nine years straight, from a condition called Livedoid Vasculopathy or LV, which is very rare form of Vasculitis that is in constant battle with a blood disorder I was diagnosed with – Factor V Leiden or FVL. FVL is an unfortunate hereditary condition that affects about one out of 300,000 people.
At the age of 18, I experienced my first blood clot and then another clot at 20 and 21 years old. Most people are usually lucky to survive one clotting incident. Having Factor V Leiden, leaves me prone to clotting for the rest of my life.
I’ve been very fortunate so far to have survived all of the blood clots in my life. The key to my success is knowing the signs before it’s too late. Knowing the signs is the key to survival, since you can react quickly and go to the ER immediately before it’s too late. In my case, visits to the ER are very frequent, since my arteries are damaged, bruised, and weakened from years of dealing with clotted veins.
I have no option but to take blood thinners for the rest of my life. If you’re ever told that you have to take blood thinners, don’t take that advice lightly. Refusing to do so, might cause a dangerous blood clot such as a DVT in your leg, a PE in your lung, or a clot that might lead to a heart attack or a debilitating, clot-provoked stroke. Any of these scenarios could be life threatening or, at the very least, take away some of life’s daily pleasures, like being able to walk.
Blood clots are a leading global killer and they are not 100 down the list. They are typically ranked as the second or third cause of death in the world.
To protect yourself, you can read up on signs and symptoms and take them very seriously. Make sure to stretch your legs all the time! Work with your doctor to determine the best way for you to eat healthy, stay away from high cholesterol diets, drink lots of water, and take your vitamins. Also, stay active and live a healthy life. Go for walks and stop smoking. You don’t want to end up like me, wishing you could go to the beach, or wanting nothing more than to be able to ride a bike again or just go for a run. Today, it is important for me to advocate for blood clot awareness, rare diseases, and overall health, as well as to help other people cope with their illnesses and share experiences like these on a daily basis.
You can connect with Martin on Twitter: @Martin_Lemieux