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  • Writer's pictureKathy Quinn

One year ago, she almost died. A little checklist saved her life.


As the new year got underway, Karen was actually thrilled about the pain in her

calf! She took it as a sign that recent hikes along the steep bluffs of Lake Michigan were

good workouts – no pain, no gain!

Over the next few days, Karen had a vague sense that the pain was creeping

upward, but she chalked it up to her imagination. Then... she woke one morning

struggling to breathe. Couldn’t walk. Couldn’t talk. Oddly, 2 words came to mind –

charley horse.

Unconscious for a few seconds, Karen revived with a good, deep breath. Time to

get on with her day! But, “Charley Horse” rankled. She grabbed a laptop, scanned The

Care Partner Project and, sure enough, found that blood clots may include a charley

horse pain that lasts for days. 

In the emergency room, her D-dimer test result was 5700 – normal is around

500! A CT scan showed five blood clots scattered across both lungs. Thankfully, good

information and prompt treatment saved Karen's life!

March is Blood Clot Awareness month -- 

for good reason! The signs can be misinterpreted, and they are caused by various

health conditions. In Karen's case, the culprit was an inherited blood

disorder – Factor 5 Leiden mutation – which can be detected with a blood test that

doctors seldom order.

Blood clots can be deadly – but you can prevent them from extinguishing a

candle on your birthday cake!

Learn how at Stop The Clot at The Care Partner Project.  How to be a patient advocate for loved ones - The Care Partner Project

You may save a life with a little checklist, too!

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