Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Jed Ortmeyer and I have something in common

We interrupt this steady stream of baseball news and opinions to draw your attention to a fantastic New York Times story about Jed Ortmeyer, a hockey player with the San Jose Sharks who continues to play a dangerous sport despite having a condition that makes his blood prone to clotting. Ortmeyer, a popular former New York Ranger, has developed at least three clots, including one that formed in a main artery in his lungs. He takes blood thinning meds that could put his life at risk if he's injured. Ortmeyer continues to play despite doctors and family members urging him to quit the sport.

This story has special meaning for me because I also developed a life-threatening blood clot last year. Unlike Ortmeyer, I have no genetic predisposition to developing blood clots. But that didn't make it less scary. I was diagnosed after experiencing worsening pain in my right leg that I attributed to a pulled muscle but eventually left me unable to walk for a time.
Women beware, my clot was attributed to two potential causes: either my heavy travel schedule or more likely my previous birth control method (the patch). Blood clots are listed as a side effect of taking the pill or using the patch, but any woman who is concerned about the potential of developing a clot should speak to her doctor about alternatives. Also, be careful when traveling and make sure you regularly walk around or perform leg lifts while seated.

The thing I find most fascinating about Ortmeyer's story is his determination. I had several doctors lecture me on the importance of avoiding any dangerous situations and warn me to immediately go to the hospital if I injured myself and began bleeding or hit my head. I remember going to an amusement park while taking the meds and not going on any roller coasters because of the risk. Ortmeyer continues to play a sport where fighting that results in bloody injuries is quite common. Some would say it's a dumb risk. I consider it inspiring.

I'm not the biggest hockey fan, having gone to only one game in my entire life. But now I will make it a point to catch any Sharks game I can to fully support Ortmeyer. I am happy to say that I am now clot free, off the meds and healthy. I will pray that Ortmeyer stays healthy too.

Thanks to Matt Emerson via Wikipedia for the photo.

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