Survivor Spotlight: Holly Michelle Shoemaker (Sask Moderator)

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What would I want people to know about me?

As your Moderator, I want you to know why I accepted the Moderator position two years ago.

I strongly desire for each member to have a solid understanding and educational foundation . Not only do I want each member to be empowered with understanding why they developed a clot(s), I am passionate about members understanding the composition and function of blood. With basic information and education of how blood functions within the body and what each property does, members will be able to help themselves in many situations. From understanding the severity of a PE to having a meaningful discussion with your physician. A solid educational foundation will allow each member to be a proactive patient rather than a reactive patient.

This passion for empowering each member with education is what I desire for you to know about me the most. I had my first clotting event, in 1994, at the age of 23. I had three clots in my brain, and as a result, suffered a stroke. At that time, there was not much information on Factor V Leiden. I am adopted, and did not know I had Factor V until I was in the ICU. It’s been a hard and long journey. I have had other clotting events, and a third brain injury. I was often filled with anxiety, until a physician at the Michigan State Clotting Center, sat me down and taught me. I learned that I was in control of my own body. Dr. Hausonna taught me the basics of blood and blood clotting. Like many members here, I have read about Factor V and clotting. I thought that I understood everything, but there was so much more to it than I ever imagined. I left that appointment feeling more empowered and I began to understand the beauty of having a solid foundation of understanding. I learned further about risk factors for clotting. For example, I never knew that sinus infections were two clotting risk factors, because of inflammation and infection. I did not understand that it was the combination of risk factors that can cause a clotting event.

I hope I have encouraged you in your journey today. You are not alone. We have resources available in our files. If you have any question about anything I shared, please feel free to ask. We are slowly seeing that more and more members have had a brain injury. If you would like to talk about that, please feel free to.

I have included some photos to share a little more about my survivor journey.

I had surgery on 11/6/15, to repair and lengthen my Gastrocnemius muscle and to repair the achielles tendon. In 2003, I developed a large DVT in my Gastrocnemius after an injury. The clot did damage to the muscle that was repaired, which has made my recovery difficult. I’m still working very hard through Physical Therapy, but especially swimming. Swimming is my favorite exercise, as I love doing laps in the pool. I’m hoping to regain the ability to swim the butterfly. Animals are another love of mine. I work hard to help animals in need, as often as I can, because it’s also therapeutic for me.

There’s a great deal more to my journey than many of you may know. If you’d ever like to speak with me to learn more, don’t hesitate to ask.

One comment

  1. Heidi Peek · October 30

    Beautifully written Holly what an inspiration you are! I did not know a sinus infection was a clotting factor. Thank you for sharing your story! Prayers for you


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