Survivor Spotlight : Tiffany Tiff  (Lead Admin over at Surviving a Silent Killer . . Let’s Talk Babies )

Hi! My name is Tiffany.  I am a mother of 2 beautiful sweet boys and married to a loving supportive husband. Only few people know I served 4 years on active duty with the Army and once I got out I began working at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It was a lifelong dream of mine to work at KSC and have been living the dream for 11.5 years now.

August 30, 2008 I was blindsided when the doctor came in the rook to tell me my upper back pain was actually a pulmonary embolism and that I am lucky to be alive. He proceeded to tell me I would have to stay in the hospital and my first response was “Will I be out of the hospital by Monday night? I have work on Tuesday” He looked at me and said “no you will be here awhile.”  The next morning my world changed when I was told I have Factor V and birth control pills are the reasons why I clotted so bad. I was the youngest patient in the pulmonary ward. I had every doctor possible coming in to ask me my story and telling me how I was beyond lucky to be alive.  They said I was a medical mystery. After 4 weeks I was allowed to return to work, which thankfully everyone has been so understanding. 

Another complication I have faced is multiple miscarriages, it hasn’t been easy carrying that burden. Because of my FVL, I have to take Lovenox injections during pregnancy and it wasn’t always easy but I will tell you it was worth it. My oldest son just turned 15 and looking at him now you would have no idea he was born 6 weeks early only weighing 3LBS due to a undiagnosed placental clot that wasn’t discovered until after birth. My youngest who is about to be 3 years old is my rainbow after the storms of miscarriage.  I took 529 injection during my pregnancy with him to make sure we both survived the pregnancy. Even though I began on one injection a day I ended up clotting, my dose was quadrupled!  Even after every possible complication during my pregnancy I was able to successfully deliver a healthy, happy baby boy 3 weeks early weighing 8lbs.

I am so blessed to be an admin on the Surviving a Silent Killer… Let’s Talk Babies page. I thought I was alone during my pregnancy.  I never knew anyone who had to take blood thinners during pregnancy.  The fact that I am able to help these lovely ladies through their journey and to let them know they are not alone is incredible!!!!

In my free time, HA! I’m a working mom, I love to sew, ride 4-wheelers with the family, bike or out competing  5K races with my family.

Survivor Spotlight: Sarah Williams

  • Three years ago I went from a healthy active woman cycling and horse riding to someone who felt like they were over 90 yrs old over the span of 3 months. I had been feeling breathless and had to stop riding my bike and horse riding due to being sick and I just felt ill. I went to the doctor and was fobbed off which is why before that day I never went to the doctor. I have suffered with fibromyalgia for 22 years, asthma 11 years and under active thyroid for which I have always had these under control.

    I woke up on March 29th 2013 and I couldn’t breathe.  My chest felt like I was being stabbed over and over along with a heavy feeling in the center of it. I could not make my way to the bathroom without my legs shaking under me and my body was struggling. I came down stairs with my husbands help and just sat until he said let’s get you back to bed. I started to climb the stairs slowly.   My heart was racing so fast.  By the time we reached the top my heart was pounding so fast it felt as if it were  coming out of my chest.  I got Mark to feel it.  He did and was panicked.  he immediately said “we are going to the hospital.” He called for a ambulance and they arrived in five minutes.  We had only just found out a few days before that I was five weeks pregnant.  I looked white as a sheet, my heart was fast as was my pulse so I was taken straight back. When I arrived I had bloods taken and oxygen due to the fact that talking made me breathless.  My d-dimer test was positive at 1700 and I went for a doppler leg scan that showed nothing. They kept me in the hospital for four days giving me a nebulizer treatments every hour with no help. They didn’t listen.  I hardly ate because it seemed to take ages to chew due to me not being able to  breathe. I was hooked up to Heart monitor and every time I moved in the bed whether it was sitting up or turning over ,the monitor would sound an alarm and the nurse would come running. I had to stay in bed and try not to move or eat. It wasn’t long before I was feeling numb in my bum from laying so long in the bed. On the fourth day they said we think it may be asthma.  I argued with them that it’s not. I told them that whenever I move it gets worse  even washing with a bowl in bed. They sent me home with new asthma treatments and said they would see me next week as an out-patient. I got home very disappointed and knew it’s not asthma.  I took the new medication to prove a point. Two days later I was feeling awful and so pale.  I was struggling even more.  Mark called my gp who said he would not do a home visit as he does not visit young people. When mark told me this, I was angry.   I told him we must have an ambulance because something is wrong. Mark called for one and it was here in five minutes.  They came in took one look and said” oh you look awful girl your coming with us.”.  We gave them our discharge note from the hospital that we received days before. He said it is a clot.  I got in the hospital  and they were running around like headless chickens!  You could hear my doctor moaning about the doctor who sent me home with asthma treatment. He came over and said “Sarah this is life threatening and I’m glad you came back”. Next morning I had a CT scan.  He came back hours later and explained to me that i had  bilateral pe’s and the clots are huge in both lungs and have been there some while probably way before pregnancy.  I stayed in the hosptal for four days and was taught how to inject Clexane injections. I was sent home and was told I would see a lung specialist Dr. Grove. I waited weeks for that and she ordered an echo which took another 5 weeks to get a appointment.

    Pregnancy was hard as it is bad enough getting bigger but having the clots and not being able to breathe is not easy. I tried to walk about as much as possible but I was struggling each day.  Every time I saw Dr Grove she would tell me to rest, no walking about or washing up. I thought why not.  I didn’t understand if the echo was ok why is she being like that.  Near the end of pregnancy while talking to my gynecologist, I was tellig him about being told off and he replied yes because of the echo. I said what do you mean ? He informed me I had strain on the right side of my heart.  Dr. Grove did not tell me this. Well it came that time I was in labor and when it was time to push, pushing was hard because my oxygen levels kept dropping.  I had to be put on oxygen. Anyway were here to tell the tale.  I have never seen so many people in a room while having a baby.

     Leona will be 3 years old on New Years Eve and I’m a new me. It’s been a journey and a half!  I still can’t excercise and need help even putting on my socks.  I get breathless and can’t breathe.  My face goes all red.  I have been left with an irregular breathing pattern, and a balance disorder.  I’m a lifer on warfarin and still get daily chestpains and breathlessness. I had my appendix out last year and am now waiting for gallbladder surgery.  I have a very large prolapsed disc in my neck which is really pressing c6 nerve route. This causes arm and neck pain.  I have lost some grip in my left hand as well as power in that arm.  I can’t move my neck much anymore.  i have been like this a year.  I am living literally on Auramorph and Lyrica.  I have also had foot pain that they think it’s tarsal tunnel which requires surgery if so.

    Apart from that, I’m ok.  I take each day as it comes. I’m grateful to be here and see my little ones grow up.  I may not be able to mess about or play fight but I’m good at pulling faces. If I was to give advice to anyone pregnant having to do clexane injections it would be this…Do it for you and your baby.   It’s not nice but a baby is worth it.

    I gave myself a present.  I bought my dogs to keep me company and on my rough days there cuddles are great!





Survivor Spotlight : Susan Barry Harrington  ( Lead Admin for SaSk..Weight Warriors)

A little about me

Last year, I married my best friend, Brooke. He and I live with my 2 bright teens, Julianna and JohnRobert. Everyday is fun, yet challenging in our NC home! We have little Max, our long-haired Chihauhau and Lizzy, our Boykin Spaniel. I’ve worked for Verizon for 29 years as a Project Engineer and love that I can work at home a few days of the week! This allows me to see the kids coming and going and spend more time with Brooke, Lizzy and Max.

We try to start our mornings and evenings with walks with my best friend, Linda after JohnRobert and Julianna are off to school. Of course, some days are more successful than others! I enjoy reading, being outdoors, shopping, movies, football, baseball and spending time at the lake.

Oh – and I love to express myself through writing…….

Having blood clots was a learning experience for me. DVTs and PEs taught me to pay closer attention to my body. This experience was a little similar to having Melanoma and Epilepsy because now it’s another doctor’s appointment and more medication to keep my body functioning and healthy. All of these experiences have made me more aware of change and the importance of preventative healthcare.

Working with the Weight Warriors Group is like having another family for me. I love all of the members and can relate to the experiences that each is going through because of our urge to lead healthier lives after our past experiences with DVTs and PEs.