Survivor Spotlight with Tina Cuva

My name is Tina Cuva. I am 51 years old and I live in NJ. I am a wife and mother of 2 who is very lucky to say, “I am a survivor”. I never knew anyone who experienced DVT’s or PE’s and there is no family history, so when I was diagnosed, I had no idea the impact it would have on my life.

On January 3, 2017 I had a total hip replacement. I followed all of my doctor’s instructions precisely, trying to make sure my healing would be perfect. I was cleared for surgery and as mentioned, with no family history of blood clots, I was sent home with a regimen of 650mg of aspirin a day. I started physical therapy in the hospital and then upon returning home my Bayada Physical Therapist starting coming 3 days a week for an hour. My therapist, Jeff, gave me my instructions to continue exercising throughout each day and to walk every hour for at least 10-20 minutes.

On January 23rd, I had just finished a short 10-minute walk around the house and sat down on the couch. As I settled back down to rest, I found myself short of breath. I brushed it off at first thinking I am out of shape and maybe did a bit too much walking but 15 minutes later I still found it hard to breathe. My husband came into the den and said, “you probably did too much today, take a deep breath”. He has been an athlete and a coach the majority of his life so I did as he said but still I wasn’t any better. Luckily Jeff was scheduled that day and when he came in he immediately noticed my breathing and jumped into action. A local Bayada nurse was also called in and within 15 minutes after she arrived, an ambulance was at my door. I was told by Jeff, my nurse and the EMT’s that I possibly had a DVT or a PE… a what? What are you talking about? I had no symptoms prior to the onset shortness of breath. No swelling, redness, leg pain, leg cramps, NOTHING.

Upon arriving at the hospital, the ER team quickly took my blood and off to a CT Scan I went. My adrenaline had kicked in so my breathing felt a bit better and I was telling everyone “I am fine”. I was still restricted on my movement with my new hip, so I had asked the nurse to help me as I needed to use the restroom. As the nurse was about to accommodate my request, out of the corner of my eye I see the ER doctor running towards my room, shouting, “MRS. CUVA DO NOT MOVE”. The next words out of his mouth made my head spin and I literally watched my husband slide down the wall…. “Mrs. Cuva you have over 20 blood clots that are hanging on the tops off both of your lungs, please do not move”. Scared, petrified, and overwhelmed barely cover how I emotionally felt. Knowing that if Jeff was not scheduled that day, I probably would not be here to tell my story.

The next three days in the hospital I tried my best to stay positive but the thoughts, for which I’m sure you all feel, kept creeping up: What if I move and a clot comes off and travels to my brain? Am I going to die? How did this happen to me? My hand constantly holding the button in case I needed the nurse and I was scared to be left alone.

They found the DVT in my femoral vein in my thigh. My team of doctors continually met with me and discussed my options of medical treatment to move forward. After leaving the hospital, I was put on 20 mg of Xarelto daily until May.

Testing was done and showed clots and DVT were gone. Now I’m on a daily dose of 325 mg of aspirin and an inhaler for the rest of my life. If I travel (plane, train or long car ride), I will be given Xarelto again for the duration of my trip and then back onto aspirin 2 days after I return home. The 20 tubes of my blood that were sent to the Mayo Clinic and showed no markers or indicators as to why this happened to me.

I would be lying if I said I live a life without blood clots lingering in the back of my mind whenever a bruise swells, I have a dry cough or even if I am short of breath if only for a minute or two but it is getting better. I am thankful for this group and the continual support I receive whether I am having a good day or a day filled with anxiety. Each day I become stronger knowing what happened to me does not define me. It is a gift that I am able to share with others. I am alive and one very lucky woman. I constantly tell my story in hopes that it can save someone given they are in the same situation or have the awareness to help someone else. I will forever be grateful for my Physical Therapist, Nurse and local Emergency Response Team for saving my life.

Thank you for letting me share my experience with all of you.

In gratitude,

Tina

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Survivor Spotlight: Deborah Steadman 

What do I want you to know about me?

My name is Deborah Steadman and I am 50 years old.  I have been battling depression all of my life. I have a Pacemaker and low blood pressure problems for which I have to take medication for it. My blood pressure drops into the low 40’s. The medication is working.

 I have severe back problems. I had surgery on my back in 2013. I have suffered another back injury which may require another surgery soon.                 

I raised two kids on my own. I worked at Waffle House for 35 years and I also worked side jobs to provide for my children. 

                       My Son, TJ

              My daughter Victoria             

I met a Wonderful man named Randy Haulbrooks.He made me quit my job so I could be at home with my children. He raised my children like they were his own. I thank God for him.  He also has bad health problems. 

                    This is Randy 

I lost my Daddy when he was only 45 years old . He died of cancer. He was in remission for 13 years. He was a Fighter!  I was truly crushed when he passed but I took comfort knowing his pain and suffering was over finally. 

                       My Daddy

In 2013, I lost Peggy Mode. This was Randy’s Mama. She was my best friend and my Mother in law. I loved her very much. I took care of her until she went home to be with The Lord. She was a great inspiration to me. She loved my children and she loved them as her own Grandchildren. We all called her Nanny. She was always there for me. She always helped m with all my problems. I miss her so much. 

                            Peggy                      

She was raising her Granddaughter, Kelly Haulbrooks at the time.   She is mentally handicapped. She now lives with me and Randy.

                         KELLY                        

My Mother is in a nursing home. The Doctor’s gave up on her 20 yrs ago.  She is still here with me. I love my Mama so very much♡ My Mama is a wonderful inspiration to me too. I thank God every day for her. She is a Fighter! She is a Miracle♡

                       My Mama

My goal is to inspire people and spread’s Gods Word. This group means so much to me. I am honored to be in the group. I love each and every one of you. You are all in my thoughts and prayers everyday. 

           Me! Deborah Steadman