Stories of Inspiration

Share Your Story with others…

Vascular disease affects over 40 million Americans in the US. These conditions are real, life altering and can be serious. We invite you to Share Your Story with us whether you, a loved one or a friend/co-worker have been personally affected by vascular disease.

There is power in numbers and the real stories behind these often times silent conditions. The more awareness we can raise, the closer we will come to finding cures for conditions that can be prevented and treated.

Some of your stories…

Brian Chastain, age 17 : Aurora, Colorado

“Kids my age don’t get blood clots.”

brianThat’s the impression Brian Chastain was left with when both a chiropractor and a pediatrician dismissed the possibility that he had a blood clot. When he was 14 years old, he had developed pain and swelling in his calf. Because of his young age and absence of other risk factors, the health care providers treating him didn’t initially suspect any type of vascular disorder. He was, however, eventually diagnosed, and he soon developed another clot. Brian says his recovery from both events was quick, but that he will spend the rest of his life watching out for further problems. Brian’s mom, Susanne, also has a history of blood clots, but when the family underwent testing, they found that Brian tested positive for factor V Leiden—something he inherited from his dad, not his mom.

Susanne Chastain, age 46 : Aurora, Colorado

“The pain was so horrific.”

susanneSusanne Chastain had a pulmonary embolism (PE) on July 4, 1998. She remembers it very distinctly because her shoulder began hurting shortly after the fireworks ended that evening. The pain worsened throughout the night, and she was unable to get out of bed the next morning. Like many others her age, doctors betted against any type of vascular problem. However, an angiogram confirmed PE. Since that event, Susanne (whose son Brian also has a vascular disorder) developed superficial blood clots and reflux in her right leg. Doctors suspect she has antiphospholipid syndrome, but she has chosen to take a wait-and-see approach with that diagnosis rather than go on warfarin for the rest of her life.

Kelly Johnson, age 35 : Bossier City, Louisiana

“It doesn’t make sense; I shouldn’t have to be using a shower chair in my early 30s.”

kellyKelly Johnson began a journey of pain and confusion three years ago. At age 32, she started to experience pain in her right calf, discoloration in her leg and the inability to even put on her shoes. She was also unable to participate in her active job as a counselor at a boot-camp program for troubled teens. Initially, she thought she had pulled a muscle, so she treated it accordingly. The symptoms, however, didn’t go away. She soon began developing cold-like chest symptoms as well. She was told by an emergency-care physician that her problem was likely a combination of varicose veins and panic disorder. However, her problem worsened quickly. After experiencing red-hot veins and fainting, she was finally diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE). Since her diagnosis, Kelly has baffled vascular specialists because of her young age and lack of other risk factors. Kelly says that because she isn’t a candidate for surgery, she’s not seeking cosmetic solutions and she isn’t supposed to fly, she’s having difficulty finding a specialist in her area who can help her. Kelly has had a second episode. She has had additional problems in her abdomen and her left leg, where she developed venous insufficiency. She had stents put in a year ago. She has also been diagnosed with post-thrombotic syndrome and has been discouraged from ever getting pregnant. Kelly says she is still searching for solutions to her disorder.

Franki Deglow, age 77 : Fruita, Colorado

“They told me I had PAD, but I didn’t believe them.”

frankiIt was well over three decades ago when Franki Deglow was first diagnosed with peripheral artery disease (PAD). However it wasn’t until just this past year that she began having trouble with it. Franki says that, because of her age, she prefers to treat her disease naturally—wearing heavy support hosiery, improving her diet, taking nutritional supplements, and walking and swimming. She says she prefers not to have surgery or take more pills unless she has to, so she’s following the disease to see if symptoms progress.

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