For those of you who don't know, I was born with Factor V Leiden, a disorder that causes my body to skip a step in the clotting process and instead of using blood to help seal wounds, as it does in most people, my blood gets over excited and starts creating strong & deadly clots which travel from their original destination all throughout my body. Most recently, I went to the hospital because my leg was swollen to double it's size and unusable and found that the rest of my body was riddled with clots as well, in my lungs, kidneys, and all over.
This is unfortunately what recently laid former Portland Trail Blazer Jerome Kersey to rest. While doctors are unsure of the exact condition that caused his clot, it broke off from his calf and lodged in his lung, cutting off blood supply and, like at least 25% of all people who suffer pulmonary emboli (blood clot in the lungs), he passed away from complications.
The clots in my body that day were so extensive that what brought a professional athlete to his knees, I didn't even notice. When they told me I had clots all over my lungs as well as my leg I was shocked. Doctors layer shared with me that less than 5% of people survive a clotting incident of this magnitude like mine. One clot in the lung can bring down an incredible athlete, clots through the entire leg, lung, and kidenys; the official hospital protocol was to make me comfortable & help me pass away in peace.
I didn't do that. I am a fighter. I beat the incredible odds by advocating for myself, gathering doctors and nurses who believed in me, looking them in the eyes and saying, "I will not die tonight." One doctor & one nurse believed me and they rallied surgeons, flew in medical equipment from all over the state, and put me in an ambulance to the only hospital willing to take the risk and believe along with me that I would not be among the 95% to perish. I believe that they felt my will to live across the city & across the state that night and some amazing people stepped up to say it with me, "Hannah Angell will not die tonight."
I lived and I have loved and created and advocated and learned and grown and made the absolute best out of the life & function & resources available to me now but I think never want to out my children through this. I have seen the looks on my parents faces. They couldn't have known, by the time we had the technology to understand Factor V, their children were already born. I know they feel responsible in some ways and that breaks my heart. If I had been given the choice to be born with Factor V or not at all (which were the choices back then) let's all say Duh! I would've come into this world and prepared for the fight and made my life count for everything it's worth.
But now we do have the choice, and I want my children to live free of this beast on their backs. We can never protect our kids from all the risks, all that goes bump in the night, but we can minimize their struggles, and in this case, hopefully eradicate one entirely. My children will face trials & pain & I will worry but not about this.
Everyone please send your good energy, send your prayers & love & hope & healing to us today so that we may receive good news from the genetic counselor and continue on this fast paced & long awaited journey to bring our family together. We are ready. We are strong & we are loving & yet I do still fear the unknown. Send your hopes and mingle them with mine & Nick's so that this great hope can be stronger than any fear.
Lots of Love,
Out of my parent's three children, only my sister was spared from Factor V. When my brother Jack was 18, he endured a pulmonary embolism which caused the tissue in over half of his left lung to become infarcted or essentially die off. He was a young man in a rough and tumble society who couldn't play sports, hike, or even roughhouse with his friends. During that time, coumadin was the only medicine available and it caused his teeth to crumble, his body to bleed, and is now primarily used as rat poison in research labs.
He, like my dad, endured his clots during a time of even less knowledge about the disease. We've come a long way in the past decade and now he lives a happy, full life and in fact, just asked the love of his life to marry him at the Portland Rose Garden!
I am so happy for him and love him so much. He and my dad suffered greatly from this disorder and it has ravaged our family but we are resilient. I love them both and I am so excited to add another sister to our growing family. Well done, Jack, she's amazing and so are you!