A Country Singer's Life-Changing Story For years, Mark Hackley performed his songs without a glitch. Then one day during a small summer afternoon show in the country, it happened. It all began innocently enough, but quickly turned into a life-threatening event that would change Mark's life forever. A new pair of cowboy boots may have been the culprit in forming the blood clot in Mark's left calf during the show. That clot would later travel through his heart and lodge in his right lung. Left untreated, this condition, known as a pulmonary embolism (PE), could cause serious complications, even death. In fact, more than 300,000 Americans died from pulmonary embolisms last year. By the time Mark returned home from the show, the pain had moved from his calf to his chest. "It felt like serious muscle cramps in my chest wall," Mark recalled. "I never suspected it to be a blood clot in my lung. It seemed like the intense pain came from outside of my ribs, not from inside my lung." After a sleepless night, the next morning Mark decided to seek medical attention. His doctor recognized the symptoms and tested for PE. A clot was discovered in Mark's right lung and he was admitted to the emergency room where he was immediately treated with anticoagulant therapy. Within a week or two, Mark was singing again but remained on an oral anticoagulant for one year. Since then, he has been fine. Today he lives with his family in the mountains of Virginia where he writes, performs and records his own country music. Just to be safe, by the direction of his hematologist, he takes a special injection of anticoagulant before long trips. Getting a second chance on life, Mark became extra-energized to write and record new songs and use his talent to create an awareness of the warning signs of DVT/PE. To help save lives by spreading awareness of blood clots, Mark is donating 15 percent of his online music sales to the National Alliance for Thrombosis and Thrombophilia (NATT). "After what I have been through, I truly believe many people would ride out the pain and not seek medical attention in time," Mark said. "If they do, many of these people will die. I'm a stubborn old cowboy and I tried to ride it out that night, but I'm so glad I saw my doctor when I did. It probably saved my life." RECOGNIZE THE WARNINGS OF DEEP VEIN THROMBOSIS (DVT) • A dull to sharp pain in the back of one calf • Possible swelling and/ or discoloration of one calf to purple or blue PULMONARY EMBOLISM (PE): • Pain in the chest • Possible shortness of breath STEPS TO PREVENTION Walk and stretch your legs often, especially during: • Extended trips by plane, train and automobile • Long hours sitting behind a desk • Any tight or cramped situation • Lengthy periods of bedrest MOST OF ALL LISTEN TO MARK'S MUSIC, GET UP AND DANCE AND BE THANKFUL YOU'RE ALIVE!
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