Detroit, Michigan, United States
Even though there was a family history of blood clots in Mary Bare's family, it still did not prevent the death of her fraternal twin 33-year-old Deborah Tyler from a blood clot in her lung (pulmonary embolism or PE) three years ago. In fact, Deborah had suffered a blood clot in her leg (deep vein thrombosis or DVT) in 2004 and was also positive for the blood clotting disorder Factor V Leiden (FVL). Doctors believed the DVT was the result of Deborah taking birth control pills.
"I saw Deborah as a fighter and she decided to live life and not let it stop her," says Mary, who currently lives in Madison Heights, a suburb of Detroit and is a mom of three. "She encouraged me and my sister Cindy to get tested for FVL, and it's a good thing we did. Cindy tested positive but I was negative."
Mary recalls it was Mother's Day 2011 when Deborah, who had recently adopted kittens, felt an unusual warm spot on her leg again, and it was becoming red and swollen. Deborah was hospitalized, but was sent home after a few days, as doctors thought she was suffering from cellulitis and not blood clots. Deborah was given antibiotics and pain pills, but no blood thinners, and told to only take aspirin if she was concerned.
A few months later, Deborah complained of shortness of breath which she thought was either due to the summer heat, allergy-induced asthma or some weight gain. An inhaler initially helped her as her undiagnosed PE was being treated as allergic asthma by the same doctor who had treated her for the DVT. Not long after, Mary received a frantic call from Deborah saying she had called an ambulance because she was having major difficulty breathing. Mary followed behind the ambulance. Upon reaching the hospital she was ushered into a waiting room, and then was told her sister had passed away after the doctors had tried to revive her.
Since her sister's death, Mary has created the Facebook page 'Forever Deborah' where she tries to educate others about blood clots, and spread the word about awareness. It's her solace in keeping the memory of her twin alive and for a much needed cause. World Thrombosis Day, she says, will jumpstart the urgent dialogue on a condition that exacts a toll on too many unsuspecting lives. She hopes that it will lead to more awareness and ultimately save lives. She says one of the main messages she would like people to understand is that blood clots are deadly and they can happen to anyone, anywhere and at any time. Her sister, she notes, was way too young.
Says Mary, "If you have symptoms, don't wait to go the doctor. Get it checked out immediately; don't wait. Blood clots are serious.