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Helena Costakis

Poughkeepsie, NY

I met Dr. Erkan in 2013. I was 29 years old and I was experiencing strange pains in my leg and lungs. I live 2 hours from NYC so I was seeing ERs and providers close to my home. No one could figure out what was happening to me. I developed a dry painful cough in addition to my leg pain and I went to the ER in Rhinebeck, NY. That is when the truth was revealed. I had a very large blood clot in my left leg that completed blocked my common femoral and left femoral veins. The clot was breaking off and causing pulmonary embolism. I was put in the ICU. A hematologist diagnosed me with the blood clotting disorder APS. I had no history of any disease, so this was a shock. I was referred to see a rheumatologist. No one in my area had great expertise with APS, so I found Dr. Erkan at HSS. He clearly was an expert and he provided me with excellent care. Under his guidance I learned more about the disease and what I could do to prevent additional symptoms. It is scary, but you just have to deal with it head on. I was over 300 lbs when I met Dr. Erkan. He let me know that my obesity was making it more likely that I would continue to have problems. I have lost 100 lbs with diet and exercise and I continue to further my weight loss. I lived with PTSD and fear (still do to an extent), but like anything else you get used to your new normal. You have to push through the fear and make changes that are best for your health. It has been almost 5 years since this happened to me and my life changed. I am grateful for the excellent care I have received from both HSS (Dr. Erkan) and my hematologist. The support of my family and spouse is what has made all the difference as well. I am pictured on the right.