A Clot at 19 Years Old: Ashley Graves’ Blood Clot Story

Categories: Patient Stories

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Graves, Ashley PhotoAs any teenager does, I struggled with the insecurities of acne. After exhausting many acne clearing options, I decided to see my doctor about it. When I went to see my doctor, I brought up the fact that I knew other girls who were on birth control for their acne and I wanted to try the same thing. My doctor put me on estrogen-based birth control in February 2014.

Two months after I started taking the pills, I began to not feel very well. I was sitting down with my mom and my sister one Sunday afternoon, and they noticed my breathing was very loud. My sister suggested that I go to urgent care because it didn’t sound right.

I arrived at urgent care and the nurse said my lungs sounded clear. The nurse asked me if I was a smoker or an athlete, and I told her I was neither. She told me that it could possibly be a pulmonary embolism or blood clot in my lung. I had no clue what a pulmonary embolism was. Next, the urgent care sent me to get an EKG and my heart was beating faster than normal. The nurse told me it was best I go to the hospital as soon as I could, but of course, with me being stubborn and afraid, I chose not to go. Instead, I went home and called my doctor the next day to get an appointment.

At the appointment, my doctor drew my blood and said it sounded like I was anemic so I went home and rested. The next day, I got a text from my mom saying I needed to get a CT Scan done immediately. I went to the doctor’s office to get the scan done and waited for my results in the waiting room. Before I could get my results, my mom got a call from my doctor saying to come upstairs from the radiology department to the office because it was important.

When I got upstairs, my doctor was standing by the door waiting for me. We went into a room and she closed the door behind her. She told me that my CT Scan showed that I had a saddle pulmonary embolism and I needed to get to the emergency room immediately. I wasn’t allowed to pack my stuff from home. I went to the hospital straight from the doctor’s office.

When I arrived at the hospital, they started intravenous administration of a blood thinning medication and also hooked me up to a heart monitor. I was in the hospital for six days until my INR levels were therapeutic. I was on warfarin for six months until the blood clots dissolved. I had a Factor V Leiden test performed after I was no longer taking blood thinners and it came back negative.

I have no genetic blood disorders, but my body could not handle the level of estrogen in the birth control pills I was taking. My clot changed my life. Now, I live life everyday thankful to be alive. I take nothing and no one for granted. By the grace of God, I am not on any blood thinners and I have no permanent lung damage. My symptoms were not very clear, but I now try to educate other people so they know the signs of blood clots.

My advice to other people who have survived a blood clot or who currently have one is: Listen to your body. If something doesn’t feel right, get it checked out by a medical professional, no matter how silly you may feel, because it could save your life. I’m proud to be a DVT/PE survivor and without the grace of God and my family, I wouldn’t have made it through.


To join our online discussion community and connect with other people who have experienced a blood clot, please click here.

To learn more about risk factors for blood clots, please click here.
To learn more about signs and symptoms of blood clots, please click here.
To learn more about blood clot risks when taking estrogen-based birth control, please click here.
Author: SW

14 Responses to "A Clot at 19 Years Old: Ashley Graves’ Blood Clot Story"

  1. Donn Smith
    Donn Smith Posted on May 17, 2016 at 10:50 am

    Awesome testimony . Thank you for sharing. Other young girls must read your story especially the ones who maybe on birth control pills . They must know and understand the side effects.

    • Stephanie
      Stephanie Posted on May 30, 2016 at 12:21 am

      I’m glad you are okay. Glory to God!!

    • Ashley
      Ashley Posted on June 7, 2016 at 1:28 pm

      Thank you for taking the time out and reading it! It’s a blessing ❤️

  2. Susan McKenzie
    Susan McKenzie Posted on May 19, 2016 at 5:12 am

    I am so glad you survived, my daughter was not so fortunate. Marit was taking Diane 35 when the same thing happened to her. I had her to the doctor and the doctors did not recognize the symptoms until it was too late. She was 18. This medication is 4 times the risk of regular birth control.

    • Ashley
      Ashley Posted on June 7, 2016 at 1:29 pm

      I’m so sorry to hear about your loss! I tell my story for the women like her who haven’t survived ❤️ Thank you for reading!!

  3. Salwa
    Salwa Posted on May 29, 2016 at 4:24 pm

    Iv been going to the doctor since last month, telling my GP and telling the doctors in ER i believe i have a DVT left leg. Somedays i cannot even walk i become completely wheelchair bed/bound. I have excruciating pain in my leg calf but aince the last 2weeks this pain has been going up to my abdomen back and chest. ALL left sided. Though i dont have any swelling in my legs, my toenails/finger nails have changed NOTICEABLY in colour to a purple/white. My husband has been stressing to the GP he believes i have a DVT. To add to my symptoms the quality of life i am living at the moment is very weak. Constant chest pain which keeps me from sleeping, out of breath just walking to the bathroom? Constant leg pressure and pain, dizzyness etcetc. My GP said to my husband if youre wife had a DVT she would be dead already. And the doctors in ER just felt my leg and said im fine? I feel like im just waiting for my death. I have enquired with a private specialist to have DVT testing done as the NHS here are completely dismissing me. Its so sad how insensitive and careless they can be.

    • Ashley
      Ashley Posted on June 7, 2016 at 1:32 pm

      It’s good you’re listening to your body!! You should get a second opinion. You know your body best! I pray you’ll be okay. You will get through this! You have people like me on your side! Thank you for reading ❤️

  4. Dorothy
    Dorothy Posted on May 29, 2016 at 11:41 pm

    Thank you for your testimony. I’m 44 year old. I have a blood clot in my leg. It has been two years now. I have some good days and some scary days. I five children and five grandchildren. Everyday I think about being here with them. I now god is a healer.

    • Chris Rush
      Chris Rush Posted on June 9, 2016 at 12:00 am

      God is god all the time.he will.take care all of his kids.

  5. Armada
    Armada Posted on June 3, 2016 at 8:44 pm

    Hello, very glad to hear that you are doing good. I’m
    was diagnose2006 with a Deep Vein Thrombosis
    that broke off traveled to my lungs and than to my heart. I use to smoke cigarettes but had stopped within a week. My Pulmonary Embolism was a little bit
    bigger than a golf and the Dr said that all I needed was a smokers cough and I would have been gone. Today I suffer from COPD but, by the Grace of GOD I’m glad to be hear.

    • Ashley
      Ashley Posted on June 7, 2016 at 1:41 pm

      I’m so glad you’re okay!!! Thank God that you are healed. There’s so many great things in the future for you. Stay positive!! Thanks for reading ❤️

  6. Nora
    Nora Posted on June 4, 2016 at 5:19 am

    Young Lady, you are awesome! From one sister (you) to another (me) , priceless advice. I will begin to pay attention to my body’s warning signs right away. I haven’t been feeling my best..Always depressed or stressed. But, your story has lifted me, life is precious.

  7. Ashley
    Ashley Posted on June 7, 2016 at 1:45 pm

    You have no clue how happy reading this has made me feel. I’m thankful for people like you who read my story and takes something good from it. You’ve made my day. Thank you!!! You are very much appreciated ❤️❤️❤️

  8. becca
    becca Posted on June 9, 2016 at 9:21 pm

    Hi! I too am a PE survivor. Same reason, from birth control pills. I was in so much pain I thought for sure death was immenent. People who haven’t been there just don’t understand. Thank you for bringing light, most people especially young people don’t think it could be something so serious.