Blood Clots Can Happen to Anyone, At Any Age: Tamara Norris’ Blood Clot Story

Categories: Patient Stories

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First, let me state that I am only Norris, Tamara photo23 and I am too young for this to happen to me, but it happened. At the hospital I was admitted to, everyone knew me because I was the youngest person that ever came to the ER with a DVT and PE. It was scary and I had just been diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and was put on birth control as of January of 2015. Fast forward from there two months, I just got married to an active duty Marine and moved my life from Georgia to Virginia. I started to notice that I was getting severe Charley horse pains in my right leg to the point that I was crying in pain and gripping anything in sight to ease the pain. I thought maybe I was just dehydrated.

About a month later, I started my new job that is about 30 minutes away from my home, but thanks to the traffic of a big city, I was sitting in my car two and a half hours a day trying to get to and from work. I started noticing that I had a hard time breathing just getting up from my seat at work, walking a few feet, getting in my car or even walking up the stairs. Than came the pain behind my knee. I started recently working out, so I thought I pulled a muscle and treated it as such. It soon went away. The chest pain and shortness of breath continued for another month. I went to the ER one night because I felt like I was having a heart attack. I was diagnosed as having severe low iron and sent home.

A week later, the severe knee pain came back and my leg got extremely huge. I was at work when I stood up and felt as though I was going to pass out, but I am stubborn and just slowly walked it off, went home and went to bed.

The turning point was when I was limping around at work one day and my co worker, Kathy, asked to see my leg. I showed her and told her I had not been working out and my leg just swelled up and I had pain to the point I was trying not to cry at work. She offered to take me to the ER and I kept saying no. She drove me to my car since we work at a place with a huge parking lot and the whole time I was trying not to cry from the pain.

My spouse was in California, my dad was in Germany with my stepmom and my mum lives in England. My extended family was in Nebraska. Only my sister-in-law, who lives with me and my husband, were in Virginia. As soon as I got to my car and I waved to my co worker that I was okay, I broke down gripping the steering wheel, crying and screaming in pain. Thinking I had an hour drive home and was in such pain, I called my husband in tears and he told me to go to the ER.

I finally caved and went and picked up my sister-in-law because I could not walk on my own and was scared to be alone in a hospital. We arrived at the ER and I got checked in. The hospital admissions person asked me what was wrong and I broke down and told her everything. She stared at me and said she was worried I had a blood clot and that is when everything went crazy. I got a heart test that showed irregular heartbeats and a Doppler done (which might hurt with severe leg pain). The nurse who did the test is probably scared of me, because I howled the whole time. It hurt so much. Not even 10 minutes later, they put me on an IV and told me to take a pregnancy test.

After they confirmed I was not pregnant, I got the CT scan that showed that I had blood clots in both my lungs and a huge clot in my right leg. I broke down, I was scared. I had no idea what a PE or a DVT was. Everyone in the ER calmed me down and explained that I am extremely lucky, because one of the clots was very close to my heart. My husband rushed to Virginia from California and my dad made arrangements to come back to the states from Germany to be with me. I was admitted to the hospital for five days.

It was the worst time of my life. The pain was horrendous, shots in my stomach, nurses constantly coming in and out ,and the fact that I was alone for the first day and a half (I told my sister-in-law to go home and rest since we were in the ER for over 12 hours). It was just miserable.

Once I was able to leave, I had strict instructions. I had crutches because my leg was so swollen and still in pain and I could not walk on my own. I was put on warfarin, which I continue to take. It has only been three months since this whole ordeal. Everything is still so new to me, like being on blood thinners. I also have to take a test to see if I have a blood disorder. They are still trying to figure out what caused my clots. They say I was not on birth control long enough for that to cause all the blood clots. I am still trying to get healthy and figure out what this all means and how it will affect the rest of my life.

To learn more about how blood clots are diagnosed, click here
Author: SW

13 Responses to "Blood Clots Can Happen to Anyone, At Any Age: Tamara Norris’ Blood Clot Story"

  1. Tamara
    Tamara Posted on February 1, 2016 at 8:48 pm

    Thank you for sharing my story

    • Brian
      Brian Posted on February 4, 2016 at 2:36 pm

      Tamara, I can relate a lot to your story. I had a similar thing happen in August of 2015, or just six months ago from today.

      I’m an athletic guy, active, stubborn. Physical issues are an inconvenience to me, at least that’s how I see them. It takes a lot to get me to the doctor.

      End of August, I was preparing for a very busy three weeks. I had a trip to Boston for work and then vacation for a week to Ocean City NJ. Tons of walking, activity, etc… So I did a hard workout one night knowing I probably wouldn’t be able to do it for a few weeks.

      Next morning I woke up, I knew something bad happened overnight, but I chalked it up to a pulled groin muscle and figured I’d gut my way through it and in a few days I’d be back to normal.

      The next two weeks were pure agony. I limped around like you, feeling like my entire leg was both simultaneously charlie-horsing and all my muscles were being pulled. It was the most pain I’ve ever been in.

      Long story short, I was on vacation and we had a day trip to NYC planned. That morning, my leg ballooned to about 3x its normal size, not even exaggerating. I thought my ankle was just going to pop open from the swelling. a friend had given me high dose Oxycodone and those weren’t even touching the pain.

      I limped into an urgent care in down town Manhatten and told the doctor I wanted him to diagnose me but that I wasn’t going to the hospital while I was on vacation. Dumb, arrogant, I know. He kept looking at me like I was crazy, which he should have, and told me I HAVE to see my doctor when I got back home, which I did.

      His face actually went white when he first saw me. He immediately sent me to the emergency room where it was diagnosed I had massive blood clotting in BOTH of my legs. Here I was, not only walking around for two weeks with obvious symptoms, but who knows how long before that as they formed.

      Looking back I can see signs going back over 2 years – shortness of breath, blurred vision – but I just chocked those up to the exhaustion from delivering water 5 days a week and then moving to a desk job and losing my conditioning.

      Initially I got a 10 day course of self injections where I had to give myself a shot twice a day in the stomach. Then I went on blood thinners. I was prohibited from playing hockey. I had a panel of blood tests (15 vials!) that revealed nothing except that I should be normal and there’s no explainable reason I got these.

      Slowly the pain and swelling went away, and although every once in awhile when I do something physical I can feel it, it seems like things are almost back to normal.

      Which leads me to today.

      Today is the first day in 4+ months I won’t be taking blood thinners. I begin a new chapter, one that involves hockey again ? But more than that, it will involve a new level of self-awareness and caution as I figure out how to live with the knowledge that at any point my blood might be clotting again. It’s definitely in the forefront of my thoughts, and I want to take the right steps to prevent anything like this from happening again

      I’m very optimistic and excited!

      Someone did tell me yesterday to be tested for MTHFR, which wasn’t, at least to my knowledge, in the panel of tests they did on me. Does anyone know anything about this?

      • Tamara
        Tamara Posted on February 10, 2016 at 3:39 pm

        I think when we don’t know a lot about something we are more stubborn. I had NO IDEA what a DVT/PE was and I am stubborn in the first place! I am so glad you are doing better and continue to monitor yourself! I am finally off of blood thinners. 8+ months on them!

  2. Roderick McDonald
    Roderick McDonald Posted on February 1, 2016 at 11:51 pm

    God bless you. My story is quite similar but I was misdiagnosed by Navy doctors whom told me I had a strained calf muscle. I have been dealing with DVT since 2006 and I was medically discharged from the Navy in 2009.. It’s a daily battle with pain and discomfort as I drive daily 40 minutes to work to sit for 8 hrs. I have applied for a disability retirement due to my condition as the day to day struggle just gets worse.

    • Cosmos
      Cosmos Posted on February 10, 2016 at 2:46 am

      I’m experiencing these exact symptoms currently, I felt like I was going to pass out and die and I’ve been trying to ride it out for sometime like dealing with the shortness of breath and blurred vision, I now see irregular veins in my leg that pop out anytime I jog or even walk a little distance. You guys have given me a better insight. Thanks so much. Cosmos

      • Tamara
        Tamara Posted on February 12, 2016 at 12:58 pm

        I am glad we can help just make sure you take care of yourself!

    • Tamara
      Tamara Posted on February 10, 2016 at 3:41 pm

      Yes, I think that made me really angry and upset when I first went into the ER and the base hospital didn’t do anything to try and diagnose it. I could have been caught early. A lot of stores I read, doctors do not diagnose the blood clots.

      are they are to find? I feel like most stories they are only found when they are enormous and have traveled….

  3. Michael stoll
    Michael stoll Posted on February 4, 2016 at 1:45 am

    I just read your story. I understand and feel your fear. I’m a 65 yr. Old man, never smoked light drinker, and worked construction for 45yrs. For my age I was in excellent shap. Then one day I started to realize I was getting very short breath just doing simple tasks. Then about 2 weeks later my left calf was very stiff and soar. Then I started a non-stop cough. I very finally went to urgent care, and they gave me a CT scan right away. I had multiple clots in both lungs and 2 clots in my left leg. I was admitted to the hospital. I stayed two days then put on xeralto blood thinner. I find myself very depressed with anxiety. I’m still very short breathed and I seem to almost talk myself into another clot every time I feel a funny tingling or pain in my chest. It’s such a scarry thing to live with,, I only pray that they will dissolve in time like the doctors have said. This just happened jan. 11, 2016. It’s still hard to believe, and they say 6 months of treatment. Just like the old saying, you never thought it would happen to you. I pray for all who are living with this serious condition. Keep a good adittude, stay active, and hopefully you will be back to who you once was. Move foreward, and keep smiling.

    • Tamara
      Tamara Posted on February 10, 2016 at 3:43 pm

      Thank you for your kind words.

      Recovery, I think, is worse than anything. You are constantly taking medicine, at the doctors, and the pain seemed worse to me after it was diagnosed. I am off blood thinners but my right leg still gets very swollen, pain, bruising, and what not. I have to wear a compression sock to help with everything.

      I am praying for you and glad to send my support. keep you head up, you got this !

    • Tim
      Tim Posted on September 16, 2016 at 2:17 am

      Michael…hope all is well…are you still on Xeralto? I have been on such thinners for one year…all is good. Thoughts?

  4. Samuel
    Samuel Posted on February 18, 2016 at 5:08 am

    I was diagnosed with a blood clot in my thigh about 2 weeks ago. That night I went to another hospital and they injected some blood thinner. Then I went to that same hospital the next day and they did another ultrasound on my leg and didn’t find anything so the doctor just told me to go home. My wife asked whether it could have moved elsewhere but the doctor dismissed this suggestion and do we went home. I didn’t really question it either as I was just relieved to be going home. Then on Monday, I observed two one hour classes at work, after that o went and sat down in the staff room and suddenly felt tired. My heart also started beating really fast and I thought I was going to pass out. I got another ultrasound done in my legs but there were no clots. The doctor gave me warfarin and I’m going again today to do a CT scan. I’m pretty depressed about this whole thing, given that I could die and that I might have to undergo treatment for an extended period of time. I’m trying to remain optimistic. Thanks, Tamara, for your story and got the others who have also posted.

    • Tamara
      Tamara Posted on February 22, 2016 at 6:02 pm

      Don’t be depressed. As you can read from all the stories it happens and we just have to know what to do and how to prevent it. My advice is , if you know something is wrong or doesn’t feel right, keep being persistent. That was my mistake when I went to the ER in the first place, I just went along with what they said and didn’t tell them to do more.

      Keep your head up, you have a whole community behind you and supporting you! 🙂

  5. jana
    jana Posted on May 31, 2016 at 8:08 pm

    ` wow. it helps so much to read everyone’s story! My son is 20 years old and had a DVT in his arm and 2 small PEs. He’s been on blood thinners for the last 3 weeks and his arm looks so much better. we’re about to start the testing procedure, to see if we can find out why. I’ve ben freaked out that it might be cancer (even though he’s been scanned and had blood work and none of the drs are at all going there.) It’s extremely helpful knowing that others have had this… randomly. thanks so much for sharing. I may actually sleep tonight.