Colleen Meredith’s Blood Clot Story

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My naDay After Hospitalme is Colleen Meredith and my first experience with blood clots occurred my second year of college after having a lobectomy (a surgical procedure that removes a lobe of one of the lungs). I was on my university’s soccer team for my university, and I felt like I was always ill to the point where getting out of bed was a battle. When I was running on the soccer field, I constantly felt like my right lung wasn’t expanding and there were waves of excruciating pains in my abdomen that would make sleeping and eating absolutely impossible. My doctor diagnosed me with endometriosis (abnormal growth of cells that line the uterus, in a location outside the uterus), and I had to have surgery.

After having surgery, I was put on Quasence – an extended-cycle birth control pill that allowed me to have only four menstrual cycles a year. This was prescribed to help with the pains from the endometriosis. Even with the endometriosis treatments, I was usually in terrible discomfort and short of breath to the point where the pain in my chest went from the front to the very back making bending and twisting so awful.

Pre Op

Because I complained about being short of breath, my doctor ordered a chest x-ray. The chest x-ray showed a mass (an abnormal growth) about an inch in diameter in my right lung. I dropped out of college and quit soccer the second semester of my sophomore year. I had been playing soccer for 17 years of my life and that and my grades were the most important things to me. Losing both of those at the same time was absolutely devastating to a 20 year old me.

I moved to Arizona to be with my mom and deal with the mass. The first thing they did when I got back to Arizona was to try to do a biopsy (test some cells of the mass for cancer) of the mass in my lung. However, my lung collapsed and they were unable to obtain a sample. Because of the density and size of the mass, my surgeon decided to go in and remove the mass anyway; it turned out I had Valley Fever, which is a fungal infection that enters the body through the lungs, gives a person symptoms similar to a cold or flu, and affects many people in Arizona.

Purple Leg

After a week in the hospital I was allowed to go home; it wasn’t even two days later that the pain from taking a breath became so awful that I was seeing spots. Then, my mom and I noticed that my left leg had turned an awful shade of purple and we sped to the emergency room.

I was diagnosed with bilateral pulmonary embolisms (lung clot or PE) and a deep vein thrombosis (leg clot or DVT) in my left leg. They kept me in the hospital for a week and did multiple surgeries to remove the clot in my leg and insert an inferior vena cava filter or IVC. (An IVC filter is a medical device inserted into the major vein that brings blood from the lower part of the body into the heart. This is done to prevent blood clots from traveling to the lungs to form another pulmonary embolism (PE))

I was released from the hospital again and within a day, my leg had become worse. The second morning I was home, I woke up screaming. My mom was at work and I called her but all I could do was cry. She called an ambulance and by the time she returned home I was being loaded up and taken back to the emergency room for more Heparin, Lovenox, Coumadin, and surgery.

The IVC filter kept the clot from going to vena cava; however, the clot grew all the way down my leg from my hip to my ankle. Since then, I have had three more DVT’s in my left leg. My medical history—Valley Fever, bilateral pulmonary emboli, and pneumonia when I was younger—has caused right ventricular dysfunction in my heart. I have to have another endometriosis surgery in two months because the only treatment for endometriosis is hormone therapy; I cannot take the hormones anymore because they cause blood clots so the lesions keep growing.

My Favorite Thing Ever

I am very, very lucky to be here writing this today. I have two more semesters of college and I am dating the love of my life. He has sat with me through every single step of this awfulness. I appreciate my family more than I ever have and I love life with a passion that I have never felt before.

I have factor V Leiden – which I didn’t know about until my first clot—endometriosis, fibromyalgia, and epilepsy. In spite of all of these diagnoses, I am probably the most positive person in the world. The best advice I can give someone who is going through any of this is to not become your illness. It’s important to not forget who you are throughout all of this craziness.

Take Home Messages:

  • Blood clots don’t discriminate; twenty year olds get them
  • Hormonal birth control increases your risk of blood clots, especially if you have a genetic clotting disorder like factor V Leiden
  • If your leg turns purple or bluish and is swollen, seek immediate medical attention
  • If your leg turns colors and you have chest pains and difficulty breathing, go to an emergency room or call 911
  • Major surgery such as lung surgery increases your risk of blood clots
  • Surviving a PE is a life-changing experience
  • A PE crisis can turn you into an advocate for DVT/PE awareness
  • There is life after blood clots – enjoy it everyday.
  • Do not become your illness, and don’t forget who you are.
Author: admin

9 Responses to "Colleen Meredith’s Blood Clot Story"

  1. Jeanine
    Jeanine Posted on March 26, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    I have endometriosis, have had one surgery for it in 1992. I was diagnosed with my first DVT when I was 10 weeks pregnant in 1990. I was on heparin therapy my entire pregnancy and Coumadin for 6 months after. All tests done to see why I developed a DVT came back inconclusive they just knew it wasn’t pregnancy related. I suffered with endometriosis because I couldn’t go on the hormone therapy. I got pregnant with my second child in 1996 and thankfully had no DVT. I never had a problem with DVTs until 2009. I was blooding excessively for a month and was put on Progestin to stop the bleeding. I was put on Progestin until they could figure out if I needed a historectomy or ablation. I then got another DVT in the same femoral vein from my thigh to ankle. After numerous tests they figured out I had Protein S and Protein C deficiency. I now take coumadin for life. However, I started bleeding again after they stopped the Progestin. I now go for monthly injections of Lupron Depot. I have not had a period since 2009. My doctor plans on keeping me on the injections until I turn 50 to see if my body goes into menopause by itself. Lupron Depot has been a wonder drug for me. I read all the negative side effects but thankfully I have not experienced any. I hope my story helps you with options.

    • Barbara Lutge
      Barbara Lutge Posted on May 9, 2014 at 7:24 am

      Hello Jeannine, I have been doing some research on S and C protein deficiency because my granddaughter has the same condition. We found out when she was 14. We eventually found out she got it from her dad. He started having problems when he was in his 30s. He has subsequently had several strokes.
      then he had another daughter who also was diagnosed with the same thing. I don’t know what age she was but probably in her teens. My grand daughter is now in her mid 20s. She had two babies when she was about 16 and 20. The doctor wanted her to have an abortion and she refused. She was treated prenatally by a local O.B. doc. She refused care from any one else. She had a tubal after the second baby. Fortunately both babies and Mom came through okay. But Barb’s doctor told her mom when she was diagnosed she would never be able to work. That has proved to be true. I don’t know if she has had adequate treatment all these years. The last time she was in the hospital she had so many clots in her lungs the doctor couldn’t count them all. Right now she is not on any meds and we are extremely worried about her. Her last doctor decided to quit treating her because it was too time consuming to monitor her labs and adjust her meds. We are in California and she is under Medi-caL managed care. I am trying to find her a hematologist but first she has to have a primary doc. I am looking for information to send with her disability papers. Right now I am looking for information on treatment modalities and genetic testing for her kids and her sister’s kids. We had been told they didn’t need testing unless they developed symptoms, but because her dad didn’t know until he was older, that concerns me. I hope everything continues to go well for you and your family. Thanks for sharing. If you have anything you can share with Barb you can e-mail her through me. Barbara

  2. sharon wilson
    sharon wilson Posted on March 27, 2014 at 1:44 am

    I sm a 46 year old woman. Notice pain in my legs. My legs are swollen more pain in the right leg now i feel short of breath should i contact an emergency or go asap.

  3. Linda Bennett
    Linda Bennett Posted on March 27, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    March 27, 2014

    Dear Colleen Meredith,

    I am praying you will discover other natural wellness choices, other thank the physician’s drugs. As well I am praying for divine healing for you. God loves you, and he wants to heal you of all disease. Psalm 107:20 In the Bible Psalm 103:5 says,”He (God) satisfies your mouth with good things and renews your youth as an eagle.” Dr. Don Colbert is a Christian doctor who has written a number of books on healing, including Toxic Relief and Walking in Divine Health. He is a medical doctor that uses nutrition and natural supplements to heal all diseases. As well Hallelujah Acres has a book and a large organization in the US, that prescribes a vegan diet with supplements to heal all diseases. Personally I became a wellness consultant with the NIIKEN company, in the year 2001 to improve my own health, and to help my mother with her health. My Mother has had a condition of Deep Vein Thrombosis, and previously had cancer. My mother uses all the wellness technology and nutrition of the NIKKEN wellness company including the OsteoDenx program developed by Dr. Naidu. My Mother uses the magnetic technology of Nikken and sleeps on a magnetic bed, with magnetic infra-red comforter, to improve the circulation of her legs. My testimony is that in the year 2001 God healed me of all sickness and infirmity, so that I could go to China as an English teacher and missionary to northern China, and later to Shanghai in 2005 and 2006. At the age of 64 I have better health and energy than I had at 24. I give all the glory to God that he has renewed my youth as an eagle through prayer and healthy nutrition and whole food supplements. I pray you can find a good caring wellness consultant with the NIKKEN company in Arizona to help you with your health. NIKKEN is the number 1 wellness company in the world, and all their technology and whole foods nutrition works. Most important I am praying that you receive God’s love and divine healing for you. God loves you with an everlasting love. John 3:16 20 Million people have visited this website to see the videos.
    Linda Bennett in Canada

  4. janet thompson
    janet thompson Posted on June 25, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    Hello Colleen, I’m 50 and 6 months ago I had a sudden onset of Menorrhagia, to the point I received 4 units of blood in the ER. Treatment for the condition was what they call a Hormone Taper. birth control pills taken at the rate of 5 pills then 4, 3, 2, 1 over the course of the past 6 months its been repeated 3 times. the end of last month they changed the medication because I have bled every day to some degree or another putting me on progestin. 4 days on the new medication I began bleeding uncontrollably. they upped the dosage and gave me a depo shot..I had another severe bleed, which took me to the ER for Fluid and a ultra sound they sent me home with directions for the 4th Hormone taper. The next morning my left leg ached like a bad sprain and my right leg started to get a purple streak. I couldn’t walk without being out of breath or sweating like I was in a sauna. Two days later I had a appt and my blood hemoglobin was 7. Admitted to the hospital and a ultra sound found a Superficial clot in my thigh, a DVT in my knee and multiple clots in my right lung. .I was hospitalized 10 days, 3 more units of blood, had a IVC filter installed, and a uterine fibroid embolism done. Now I am on Warfarin for at least 6 months till the clots can clear. Its hard to breathe, hard to move. stairs are a sure way to make my heart rate go over 140, I feel like I’ve run 5 miles up hill most of the time now. however the bleeding has almost stopped, my INR is running very close to 3, and with some luck I wont lose my hair, which is a side effect of warfarin when High INR levels are kept Thankfully the love of my life is understanding and my son has come to stay and help me for a while till school resumes in sept.

  5. Jenna
    Jenna Posted on August 15, 2014 at 3:55 am

    Thank you for posting this story! I have submitted mine and am still waiting for a response, but reading your take home messages really inspired me. I have just reached the one year anniversary of my DVT diagnosis. Because of the fact that my DVT clot was left untreated for so long, it became impossible for doctors to remove it. I spent 9 months on blood thinners and in and out of hospitals. I was now told that the clot can no longer travel or cause me any harm but is something that I am going to have to live with for the rest of my life. I am trying so hard to put this in the past but it is something that I think about everyday. This diagnosis was very hard to hear at 19 years old but I am glad to hear that I am not alone. Thank you and good luck to you!!

  6. Sam
    Sam Posted on October 13, 2014 at 11:57 am

    Incredible post Colleen. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I completely that one of the biggest misconceptions about blood clots is the though that ‘only old people get them.’ I had my first DVT when I was 15 and my second 2 years later at 17. I’ve finally just started writing about my experience: I appreciate you for sharing your story and that fact that you aren’t becoming your illness. Rock on!

  7. Barbara
    Barbara Posted on November 29, 2015 at 4:28 am

    I have endometriosis, had a PE March 20, 2015, and a mastectomy May 19, 2015. You are right. All these are life changing events, but as long as you are breathing, there is life. Good luck to you.

  8. Barbara
    Barbara Posted on November 29, 2015 at 4:31 am

    I thought I had bronchitis. Even my doctor didn’t suspect I had a blood clot. It’s because of some very special people that I am alive today.