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My name is Brittney Berlingeri and I am twenty-two years old. Over the summer, I was diagnosed with a pulled muscle that was then diagnosed as “pneumonia,” despite the fact that my D-Dimer test was elevated. I could not breathe. It was the most painful experience of my life. Symptoms eased, but I was extremely fatigued and little things like walking up stairs left me breathless.
My grandfather, Carmelo Berlingeri, passed away on January 31, 2016. He was my whole heart and my strength. I started getting the pain I did in the summer, but on the right side of my ribs into my back. I dealt with the pain for two days. Something in me told me that I should go to the hospital because something was not right.
I went to the hospital. My D-Dimer was elevated and the CAT scan showed multiple emboli in both of my lungs along with infarction. I had fevers, pain, and 23 tubes of blood drawn. I was in the hospital for three days and I have been in and out of doctors’ offices for testing ever since.
It’s been three weeks out of work and I don’t know what’s worse, the pain of losing my grandfather or the feeling of someone taking a bat to my lungs. I am a rare 2% of people who have two genetic mutations for blood clotting. Needless to say I’ll be on blood thinners for the rest of my life. I don’t like to think my life is defined by a pill, but without blood thinners I wouldn’t be alive. I’m depressed and anxious. What if it comes back? Am I going to die? What happens when I get pregnant or as I get older? I have all of these questions, but all I can all do is take life day by day. Right now, I am on a blood thinner with less restrictions and my blood is regulated.
Everyone at the hospital said I had a Guardian Angel looking over me, for without the clot pushing against my liver, I would have died. The road to recovery is hard, but with the National Blood Clot Alliance website and other patient stories there, it is helpful to know that I’m not the only one. I truly understand how scary this is. I’ll pray for all of your recoveries to a life that we were meant to live.