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My name is jamie8Melanie Gravley, and I am 23.

This story is about my husband, Jamie Lee, who lost his life due to a pulmonary embolism (PE) in June 2012 at age 22.

We were together since June 20, 2007, married on Sept 3, 2010, and welcomed a son on May 20, 2011. We felt very blessed, and thought we had everything we could desire in our little family.

My husband complained of pain in his left leg in early June 2012. He went to the doctor, after feeling that leg pain for a week, and was diagnosed with a pulled muscle and sent home, where he seemed to get better after a few days of rest.

He returned to the doctor a week later, because he felt chest pain and had a cough, for which he was given an antibiotic for an upper respiratory infection, and sent home again. He seemed to get better for a few days, but he complained of worsening chest pain one day shy of the date that marked five years that we were together, June 19, 2012. We went back to the doctor, who continued to diagnose his symptoms of a respiratory infection that they treated with an injection, likely another antibiotic, and sent him home.

At home, we sat on our couch laughing together with our 1 year son, Jayson. Suddenly, Jamie Lee rushed to the bathroom because he felt the urge to throw up, and he collapsed before he got to it. My mother, who is a nurse, and I began cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and I called 911. Paramedics continued CPR and tried other measures to revive him, without success. My mother and I followed the ambulance to the hospital.

I was greeted by his mother at the hospital, and we were sent to a waiting room, where a doctor came in after about 30 minutes or so, and the look on his face said it all. The doctors tried everything they could to bring him back, but he was gone at the age of 22. His family had to tell his younger sister and her boyfriend that her big brother was gone. My mind went to straight to our son Jayson, who loved his daddy with all his heart, and was his daddy’s boy.

jayson-daddy

I was uncertain whether I should let our son say goodbye to his father, and decided he should, so I carried him to the casket, and his eyes lit up as he said “Dad Shh!” This is what Jayson would typically say when he saw his father sleeping. He touched his daddy’s beard and signature Ford logo cap, and I told Jayson that we had to say goodbye to daddy, so he said “Bye bye, Dad.” That was one of our more difficult moments.

The doctors think he likely had a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in his leg that broke off and traveled to his lungs.

The church was filled with family and friends at his funeral.

His autopsy report stated that Jamie Lee had multiple pulmonary emboli (PEs) in both lungs that caused his death, something I thought happened only to older people.

My husband was a healthy young man who could walk miles and miles without ever getting tired, so I was shocked that this caused his death. There is no history of blood clots in other members of my husband’s birth family, and no testing was done for blood clotting disorders.

I want to promote awareness about how PEs can be misdiagnosed and fatal, as I sadly learned with my husband’s untimely death. Another friend of my husband died of complications from a blood clot to his heart, and I want to bring awareness about risk of blood clots in their memory. I’ve learned through this tragedy that blood clots kill people of all ages, and I want to prevent it from happening to anyone.

Take Home Messages

  1. Blood clots can happen to young, seemingly healthy people.
  2. Get care right away in the ER for chest pain or shortness of breath that don’t go away.
  3. It is not uncommon for a DVT to be misdiagnosed as a pulled muscle, and for a PE to be diagnosed wrongly as a respiratory infection.
Author: admin

11 Responses to "In Memory of Jamie Lee Gravley: His Blood Clot Story"

  1. Shanna Casto
    Shanna Casto Posted on November 22, 2013 at 2:57 am

    Melanie,
    I had Jamie in school and was so sad to hear about his passing. Thank you for sharing his story and for helping people become more aware of this life threatening condition.

  2. Jack Grossman
    Jack Grossman Posted on November 23, 2013 at 8:00 am

    Melanie~ I am so sorry for your loss. I nearly died on January 4th, 2010, three days before my 54th birthday. I had walked around for several days prior with pain and discomfort in my left leg. In reality it was a stroke caused by a clot in my brainstorm. I thought the stroke symptom was suppose to be tingling or numbness. I was paralyzed on my left side for some time~ I am now about 85% recovered. I am fortunate to have a 2nd chance.

  3. Samantha
    Samantha Posted on December 2, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    My husband had a two foot PE that caused his heart to stop 5 times. He was 19 at the time and was brought to the hospital from our baby shower, that’s where his heart stoped. They did open heart to remove it and our son was born 6 weeks later, the day he was discharged from the hospital.

    I’m so sorry to for the loss of your husband just remember your never alone.

  4. Karen
    Karen Posted on December 2, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    Melanie – My prayers go out to you and your family. I had 3 blood clots in one year. The first one in October of 1994 nearly killed me; the 2nd one – November 1995; the 3rd one – December 1995. I had to get the Inferior Vena Cava Filter in January of 1996. I am very lucky to have survived all 3 of them. I agree with the others who have also have blood clots in their lives, you are not alone. Remember this. Now, you have to grieve as long as you need to do so. Do not forget to seek counseling, go onto Facebook to the Deep Vein Thrombosis survivor page. There are others like yourself who have lost loved ones to a disease that the media doesn’t reflect on as much as they should.

    Hugs and love,

    Karen of Apopka Florida

  5. Pam
    Pam Posted on December 2, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    Melanie – It is with such sadness that I read Jamie’s story. I suffered a DVT & PE 2 months ago. I would not have made it if my husband had not been home at the time. I was given a 10% chance of survival and later learned that 90% of all PE’s are diagnosed by autopsy. I don’t understand why they are so hard for doctor’s to diagnose. A new test must be developed to find these blood clots!! Something that is automatically done!!

    I have suffered greatly from what the doctors told me is survivors guilt. When I hear stories like this I just can’t understand why it is that I, a 55-year-old woman, survived and someone like your husband did not. I just try to keep telling myself that God has a certain purpose for me yet, that’s why I’m still here. Your husband must have been a wonderful man and God must have needed him for a purpose much, much greater than mine. I know he is with you and your son always. I am very sorry for your loss. God bless you!

  6. Terri
    Terri Posted on December 6, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    I am so very sorry for your loss, Melanie. You and your son and family are in my prayers. Thank you for sharing your story. You will never know how many it may help.

  7. jenny
    jenny Posted on December 2, 2014 at 4:06 am

    im so sorry I too had a story that did end will and a beautiful son that came later

  8. Jeremy
    Jeremy Posted on December 14, 2014 at 11:47 am

    I’m so sorry your loss Melanie. I know how hard it is to try and find a reason why things like this happen. I feel do bad for your son having to say goodbye to his daddy at such a young age. It’s very hard for a boy to grow up without a father. I can’t help but feel that his doctors are some-what responsible for his passing. It’s not that hard for them to just order a D-Dimer test to check for the possibility of a blood clot. I was lucky in my case that I am a truck driver and they put two and two together in the ER. Otherwise I might have been just checked for a broken hip, which is what they thought I had. Please try and get your son tested for clotting disorders and keep an eye out for any signs or symptoms of a blood clot. Pam, don’t feel bad about having survivors guilt. I walked around for 5 months with a possible clot in my legs. I thought I had a pulled muscle. I waited to the point that my right leg was literally dragging across the floor before I went to the ER. I did this because I did not have medical insurance. I had a clot extending from my foot all the way to my femoral vein. I also had a massive Bi-lateral Saddle PE. My hematologist said that my PE was so big that even without my APS/Hughes Syndrome diagnosis a few weeks later, she was going to keep me on blood thinners for life regardless. I often times feel very guilty for surviving wen others who have families and children depending on them pass away. I wish I could give a part of myself or take the place of someone who is more deserving of life than myself. I still battle with chronic pain and a loss of mobility in m right leg, I also suffer from daily lung/chest pain, but I’m still here to tell my story. More needs to be done to prevent others from being misdiagnosed. I’ll be keeping you and your family in my prayers. Thank you for sharing your husbands story with us. I hope his story will help the medical community take chest pains more seriously.

  9. Donna
    Donna Posted on March 27, 2015 at 1:00 am

    Melanie:

    I am so very sorry for your loss. I too list my husband October of last year from a PE. It had surgery and collapsed on the hospital floor with the PE. There were no symptoms of his PE until it was too late. I am so very devastated and agree that something has to be done for people to be checked on a regular basis, especially when they go into the hospital for any reason to make sure there isn’t already DVT that has not yet been diagnosed. I will never get over this loss as it was the first time he had ever been ill and we had been married for 32 years.

  10. pamela
    pamela Posted on April 27, 2015 at 10:09 am

    My husband died of a blood clot to his leg as well, he died in front of me last year while we were on holiday in mexico, I couldn’t believe on min waving to me the nexted he was gone, I must say the medical people in mexico had no idea what so ever, now I got to leave my life without him, it horrible because its so sudden

  11. Renee Niederhausen
    Renee Niederhausen Posted on May 16, 2016 at 12:16 am

    Hi Melanie,

    My name is Renee and I am a sixteen year old girl attending Seton High School in Cincinnati Ohio. In health class we are researching a topic that interests us. For this project I decided to research a disease called Factor V Leiden which is a blood clotting disorder. In my research, I came across your story. I read your story and am extremely sorry for your loss. No one should ever have to go through what you and your son went through. I wanted to share my story with you. In 2011, my dad went to the emergency room complaining of pains in his chest. After all of the scans and tests, he was sent home diagnosed with Pleurisy (inflammation of the lungs) and given antibiotics. However, that next morning at six o’clock, we got a call from the emergency room saying my father needed to be rushed to the hospital. They informed us that they had missed three pulmonary emboli in his lungs and needed to be cared for right away. He was given blood thinners and watched very closely for just shy of two weeks. This was a scary time for my family and I, however, I am fortunate enough to still have my father with me today. His blot clotting was caused by the genetic blood disease I mentioned earlier called Factor V Leiden. This mutation causes abnormal blood clots in a persons body. Since this is a genetic disease, it is very likely that myself and/or my siblings may have this mutation. Most people who have this disorder pass it on to their children. Since I am getting older, I took it upon myself to get tested this past week so I can be cautious with symptoms and be aware if i would happen to have FVL. I highly encourage you to talk to Jayson’s pediatrician about possibly getting tested so that you are able to be aware of this disease just as I will be. Even with this blood disorder you can do anything, however, clotting issues can become very sudden. Thank you for listening to my story and I wish your family all the best!

    Renee 🙂