I’ve Never Been So Panicked in My Life: Adam’s Story

I’ve Never Been So Panicked in My Life: Adam’s Story

I had just gotten over a cold where I was laid up in bed for a few days, so I went for a run to get back on the exercise train. Shortly into my run, I felt an odd pain in my chest and decided to cut it short. The pain worsened over the next couple of days, so I headed to an urgent care.

After an X-ray, they told me everything looked fine and that it was likely just a pulled oblique muscle. The pain continued to escalate over the next couple of days, but again, I thought it was just a pulled muscle, and I was being overly dramatic.

My wife and I had planned to drive from St. Louis to Chicago to visit my sister for the weekend, about five days after the initial pain. A little over halfway into the drive, we pulled over to use a rest area. I could not walk into the gas station because the pain was so bad, and I struggled to breathe.

It was then that I really knew something was wrong. We were in the middle of nowhere, so I told my wife to keep driving. We arrived at my sister’s, and I needed help getting inside. Against my better judgment, I did not go to the ER until the next morning at the urging of my wife, sister, and mother.

At the ER, I was diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism and pulmonary infarction at 28 years old. I remember hearing things like “life-threatening” and regarding small portions of my lung tissue, “Well, it’s not dead but…” and I’ve never been so panicked in my life.

I was given rivaroxaban and I was sent home that evening with painkillers. Luckily, the blood thinners did the trick, and I slowly started feeling better over the next few days.

In terms of risk factors, I have factor V Leiden, and so does my mother and sister. I also spent a few days in bed, which could have contributed to the clots.

I am so blessed and grateful to still be here today. While it was a long road to recovery filled with frustration and setbacks, the experience gave me a new perspective on life.

My advice is to be grateful for every day you have with those you love. And know the signs and symptoms of blood clots and go to the ER if you’re experiencing them.


Factor V Leiden
Know Your Risk
Signs and Symptoms

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