I Didn’t Give Blood Clots a Second Thought Before Experiencing Mine: Alison’s Story

I Didn’t Give Blood Clots a Second Thought Before Experiencing Mine: Alison’s Story

Last July, I started feeling tightness in my chest when I breathed in deeply. I ignored it for awhile, as it didn’t seem to cause any real issues.

A month or so later, I went to my doctor to make sure it wasn’t Covid or another respiratory infection. The doctor ran basic bloodwork, which came out normal, and suggested that I may be feeling some inflammation from the poor air quality outside. She sent me home with an inhaler to try.

A day or so later, I started experiencing pain in the top and back of my left shoulder, as well as in the top of my left ribs. The pain would come and go and would get worse in certain positions, like lying down. As someone who partakes in fitness-related hobbies, I am no stranger to aches and pains. I tried doing the normal regimen of anti-inflammatories, rest, massage therapy, etc. but nothing gave me any relief. It was the worst pain I’ve ever experienced.

I made a follow up appointment with my doctor where she tested my shoulder for injuries, gave me a referral for PT, and sent me home with a muscle relaxer. She sent me for bloodwork again, but this time added a D-dimer test. My regular bloodwork came back normal, but I received a call asking me to come to the hospital for a CT scan due to my extremely high D-dimer results.

I got the CT scan done and the doctor called me while I was still at the hospital saying I need to go to the ER stat. They picked me up in the waiting room in a wheelchair and admitted me to the ER. I was diagnosed with bilateral pulmonary embolism at 29 years old, with only my use of birth control as a risk factor.

Luckily, my hospital stay was short due to my stable vitals and no more than mild strain on my heart. The doctors were surprised I never experienced a DVT or any other typical symptoms and had normal bloodwork and vitals the entire time. Since then, I have seen a hematologist who has diagnosed my blood clots as “unprovoked” as I didn’t have any genetic reasons or major risk factors.

I truly didn’t give blood clots a second thought before experiencing mine. I never thought about them or the risk of them, and I didn’t feel like I heard about them too often. Now that I’m aware, I hear about them all the time and also try to share my experience and spread awareness.


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