I am 18 years old and during November 2020 I contracted COVID-19. A few months later, I started having pain in my leg and I found it difficult to breathe.
My mom took me to the doctor and they told me it was just anxiety. But three days later, I convinced my mom that something was seriously wrong and she took me to the emergency room, where they identified multiple PEs or pulmonary emboli (blood clots in my lungs) and several DVTs (deep vein thrombosis) or blood clots in my arms and legs.
They told me if I waited any longer to come in, I could have died. It was determined that even as a healthy 18-year-old, the combination of multiple risk factors — COVID-19 and the hormonal birth control I was prescribed — had likely caused my blood clots. I am currently being tested for any genetic clotting disorders that may also have been a contributing factor.
I’ve learned a lot about how to help myself deal with the post-thrombotic anxiety and PTSD I have experienced since my near-fatal blood clots, and will be participating in a trial for teens diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism. This experience really opened my eyes to how serious blood clots are.
My advice to others going through something similar is to know that it gets better. Hold on to your loved ones because it was my friends and family that kept me going during that very scary time, and now.