At 20 years old, I was healthy, fit, active, and recovering from an ACL tear from a year and a half prior. When I finally went in for reconstructive surgery on June 19, 2020, it was at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, already a very stressful time.
I was aware that I had a family history of blood clots – both my mother and maternal grandfather had suffered deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE) in the past. I expressed my concerns about developing blood clots to the surgical team but they responded that I was “too young.” There was no surgical plan for prophylaxis and I was not put on blood thinners. This was a mistake.
On June 24, 2020 I went in for my first post-operation appointment with a charley horse pain behind my left knee and shortness of breath — two major symptoms of blood clots — but I was brushed off and told to rest. From there, my symptoms only grew worse, which prompted me to admit myself to the hospital. The doctors ran a D-Dimer test which showed alarming results, and sure enough they discovered that I had multiple pulmonary emboli (PEs) that developed as a result of a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in my left leg.
After the diagnosis, I was administered blood thinner injections in the hospital and discharged on an oral blood thinner for six months. I have since returned to being a healthy and fit 21-year-old, but my life has been changed forever. Nobody in my family has any known clotting disorder, but my family history suggests we do have a genetic predisposition. This, along with the knee surgery, likely causes my blood clots.
This diagnosis has made me appreciate life on an entirely new level and take advantage of every day! For those reading my story, listen to your body and be your own best advocate, because sometimes knowing your risk factors isn’t enough. Blood clots affect people of all ages!