At the beginning of 2022, when I was 18, I started feeling pain in my chest. Since I was a professional triathlete preparing for the next season’s races, this pain was negatively affecting my training. I ignored the pain and difficulty breathing and pushed myself harder.
However, one night I woke up with extreme pain in my lungs and I couldn’t breathe properly, move, or talk. The following morning, my parents took me to emergency service. Blood tests and MR scans were performed, but they were not able to diagnose me.
After two weeks in the hospital, the pain in my chest was getting worse and breathing was getting harder. On top of that, my leg was swelling and I was coughing up blood. During the third week of my stay in the hospital, doctors finally diagnosed me with massive pulmonary embolism (PE) and deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
I started receiving blood thinning medication. I also had five surgeries on my left leg to clear the clots so I could run and race again. Each surgery took approximately five hours. After that, I stayed in the intensive care unit for days.
After nearly two months of hospitalization, I was finally stable enough to go home. However, before that, I talked with my doctor about my sports career. They told me that my lungs were permanently damaged because of the clots. So, I would not be able to do any high-level sports anymore.
I was shocked because for the last couple of months, I fought to take my life back. I could not imagine my life without sport. I didn’t give up and turned back to my training. After six months, I achieved my goal to heal my lungs!
In terms of risk factors, I had COVID before my blood clot symptoms started. I also have hemophilia B.
This experience has changed my life drastically. However, it taught me something: I should never give up.