In September of 2015, I was sitting in the ICU wondering how I had gotten there. Flash back to six months prior, I had severe depression and I was close to weighing 300 pounds. I was also training for a 160-mile bike ride from Miami to Key West. During my training for this ride, I started experiencing chest pain and shortness of breath. I told myself that it was due to my weight and I continued to push through the pain. I told myself that this is what it was like to be 300 pounds.
By mid-September I was still not feeling well, but I continued to ignore my symptoms and competed in a triathlon. During the swimming segment of the triathlon, I took 10 strokes in the open water and a wave of nausea hit me… Then I couldn’t breathe. The lifeguards plunged into the water and pulled me to safety where the paramedics took over. I knew something wasn’t right, but they checked my vitals and said everything was normal before releasing me.
Luckily the ICU team and the thrombolytic “Clot Buster” drug saved my life. I found out that I have Factor II (also called Prothrombin G20210A), a blood clotting disorder which my mother was recently diagnosed with as well. Having this blood clotting disorder in my family, being on birth control at the age of 45, and severe dehydration were all risk factors that contributed to my blood clots.
I started going to therapy after this experience and was diagnosed with an eating disorder. This entire experience changed my entire life and has taught me how to advocate for myself. Luckily, my hematologist referred me to stoptheclot.org where I have learned all about the risk factors for blood clots. For those reading my story, please pay attention to your body!