Grateful for Every Second: Caitlyn’s Story

Grateful for Every Second: Caitlyn’s Story

No one can predict what medical issues they will have to overcome in their lives. I never thought that I would come face to face with a serious condition, like deep vein thrombosis, when I was 16 years old. It is what happened to me, though, and I feel extremely passionate about raising awareness, because blood clots can happen to anyone.

Since I was 15 years old, I spent quite a large portion of my life in the hospital being treated for various medical illnesses. However, when I wasn’t in the hospital, I was living my life as an active and fairly fit teenager. A few months after my 16th birthday, I started to develop numbness in my hip and abdomen. My left leg was also swollen, and I was short of breath. Six weeks later, I was in surgery having an angioplasty and thrombectomy performed. Unfortunately, the clots were too solid to be removed, and so a hole was drilled through the massive clot.

After many scans, angiograms and blood tests, it was determined that I have May-Thurner Syndrome, or MTS. MTS is a rare condition in which the iliac vein is compressed between the iliac artery and the spinal vertebrae. Many doctors and medical professionals do not immediately know about this condition, so it can be complicated in finding the best way to manage it for each person. Luckily, I have a team of amazing doctors, qualified in many fields of medicine, who are helping me live life to the best of my ability. The National Blood Clot Alliance has also been extremely helpful by creating a website and online support forum to connect with people who have been through similar experiences. They have definitely helped me cope with the emotional aspect of blood clots and MTS.

Although this experience has been hard, it has taught me to be grateful for every second of my life, especially since I came so close to losing it. I take on every day with my goals in mind and a smile on my face no matter how I feel physically. One thing I would like to emphasize is that you’re never too young to go through major health issues, and for people with a good bill of health, take care of yourself now, because you may not get it back once it’s gone. Our health is not always in our control, but do what you can to stay as healthy as possible.

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