My name is Caroline, and I was diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in my right leg for the second time. The first time I was diagnosed with DVT, I was 19 years old, and it was due to birth control. My condition was so bad I was on total bed rest for four months. After my clots dissolved, I was than tested for blood disorders. I didn’t have any, and I no longer needed to be on blood thinners. I was so excited to walk again and have my life back. I was blood clot and blood thinner free.
Four years later, I decided to spend my 23rd birthday in Hawaii. While traveling back from Hawaii to Pennsylvania on an airplane, I started to notice swelling in my feet, and I felt dehydrated. When it was time to get off the airplane, my feet were completely swollen, but I didn’t think anything of it. I had no symptoms of chest pains, warmness in my leg, shortness of breath, or discoloration. Once I got home and walked around, I started to feel a tightness in my right calf. It was that same feeling that I felt in my right leg four years ago.
I thought to myself, “no way,” and the tears begin to run down my face. I thought to myself, “I can’t go through this again.” I knew I needed to go to the hospital, but I mentally couldn’t handle the thought of being on bed rest again, and of being depressed. However, I also felt the longer I waited without treatment, the worse it might be.
I went to the hospital and got a doppler ultrasound done, and at the age of twenty three, I was diagnosed with a DVT in my right leg for the second time. I had clots below my ankle, which doctors told me were not as harmful. I was immediately put on medication. This time, I wasn’t on total bed rest, but I was still in pain. It was unbelievable to me. I got DVT for the second time after being told I couldn’t possibly get this condition again, as long as I didn’t take birth control.
The cause of my second DVT was due to a long flight. This time around, I knew I wasn’t going to let my blood clot put me in a dark place, or get the best of me physically and mentally. This condition affected not just me, but my loved ones as well. It was very hard and stressful for my family to see me in so much pain, and there was nothing they could do to make me feel better. I am very thankful and blessed that my clots didn’t travel, because I could of had pulmonary embolism (PE), which is a life-threatening condition.
I know that thousands of people are affected by blood clots every year. It is very important to me that I share important information so that more people can learn about this condition. Deep vein thrombosis has changed my life, and I still take blood thinners everyday. I get my PT/INR checked every two weeks to monitor my levels, and I see a cardiologist every six months. I exercise daily and monitor my vitamin K intake for a healthier lifestyle.
Deep vein thrombosis is a serious condition, and there are some days I still experience pain in my legs. However, I try everyday, and I won’t give up on myself. I work with children, and I recently walked in New York Fashion Week as a model. I am a two time blood clot survivor. My experience with blood clots has taught me that if you have a history of blood clots and you’re off blood thinners, there is a possibility that you can still get clots again. Please learn as much as you can, and continue to educate yourselves on ways to prevent blood clots.