The personal story below is intended for informational purposes only. The National Blood Clot Alliance (NBCA) holds the rights to all content that appears on its website. The use by another organization or online group of any content on NBCA’s website, including the patient stories that appear here, does not imply that NBCA is connected to these other organizations or groups or condones or endorses their work. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with questions about this matter.
My name is Cody. I am 22 years old, and I live in Seattle, Washington. I was a heavy smoker for about 10 years, which was a bad choice, I know. On February 9, 2017, I was diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism in my right lung, factor V Leiden heterozygous, and pulmonary infarction. It all started on January 2, 2017. I woke up out of sleep with a really sharp pain in my right side and shortness of breath. I was coughing up blood. I waited a couple of hours to see if it passed, because I don’t like going to hospitals. If felt like it got better, so I didn’t go.
Three days later, it happened again, so I went to the emergency room. After several hours and tests, they said I was fine, and they sent me home. On February 9, I woke up at 5:00 a.m. I was not breathing and gasping for air. There was a knife-like or stabbing sensation in my side. Thankfully, I only live five minutes from a hospital, so I went. After seven hours in the hospital, they did tests again, and again, they said I was okay. They tried to discharge me.
I told the ER doctor I wasn’t leaving until they found out what was wrong with me. So, about an hour later, a specialist walked up to me and said, “I looked at the CT scan and chest X-ray. You have multiple blood clots in the right lung, buddy, and we didn’t look for blood clots because of your age.” I got really sad. They put me on heparin IV and injection shots right away.
Ten days later, I was spitting up a lot of blood. They let me leave and put me on warfarin. It’s been a little over a month since I was diagnosed with PE. I quit smoking and changed my life a lot. I still don’t feel normal, and I have a hard time breathing with pain in my side, and I am still coughing up blood. I’m just so glad to be alive still, but I have to be on blood thinners for the rest of my life because of the factor V Leiden heterozygous, on my dad’s side.
If I had to give advice, I’d say don’t wait to go to the hospital and don’t let doctors tell you everything is fine when you know something is wrong. Also, don’t smoke cigarettes and live life to the fullest. Enjoy your life because it could all change in a blink of an eye. Always stay positive. Thank you for reading my story.