In the spring of 2023, I gained a new appreciation for the gift of breathing.
Over a period of weeks, I grew increasingly short of breath. As I was misdiagnosed twice, first with allergy-induced asthma and then bronchitis, I struggled more and more to breathe during everyday activities.
After several weeks, I was so short of breath that I couldn’t walk from one room to another without stopping to gasp for air, my heart pounding. Finally I grew terrified enough that I knew I needed to go to the emergency room, where I was diagnosed with multiple blood clots in both lungs (pulmonary emboli).
Once I got the correct diagnosis, I received excellent treatment from a vascular surgeon (EKOS procedure) that improved my breathing almost immediately. After several days in the hospital, I was discharged from the hospital with a rivaroxaban prescription and a few pages of printed information about compression socks and risks associated with my new medication.
In the weeks following my hospitalization, as I came to understand the seriousness of my condition, I wondered why I had known nothing about pulmonary emboli, which are not rare and are often fatal. How could I not have been aware of such a dangerous condition? How could medical professionals not have checked for this condition when I went to urgent care twice with one of the most common symptoms, shortness of breath?
I am so thankful for the resources provided by the NBCA that I decided to become an NBCA Community Thrombassador. I want to help raise awareness of blood clot risks and symptoms so that others can get the life-saving treatment they need before it’s too late.
This experience has changed my lifestyle in that I have less stamina, and exercise has become more difficult. For a while, my anxiety made it difficult to travel. But I am focused on gradually increasing my activity and making sure I get up and move when sitting for a period of time.