My first blood clot happened in 2004. I was working as a phlebotomist in a blood bank when my calf felt tight and painful to walk on. I saw my doctor the same day and was sent for a Doppler of my lower left leg. It showed a blood clot, or deep vein thrombosis (DVT). I was immediately admitted to the hospital and given warfarin for a short time.
Years later, I had abdominal surgery. After being released from the hospital, I had intense abdominal pain and went to the ER. I was diagnosed with portal vein thrombosis, which is a narrowing of the portal vein by a blood clot.
Fast forward to December 26, 2015. I stood up to let my dogs outside and it felt like I was hit in my left eye, and I suddenly lost my vision in that eye. Another trip to the ER showed that it was a central retinal artery occlusion. Even after a tPA infusion to break up the clot, I have no central vision in my left eye to this day. Further testing showed that I have antithrombin III deficiency, which is hereditary. I informed other family members to be tested so as to be aware if they have any signs or symptoms of blood clots.
I want to share my son’s story also. Unfortunately, oldest son did not follow up with antithrombin III testing, and on September 23, 2022, he collapsed and was put on life support until he died a week later. He had multiple blood clots in his brain, cerebellum, heart, lungs, and throughout his body. He was 36.
Not only have I lost central vision in my left eye, but I’ve also lost my son. My advice is to learn your family history and listen to your body.