I woke up one morning with back pain. I live an active and healthy lifestyle, so I figured I pulled a muscle working out the day prior. I took some ibuprofen and went about my morning.
The pain continued to get worse, and eventually wrapped around my right flank up into my right chest and neck. The pain increased with breathing, so I went to urgent care. They took a urine sample to rule out kidney stones and conducted a CT without contrast.
The diagnosis was atypical pneumonia, as they found something in my lung on the CT. I had a hard time accepting this diagnosis, as I had no symptoms of pneumonia. I basically laughed it off and was sent home with antibiotics.
The pain continued to get worse. I went back to urgent care the next day and they were ready to send me home again. I just couldn’t accept this odd diagnosis! I knew something was seriously wrong, so I pushed to get another CT done, but with contrast.
This time, they told me that I needed to go to the ER because I had blood clots and an infarction in my lung. That’s what caused the intense pain.
I had no risk factors. I’m a non-smoker, I’ve never had surgery, and hadn’t recently had long periods of immobility. I don’t have a personal or family history of blood clots. I was on birth control, but it wasn’t estrogen-based.
After three days at the ER being pumped full of every pain medication available, I finally went home. My doctor did more testing after I completed my blood thinner course to determine if I had any clotting disorders. My results showed no remarkable numbers, meaning my PE was likely a fluke, or unprovoked.
They said it’s common to not find a cause for clots, which is disheartening. I learned that I have no known predisposition or disorder that led to the PE. However, I would love to have an answer as to why it happened.
This experience has changed my lifestyle in that I’m more aware of and in tune with my body. I am also nervous about getting more blood clots in the future. Having a PE at 26 was rare in itself, so of course it worries me that anything could happen. However, I know this situation could have been worse, and I’m grateful for the medical care I received.