I have been an athlete my whole life. I am a Division 1 swimmer and work out every day. One day, I started feeling a sharp pain in my lower back after lifting weights and thought I overdid it or used incorrect form. It began to progress and I started getting extreme pain that radiated down my legs.
I was pretty much bedridden because I couldn’t walk more than a couple of minutes without almost blacking out. My leg started to swell, so I kept it elevated.
I went to the ER and after doing an MRI, they told me that I could go home because “there was no worry for loss of life or limb.” They put me on nerve medication and prednisone.
Two days later, I couldn’t move without pain, so I went back to the ER. The doctors and nurses saw how large and swollen my leg was and got me in a room fast. I was given an ultrasound and CT scan, and eventually, I was told I had blood clots all down my inferior vena cava and my legs.
I had emergency surgery the next day and was in the hospital (in my college town, away from home) for almost a week. After surgery, I was put on blood thinners and painkillers. I have been recovered for more than a year now and I’ve been feeling great ever since.
But at the same time, I’ve been paranoid because no one seems to understand why this happened to me, an 18-year-old female athlete. I continue to work out and swim, and I’ve actually been swimming faster because I don’t have blood clots affecting my oxygen.
My advice is to go to the doctor if you detect any signs of a blood clot. It is so much better to be safe than sorry. I was in excruciating pain before and during my time in the hospital. Maybe if I had gone earlier, it wouldn’t have been as painful. Please be cautious and know it can happen to anyone.