On November 4, 2021, at the age of 27, I started experiencing pain in my neck that shot up through my head.
I figured it was just pulled a muscle, but for the next three days the pain got worse. On November 8, four days after the pain started, I decided to go to urgent care. My symptoms were dismissed and I was sent home with an ear infection diagnosis.
As the days continued on, the pain in my head got progressively worse and became so excruciating that it felt like someone was hitting me with a baseball bat. This headache and pain became so extreme that I decided to go the ER on November 12.
I explained my symptoms to the doctors but they, too, wrote them off. I was dismissed a second time and was sent home after being told that I was just dehydrated. The very next day I woke up vomiting repeatedly, I had excruciating head pain, and double vision. This time I decided to go to the eye doctor where I was informed that I had sixth cranial nerve palsy and was told to go get an MRI at the ER immediately.
I went back to the ER for a second time. After an MRI, I was diagnosed with cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST), a blood clot in the brain, and was put on an IV blood thinner. The doctors were amazed I didn’t die and said if I had waited any longer I would not have survived.
After this experience, I reflected on the risk factors that contributed to my blood clot. Being on estrogen-based birth control, dehydration, COVID-19, and psoriasis were all working behind the scenes to provoke my blood clot. My family and I also got tested for blood clotting disorders but discovered that we don’t have any known disorders.
This was a very scary experience. The lifestyle changes post-clot have been a struggle and made my anxiety worse. I try to focus on each day, I try to be positive, and I came out of this being more grateful for life. The biggest thing I have learned after this experience is how important it is to know your body. If you think something is wrong, don’t stop until you find an answer. That is why I am still alive today. Be persistent.