As a former professional baseball pitcher, I have always been active. I continued my workouts over the years and tried to stay healthy.
But my pride as an athlete in pushing through pain goes way back to my playing days. I even pitched seven innings with a fractured leg before I knew it was injured.
Years later, when working as a pastor and in education, I found myself on the ground, blacked out from what I thought was bronchitis. I waited until the weekend was over before going to the hospital emergency room with difficulty breathing and pain in my leg.
The doctors found I had blood clots that had traveled to my lungs, and not just a few, but many. It was a dangerous and life-threatening condition known as DVT/PE – deep vein thrombosis with pulmonary embolism. I had never heard of it.
I was in the hospital for a week. The doctors were amazed at the saddle of clots in my lungs, which were blocking the main pulmonary artery and blood flow to both lungs. Most couldn’t believe I was still alive. Tests have never pinpointed the cause, but looking back, I did have the signs that I know about now: red, swollen calf, and difficulty breathing when running.
The only thing I can attribute the blood clots to is perhaps a long drive from Oklahoma to South Carolina and many hours sitting every day studying and writing messages.
If you have any blood clot symptoms, please take it seriously and get it checked out. Know the warning signs.
Today I take a blood thinner pill every day and will continue doing so for the rest of my life. Doctors are amazed that the clots have cleared and there seems to be little damage to my lungs. But the discoloring on my lower leg is a constant reminder to get up and keep moving.
My faith is strengthened today, and I believe it is my calling to continue to advocate about the dangers and prevention of DVT/PE.