A DVT in My Arm Changed My Life: Hailey’s Story

A DVT in My Arm Changed My Life: Hailey’s Story

My name is Hailey Rutherford and I am a 23 years old. My story is complicated. I was married last year on February 7 and experienced a lot of life changes. One of those changes was being put on birth control pills. Due to irregular menstrual bleeding, I was switched to a stronger dosage pill.

On July 14, 2015, I woke up early for work and felt a lot of muscle tension and discomfort in my back. As someone who suffers from generalized anxiety disorder, I am used to muscle tension and a general feeling of uneasiness. I ignored my pain and went in to work, planning on finishing my 12-hour shift as normal.

Throughout the day, I noticed increasing pain in my right shoulder blade. I kept rubbing at it, hoping to ease the muscle tension, but the pain was spreading into my arm. I still assumed it was symptoms of anxiety. However, as I was doing my nightly chores, I took a look at my arm and noticed there was discoloration. A dark purple color had appeared, especially at my fingertips. It was then that I became distressed and promptly asked to be sent home.

I started to research my symptoms, knowing in the back of my mind that this fit every symptom of a blood clot. Still, I chose not to go to the hospital that night and tried to wait it out. As my husband slept, I could not sleep and my pain soon became unbearable. I woke him up early in the morning and we drove to the ER. Within a couple of hours, an ultrasound confirmed the diagnosis of a subclavian clot in my right armpit. They also checked for any signs of PE, but I did not have one.

I have no risk factors or genetic disorders – except that my maternal grandmother had blood clots in the past – and I was on the pill. If I had known what the pill would do to me, or how it would change my life forever, I would not have made the decision to use them. I have recently finished my blood thinner regiment, but I am still dealing with the psychological aftermath of such a scary, life-altering experience.

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