Three DVTs in Two Decades: Heather’s Story

Three DVTs in Two Decades: Heather’s Story

I’m 43. My first DVT experience was at 19 years old while in college. Long story short, I was sent home by two different doctors over two months even though my leg was in excruciating pain and eventually could barely walk.

The third doctor knew what was wrong with me within minutes and sent me straight to the hospital. I was in there for a week with a DVT that started from my foot and went all the way to my groin.

I was on blood thinners for a bit, then was taken off them. They assumed it was provoked by smoking and being on hormonal birth control pills and didn’t do any blood tests.

Several years later, I was 25 and pregnant. I was put on injected blood thinners during the entire pregnancy and six weeks postpartum just to be safe. My son was six weeks old when I felt that familiar excruciating pain, but in my left buttock. I could barely walk again from the pain.

I went to the ER and told them I had another DVT. The nurse flat out told me, “You don’t get blood clots in your buttocks,” and said that I had sciatica and sent me home with a prescription for Tylenol.

I went back to the same hospital the next day and refused to leave until they gave me a venous ultrasound. They found a full DVT in my left leg and I was on full bed rest for a week at the hospital.

Following that were many vascular and hematologist appointments. Eventually I was taken off of warfarin.

My third and hopefully last DVT was eight years ago. I think it was from the 18-hour drive we made from New York to Charleston, WV the month before. The leg wasn’t super painful and wasn’t any more swollen than usual, but luckily my current doctor said I should get it checked out just to be safe and it was a DVT. Again. I was put on apixaban this time.

My doctor sent me to a hematologist and vascular surgeon. This is where, after lots of testing, I found out that I have May-Thurner syndrome and some bad perforator veins as well.

A few weeks ago, I had stents put in two iliac veins. If the wound doesn’t get better, we’re scheduling a simple perforator vein surgery soon, too.

I’m really hoping that will be the end of the nightmare of all my clotting and leg issues. I used to run half marathons and right now I can’t run at all and it’s making me depressed. I’d love to stop going to wound care weekly. I can’t wait to get this all fixed and move on.


May-Thurner Syndrome
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