Jessica Stanley experienced physical trauma after a bullying incident in high school, from which she developed blood clots in her left leg and lungs. After taking a year off, she was proud to finish her Senior year, and is now a blood clot survivor in her early 20s.
My name is Jessica Stanley. Six years ago, at age 15, I was a victim of high school bullying, when I was attacked from behind and thrown to the ground, so could not defend myself. Some time after, I felt short of breath and noticed a pain in my side. I went to the Emergency Room (ER) because my left leg became swollen, and a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) was found that leg. Two days l later, they found a pulmonary embolism (PE), a blood clot in my lung.
At first, they tried to break up the clots in my lungs, but that did not work, so I was then started on injections of low molecular weight heparin, and was hospitalized for nine days. I received a blood transfusion, because of blood loss from the trauma, and was put on morphine for pain from the attack. Some members of my family have factor V Leiden, but I tested negative for it, although I tested positive for the MTHFR gene. I was also taking a third generation birth control pill, which added to my risk, and which I stopped. My doctor advised a progestin-only injection as another means of birth control after my blood clots.
I was switched to Coumadin® only when I went home, but I was unable to attend Junior year of high school, because I did not want to be a victim of repeat bullying, especially due to the risk of bleeding associated with blood thinners. I wore compression stockings, and I was able to stop blood thinners after a year, which made my day. My lungs were clear of blood clots, and the clot in my leg was calcified.
What I learned is it is important to know symptoms of DVT and PE and know your body, and that clots can form after a traumatic injury. Blood clots are dangerous and can kill. I am grateful that I could complete my Senior year in 2009, because it I did not want to miss it, homecoming, or the prom. I enjoyed it all and made lots of significant memories.
I am now 21, and my lungs are fine. I still have some swelling in my left leg where the DVT was, but I am used to it. I am better now, although my experience with bullying and blood clots changed my life. Now that I feel better, I am grateful to God and to the doctors and nurses for the wonderful care they gave me.
Take Home Messages
- Trauma can cause blood clots
- Blood clots can happen in a high school age person, although they are not common
- Birth control pills add to risk
- Progestin only birth control carries reduced risk
- Compression stockings may help treat DVT
The National Blood Clot Alliance’s mission is to advance prevention, early diagnosis and successful treatment of blood clots, clotting disorders and clot-provoked strokes through public awareness, advocacy and patient and professional education.