In October 2021, I had a fall that caused my left knee to dislocate. It was determined that I had fractured my patella, and torn the medial patellofemoral ligament (MPFL) in my knee. Since I had a history of dislocations, I opted for an MPFL reconstruction to reduce the chance of dislocation in the future.
I had MPFL reconstruction and an open reduction-internal fixation (ORIF) surgery to fix my fractured patella.
After my surgery, I was not educated on the signs of blood clots. Just days after coming home, I started to have cramping in my left calf and my ankle was swelling. I was told to take more pain medication.
At my two-week post-op appointment, I brought up the pain and swelling to my surgeon. He renewed my pain medication prescription and told me he wasn’t concerned about blood clots because I was too young.
Over the next five weeks, the pain got worse, and the swelling spread. I reached out to my surgeon and several advice nurses, but I was dismissed and given more pain medication. At my six-week post-op appointment, I again brought up the swelling and that I was experiencing cramping in my groin and was dismissed.
Seven weeks after my surgery, I went to the ER after my partner insisted I get another opinion. I was diagnosed with a DVT that extended from the back of my knee through my pelvis into my inferior vena cava which was provoked by my knee surgery. There was barely blood flow to my foot and immediate action was taken.
An IVC filter was placed and a thrombectomy was performed to remove the clots. I was told that I had gotten extremely lucky that none of the clots broke off. I spent the week in the ICU.
Due to the damage to the vein in my knee, I’ll be on blood thinners for life. I’m now physically healed and focusing on navigating the psychological impacts of this experience. I still struggle with PTSD and anxiety.
Since this experience, I advocate for myself in medical settings more. I ask more questions and I do my own research. I was active before, but now I’m even more active and it’s become a huge priority. I talk about my experience and try to spread the word about risk factors that can lead to blood clots.
None of my medical professionals told me about the NBCA, but I found it during my own research and that’s when everything changed. I finally had the tools help me ask the right questions and recover from my DVT. NBCA’s new patient resource guide and FAQs were helpful. I’m also active in the support group!
I hope my story can shed light on the dangers of blood clots, especially after surgery, and empower others to advocate for themselves.