I’m Very Anxious: Joel’s Story

I’m Very Anxious: Joel’s Story

In 2004, following two invasive surgeries in four weeks, I had a severe event. I had an immediate pain in my calf and suspected a blood clot. I told the surgeon and he said I didn’t have the symptoms of a blood clot, and aside from my calf pain he was right. There was no redness, warmth, or swelling. But I couldn’t walk.

At a follow-up in his office two days later, the same conversation ensued. He was convinced there was no blood clot.

Two days later, I was at home recovering from the surgeries when I dropped to the floor. When I stood up, I was more confused than I had ever been in my life. I had a deep sense of doom and darkness surrounding me.

I called my wife, who was at work at a local hospital. She encouraged me to call 9-1-1 and thought I had probably had a heart attack or a blood clot. I didn’t call 9-1-1! I called my doctor and he repeated nearly word for word what my wife had said. I called a friend who took me to the hospital. In the emergency room, my diagnosis became apparent. I had multiple bilateral pulmonary emboli.

In January 2024, I had a cardiac stent placed in my heart for a blockage. Before I left the procedure room, I could tell an incredible difference. I felt better than I had in years. But about two weeks following the procedure, I began having chest pain and shortness of breath that was persistent.

I went to the ER and following a positive D-Dimer and CT scan on February 18, I was diagnosed with multiple bilateral pulmonary emboli. The clots had hit both lungs and were stuck in three areas of the pulmonary artery system. I was hospitalized for three days and placed on rivaroxaban. I am still in some level of recovery.

These events have affected my life in that I am very anxious. I clearly don’t want this to happen again. Elective surgery is not an easy decision, and motorcycling may not be in my future.

I spend a lot of time on the NBCA website and Stop the Clot Facebook page. I have learned more in the past month than I did in the previous 20 years. It is so appreciated.


Hospitalization and Surgery
How is a PE Diagnosed?
Know Your Risk

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