Trust Your Gut Feelings: Joni’s Story

Trust Your Gut Feelings: Joni’s Story

I broke my left leg in eight places and had three surgeries within a three-week period. I was in a wheelchair and could not walk at all. Whenever I tried to stand and get upright, I’d feel an excruciating pain behind my left knee. It hurt as much as the 48 staples and cuts on both sides of my leg from surgery.

My orthopedic doctor said my leg didn’t seem swollen or red, but I wondered how he could tell since I was in a cast. He said he couldn’t take the cast off to check because it needed to hold things together in the leg but I had plates and screws doing that.

I was finally taken to another orthopedic surgeon who immediately cut the cast off, ordered an ultrasound of my leg, and diagnosed me with multiple clots. I was admitted to the ICU immediately.

The next day, I said I had also been having trouble breathing. Tests showed I had bilateral pulmonary emboli. I was in ICU for eight days and I was told I was lucky to be alive.

I took heparin and coumadin for three years and now I am on Xarelto for life. The valves in my leg do not work, I swell terribly, and the blood doesn’t flow like it should.

My advice is to trust your gut feelings. We know our bodies better than anyone. If something doesn’t seem right, please seek medical attention immediately and advocate for yourself even if doctors don’t believe you.


Blood Clots and Orthopedic Surgery
Know Your Risk
Living Your Best Life on Blood Thinners

Share your story
The personal story is intended for informational purposes only. The National Blood Clot Alliance (NBCA) holds the rights to all content that appears on its website. The use by another organization or online group of any content on NBCA’s website, including patient stories that appear here, does not imply that NBCA is connected to these other organizations or groups or condones or endorses their work. Please contact info@stoptheclot.org with questions about this matter.

Additional patient stories