In March 2022, while going about my everyday activities, I suddenly experienced extreme breathlessness. It felt like someone had hit me, and my heart was beating out of my chest.
I’m a single parent, and my then –7-year-old found me on the bed. There was no ambulance available to get to me; I was told it would be an eight-hour wait. I managed to get a ride to the hospital, where a CT showed bilateral pulmonary emboli (PE).
I was immediately administered blood thinners and oxygen. After four days in the hospital, I went home with a six-month prescription for blood thinners. I finished the six month regimen in September 2022 and all appeared to be fine, despite still feeling breathless.
A couple months later, I found out I needed knee surgery. I expressed my concerns about clotting, and was given an injection of blood thinners before the procedure.
But a week and a half later, I experienced breathlessness again and couldn’t bring my heart rate down. Another emergency CT scan showed a saddle pulmonary embolism. I was devastated. This time thrombolysis treatment started straight away to help dissolve the clots. I’m now on blood thinning medication indefinitely, which helps prevent any future clots from forming. Recovery has been really difficult.
In terms of risk factors, I was on hormonal birth control and had undergone knee surgery. I’m now fearful of all aches and pains. Being on blood thinners means I need to be really aware of getting cuts and stopping the bleeding, and the bruising can be extreme. My daughter is now fearful of me attending appointments because she’s afraid I won’t come home.
My advice is to stay strong and reach out to others for support. Be kind to yourself. Recovery is a long process, and some days will feel better than others.