I had a bad case of the flu last December. However, I am a primary school teacher and a workaholic, so I did very little about it and carried on going to work.
On the last Friday before Christmas, I woke up at 4 a.m. gasping for breath. My chest was extremely tight, and I couldn’t speak or breathe easily. I made myself go to work but spent the day lying down in the staff room as I was struggling to talk or move.
I was sent home and went immediately to the hospital with a high heart rate, temperature, and blood pressure. My blood tests came back positive for blood clots, which was later confirmed by a CT scan. They told me I had a double bilateral pulmonary embolism or four large clots across both lungs.
Estrogen-based birth control was my only risk factor. This was arguably one of the scariest days of my life and I’m still living with the fact that I very well could have died that day in the staff room at work.
It’s been a long road to recovery and a large mental weight, given that I’m a very healthy and active 22-year-old. I struggle with extreme fatigue and sharp pain when I breathe. This has limited the amount of work and exercise that I can do and has been hard to become accustomed to.
My advice is to always listen to your body. It’s always better to be wrong than dead.