During the summer of 2012, I was going into my senior year of college and was training for Kent State’s Annual Black Squirrel 5k Race. I grew up playing soccer and I figured running a 5k would be a breeze. Little did I know, it was going to change my life forever. I was up to running roughly two miles per day when I started to notice a burning pain in my right leg, something I was used to as an athlete. I brushed it off and thought I just didn’t stretch my calves enough before and after running.
My parents were concerned about my calf pain and kept checking on me. Finally, I let them talk me into a visit to the emergency room to have it checked out. My right leg was very swollen, warm to the touch, and my skin felt hard. Deep down I knew it was no longer a muscle strain, but I had no idea how life-threatening it was.
Once I arrived at the hospital with my parents, they ran several tests and issued me an anticoagulant (blood thinner) injection. After the tests came back, the ER doctor confirmed I had three blood clots behind my right knee, and it was a miracle that they didn’t break off and travel to my lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism. The ER doctor recommended that I follow up with my primary care provider for further testing.
My primary care provider ordered a full panel of blood tests and discovered that I have two genetic mutations that make me more prone to getting blood clots – factor V Leiden and MTHFR. Those mutations mixed with the birth control I was on led to my blood clots, despite being incredibly active.
After we learned about my blood clotting disorders, genetic testing was also ordered for my sister. It turns out that she also has a blood clotting disorder. Overall, I am so thankful that my primary care provider ordered genetic testing and was so helpful during this entire process.