Know Your Family Health History: Kelly’s Story

Know Your Family Health History: Kelly’s Story

The morning of November 14, 2019 I fell in my bathroom and hit my head on the bathtub. I was unconscious, lying in a pool of blood, until I finally gained some life and crawled to call 9-1-1.

When the medics arrived, I was barely able to breathe and went into cardiac arrest three times. The doctors performed surgery and it was determined I had a large blood clot in my lung (pulmonary embolism) and one in my hand. I was put on a ventilator and spent the next six days in the hospital. The nurses and surgeons didn’t think I would survive, and if I did, they were concerned I would have suffered brain damage.

My parents were called and told, “You need to get here and start making decisions.” Both my brother and my sister rushed to the hospital as well. By the time they arrived three hours later, they did not know if I was going to survive. After days of the unknown, the doctors determined that I have a gene mutation called MTHFR (methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase) as well as elevated homocysteine levels, which puts me at increased risk for developing blood clots.

My dad and brother also share the MTHFR gene mutation and elevated clotting risk, that’s why knowing your family health history is so important! It is also important to know if you have other risk factors for blood clots, such as taking hormonal birth control, which I was on at the time.

This experience has taught me to be more aware of the potential side effects of any medications I am taking. I continue to live an active lifestyle to help reduce my risk. I would encourage everyone to know your family health history and if you do have a family history of blood clots, ask your doctor if genetic testing is recommended.


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