On Halloween 2021, I noticed that my thigh was sore and I was out of breath. I figured it was just a pulled muscle and allergies or a cold coming on.
Walking into work the next morning, I was so out of breath that I fainted. I had fainted in the past, so I just thought I needed to eat breakfast and have some water, but my pulse was so high that I decided to go to urgent care.
Urgent care didn’t have any answers and just told me to follow up with a cardiologist and sent me home to rest. The next morning, my mom texted her friend who is a cardiologist and he told me to go to the ER immediately and he’d meet me there.
I was diagnosed with a massive saddle pulmonary embolism, DVT, and right heart strain a few hours later. I underwent catheter-directed thrombolysis to treat my PE and was admitted to the ICU and then the cardiac floor before being discharged two days later.
I got extremely lucky and I’m alive today thanks to my cardiologist. He advocated for me throughout the entire process and still to this day.
I had no known family history or risk factors besides hormonal birth control. Genetic testing later showed that I carry the Prothrombin Gene Mutation (Factor II). I spent a year on anticoagulants and I’m doing well physically, but I’m still working through the PTSD from this experience.
The NBCA’s Stop the Clot online support community was instrumental in my recovery, especially when I couldn’t sleep in the weeks after my hospitalization. The PEP Talks have also been amazing resources for myself and my family as we navigate this diagnosis.
It’s important to know your risks and the warning signs of a blood clot. If something feels off, go to the ER immediately. I almost didn’t mention the pain in my leg because I thought it was unrelated. This is not something that will go away on its own, so seek help at the first sign of clotting.