I was diagnosed with bilateral pulmonary emboli, or blood clots in my lungs, on July 20, 2020, at the age of 28. This clotting was provoked by estrogen-based birth control combined with immobility due to a recent wisdom teeth extraction. This was a day I will never forget and a day that changed my life forever.
My father died from a pulmonary embolism on July 27, 2014 and six years later, being admitted to the hospital for the same issue. The level of fear and anxiety for not only myself but also for my mom was indescribable. What prompted me to go to the emergency room was severe chest pain when breathing, combined with shoulder pain and lower back pain. I would have never imagined that I would receive a PE diagnosis because I am a healthy and active young adult.
This experience has caused me to have a new outlook on life. I want to live my life to the fullest each day. I also continue to exercise regularly, drink a lot of water, and stay in tune with my body. My main goal since this incident has been to spread awareness. If I would have been more educated about the risk of blood clots from estrogen-based birth control, especially when you have a personal or family history of clotting, I would have not taken it. I joined a support group after my PE and connected with so many young women who have experienced blood clots from estrogen-based birth control.
I think the National Blood Clot Alliance has done an excellent job of spreading awareness, providing tips and education, and fostering an environment for survivors to speak about their experiences. I encourage everyone to know their risk for blood clots and do what they can to prevent them.