Please Listen to Your Body: Kia’s Story

Please Listen to Your Body: Kia’s Story

I’ve always had a history of health anxiety, always expecting the worst whilst hoping for the best. It took many years for me to manage my fears and understand when I was being rational or otherwise.

Toward the end of April 2024, I had this horrible chest pain, directly along the left side of my sternum, that felt sharp and shooting when I breathed in deeply. I shrugged it off as a pinched nerve for the first day, and when it persisted the following day, I contacted my GP who ultimately agreed and said that my anxiety was probably making me feel worse.

By the third day, the shooting pain had lessened but was still intense when I breathed in deeply and this undeniable feeling of dread was looming over me. I called my GP twice, three pharmacies, and eventually NHS 111, the non-emergency number in the United Kingdom. All told me it was almost definitely my anxiety.

It turned midnight on April 25 when, in tears on the phone to my mum, I decided to take myself to A&E (the ER in the UK). I couldn’t shake the feeling that if I didn’t act, I would regret it deeply.

At the hospital, I spent eight hours doing general checkups. My heart rate was skyrocketing, but they insisted that once my blood tests came back, I would likely be discharged, convinced it was my anxiety.

Hour nine passed and someone came out to give me an injection in my stomach. I was told it was blood thinners. Shortly after that, a consultant called for me and told me that my D-dimer was six times higher than the upper limit and that I would need a V/Q scan ASAP.

It took a total of 17 hours of sitting in different wards before a consultant told me that I had multiple unprovoked bilateral pulmonary emboli and that I likely wouldn’t have seen the week out if I had continued to ignore my symptoms. I was sent off with a prescription for apixaban, scared and confused.

The Facebook groups have been pivotal in educating myself, from the shared resources and personal experiences of others.

This has changed my lifestyle in that I have to remind myself to go slower, be more careful, and consider my choices much more than I would have before my diagnosis. I struggle to catch my breath going up the stairs in my flat and feel emotionally exhausted constantly.

Regardless of your age, current health status, or history of anxiety, no one will ever fault you for advocating for yourself. Please, above all else, listen to your body, and don’t let anyone dismiss you without absolute certainty that you are alright!


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