After twisting my ankle a few weeks prior, I had a dull charley horse ache in my calf. Nothing worked to relieve it, but it wasn’t too bad, and it was easy to ignore most of the time. I started to notice when climbing up my stairs at home, that I would get a little out of breath. It made sense, however. I was busy working two jobs, my exercise had taken a backseat, and I was just out of shape, so it was easy to ignore as well. When I woke up on December 31, 2018, with my heart racing at 130 bpm lying in bed and feeling like every heartbeat jarred my entire rib cage and spine, I couldn’t ignore my body or symptoms any longer.
My husband drove me to the ER where I was told I had a large deep vein thrombosis or DVT, pulmonary emboli in both lungs, and a very large blood clot nearly blocking my right main pulmonary artery. Thankfully, the doctor asked me the right questions, including if I was on estrogen-based birth control pills, and did the right tests. I was put on heparin right away.
He pointed out the window behind me and said, “If you had waited and were out there still, you would probably have died. You are in here and you are not going to die today.” That is a moment and statement etched in my brain forever. I had lung and heart damage that has since healed. I went from having no doctors to seeing so many specialists including a cardiologist, pulmonologist, and hematologist.
It’s been a long recovery full of mental fight and physical healing. I found so many resources through the National Blood Clot Alliance, as well as survivor groups that really helped me better understand that I was not alone in the experience and the long, tough recovery. I am so grateful I was able to learn from and lean on other survivors. Now I reach out to those who post their stories to see how I can be supportive in their recovery. I’m incredibly grateful to do so.
Every day is a gift and a chance to raise awareness.
MORE INFORMATION AND RESOURCES:
- Join our online peer support community to connect with other people who have experienced a blood clot.
- Learn more about blood clot risk factors, signs and symptoms, and prevention.
- Read more stories, or share your story with NBCA.