Eight years ago, when I was 23 years old, I suffered a deep vein thrombosis (DVT), or blood clot in my leg. My doctors put me on heparin and warfarin for six months, and I was instructed to stop hormonal birth control. I figured since I stopped estrogen-based birth control, I would be fine, even though I had the factor V Leiden heterozygous mutation. For eight years, I was fine, except I always suffered from migraines. My migraines were so bad that I couldn’t walk straight, and I would lose vision in my right eye. It happened so many times I got used to it.
In the beginning of February 2019, I started to feel tired. I slept for hours upon hours, which never happens. I decided to text my boss and try to get a few more hours of sleep one Friday morning. A few hours later, I woke up and had a headache, and assumed I was getting another sinus infection. I tried to stand up and collapsed on the floor. I remember laying there thinking how strange it was that I couldn’t stand, and I was wondering why I was so tired. I managed to crawl back into bed and fall back to sleep. I kept waking up, but I couldn’t seem to stand up or move. Around dinner time, my boyfriend came home and woke me up. I couldn’t stay awake, though, because my head hurt, and my vision was fuzzy.
I ended up sleeping until Sunday, when I finally began to wake up a little. I wasn’t sure what happened and how I slept through an entire weekend, but I did. The next week was exhausting, and I kept thinking I had mono. I kept getting “snow” in my right eye, and it was hard to focus. I had a headache that would come and go, but it wasn’t severe most of the time. I had a neurology appointment coming up, so I just kept telling myself to work through the pain.
When I finally saw the neurologist, he sent me for four different MRIs. Within two days, I received a phone call stating the right side of my brain had clotted, and I had something called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, or CVST. After talking to the doctor, we were able to put all of the information together, and realized the weekend was probably the worst point of the clot.
The next week was a whirlwind of appointments, ultrasounds, and blood draws. They never really figured out why I developed a CVST, besides factor V Leiden, or possibly the birth control I was on at the time. I will remain on blood thinners for the rest of my life. Some days my memory is fuzzy, and I can’t seem to find the words I am looking for, but I am extremely lucky my body managed to combat the clot with minimal issues. Through my experience, I learned that blood clots do not discriminate by age – they can happen to anyone. If you have a constant headache, get help! If you lose vision or can’t move a limb, get help!
MORE INFORMATION AND RESOURCES:
- Join our online peer support community to connect with other people who have experienced a blood clot.
- Read more about blood clot risks, signs and symptoms, and prevention.
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