I Had No Idea That the Pain in my Knee Was a Warning Sign: Mark’s Story

I Had No Idea That the Pain in my Knee Was a Warning Sign: Mark’s Story

About a week after having an arthroscopy on my left knee, I was icing the top of the knee and commented to my wife that I really should be icing the back of my knee. What I did not know at the time was that the back of the knee hurt because I was passing a clot that had formed in my left calf.

I had no idea that the pain in my knee was a warning sign. Later, I tried to lie down in bed, but then sat up and said, “I can’t breathe, my chest hurts and I am scared.”

Fortunately, we took the fright and the pain seriously and we headed for the nearest ER. Looking at the incisions where the arthroscopic instruments went into the knee, the nursing staff knew exactly what was happening. They began the diagnostic procedures and administered pain medication.

I fully expected that I would be able to attend a scheduled meeting the next morning. But when I heard talk of a pulmonary embolism and the ICU, I knew that was not to be.

Ten years later, I once again suffered chest pain and attributed it to pulling a muscle while helping our daughter move into a new apartment. But when the pain didn’t subside, I went to the ER and a CT scan revealed my second PE. Believe me, I will never take chest pain lightly again!

In terms of risk factors, I have factor V Leiden heterozygous. Our daughters have been tested. One has it and the other does not.

With both PEs, I had bouts of inactivity. The first time was because of recovery from surgery and the second time was due to a long car ride.

After the first PE, I thought I was out of the woods, but I will always be cautious about clots from now on. My advice to others is to be aware of risk factors.


Know Your Risk
Factor V Leiden
Signs and Symptoms

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