In 2013, I graduated from high school and was all set to join the military in July. I was extremely active, running every day, and lifting weights. A couple weeks prior, I woke up to the worst pain I have ever felt in my right leg. It felt like an over-the-top muscle tear. Over the next four days, it went from some pain in my right leg, to me being on crutches and needing help just getting myself to the bathroom, along with an extremely swollen leg. After four days and some convincing, I made a trip to the doctor and he immediately sent me to the ER, on the suspicion of a deep vein thrombosis or DVT.
What happened next was a partial blur from the pain killers and the shock of it all. They diagnosed me with a DVT, or blood clot, in my right leg that was caused by a combination of factor V Leiden and deformed veins. I was hospitalized for a week and underwent surgery to help remove the clot and immediately put on heparin blood thinners. Over the next few days, I had a stent placed in the vein in my right leg. I had to re-adjust to walking.
After I was released from the hospital, I had to deal with the aftermath and the repercussions of my experience. I was disqualified from fulfilling my dream of being in the military. I went from being extremely active to barely being able to walk a block from the damage caused by my blood clot.
Due to the extent of damage caused by my first DVT, and also another clot I experienced a year later, I am on one of the newer oral anticoagulants for life. Over time, my leg has healed to the point where I am almost back to normal. I am still very active, but I must be a bit more aware of my body, and I limit myself when it comes to certain activities.
Since my first clot, I developed anxiety and panic attacks stemming from my experience. One thing I believe is not mentioned enough is the mental health aspect of dealing with a blood clot. It’s a traumatic experience and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Gaining the confidence to get back to my (almost) normal exercises took a lot of support and willing myself to do it.
It’s been about six years and I live with the aftermath every day. I’m a lifer on blood thinners, I am not 100 percent back to what I was able to do physically. I have to be careful when doing certain activities, and had to stop some altogether. But, I’m so grateful to be able to fight through such a traumatic experience and to live a somewhat normal life afterwards. I was lucky with the support system I have to this day. Hope everyone on this page can benefit from my own story and the support system given through it.
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 lifestyle issues and blood clot recovery
- Read more stories, or share your story with NBCA.