The Hematologist Told Me to Buy a Lottery Ticket For How Lucky I’d Been: McKenna’s Story

The Hematologist Told Me to Buy a Lottery Ticket For How Lucky I’d Been: McKenna’s Story

In the summer of 2021, I started to experience extreme back pain. At times, I was unable to sit down or move at all.  

Being an active 20-year-old who grew up playing sports, I attributed my pain to a tweak that I just needed to stretch out. But the pain continued getting worse, and my left leg became swollen and purple. 

When I went to the ER, they found blood clots that spanned from my pelvis to my ankle (DVT) that had been there for almost a year, and three huge clots in my lungs (pulmonary embolism, or PE). The hematologist told me I should buy a lottery ticket for how lucky I’d been. 

It wasn’t until they told me how serious my diagnosis was that I realized in the month leading up to this, my legs were heavy, and even climbing the stairs had put me out of breath.  

During my week in the hospital, I went through two thrombectomy procedures. Doctors also discovered that I have May-Thurner syndrome, and within the same month, I learned I also have Factor II heterozygous clotting disorder. 

In terms of risk factors, I was taking estrogen-based birth control and had a sedentary job.  

I was put on Eliquis indefinitely, but in the spring of 2022, my left leg was beginning to swell again, and my doctor told me I would need a stent in my iliac vein. I had one inserted and doctors also removed the scar tissue that had been left over from hardened clots.  

A year later, in 2023, I am clot free and learning how to listen to my body. 

This experience has taught me to communicate with my doctors and be involved in my own health. Now, I bring up any health issues without delay and don’t let any pain go unnoticed. I’m thankful for NBCA for allowing survivors to share their own stories like mine. 


May-Thurner Syndrome
Factor II Prothrombin Deficiency
Women and Blood Clots

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