When I was 14, I flew to my dad’s house in California to celebrate Christmas with him and my siblings. By the middle of the week, my left thigh was swollen, red, and hot and I couldn’t walk on it. I tried many things to get myself moving, but it hurt too much.
When I flew back home, I had pain in my calf, too, and I knew something was wrong. I was taken to the hospital and diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis (DVT), but due to my age, I had to be transported to a children’s hospital late that night. It turns out I had three-foot-long DVT in my left leg, as well as May-Thurner Syndrome and factor 2 clotting disorder, also known as the prothrombin 20210 mutation. After six days at the children’s hospital, I was free of the blood clot and am now on anticoagulants for life.
In terms of risk factors, I was taking birth control pills. That, along with the long flight, factor 2 clotting disorder, and May-Thurner, were the perfect storm. None of my family members have been tested, but I’d like to know if family history is in play.
This experience has changed my life a lot. For the first few years, it was hard determining what I had to restrict myself to. Contact sports could lead to hemorrhaging. I was so young that it was traumatic for me, so my mental health was also affected during that time.
From the Stop the Clot Instagram page, I’ve read that many people have the same diagnosis and prognosis as me, and it’s encouraging that I’m not alone. I still haven’t seen many be affected as early as I was, but it just shows that it doesn’t discriminate based on age.
My advice is to seek help if anything abnormal is going on. And know that there are resources to support you physically, emotionally, and mentally during this.