One week before my diagnosis, I noticed I was getting weak. Not weakness from being tired, but unusually weak without cause (I thought).
I also had a nagging cough and was constantly clearing my throat. I began to presume that I had caught the coronavirus, so I started doctoring myself. After a few days, I felt a bit better, but more ominous things were to come.
The first was a fainting spell. I woke up and figured I simply had a really bad panic attack and brushed it off. However, I started to become lightheaded to the point that I could only walk a few yards before I had to sit down. As a result, I decided to call it an early day and stay in my bedroom for the remainder of the day.
The next day, I woke up feeling somewhat better, but that same funny headache-type feeling was still on the crown of my head. Despite that feeling, I was able to get around pretty easily without feeling faint.
Hours later, I fainted three times, which is particularly concerning because I also live alone.
At this point, it was a no-brainer to dial 9-1-1. The EMTs had to come in and get me off the floor. My blood pressure was 69/57, so it was obvious that I needed to go to the emergency room for further testing and treatment.
For the next few days, they were fighting to save my life while searching for answers. Eventually, the doctors discovered a massive saddle pulmonary embolism, restricting blood flow to both of my lungs. They gave me three options on how to be treated: medication; a medically induced coma/life-support; or a procedure where they go in through the groin to attempt to remove the clot.
I choose the procedure.
I was half awake during the surgery. I even heard one of the surgeons say “Would you look at that!” as they removed the clots.
The surgery was a success and the staff was very pleased, but no one was more pleased than I was!
One of the surgeons showed me a picture of what they yanked out of me and I was astonished. He sent me a copy and I carry it around as a badge of honor.
In terms of risk factors, I am overweight, and the advice I’d give is to try not to sit for more than two hours. Also, make sure to pay attention to your body when it feels out of whack.
What is a Pulmonary Embolism?
Blood Clot Treatment
How is PE Diagnosed?