A Nagging Cough and Shoulder Pain Were My First Symptoms: Mike’s Story

A Nagging Cough and Shoulder Pain Were My First Symptoms: Mike’s Story

I had a nagging cough for a few days, which later became shoulder pain on Friday, March 18, 2022. I went to a local urgent care center to get checked, and the X-ray showed that I possibly had pneumonia.

Despite antibiotics, my condition worsened over the weekend. By Tuesday, March 22, I had shortness of breath and my shoulder pain intensified. The pain worsened at night, which didn’t make sense to me. I returned to the same urgent care center for a follow-up, and an astute physician assistant was immediately alarmed after hearing my symptoms and making the connection that I potentially had a pulmonary embolism (PE). I was sent to the emergency room, where it was confirmed that I had bi-lateral pulmonary emboli.

I would never have imagined that I would be diagnosed with a PE because I am an avid runner/rower and exercise daily, I don’t drink or smoke, and I try to maintain a healthy diet. Doctors are still at a loss as to why I had so many blood clots in my lungs, but there are still more tests to be done.

I went back to exercising one week after getting out of the ICU, but instead of going for runs, I go for jogs. I’ve learned quite a bit about blood clots by reading other people’s stories. These stories have also given me a base to work from while going through my own recovery journey. You can live the healthiest of lifestyles, but you can’t escape your genetic makeup. Be aware about the dangers of blood clots!


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