I had been having pain while breathing and shortness of breath for a few weeks. I couldn’t speak full sentences without gasping for air, and I had been ignoring this and the pain because I didn’t feel like I had time to be sick. I tried to rationalize it as a pulled muscle or humid air.
As the pain progressed, I realized I couldn’t ignore it any longer, and I drove to the ER. I watched the waiting room fill up, thinking maybe I shouldn’t have come and I was overreacting. But I’m glad I did. I had downloaded the hospital app and I was able to view my labs right away. My D-dimer came back high, so I was sent for a CT scan due to the possibility of a blood clot.
A few minutes later, my phone alerted me to a new result on the app. I opened my phone and there it was: right lower lobe pulmonary embolism with infarct. Too stunned to move, I thought surely the nurse would come and get me. She didn’t, and after 10 minutes, I went to the triage nurse and showed this result on my phone.
Her eyes grew big and she pulled out her walkie-talkie. I was walked right back to an exam room, followed by a flock of healthcare professionals. I was admitted to the hospital, and later learned that I have factor V Leiden.
It took few weeks to breathe and feel mostly normal again in my body. It took my head longer to move past the “what if I didn’t go in, what if it happens again?” thoughts.
I joined the NBCA’s Facebook support group and follow them on social media (@StoptheClot) to learn from other people and to feel connected to those in this community. The tools, education, and support are wonderful!
Having a blood clot didn’t happen to me. Rather, it happened for me. It taught me to seize the day, be grateful, take pictures, find balance, and tell people they matter!
Molly is running in the 2023 New York Marathon in November to raise funds for the National Blood Clot Alliance. Click here to support Molly’s fundraiser.