I Was Overcome With Intense, Debilitating Chest Pain: Nina’s Story

I Was Overcome With Intense, Debilitating Chest Pain: Nina’s Story

I had been feeling unwell for several weeks. I had swelling and pain in my legs and other random symptoms. I had bought almost every leg cream in an attempt to get some sleep at night.

All that was pushed aside when my daughter went into labor unexpectedly just a few days before my husband and I had a huge elk hunting trip we were scheduled to embark on in New Mexico. The plan was I would fly from Arkansas to Las Vegas to meet our grandbaby and from Las Vegas to New Mexico a few days later.

We went straight into a three-day hike at 8,000 feet. I did fine the first two days, but on the evening of the third day, I found myself overcome with intense, debilitating chest pain. I wasn’t sure if I was having a heart attack or an asthma attack, but I knew I couldn’t breathe and the pain was all-encompassing.

I wasn’t sure I had the strength to yell out to my husband, who was hiking ahead of me. As I looked up, I saw he was about to make his shot. Knowing how much my husband loved me and knowing he would leave to call an ambulance, I chose not to say anything and just bent over and prayed that I wouldn’t go down.

I eventually regained my strength and the pain subsided. Unbeknownst to me, that was a nearly fatal decision. I told him about the scare later that evening and of course, he was upset I didn’t call out to him. I thought I was in the clear, but upon waking up at 5 a.m. the next morning to go out again, I went to the bathroom in our camper and reached for my toothbrush and that is the last thing I remember.

My husband woke to the camper violently shaking and found me having a seizure and unconscious. I hit my face and knocked out two of my teeth and there was blood everywhere. Firefighters had to pull me out on a tarp. We were on an Indian reservation and the closest hospital was two hours away.

I was diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism and factor V Leiden homozygous. I had been on birth control for 10 years and doctors believed that contributed to my clotting.

Now I won’t ever swim alone, hike high altitudes, or do anything risky as now I will be on blood thinners for life.


Factor V Leiden
Birth Control and Blood Clots
Travel and Blood Clots

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