Super Bowl Sunday in February of 2016 seemed like it was going to be just a normal day of eating great snacks, laughing at commercials, and judging the halftime show like I was a professional critic. I woke up that morning with what felt like I slept wrong or pulled something in my shoulder. I shrugged it off and went about my day. I helped my son make his shirt for the 100th day of school that Monday and prepared some Super Bowl snacks for a party that I was going to later that evening. As the day went on, the pain seemed to get worse and moved down to the right side of my abdomen. I thought to myself, “I really must have been tossing in my sleep last night.”
Fast forward to the party. At around 8:00 p.m. I started to notice that no matter what position my body was in, I could not get comfortable or make the pain go away. I left the party early and went home. By 9:00 p.m. I started to notice something was just not right. The pain was stabbing and so sharp that it took my breath away. Sometimes, I would almost feel like something inside was fluttering. A trip to the ER and several tests later, they found that I had a clot on my lung.
I was one of the lucky ones. I am still here to tell my story about being a healthy 25-year-old woman with no other risks for a blood clot. Not having any of these other risk factors caused my doctors to think it was genetic and that was confirmed. I was diagnosed with Factor V Leiden and my life has never been the same. I am treated with blood thinners and am told that it will be a lifelong treatment.
My experience with clotting and my diagnosis has changed my lifestyle for the better. I am much more aware of how important it is to take care of yourself. I eat right, I exercise, and I make sure to never miss my doctor’s appointments. I cherish every moment that I am lucky to have, because so many others are not as fortunate.
No one else in my family has been tested, however, this past week my cousin spent a week in the ICU for a major blood clot on his lung and was diagnosed with Factor II. This is what I needed to really research and make my family aware of the risks of this disorder.
Whether you are at a high risk of clotting because of a genetic mutation or not, everyone needs to be aware of the symptoms of clots as well as what we all need to do to avoid them. Stay active, eat healthier, keep up with your doctor. To those of you who have had a blood clot and are looking for support, it is out there. You will get through this and just remember YOU are one of the lucky ones.
MORE INFORMATION AND RESOURCES:
- Join our online peer support community to connect with other people who have experienced a blood clot.
- Read more about thrombophilia
- Read more stories, or share your story with NBCA.