My mum saved my life. I was diagnosed with upper extremity deep vein thrombosis (DVT), or a blood clot in my arm, in late June 2019. I started showing signs and symptoms at the beginning of the month. I was 26 years old, had a 9 to 5 job, and loved going to the gym. Everything changed when I noticed a large bruise on my right bicep. I shrugged it off initially until along came swelling. I was told to get it checked out, so I did, and I was diagnosed with a torn bicep. I was told to come back if it got any worse.
It got worse. This time I was told I had torn my bicep tendon and I was given medication for the swelling, but to come back again if it got any worse again. Within a few days, my right arm was double the size of the left, and I was losing sensation in my hand. I went back to the doctor and was advised to rest, keep my arm elevated, and no more lifting weights at the gym.
Another few days went by, and I couldn’t take it anymore. I was so swollen from shoulder to hand. My veins on my chest and all along my arm were raised and I was in so much pain! After a few hours at the hospital, I had an x-ray and was put on the list to have an MRI scan within the next few weeks. But I couldn’t wait that long. Thanks to my mum who works at the hospital, I managed to get an ultrasound appointment in the next few days, and I was told I had DVT.
Unfortunately, because of the wrong diagnosis I was initially given, the clots damaged my veins permanently and affect my everyday life. I’m seeing specialists, but they are still unsure of what caused the clots. They think it was heavy lifting at the gym combined with the hormonal contraceptive pill. It has been a frustrating few years for me. My advice is to trust your body – you know best!