I Thought it Was Appendicitis: Samantha’s Story

I Thought it Was Appendicitis: Samantha’s Story


My name is Samantha and I am 20 years old. On April 12th, 2013 I walked into the emergency room (ER) thinking I had appendicitis. A week prior my 6’2″ friend sat on my back for while I played cards on the floor. Since then, I was having symptoms like nausea and an extreme shooting pain in my right side. The day I went into the hospital the pain in my side was so bad I couldn’t stand up straight.

At 9 at night I had my friend drive me to the ER. When we got there I told her to wait to fill out the paperwork until I got back from the bathroom. I went to the bathroom and threw up and immediately felt a little better so I was going to leave. Luckily when I came out of the bathroom my friend was filling out the paperwork. They took me back and did ultrasounds, CT scans, and x-rays, checking to see if it was my appendix or an ovarian cyst.

At 3 a.m. the ER doctor came back to tell me I had a substantial (about 6-8 inches) blood clot in my inferior vena cava (the vein that carries blood from the lower body to the heart), and multiple blood clots in my lungs called pulmonary embolisms. Apparently, they had been growing since November, when I had a car accident. I was also told that I was lucky to be alive and because I was so young my smaller veins did extremely well at circulating my blood. This is also why I didn’t have any symptoms.

After a week in the hospital and what seemed like endless blood tests it was determined that I have a clotting disorder. They later found out that I had Factor V Leiden. That combined with birth control and the car accident in November caused a life-threatening clot to form. At 20 years old, I am a warfarin warrior and my entire world has been flipped upside down.

The biggest thing I have had to rethink is having children, for fear of passing this onto them. I was a seemingly healthy young woman with no worries. Now I take a daily does of warfarin and have to get my INR tested twice a week. Life is short and it shouldn’t be wasted. So for me there will be no more excuses. If I want to do something, like go back to school or even something simple like eat an ice cream cone, I will because we never know how long we have on earth and I don’t plan on wasting any time. If I go at any time I want to go with no regrets.

I would like to thank not only all of my doctors but the entire nursing staff, pharmacists, and everyone behind the scenes who typically don’t receive any thanks. It is because of all of you that I am still here today. Thank You.

Take Home Messages

  • Blood clots happen to young, seemingly healthy, people.
  • Birth control pills are a risk factor for blood clots, especially if you have Factor V Leiden.
  • Blood clots can happen as a result of trauma from a car accident.
  • Blood clots can act like other conditions – in this case, appendicitis or an ovarian cyst.
  • People usually don’t know they have a clotting disorder like Factor V Leiden until they have a clot.
  • Blood clotting disorders can be a life-changing experience.
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