Talking About My PE and Researching It Has Helped Lessen My Anxiety: Sarah’s Story

Talking About My PE and Researching It Has Helped Lessen My Anxiety: Sarah’s Story

On Dec. 8, 2021, I was about to take my daughter to a holiday event before going to work. She had forgotten her hoodie, so I ran upstairs for it and immediately felt lightheaded with a pounding heart. I had been suffering from shortness of breath for a few weeks but had put it down to being a bit unfit and asthmatic, as pollen was high.

I sat on the bed and used my inhaler. I felt less dizzy as I went back down to my daughter. I walked her to her event and felt extremely short of breath. I had been diagnosed with asthma a few years earlier, and so I called my doctor thinking I was having an asthma attack.

I was put on a nebulizer and felt okay, but I had pressure pain in the back of my lungs. I thought it was muscular pain from an asthma attack and didn’t give it a second thought. The next day, my GP called and said I was on their list to check up on, which was unusual.

I described the pressure pain in the back of my lungs, and she could hear I was still wheezy. She asked me to go to the ER. I thought she was being overly cautious, and so didn’t go immediately.

At the hospital, I was put on a nebulizer straight away and had ECG and blood taken. I was kept on a nebulizer for a few hours and then sat and waited for a chest X-ray. This came back clear.

It was now 3 a.m. and the doctor wasn’t happy with my symptoms. Thankfully, I was sent for a CT scan, just to be sure. The doctor then called me into a side room and told me that he couldn’t believe how well outwardly I was presenting as I had numerous massive bilateral pulmonary emboli.

I was alone and had no clue what this meant! He explained I had lots of blood clots in both lungs and I was lucky to be here! I was put on rivaroxaban and will have to take it indefinitely as my clots were unprovoked.

I cannot thank the doctors enough, as they really did save my life! I have anxiety about developing further clots despite being on thinners for life, and I’ve been scared to sleep. But talking about it and researching it has helped.

Shortness of breath makes exercise difficult, but I’m slowly building this back up. I don’t take anything for granted and I enjoy the little things in life every day.


Psychological Impact of Blood Clots
What is a Pulmonary Embolism?
Signs and Symptoms

Share your story
The personal story is intended for informational purposes only. The National Blood Clot Alliance (NBCA) holds the rights to all content that appears on its website. The use by another organization or online group of any content on NBCA’s website, including patient stories that appear here, does not imply that NBCA is connected to these other organizations or groups or condones or endorses their work. Please contact info@stoptheclot.org with questions about this matter.

Additional patient stories



If I Hadn’t Been Persistent, My Outcome Would’ve Been Much Different


This Has Been an Emotional Roller Coaster


Family Members Across Several Generations Are Also Factor V Leiden-Positive