My Leg Was Massively Swollen, Purple, and Hot: Shelby’s Story

My Leg Was Massively Swollen, Purple, and Hot: Shelby’s Story

I live a fairly active lifestyle as a preschool teacher, firefighter wife, and dog mom. I am always on the go! When I began experiencing what I thought were muscle cramps, I thought nothing of it. Little did I know, my body was experiencing a trauma that would halt me in my tracks.   

In November 2022, I restarted my birth control, the same birth control I had taken for several years. Around Thanksgiving, I began having cramps in my right leg, especially while sitting or lying down. I mentioned them to my husband, and we figured it was just typical muscle pain and went about our daily routines.   

By January 5, 2023, those cramps had become extremely uncomfortable. I was also having what I thought was bad seasonal asthma. I was constantly out of breath and my leg hurt. I thought I had been overdoing it and had pinched my sciatic nerve. I went to my chiropractor to get adjusted. I felt relief from some of my pain, but my leg still hurt.   

On January 10, I had what I thought was the worst asthma attack of my life. Little did I know, I had just narrowly escaped death. I finished my day with my class and went home to do a nebulizer treatment.   

On January 12, I collapsed in my home after my leg gave out. Not wanting to risk falling at work, I called out and made an appointment with my primary care provider for Monday morning.   

Upon arriving at the doctor’s office on January 16, my leg was massively swollen, purple, and hot to the touch. My doctor had me do a D-dimer and sent me to the ER.   

I was eventually diagnosed with a massive deep vein thrombosis (DVT), extending the full length of my right leg, and bilateral pulmonary embolism (PE). I have no family history of blood clotting disorders; birth control was my risk factor.   

NBCA has been a big part of my recovery. Using the resources, guides, questions, and support changed how I approached my doctor visits and my outlook on my diagnosis.   

This experience has taught me to live harder and enjoy each moment. Recovery has led me to a path of being stronger, healthier, and more proactive with my health. 


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