My Only Risk Factor was an Estrogen-Based Birth Control Patch: Stacy’s Story

My Only Risk Factor was an Estrogen-Based Birth Control Patch: Stacy’s Story

On May 22, 2022, I woke up and had breakfast with my family. As I was getting ready for my day, I felt dizzy and weak, then I fainted. When I woke up, I projectile vomited.  

I eventually made it to the shower. When I got out, I was still feeling weak and dizzy. The room was spinning so fast and it was making me more nauseated. I lay on the cold floor for some relief, then I vomited and fainted again. 

 Thankfully, my husband called 9-1-1. I had three small seizures while the paramedics were collecting me. At the hospital, the doctors and nurses were trying to figure out what was wrong with me as I went in and out of consciousness. My blood pressure had dropped dangerously low and everything was pointing signs of possible death. 

 But then a nurse noticed a birth control patch on my left forearm and she peeled it off. Surprisingly, my levels started to improve slowly. 

 The doctor told me I had a life-threatening blood clot in my heart and lungs (pulmonary embolism) and that I was going to be administered a clot buster through an IV. It took two hours and alleviated some of the pressure on my heart and lungs. 

 I stayed in the ICU for a week. I had many blood transfusions and tests done every day. They continued to administer heparin. By the fourth day, the clot was no longer putting pressure on my heart. I was released from the hospital but had to continue taking dabigatran for nine months. Within a few months, the clot had completely dissolved. 

 My only risk factor was my estrogen-based birth control patch. I don’t have any clotting disorders. 

This was the most terrifying and traumatic experience I’ve ever had. I’ve come a long way with so much support from my husband, family, and friends.  

I live every day with a grateful heart. Knowing that I was literally knocking on heaven’s door has made me realize that life is too short to be worried about the things I cannot control.


Women and Blood Clots: Birth Control
Know Your Risk
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