In May 2015, I was wrapping up a day at work. I was short of breath and coughing badly. I told my husband to take me to the emergency room (ER) because I had been dealing with it for a week, and I was running out of my asthma medication. I went to the ER thinking they would give me a breathing treatment and medication, and I would be discharged home. I did not have a clue about what I was experiencing, or that in a few hours my life was going to change forever.
The doctor in the ER sent me to get some X-rays, and they showed a lot of congestion in my lungs. He was going to discharge me with medication, when he noticed that my heart rate was really high. The doctor decided to hydrate me, thinking it was high because of dehydration. They administered three large bags of IV fluids, and my heart rate remained high, so he told me as a precaution – and even though my D-dimer test was negative – he wanted to do a CT scan with contrast to further check my lungs for blood clots. Thank God that doctor was so diligent, because I wouldn’t be here if he didn’t do the scan. They found a clot in my right lung and started me on blood thinners. I was hospitalized for ten days.
I was on warfarin for six months, and they tested me for everything. However, they could not find a reason for my PE, so they called it an unprovoked PE. After six months of treatment, I thought I was out of the woods. This experience changed me, and I wasn’t the same. I was more aware of my body. It was that awareness that made me more aware of the symptoms of blood clots, which would again save my life.
In January 2017, I started feeling shortness of breath again and pain in my chest. I went quickly to the ER and, since my records had my history of blood clots, the hospital began with all of the common tests. Once again, my D-dimer was normal, which is something odd in my case, but when the CT scan results came back, I had two clots. One was in my main pulmonary artery and another one was in my right lung. I was blessed one more time with a doctor who caught them on time. This time I spent 13 days in the hospital. Now I’m on blood thinners for life.
Both of these experiences made me more grateful with what I have, and made me appreciate the little blessings each day brings. Even though I struggle with the side effects of the blood thinner, and the challenges of other conditions like fibromyalgia, I’m grateful to be here, so I can enjoy my two beautiful princesses and my husband. Please be aware of your body, and know the symptoms and the risk factors for blood clots. The knowledge can make the difference between life or death.
MORE INFORMATION AND RESOURCES:
- Join our online peer support community to connect with other people who have experienced a blood clot.
- Read more about blood clot risks, signs and symptoms, and prevention here.
- Read more stories, or share your story with NBCA.