In January 2015, I was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and started estrogen-based birth control. Two months later, I married an active duty Marine and moved from Georgia to Virginia. Around that time, I started getting severe charley horse pains in my right leg that caused me to cry. I thought maybe I was just dehydrated.
About a month later, I started a new job with a round-trip commute of 2.5 hours. I started noticing that I had a hard time breathing just getting up from my seat at work, walking a few feet, getting in my car or walking up the stairs.
Then came the pain behind my knee. I thought I had pulled a muscle and treated it as such. It soon went away. The chest pain and shortness of breath continued for another month. One night, I went to the ER because I felt like I was having a heart attack. I was diagnosed as having severe low iron and sent home.
A week later, the knee pain came back and my leg got extremely huge. I was at work when I stood up and felt as though I was going to pass out, but I am stubborn and just slowly walked it off, went home and went to bed.
The turning point was when I was limping around at work one day and my coworker, Kathy, asked to see my leg. I showed her and told her I had not been working out and my leg just swelled up and I had pain so bad that I was trying not to cry at work. She offered to take me to the ER and I kept saying no. She drove me to my car since we work at a place with a huge parking lot and the whole time I was trying not to cry from the pain.
As soon as I got to my car and I waved to my coworker that I was okay, I broke down gripping the steering wheel, crying and screaming in pain. Thinking I had an hour drive home and was in such pain, I called my husband in tears and he told me to go to the ER.
The hospital admissions person asked me what was wrong and I broke down and told her everything. She said she was worried I had a blood clot and that is when everything went crazy.
A CT scan showed I had blood clots in both my lungs (pulmonary embolism, or PE) and a huge clot in my right leg (deep vein thrombosis). I had no idea what a PE or a DVT was. Everyone in the ER calmed me down and explained that I am extremely lucky, because one of the clots was very close to my heart. I was admitted to the hospital for five days. Once I was able to leave, I had strict instructions. I had crutches because my leg was so swollen and painful. I was put on warfarin, which I continue to take.
It has only been three months and everything is still so new to me, like being on blood thinners. I also have to take a test to see if I have a blood disorder. They are still trying to figure out what caused my clots. They say I was not on birth control long enough for it to cause all the blood clots.
I am still trying to get healthy and figure out what this all means and how it will affect the rest of my life.