There’s A Reason I’m Still Here: Barbara’s Story

There’s A Reason I’m Still Here: Barbara’s Story

I am a 2x pulmonary embolism survivor. My first one was in July 2013. I had traveled out of the country, come home, and traveled for my daughter’s soccer games. I was on birth control and overweight.

We got home from a weekend tournament, and when I went to stand up, it felt like I had a charley horse in my left calf. By the following week, I no longer had leg pain but was short of breath from doing basic things.

I worked in an ER, so after a shift I checked myself in. The chest CT showed I had a PE. I was admitted and taken off birth control. I was terrified. My kids were 17 and 12 at the time and I didn’t want them to lose their mom.

Genetic testing showed no blood clotting disorders, and I remained on warfarin for two years.

In March 2021, I had a bunion surgery and was put on enoxaparin afterward as a precaution. I had some leg pain but associated it with my surgery.

On April 6, I was sitting on my couch relaxing and my heart rate shot up to 120. It was like this for about an hour, and I knew something wasn’t right, so I asked a friend to take me to the ER. When I got there, my oxygen level was 85. They ran tests and the doctor came in to tell me I had a massive bilateral PE.

Due to the size and where it was located, they administered tPA, which is a clot-busting drug. I credit that with saving my life. I was in ICU for 24 hours and discharged on apixaban. When I had my follow-up with a hematologist, I was diagnosed with factor II homozygous, an inherited condition that causes the body to produce too much prothrombin protein, making blood more likely to clot.

I know I’m extremely lucky to be here, I have an aunt and uncle who passed away from PEs. I tell people to listen to your body, it will let you know when something isn’t right. There’s a reason I’m still here, I just don’t know what that reason is yet.


Factor II
Hospitalization and Surgery
Glossary of Blood Clot Terms

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