In 2018, when I was 21 years old and just over three months postpartum, I was diagnosed with multiple pulmonary emboli (PE). I started having trouble breathing in the early evening which I assumed was just my asthma acting up. This continued all through the night and into the morning. I was using my asthma inhaler every 30 minutes.
In the morning I was so out of breath that I couldn’t stand up or walk. I had slight chest pain and I was dizzy and weak, but it was the inability to take a big breath that convinced me to call an ambulance.
The hospital was baffled by my symptoms as I was a young, fit, nonsmoker with no family history of blood clots or blood disorders. I was then tested for blood clots via VQ scan and commenced blood thinners immediately.
I had testing done to see if I had any blood disorders that would cause this, and I was wrongly diagnosed with antiphospholipid syndrome. After then taking it in to my own hands and getting a second opinion, I was told I did not have antiphospholipid syndrome, and my clots were attributed to pregnancy.
It’s now five years later and the clots have not recurred. I went onto have another pregnancy and was placed on blood thinning injections from time the of conception to three months postpartum, which was successful in stopping any clots from forming.
In terms of genetic factors, my mother, sister and I have been tested and none of us have a clotting disorder.
This experience has drastically changed my lifestyle. For more than a year, I was terrified of getting clots again and had many anxiety attacks. I take my health so much more seriously now.
I have learned that blood clots can really happen to anyone. I’ve shared my story with my nearest and dearest so they know what to look out for.
I hope my story helps to show that anyone can get a blood clot. They definitely do not discriminate. Stay safe all.