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I want to share my story because, most importantly, it was as a result of reading patient stories on the National Blood Clot Alliance website that I went to get checked and was diagnosed with a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in my left calf. Let me tell you a little bit more about me.
I am a 47-year-old, busy mom who recently started a job with a lengthy commute. I accepted a position in Boston, Massachusetts, and I live in Southern New Hampshire. I have been telecommuting for the past eight years. I commute into Boston approximately three days a week, via a commuter bus. I drive about 25 minutes to my bus and then the bus trip ranges from one-and-a-half to two hours each way. So, in addition to a sedentary desk job, I am sitting almost perfectly still during my commute for about three and a half hours a day. Between work, my children, and household responsibilities, I don’t make the time to be physically active and I am overweight. I also have iron and B12 deficiency anemia. I am also vitamin D deficient.
One night in March, I was walking around a local craft store when my left shin gave out. It was as if I had pulled a calf muscle, and while it wasn’t painful, it was completely useless. I had no strength in my calf at all. I went home, went to bed, and woke up the next day feeling fine. In mid-April, I woke up with a weird burning sensation on the backside of my knee, where the knee bends. It was also somewhat present further down the backside of my left calf. It wasn’t a pain or an ache – I’ve had plenty of those over the years to know the difference. The best way I can describe it is like having a sunburn on the inside of my leg.
I also noticed that a bulging vein on my leg was warm to the touch, compared to the surrounding skin. I was aware of the burning sensation, but not debilitated by it. I decided to go online and searched “random leg pain” and “backside of knee.” The search results that led me to the National Blood Clot Alliance where I read more about symptoms of DVT, as well as other patient stories (especially the ones about younger, healthier patients) and that compelled me to contact my primary care physician.
After an urgent care visit, ultrasound, and several hours, I found myself sitting in the local ER with a DVT in the posterior tibial vein, which runs mid-calf to ankle and the distal peroneal vein. I am now taking one of the newer anticoagulants and am scheduled to have regular follow-ups with my primary care provider.
I was able to modify my commute so now I am working four days from my home office and commuting only one day. I had been a remote employee for about eight years, so I definitely suspect the clot was related to my change in commute in January 2016. I have occasional pain near where I believe one of the two clots were that the doctor now suspects is post-thrombotic syndrome pain, but we’re not sure yet.
I am thankful I found the clots before they found me.