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Sydney Penner PhotoMy life changed drastically on November 15, 2012. I was diagnosed with an Acute Pulmonary Embolism (blood clot in the lung) in my right lung.


I remember the day before. I was walking from my college class to my car and running out of breath. This was unusual for me because I was always out running and exercising and I was healthy. The next day I remember pain: when I would sit there was the pain; when I would get up there was that pain; and later that night when I was laying down, this huge amount of overwhelming pain just shot right through me, I couldn’t breathe or sit or lay down. I was crying because I was in so much pain,

I ran to the living room in tears. That’s when my parents made me get my coat on and get in the car. My mom took me to the ER (Emergency Room) – my first time in a hospital because I was such a healthy person.  We thought I might have appendicitis.

I remember having a chest X-ray and tons of blood work. Then the Dr came back saying he saw something on the chest X-ray and wanted to look into it more, so he sent me to get a CT scan. They then rolled me back to my room, at about 12:30 A.M. I remember the nurses and doctors running into my room saying “She has a pulmonary embolism (PE) in her lungs and we need to admit you and get you started on blood thinners this moment.” They turned to my mom and said if I hadn’t of came in that night I would have been dead.

For a 20 year old this was a lot of news to take in, I was crying nonstop.  The hospital stay was not fun for me, I was in SO much pain, couldn’t walk, couldn’t shower, and couldn’t eat. I had so much anxiety they actually had to inject Ativan (an anti-anxiety medication) into my IV.  The nurses kept collapsing all my veins in blood draws and the anxiety from this pain made me throw up. When I got home I still couldn’t do much, so my mom had to help me get dressed, take a shower, and help me eat.

I don’t know why I got this blood clot.

No one in my family has ever had a PE/ DVT. They tested me for every single genetic test and they all came back normal. I don’t smoke, I am not on birth control, and I did not travel long distances. I was very active. I didn’t have a sore arm or leg.

This illness had changed me in a positive way, I am now stronger as ever and I got over my fear of hospitals and doctor offices. It helped me chose my career path; I’m now going into nursing because of this life changing event.

I am truly blessed to have gone through such a traumatic event at such a young age. I thank God for the experience.  I definitely don’t take anything for granted ever since having been diagnosed with a PE. I’m here for a reason and I plan on seeing the reason.

My advice to others is to not look on the negative. Yes, you may be on thinners for the rest of your life, or you may not have your lung function back to normal, but you are here and you are a SURVIVOR. The Lord didn’t let you die for a reason; He has plans for you. DO NOT GIVE UP! It may look like a horrible climb now but trust me it gets better! It’s been a little over a year since I had mine, and I still don’t have all lung function back but I stay positive.

Take Home Messages

  • PEs can happen to healthy, young people.
  • When you have serious pain and difficulty breathing, get to an emergency room immediately.
  • Symptoms of PE may make people think they have another condition, like in this situation, appendicitis.
  • A PE is a life threatening emergency.
  • Sometime PEs happen and we can’t explain why.
  • PEs can be a life changing experience.
  • Spirituality helps some people get through the trauma of experiencing a life-threatening PE.
Author: admin

5 Responses to "Sidney Penner’s Blood Clot Story"

  1. Sarah Davies
    Sarah Davies Posted on January 1, 2014 at 11:24 pm

    This story is all to familiar, same thing happen to me 18months ago, such a scary time in my life. Like you i didn’t know what was happening either, i had these symptoms as well, i got turned away from one hospital just saying it was a pulled chest muscle that’s why i was in so much pain, it wasn’t till 2 days later i was coughing up blood so i went to another hospital and they diagnosed me with PE. I’m now off warfrin and I’m taking Aspirin for the rest of my life.
    I didn’t know anything about PE so I’m thrilled there is more awareness. Too many people are dying form this and all we have to do is keep giving out the warning signs to save more lives!

  2. Michelle Grotzinger
    Michelle Grotzinger Posted on January 2, 2014 at 5:30 am

    About three years ago I survived a four pulmonary embolisms in my lungs. I lost part of my right lung but that morning I went to my rheumatologist and complained of chest pain. Later I was in the ER for hives urticaria and angioedema and had a thorough doctor who asked about my body head to toe. He performed a D dimer blood test which came back positive a cat scan followed and four PE’s were found in my lungs. I was prescribed Coumadin and developed a blood clot in my leg while therapeutic. Lovenox didn’t work either and was placed on Fragmin. I was in my early thirties and shocked. I don’t know why I am still here but God must have a plan. After ridding my body of the clots the hives urticaria and angioedema disappeared. I think I walked around clotting for a year.

    TRACY BEHUNIN Posted on September 26, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    Thanks for sharing this. My son was diagnosed with PE after coughing up many blood clots in the hospital. He has jabbing pains throughout his body (legs, lungs, abdomen, etc.) He was given a CT scan and the Hematologist DID NOT SCAN HIS LEGS! He’s undergoing many many blood tests now. I need some guidance as to whether he SHOULD have tested his legs. The Doctor explained that because there’s no swelling, there’s no need to the legs to be scanned (even tho my son explained he has pain there at times). I’m very very concerned – and wonder if a HEMATOLOGIST is the right kind of doctor. Any thoughts on this would be very very helpful!

  4. Lavangela Newsome
    Lavangela Newsome Posted on November 11, 2014 at 5:08 am

    Thanks for sharing your story, I am a survivor as well. I was diagnosed in 2009 with a DVT/PE it started in my right leg & traveled to my lungs. I was 20 years old as well, Our stories sound so similar.I was in Coumidian/Lovenux therapy for 1yr & have to take Aspirin for the rest of my life as well. It is crazy how one day your life could be perfectly normal & in a blink of an eye your at risk & your faced with such traumatic news of hearing the doctor telling you that if you would have not come to the ER that night then you life would have ended. Being a survivor of a DVT have tought me to just LIVE my life as if it was my last & to never take anything or anyone for granted because your life could be tooken from you in a blink of an eye. Thanks for sharing & May god bless you!

  5. F.J.
    F.J. Posted on July 29, 2016 at 5:56 pm

    Thank you for your story. It resembles my own. I was hospitalized two months ago with a large blood clot in each lung, and one in my left leg, and although I’m doing much better, I still have days with piercing mild pain in my chest, exhaustion, anxiety and overall sick feeling. Other days I feel great. I’m on Xeralto now, apparently for the rest of my life. Sometimes I feel like this will never go away completely, and I’m probably right. All I know is I need to keep living and do the best I can. Things could be much worse.