The Most Terrifying Experience of My Life: Sue Moreland’s Story

Categories: Patient Stories

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I wMoreland, Sueas 23 years old when I gave birth to my daughter in June 2010. During the last few months of my pregnancy, I sat and laid in bed a lot, because I suffered from sciatica, a condition in which compression of the spinal nerve causes pain in the lower back. Everything was normal with my labor and delivery, and I came home. However, as the weeks went by, I was having increasing pain in my lower back and legs. Every time I stood up, I felt dizzy and faint. I was also having trouble moving. My general practitioner diagnosed me as having back spasms.

The next day after my doctor’s appointment, I woke up and both of my legs had doubled in size. I went straight to A&E and was admitted immediately. I had scans of my legs and 24 hours after I was admitted, I was diagnosed with a blood clot in the femoral vein of my leg (deep vein thrombosis or DVT), which is the vein that supplies blood to both legs. I was in shock to hear my diagnosis. I was immediately put on a high dose of warfarin, and I was told not to move at all.

Unfortunately, while in I was in the hospital, part of the clot broke off and traveled to my lung, resulting in a pulmonary embolism or PE. The blood clot lodged at the bottom of my lung – if it was a half of an inch smaller, it would have traveled further into my lung and collapsed it.

After ten days in hospital, I was transferred to a different hospital to see vascular surgeons, who would attempt to remove the clots from my leg. The vascular surgeons went in and couldn’t get past the first clot in my veins. They telephoned the top surgeon in Dublin, Ireland, for advice, and he advised them to stop the surgery and continue with anticoagulant treatment instead. Unfortunately, the surgery was not successful, and they told me my case was the worst of its kind they had ever seen. I was released from the hospital after 14 days with very limited mobility.

Since my hospitalization, I have seen several doctors and, over time, I have found that I am among the worst cases of DVT ever recorded in Northern Ireland. I am on warfarin for life, and I am too high risk to have any more children.

To this day, I still have several clots in my legs, I have very limited mobility, and I suffer from post-thrombotic syndrome. I am on strong painkillers every day. Physically, I’m left with swollen legs and scars from a vascular rash I developed due to the deep circulation in my legs shutting down and the blood traveling through the veins in my skin. Any knock to my legs causes major bruising. This experience has left me emotionally scarred – being so close to dying was terrifying for me. Before all of this, I had no idea what exactly blood clots were, and I had no idea pregnancy increases the risk for blood clots. It is sometimes hard to explain to people how it feels. The hardest part for me is not being able to have any more children. I’m blessed with a beautiful daughter, but it breaks my heart that I can’t give her a sibling.

I would advise anyone to stay active before and after pregnancy, and to get any unusual aches and pains checked out immediately. It is my hope that by sharing my story, I can help prevent this from happening to someone else and to let anyone suffering from DVT know they are not alone.

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To learn more about blood clot risk factors and signs and symptoms of blood clots, please click here.
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Author: SW

2 Responses to "The Most Terrifying Experience of My Life: Sue Moreland’s Story"

  1. alison hepworth
    alison hepworth Posted on July 8, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    I know to well how you feel here, I did not have them in pregancy or after.
    I have had bloods in my lungs 3 times since 07, first time i was in hospital 3 months with them and puemonia and purcey too. I was put on warfarin for 18 months inr levels all over the place did not work. got taken of them by consultant saying it could have been a one of thing, was ok until 2010 then i got them again i stopped the signs from 07 and got to hospital by ambulance i was out of it, this time they were bigger my mum was phoned up to say if we dont give here this drug she will die, i did not know until after 3 months home, I was put on fragarmin at 1500 every night, then after 12 months been oin them raiiroxban, i was not well again in july 15 got to hospital had a scan was told i had them again so was in again another 2 weeks, and was put on fragamin 1800 for life,

    In August 15 when been home i dont think i was recovering well was told give it longer, ok time went on in oct 15 i was sent for a ulter sound scan of heart as i had one in hospital as heart was first the scan comfirmed the same hypertention as well. my consultant was suppose to get urgent, did not hear anything until afew days before i moved here. to be told another MRI scan on 16th jJan 15 of which comfirm blood clotts still there from august 15 and scarring from others too, i keep asking them this got answers no, since moving here struggled to go out because of the breathing coughing, as time gone on swollen legs etc,

    Now have to have major surgery was told to take blood clotts out o get back to normal or i will die in 2 years of heart failure so been put in a situation i had no choice. after tests etc i gofor surgery now on the 22nd july 16 not long its a long surgery to clear out the lungs 9 hrs on bypass etc, and in cambs 14 days away from i live 3 or so hrs away. i am a bit scare never had surgery before, but i will get throught, after been home i cannot do anything for 8 weeks not lift a kettle as i will have staples in my breast bone, they have to heal. and chest, as the months go on i will get better and get my life back after a year with them the pain is worse than having kids i tell you as you know.

  2. alison hepworth
    alison hepworth Posted on July 8, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    i am 49 got first when i was 40