Surviving a life-threatening medical emergency was not what Sarah Henley of Maryland ever imagined would happen to her.
A month earlier, she had given birth to her second child. Her doctor prescribed a low-estrogen contraceptive pill, and towards the end of the first month, she developed back pain, shoulder pain and shortness of breath.
Sarah wasn’t immediately worried. She thought it was allergies or a sinus infection. It wasn’t until she lost her breath altogether that she asked her husband to call 9-1-1.
The ER that treated Sarah misdiagnosed her with a muscle spasm. Thinking of her babies at home, Sarah summoned the strength to advocate for further testing which revealed the pulmonary embolism, or blood clot in her lung. Unfortunately, due to the delayed diagnosis and treatment, Sarah has permanent lung and heart damage as a result of the clot.
Initially, Sarah was told that the clot was caused by the combination of increased estrogen from hormonal birth control and postpartum, as well as obesity. Blood tests later showed she also has factor V Leiden, a genetic mutation that predisposed her to abnormal blood clotting, putting her at an even higher clot risk.
In 2021, Sarah started her candle and aromatherapy company, 48th & Glory. She wanted to use her products to bring more attention to blood clots, and the disparities within our healthcare system that affect women of color.
She contacted NBCA about launching a special line of products to sell during Blood Clot Awareness Month in March to benefit NBCA, which has become an annual event.
“I believe that every fundraiser is a life saver,” Sarah said. “I believe that every post is necessary because an NBCA post is what I read through pain and near non-existing breaths as I was laying in the ER bed trying to describe what I felt was happening to me.”
“Anybody can suffer a clot, but if everybody knows the signs, we are that much closer to saving a life and that much better at stopping the clot,” Sarah said.
Sarah, thank you for your passion for blood clot awareness and your generous support of our programs and initiatives.
If you’re interested in becoming an NBCA volunteer, fill out this form to get started! https://www.stoptheclot.org/volunteer/interest_questionnaire/