May 19th, 2011 was a beautiful, spring morning. I was happy; on top of the world. I had just finished my first year in law school. My family drove down the coast to spend my birthday with me. Everything was perfect.
I slipped on a new sundress and went to show it off to my sisters. My older sister who was an ENT at the time took a glance at me, grabbed my wrist and brought me over to my mother, a registered nurse. Neither of them were interested in my dress, but rather my leg that was slightly swollen and a bit discolored. They exchanged medical jargon and acronyms I am all too familiar with now but was not at the time. Before I could make sense of what was going on I found myself in my doctor’s office. I wasn’t in pain but there was this sense of urgency from everyone around me. My doctor ordered me straight to the hospital.
All before lunch, I had an ultra sound on my left leg and CT scan on my lungs. They hooked up an IV, admitted me to the hospital, and order me to lay still. My leg had swelled almost double in size and turned purple. In mere hours I went from fine to excruciating pain. I had a massive deep vein thrombosis (DVT) from abdomen down to my ankle in my left leg. It had already broke up and passed through my heart and filled a majority of both my lungs, bilateral pulmonary embolisms (PEs).
It was May 19th, 2011, just six days shy of my 23rd birthday, doctors told me I likely wouldn’t make it to see 23.
By the grace of God, I am here to share my story. I am the face of blood clots. I suffered bilateral pulmonary embolisms and a massive DVT and what a journey it has been! I was forced to learn new limitations while continuously challenging myself. I lost people who chose not to walk this journey with me but became closer to those who have supported me. I learned new limitations while challenging myself. I have had hundreds of doctors’ appointments, months of bed rest, lost the wheelchair and finally got used to the countless needles and medications. I endured a second blood clot, which threatened to take my leg. And just two years ago I made it through major surgery to have 3 stents implanted. This has become a life long journey of ups and downs. I surpassed a grim prognosis and can celebrate my survivorship and I truly owe it all to my sister and mother who knew the signs and symptoms.
It can happen to anyone. I was health, happy, athletic, young, with so much going for me and it happened to me. Please make yourself aware of the signs, symptoms and risk factors. Education could save a life as it did mine.
National Blood Clot Alliance wrote -
March is Blood Clot Awareness month. In honor of this month dedicated to raising awareness of the signs, symptoms and risk factors for blood clots, the National Blood Clot Alliance is sharing stories from survivors and families as part of a virtual fundraising project. Our goal is aimed at highlighting and showcasing just how many people, of all ages, backgrounds and circumstances and affected by blood clots.
274 people will die from blood clots today. That means this month alone 8,494 Americans will be killed from a condition that could have likely been prevented. This already staggering number does not take into account the people who will survive but live with complications. Blood clots kill more people every year than AIDS, breast cancer and car accidents COMBINED. It is our mission at NBCA to raise awareness and ultimately reduce this number. Knowing the signs, symptoms and risk factors saves lives.
While there are many faces to blood clots, each one is so different. As you will see in the following stories, blood clots do not discriminate. Regardless of age, race or gender, we’re all at risk. No matter how young or physically fit you may be, you can still be affected. Please take the time to read the stories featured in this campaign and consider donating to the National Blood Clot Alliance to help us continue our mission of advancing the prevention, early diagnosis and successful treatment of life-threatening blood clots such as deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, and clot-provoked stroke.
- The National Blood Clot Alliance, a 501(c)(3), non-profit, voluntary health organization dedicated to advancing the prevention, early diagnosis and successful treatment of life-threatening blood clots such as deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, and clot-provoked stroke.
- Blood Clots kill more people each year than AIDS, Breast Cancer and motor vehicle accidents combined.
- An estimated 900,000 Americans are diagnosed with blood clots each year. 100,000 will die.
- Blood Clots kill one person every 6 minutes
- Although blood clots can be prevented, fewer than 1 in 4 people know the signs and symptoms, making awareness so important.
- 274 people will die today from a blood clot, and tomorrow, and the next day. Every day, 274 Americans will die of a blood clot.
- Many of these deaths could been prevented with increased awareness and education. Knowledge is power!
Visit us at www.stoptheclot.org for additional information on how to protect yourself and your loved ones from blood clots.