the day I should have died.
I will always remember September 27th, 2010 like it was yesterday. It was the day I should have died.
It was a Monday. I went into to work early that day, I climbed two flights of stairs and when I reached my desk announced, “I think I’m going to faint”, and sure enough the next thing I knew I came around to coworkers standing above me.
I had spent two weeks prior complaining of stiffness in my calf and actually had gone into the ER on Friday the 24th and received and ultra sound but was cleared by the tech. Well, what the tech thought he saw that Friday could have prevented me a near death experienced if another tech wouldn't have rushed him for the ultrasound machine. He had asked her opinion on a blur right in the pocket where my leg attaches to my hip. The second tech said oh its nothing I need the machine. Had they taken a few minutes longer to investigate, they could have saved me a lifetime of pain. After they cleared me I left for Portland that night. A trip I never should have taken. Sitting stagnant in the car caused the clot to throw to my lungs. I could have had a stroke in the car on the way home. I could tell it had thrown on Sunday, because when I got home from Portland I carried my bags up two flights of stairs to my apartment, which I did every day just fine and I could not catch my breath for the life of me. For 15 minutes I was wheezing in a cold sweat on my bed.
After I fainted on Monday morning, my coworkers insisted on taking me to the emergency room which I didn't want to go but thank god I went. As soon as we arrived I was pushed to the front of the line, got and EKG second ultrasound and a CT that showed I had 12 blood clots in my lungs. The same nurse from Friday was helping me and she knew immediately that the Ultrasound techs messed up, she mouthed “I’m sorry, I got you!” I’ll never forget that nurse. I felt like she was the only one who had my back in that ER. My roommate and close friends both showed up to keep me company while I waited for my mom to drive up from Portland. I didn't quite understand at the time what had happened, but I had cheated death.
My birth control was a huge factor in causing my blood clots. I often think about how lucky I am when I have met so many people who have lost their loved ones to a Pulmonary embolism, DVT or stroke just breaks my heart. Please I ask of you, know your body. Listen to it. Mine started out as stiffness and pain in my calf, when I noticed swelling was when I went to the ER. But it could have been prevented had I gone in sooner. I'm not against birth control, but I think so many women don't fully understand the high risk of PE/DVT and Stroke from their birth control. Doctors mention it, and they think nothing of the side effects. What you think "won't happen to me," actually happened to me. And It should have killed me. Doctors are puzzled as to how I survived with that many clots in my lungs.
Because I waited so long I have a pulmonary infarct (a portion of my lung is dead because it lost too much oxygen). I still experience pain and will struggle for the rest of my life managing with blood thinners. If I get in an accident I could bleed out, or if I get hit in the head at volleyball I could have a brain bleed. These are all things I worry about on a daily basis. Every time I worry though, I stop, and think about Amanda Kelly McIntosh and Tony Platt. Amanda, whose mother I met with passed away from a stroke due to her Birth control and a fellow LO High School Classmate, Tony passed away in his sleep from a PE. To think this could have been me scares me to death. But I will honor both of them by talking about them and sharing my story with others.
This day will always be a hard one for me. I will always remember it as the day I should have died. I will never forget September 27, 2010. I am thankful to still be alive and am stronger today because of what I've been through. #DVTsurvivor #PEsurvivor #bloodclot #invisibleillnessawareness