March 7, 2013 initially started off like every other weekday morning. I was getting ready to go to work, but for some reason I was having a tough time walking. I had been really sore the last few weeks: back aches, side hurting, and uncomfortable sitting down. I thought it was because of being pregnant at my age of 37. So, I pushed through the pain and discomfort and went to work. As I sat at my desk trying to schedule something, I couldn’t get off the phone quick enough to stand up. I became so uncomfortable at that point that nothing was helping. I looked down at my legs while describing my pain to a coworker and realized my left leg was swollen twice the size of my right leg, was ice cold to the touch and was turning blue. I mentioned it to my coworkers and they sent me home.
Eventually, after running a few important errands, I went to my OB’s office to have them check me. As soon as I walked in the door, the head nurse sent me to the Emergency Room. She said if she didn’t know any better, she thought I had a blood clot and that I did not need to let it go unchecked any longer. I got into my car and called my mom on my way to the hospital to have her meet me there.
Once I got to the ER, they immediately took me back and started drawing blood. A vascular surgeon came in, and upon examining my leg, immediately ran out of the room and ordered an ultrasound of my leg. The ultrasound was very uncomfortable because of the tech having to push down on my leg, but it also became another scary situation: they couldn’t find a pulse in my foot or any blood flow to my foot.
The vascular surgeon came back into my room shortly after the ultrasound to let me know I was being admitted for a couple of days. He said I had a DVT, but that he was so happy that the coloring of my leg was improving some the longer it was elevated. He said if it had stayed blue they may have had to amputate my leg! At that point, I took a trip outside of my own thoughts, as I couldn’t bear to think of losing my leg and was really only concerned at that moment of what all of this meant for my unborn baby.
Come to find out, my DVT is from groin to knee and wraps around behind my knee. I’ve been on Lovenox injections since March 7, 2013. I was told on March 9th when I was released from the hospital that I should be able to go back to work and resume normal activities in a couple of days. I have not been able to return to work, as I’m not able to sit without being in a great deal of pain, so I ended up losing my job.
I still deal with pain daily and have trouble walking and functioning like I used to. I have had doctors give up on me by refusing to treat me anymore, thinking I can’t get any better. I’ve had doctors that have also told me I’m making up all the pain and trouble with moving, and that I should be a fully functioning person within a month of being diagnosed. I’ve also been told that DVTs do not cause pain.
Now, I’m in the process of working with a vascular surgeon that specializes in interventional radiology who believes I have May Thurner Syndrome as well as some other issues with the veins in my leg. It pays to keep pushing forward to find a doctor that really listens to YOU. I’m working daily towards getting better. The great part is that I have a healthy, happy, beautiful baby boy that will be turning 6 months old the day after my one year DVT anniversary.
*Editor’s Note: Thank you, Debra, for sharing your story with BCRN! Connect with Debra in the comments below.