Hope for Healing After Blood Clots

I have talked about hope for healing since I first started writing this blog, Blood Clot Recovery Network. I also talk a lot about not being alone during recovery from blood clots. It seems that these thoughts have always been a part of this space, but honestly, I didn’t have hope that I would heal when I started this blog, and I was entirely alone. Not many people were talking about blood clot recovery and if they were, I hadn’t found them yet. Still, I couldn’t get these words out of my head, and they became a founding focus of the work that I do here. I said them all the time – out loud and in my writing – perhaps believing that if I said them enough times, they would in fact become truth.

Throughout my personal recovery, I often heard, “You’re so positive,” and “You’re handling this so well.” In reality, my world was falling apart. My job, my relationships, my health, and my self-esteem where all in jeopardy, and there was not a whole lot that I could do about it. It was all out of my control. I don’t routinely consider myself positive – because I am not happy and outgoing all of the time – but most people would consider me an optimist. What I realized after I healed from my blood clots was that even though I wasn’t happy – and I certainly wasn’t optimistic – I was always hopeful for what the future held. I never stopped believing that better days were coming. I realized that I didn’t have to be happy to be positive. In fact, I was downright distraught over my situation. Having hope, though, even when I was hurting inside, was a positive way to handle a difficult situation. Looking back, I have handled most difficult situations in my life by remaining hopeful for a better future.

From where I am today, the words “there is hope for healing” make more sense than ever before. Without my blood clot experience, I would not be where I am today. Now, I am not sorry that my blood clot happened to me, but it has taken me years to understand that, and it wasn’t an easy conclusion to come to. After all, it’s incredibly difficult to be grateful for something that almost ended my life and caused many years of hardship and heartache.

Despite all the pain I went through, I still choose gratitude for my situation.

Without my blood clot, I would not have had the chance to share my story, and with it, to share life-saving information about blood clots. I would not have the opportunity to meet all of you. Without my blood clot, I would not be able to pursue my passions as a writer and as a communications professional. I would not have the career I do, or the opportunity to give back to the community that has helped me heal. Ultimately, without my blood clot, I would not be able to share hope for healing with the people, who find themselves as alone as I felt when I was recovering from blood clots. I am grateful for what happened to me, because of where I am today, and because I can work each day to make a difference in the lives of other people who are suffering and hurting.

Gratitude, though, didn’t happen overnight, and it doesn’t make everything effortless, either. I still struggle to this day from time to time. I wish I didn’t have to deal with the long-term consequences of a serious health condition. I still have anxieties and fears that will always be present to some degree. What if my blood thinner doesn’t work? What if I have another blood clot? What if a bigger, scarier health crisis happens to me that I am unprepared for? Those thoughts are still present in my mind from time to time, but I have hope that I can handle whatever comes my way, because I have already handled this.

Gratitude for my experiences took years to happen, and it was very much a part of my healing process. In the beginning, I hated what happened to me. I was angry. I thought the pain would never, ever end. I wondered “why?” for years, before something finally shifted in my mind.

That shift was towards hope. I began thinking about what was ahead, not behind, for me. I began to hope that there was something out there for me. I began to hope that the pain and suffering I was experiencing was not my final destination. I stopped asking “why,”and I started hoping for a different outcome. In time, why didn’t matter so much anymore. How began to matter more. How was I going to feel better? How was I going to deal with it if I didn’t feel better? And ultimately, how was I going to take what I went through and make a difference?

I didn’t know how, nor did I have an answer to any of my questions, but I started to have hope that I would find the answers, or perhaps that the answers would find me.

To my complete amazement, things started to turn around, for the better. I didn’t believe it at first (it was too good to be true). As I built this space and this blog, I started to realize that I was not alone. I received countless messages from people who said they were going through the exact same things that I was. People began sharing their pain, and their heartaches with me. People also shared their successes and progress with me. People started telling me that they hoped because I had hope. They said because of me and my experiences, they didn’t give up.

I began to see how, and then one day I understood why.

It became immediately clear to me why I went through what I did: I was meant to make a difference in the lives of people who were suffering with blood clots as I had. The more I gave, the more I received in return. The cycle of hope and healing has unveiled some unbelievable outcomes for not only myself, but for many of you as well. I know because you tell me each and every day how something I have written, something you read in the BCRN Facebook Group, or on the BCRN Facebook Page, has made a difference for you. Time and time again, you have told me that the stories of hope and healing have cleared the path for these same gifts in your own lives.

Hope and healing from blood clots can be yours, and you do not have to suffer in silence, and alone. Honor where you have come from, and what you have been through, because you have been through a lot. Your body may be broken, but it is strong. Your mind may be devastated, but it is resilient. Be kind to yourself. Love yourself. Love your body because you’re still here, and it’s still healing. Healing is a process, it takes time, and it must be respected.

Have hope for the future and what will be. Have hope for better days, less pain, clarity, confidence, dreams come true, and yes, have hope for healing. Have hope because you are a valuable individual, who has something to give and get from this world. Hope is a gift that you all have access to right now, in this very moment, simply by changing the course of your thoughts.

If you can’t hope for yourself, I hope for you. I hope for better days ahead. I hope for healing, and I hope that you will be reminded that you are not alone on this journey.

There is hope for healing, and you are not alone.



Reader Writes In: How have you found hope for healing after your blood clot? What words of encouragement can you share with others?

A special message for you: That’s Called Hope

You are not alone. Connect with the private BCRN Facebook community for more inspiration and encouragement.

Before and Now – One Year After my Pulmonary Embolism

“Even though I didn’t know you before, I think you sound a lot more normal now,” she said to me right before hanging up the phone. I had just finished reminding her that this was my one year anniversary of being admitted into the hospital with a DVT and PE that nearly killed me at this time last year. I knew she wanted to say, “You sound alive,” or something similarly shocking. Stacey, my nurse, has been an essential part of my recovery over the last year and I generally speak to her on a weekly basis about my INR and what dosages of medications to take. There was a time – and not that long ago – when both she and my hematologist questioned my ability to fully recovery, I know. The words weren’t said, but I watched them both desperately search for answers regarding my seemingly diminished mental capacity, ability to remember squat and difficulty finding a job I could simply do. I spent many a hysterical phone call with Stacey from month to month and if she ever grew impatient or frustrated with telling me the same thing day after day when I would call to confirm because I couldn’t even remember to write it down in the first place, she never showed it.

It was moments after I hung up the phone that I realized there really was a before and now. Before my PE and now, after my PE. It got me thinking about something I saw floating around on Facebook –

before and after this

The last year of my life has been, in short, hell on Earth. I have been angry, sad, forgotten, alone, desperate, confused, alienated and unbelievably grief-stricken by the fact that while two in three people do not survive a pulmonary embolism, I am the one that is still here. Why? Why me? The emotional trauma and grief I have faced is second only to the physical pain I have been in for so long and while that has slowly, very slowly started to ease, I know the emotional effects of what I have endured are just beginning.

And this got me thinking even more. The people that I meet from here on out will never know the other me. The me before the PE. They will not know the girl that was more lighthearted, not afraid of pain and able to push through a lot before tossing in the towel, calling it quits and moving on to the next big thing. They won’t know the girl that used to hit the ground running – literally and figuratively – taking three steps forward to every two steps back. “Look on the bright side, life can only get better from here.”

No, they will know the woman that is fearful of every little ache, reserved in action and in thought, at times withdrawn and unable to put into words what used to come flowing so freely. They will know the woman that has and will do all she can to keep her head above water – forget moving forward or back, it’s simply standing upright (literally and figuratively) that matters now. “Everything is a threat, most people can’t be trusted and your own body is most definitely out to get you.” If it can go wrong it will and probably already did.

Because I will never be the same.

And that is not an easy thing to deal with – for anyone, no matter who you are. This changes you. I don’t think you can avoid it.

As I look back over the last year of my life, I realize I am recovering – slowly, but surely and there are parts of me that have healed leaps and bounds compared to where I was when discharged from the hospital. I can walk without a limp more days than not and I can yawn, cough, laugh or hiccup without doubling over in pain. I even ran two miles this past weekend – an accomplishment 363 days in the making.

And I know, in other respects, I have a long way to go. Emotionally, my wounds are still fresh and I am not ready to tackle them head on so I will remain fearful of every little ache, withdrawn and struggling with finding the words to accurately describe my feelings. Today, I will be grateful for the chance I have been given to live again and I will stand.

My hope is that through my experiences, I can help others get from where I was, to where I am to where I hope to be so that together, we can all begin to heal.

Share your story. How long ago did you suffer from a DVT/PE/Blood Clot? What has been your biggest challenge during recovery? How are you a different person now than you were before your incident?

There is hope for healing and you are not alone,