Stories of Inspiration : Traci

Traci said, “if I could offer just one thing to help other women, especially those who have Factor V Leiden (an inherited clotting disorder) like me, I’d want them to know what DVT looks and feels like.”

It was Christmas, and I was 25. Throughout the holidays, I sat at home feeling as though my life was slowly draining away. I slept sitting up, because I couldn’t breathe laying down. Finally, just before dawn the morning after Christmas, I called my mother and asked her to take me to the E.R. A test there revealed that several large blood clots from deep vein thrombosis around my abdomen had broken apart and traveled to my lungs—causing a pulmonary embolism.

Flashback to the fall, to a doctor who dismissed my symptoms. Another doctor, an ultrasound, a wrong diagnosis—muscle strain, he said. Later, an MRI showed a herniated disc and sciatica. Except that it wasn’t. Then drugs, and the increasing pain despite them, followed by more ER visits. Then Christmas.

I’m lucky to be alive, because I knew I was on my last breath. If I could offer just one thing to help other women, especially those who have Factor V Leiden (an inherited clotting disorder) like me, I’d want them to know what DVT looks and feels like. Please, be aware that pain, redness or swelling in your legs can be are symptoms of DVT. Pregnancy also increases the risk of blood clots. Because I knew this, I was able to be preventive during my own pregnancy with anti-clotting drugs. Learn and know the signs and symptoms of a blood clot, because DVT can be prevented. But if you don’t catch it in time, it can travel to your lungs and be fatal.