National Thrombosis Week | 1st – 6th May 2017| Prevention & Protection from Venous Thromboembolism (VTE)

Gabor Thomas

I write this message to offer a patient's perspective on thrombosis in the hope that I can be put in touch with others who have had similar experiences.

I am a very fit and physically active 35 year old male. I don't smoke and drink only moderately. 5 years ago I was diagnosed with a DVT in my left calf after several weeks of having it misdiagnosed as a sports injury - the pain came on the day after a strenuous bout of physical exercise including a 5-a-side football match and a cycle ride along a section of the South Downs. I completed a 6 month course of Warfarin and my life returned to normal. A subsequent blood test revealed that I carry the Factor V Leiden gene.
I spent this Christmas skiing in the Alps. I'm an experienced skier and the trip went very smoothly: the snow conditions were excellent and I felt at the peak of my physical fitness - no injuries or knocks were sustained.

Four days after returning from my holiday (05 January) I checked in at my GP complaining of a pain in my lower right calf accompanied by a slight swelling. In spite of my history, I was assured that this was likely to be muscular and was advised to take pain-killers. I returned to my GP a few days later mainly as a result of a fear of repeat episode of DVT and thus for peace of mind. I was again reassured that there was nothing to fear and was sent on my way. The following week I returned for a third opinion. On this occasion the GP recommended that I be tested for levels of blood-clotting agent. My count was within the normal range (20) and I was advised to see a physiotherapist. The pain and swelling persisted for a further two weeks in spite of stretching etc and as a result I decided to book a further appointment with my GP (this took place this morning - 04 Feb). He was uneasy about the duration of the symptoms and sent me to the Thrombophilia Clinic of my local hospital. After the usual series of tests I was diagnosed with a DVT in my right leg; the ultrasound scan revealed that the clot had travelled right up my leg to roughly an inch below my pelvis. I have been told that I will be on Warfarin for life.

I imagine that you must receive similar messages relating to patient's individual circumstances; however, to help me come to terms with my condition, I feel it would be really useful to speak to others who have gone through similar experiences - does such a forum exist? I am unable to help the charity financially, but if feel that I could make a useful contribution by raising awareness of the fact that DVTs can strike the young and healthy.