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

Alex Dowle

I have only 5 minutes ago discovered Lifeblood (Now Thrombosis UK) but would like to share my story. I am a 24 year old female, considered fit and healthy. My story began 4½ years ago when I started suffering from headaches – I had never suffered from headaches before so I visited my GP for advice. I was told it was probably sinusitis and was given a course of antibiotics – this did nothing.

6 months, 3 courses of antibiotics and a sinus x-ray later, I began one evening to tap my leg uncontrollably while sat on my sofa watching telly and being completely unaware of my surroundings. It was a Saturday night and I was 20 years old. Luckily my mother was with me and rushed me into A&E where we waited for hours - me in agony from the headache and my mother being told I must have taken an illegal substance.

A few hours later I began convulsing. I was soon rushed for a CT and was told I’d had a brain haemorrhage. I spent a week in intensive care followed by another week on the ward only to be told it was a one off occurrence for which they could find no cause and I was to return to university and continue my life as normal.

Taking their advice this is what I did. I returned to university the next day and carried on. Approximately a week later I awoke one morning not feeling myself. I was due at university and explained to my mum that I didn’t feel well who funnily enough thought I was trying to pull a sicky (it’s funny now looking back!).

Half an hour later I lost my speech and was rushed back into hospital – I suffered 28 convulsions that evening and learned later I’d had another brain haemorrhage. After many tests later I was eventually diagnosed with clots on the brain; I had 3 clots running down the centre which had caused 2 brain haemorrhages from the build up in pressure. So much for sinusitis!!

I was extremely lucky to have made a full recovery and left hospital a fortnight later just in time for Christmas. I was on Warfarin for 18 months then signed off from my consultant’s care and given the all clear in April 2007.

Like you no doubt, I thought my story was over. I was wrong. November 2008, nearly 4 years to the day, I was again admitted to A&E. This time it took 3 visits to the hospital suffering with abdominal pain and being diagnosed with an ulcer and discharged before I had to call for an ambulance to my home.

Again after many misdiagnosis’s I was given an ultra sound scan searching for gallstones – much to my surprise, and theirs, they found more clots. This time they had thoughtfully positioned themselves in the portal vein to my liver which was now causing problems with my spleen and bowel as well as obviously the liver itself.

I am now a Warfarin ‘lifer’ aged 24 with still no cause found for my blood clots.

I am unaware if me sharing this will help anyone suffering or their families but please take one thing from it, never lose hope because when you really are working against the odds miracles can still happen.