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

Michelle Parkins

Hello, my name is Michelle Parkins, I am 23 years old. 3 weeks after arriving home from Italy (Saturday 7th Feb), I was getting ready to go out and meet some friends for drinks and food. When I felt a slight pain in the back of my right calf, I didn’t think much of it at the time because I had been on my feet all day at work. In the next few days, the pain in my right calf was getting worse, it just felt like cramp or strained muscle.

On Wednesday morning the pain was so bad I could hardly stand and walk, when I was sitting down it was a throbbing pain, so I phoned to get a Dr’s appointment the same day. At the Dr’s, I was diagnosed with a knot in my muscle and was given strong painkillers for the pain. I was also told to watch out for red marks and swelling and if they appeared to go straight back. I carried on with daily life, hoping the pain would go away, even taking the painkillers weren’t helping with the pain.

Everything got a lot worse on the following Sunday, we went for a family outing to Edinburgh. We parked the car and started to walk up to city centre, I got so far up the street and had to stop because I felt very breathless, like I had been running for ages. I finally got my breath back and started to walk again a few minutes later the same thing happened, it was like that all day. Myself and my partner decided just to go back home and rest. We went out for tea as it was valentine day, the food came and while I was eating it I felt very sick and dizzy and my appetite had totally gone. We got in and I felt very dizzy like I was going to pass out, so I went to bed. I got up and ready for work, I had this pain in my right side of my chest and a numb feeling in the middle of my chest. I parked my car in the car park and walked to the entrance of work, I got inside work and could feel my heart pounding and struggling to breath. I finished my shift and went to lie down and rest.

Next day (17th February) I went back to the GP surgery and seen a different Dr, the Dr asked questions, then took my blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen levels. My heart rate was racing and my oxygen was low. The Dr then proceeded to measured my calf that was sore. The Dr came to a conclusion that she thought I had a blood clot in my leg and some of it had travelled to my lungs and as a precaution to send me to hospital, they called for an ambulance to take me down to the hospital and I was put on oxygen till I got into A&E.

When I got to the hospital they took me for blood tests and an x-ray to see if my lung had collapsed. I was sent for a doppler scan on my leg, where they found the blood clot in the back of my right calf and due to the symptoms I was showing, they suspected the clot had travelled to my lungs. I was kept in overnight, due to the problems with breathing. The next day the consultant wanted me to have a heart scan to see how much pressure was on my heart. My heart showed that the right side was under strain. The consultants came to the conclusion my blood clot was caused by the combined pill.

I spent 5 days in hospital. I had been home a few weeks when I heard another young woman had sadly passed away due to the pill and reading the story I could relate to it all, all my symptoms were the same. After reading the story I decided to raise awareness of the disease and do some fundraising for the charity Thrombosis UK, especially with young women it is very easily to be misdiagnose. It gave me something to think about while recovering from my ordeal and I didn’t want any other person to go through what I had.