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

Samual

My story begins in July 2010 before my 21st birthday. I had started a new job after having a period of time off with back pain. I had previously slipped 2 discs, which resulted in an operation when I was 17. Things were going well I had no back pain and enjoyed being at work, 7 months past and I couldn't be happier. One day as I finished work I felt a discomfort in my stomach, a type of pain I’d never felt before. I told my Dad and he thought I’d probably pulled a muscle. I thought nothing of it and carried on as normal with a little discomfort. After 2 or 3 days I started to have a pain in my back, which I recognised but I didn’t want to cause a fuss and so finished that week at work.

By the weekend things started to turn, I was out with some friends having a few drinks, the pain was there but I was trying to not think about it. After a few hours we decide to move on, suddenly I couldn’t walk my legs wouldn’t move they felt like massive dead weights, aching with pain and pins and needles. My friend drove me home where I sat wondering what was wrong with me. I looked down at my legs and pulled both trouser legs up, that’s when I noticed how swollen both legs were below the knee, red and hot to touch. I didn’t know what to think, I called my Mum and her face said it all. Unsure of what to do she suggested I go to bed, elevate my legs, take painkillers and see how I was in the morning.

After a sleepless night I noticed nothing had changed. My legs where swollen and painful, I tried to get myself downstairs but moving made things worse. Crying with pain and unable to move I knew it was time for medical help. An out of hours doctor came to my house and gave me a cocktail of strong painkillers which had no effect. They sent for an ambulance and when it finally arrived the paramedics gave me some morphine, which eased the pain. When I got to hospital they sent me for an x-ray and I explained I thought I’d slipped a disc in my back. Not long after one of the doctors came to me with the results of the x-ray and said that there was nothing wrong and sent me home advising ‘rest’. I was very confused, I was in horrific pain but the doctor said there was nothing wrong. I didn’t really question him because as a medical professional you believe what they tell you. You feel in ‘safe hands’.

I tried to rest at home but things got worse, and in the early hours of the morning with excruciating pain in my stomach, back and legs I went in an ambulance straight to A&E. They took blood samples and told me that my blood was quite thick, although I had no idea what that meant. I was admitted into a gastro ward where I waited for a few days for a CT scan. This was when I finally got told I had a very large unprovoked blood clot in my abdomen, an extensive thrombosis of the inferior vena cava and lupus anticoagulant – ‘sticky blood’. After spending about 3-4 weeks in hospital I was allowed home.

Now nearly 4 years on, aged 24, I am on lifelong warfarin and the thrombosis has caused havoc to my lower limb blood vessels causing significant venous claudication. Because of this problem I’ve developed significant backpressure in my blood vessels causing swelling of the venous system affecting almost all my major veins from my knee to my liver. Living with post thrombotic syndrome has limited my walking and daily activities. I currently use crutches to walk as walking and standing for long periods causes swelling, pain and discomfort, which is sometimes helped by using compression stockings. I also have varicose veins over most of my body.

I am unable to work.This has completely stopped my life and at times I’ve felt hopeless. I was told there was no help in the way of surgery and to just get on with it, but looking through the Lifeblood website I came across a young women with similar symptoms as me that had life changing surgery and I have shown my GP the story so hopefully I can finally get some medical help to have some normality back in my life.

I knew nothing about thrombosis or blood clots before this happened to me. I was told by my consultant and GP that I am lucky to be alive today so I hope this can make people more aware of thrombosis and what it can do to your life.