“Almost four years ago, when I was 25, while I was working, I began to feel pain in my lumbar, but I did not give it enough importance. After three days I could barely move due to pain and I had to take a backache leave.

Thanks to drugs, pain began to disappear after almost two weeks, but it didn’t last much: on the next day, while I was watching TV, I stretched and I felt like a whiplash in the left leg calf. At first, pain was similar to a muscle contracture, but on that same day during the night I could not put my leg on the floor due to pain and tears were coming out.

After going for two weeks in a row to hospital due to the pain, they only told me it was sciatica. Since I was working in another city, I went back to my hometown with my family.

After two days, when I woke up from bed, I felt a short of breath. I did not give it enough importance, it looked like oppression and anxiety. Suddenly pain in the leg began to disappear, but I was increasingly choking, until I thought I was going to die.


Hospital admission

We then went to hospital, I had several tests and they discovered I had a bilateral massive pulmonary thromboembolism. That is, my lungs were full of thrombi and I had reached hospital in the middle of a myocardial infarction.

I stayed at the critical unit of the hospital during the first night, surrounded by machines and tubes. They then moved me to general ward. Why did that happened to me? I was 25 years old, no obesity, I do not smoke and I do not have familiar records. There was no reason for me to experience this.

At first, pain was similar to a muscle contracture, but on that same day during the night I could not put my leg on the floor

Ester

Doctors were looking for the reason until a cardiologist, while talking to my mother, asked her if I was taking contraceptives. My mother said yes. They immediately knew the reason why that happened to me. Now we need to wait six months so I can take my coagulation tests.

I did not have sciatica in my leg, but thrombosis. However, none of the doctors was able to see it. Since they were there for a long time, thrombi moved and went to my lungs. Doctors kept saying how lucky I was, since I arrived just on time. If thrombi had gone to my head or heart I would not be telling my story right now.

Fear

As soon as they told me what had happened I needed time for digesting the news. I was not expecting it. When the doctor, after giving me the news, went out to tell my mother, I began to be conscious and I began to be very scared, I began to cry and I was scared to death. I think I have never been so much scared in my life.

I was taking Sintrom and heparin for eight months until I had the tests done: thanks to God I don’t have any coagulation problem. It was 100% because of the contraceptives.

The decision of taking contraceptives was mine, which is what I decided with my boyfriend. I then went to my gynecologist to ask for his opinion and tests. He told me it was not necessary because nowadays pills were very soft and new at the market. Therefore, I started taking them without any worries.

After two days, when I woke up from bed, I felt a short of breath. I did not give it enough importance, it looked like oppression and anxiety. Suddenly pain in the leg began to disappear, but I was increasingly choking

Ester

When I read the prescription, I saw that among the side effects there was a chance of VTE. However, since it was the last point, I did not give it much importance. I paid more attention to the first ones: headaches and weight gain.

Before my case, I did not know anything about VTE. I had heard something about it, but it sounded to me as if it was something that only old people could have.

Heparin injections were hateful. It is the most painful injection I have never experienced. I had allergic reaction to them, the area was hot, reddish and full of bruises. On the other hand, pain was unbearable, I could feel how the liquid was going inside my body, just like they were hammering glasses on me. Unfortunately, thrombosis will stay with me forever.

Nowadays I don’t take anticoagulants, although for safety and prevention I need to use heparin sometimes (like long flight trips). And, in case I become pregnant, I should have a follow-up and probably a treatment with anticoagulants.

Attention received

Doctors who treated me in the city I was living was terrible. None of them was able to give me a solution. I understand that at the beginning it was difficult to tell, since they were lumbago signs. However, when it started in my leg, none of them dare to look at it or to touch it even if I told them that pain was in the inner part of my calf. They kept saying it was sciatica (when this pain happens in the outer part). I had my leg hot, swollen and red.

When I read the prescription of contraceptive pills, I saw that among the side effects there was a chance of VTE. However, since it was the last point, I did not give it much importance

Ester

Once in my hometown, doctors were amazing. They treated me like a queen, not only regarding the treatment, but also morally. They cheered me up and they actually treated me really good. No complaints. I owe them my life for taking me in the right moment. I am really grateful. As well as for my family and friends, of course, I would not have made it without them.

Living with VTE

When you go out of hospital, your mind is the most difficult thing to control. I was scared of everything and especially of anticoagulants, since I would easily come with bruises.

Now, almost four years after, I barely remember it, but it is true that I am always alert, unconsciously, of anything. I know that I cannot spend much time sitting down, that I must stand up and walk. When I am at work and I spend more than two hours in my chair, I suddenly stand up to stretch my legs. As well, when I travel I need to use heparin and sometimes, if it is very hot, my legs are swollen and I get scared. I think this is something you never forget, even if there are days that I forget about it.

Every time I get the flu or I cough they make me the coagulation tests and lung controls, so it is something hard to forget. Also, with the change of weather my leg hurts where the thrombosis took place and when I get the flu my lungs hurt. Except for this, my life is completely normal.

What I try to do is not to gain weight and practice sport, even if I have my weak moments.

It was a very hard and slow moment, but now I can tell my story and that is the most important thing. We should never stop moving forward. I still remember everything nowadays, but just as a nightmare”.

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