“It started a weekend with a cramp in my left leg. It was annoying but still I could handle it. Since I had being cleaning my house I thought that was the reason, so I took a pain reliever and I continued with my activities”.

However, pain got worst on Monday, when Giuliana Ascurra (31) was getting ready for work. “While taking a shower I realized one of my legs was red and swollen. I thought it was something I should take care about but since I was about to go to work, I postponed it”.

“While I was on my way to the office, pain became unbearable so I had to take a taxi. I could barely go upstairs. I reached my office and I talked to a doctor who coincidentally was there for a meeting. He told me right away “immediately go to hospital, you just had a thrombosis”.

While taking a shower I realized one of my legs was red and swollen

Giuliana

“Yo nunca había escuchado ese término médico y me asusté. Llegué a la clínica y me hicieron una ecografía doppler, me midieron el dímero D y el INR. Los doctores, al ver los resultados, me indicaron que si hubiese llegado más tarde hubiese sido más peligroso, porque el coágulo iba camino del cerebro o de los pulmones”.

Giuliana estuvo ingresada en el hospital durante un mes. “Fue algo tan inesperado y raro que no lo entendía. En ese mes estuve con anticoagulantes, medicinas y miles de exámenes, pero los doctores nunca dieron con mi diagnóstico. Determinaron que mi trombosis se debía a un defecto genético de la sangre, que muchas veces no se llega a descubrir”.

“Salí al mes y retomé mi trabajo, pero sólo duró una semana. Me dio un nuevo episodio trombótico y me ingresaron otra vez; en esta ocasión se operaron, me pusieron un filtro de vena cava, y además me administraron tratamiento trombolítico. Pasé las Navidades en cuidados intensivos, fue una experiencia muy fuerte. Los médicos seguían sin saber la causa y estuve ingresada otro mes, mientras me estabilizaban y comprobaban mi reacción al filtro”.

Since I had suffered from no known cause thrombosis, now I must stay always alert. It is something forever, so I’ve decided to live my life to my fullest and be happy.

Giuliana

Five months later they took off the vena cava filter from Giuliana’s leg “since imminent danger was over”. However the thrombus [clot] was still there, as the doppler echocardiography showed.

“Nevertheless, nature is wise and my body had a parallel vein to the iliac vein where blood circulated, since the main vein was blocked.  Thrombus was solidified and could not be treated, since the risk of being broken into parts and reaching my lungs or brain was very high”.

Behavior changes

“I could not walk as I used to do. I was limping, for weeks. Everything changed in my life: I started swimming; I started using compression stockings, intake of daily anticoagulants, healthy diet. It was a reawakening that I could have never imagined at my age”.

“My leg will never be the same. Sometimes it hurts a little bit more, but I carry on. I was able to climb Machu Picchu, with a stick, but I was able to make it! I challenge myself every day, I follow a different kind of life, but I live it, I enjoy it… Nowadays I do not take any drugs, but I have a doctor that every time I have any danger sign he evaluates me and monitors my evolution”.

Thrombosis has made Giuliana stronger and more conscious. “Since I have suffered from a no-known cause thrombosis I must stay always alert. It is something forever, so I’ve decided to live my life to my fullest and be happy. Life is hard, but never too hard as for not overcoming situations”.

Do you want to share your story?

If you have had a venous thrombosis or a pulmonary embolism and you want to share your case to help us to spread the venous thromboembolic disease, write us and we will publish your case