When I was in my teens, I had a lot of sore throat infections. When I was 19, my doctor referred me to an ENT doctor, who recommended I have a tonsillectomy. So, on December 15, 2006, I had surgery. The surgery took longer than expected, because the doctor had a hard time controlling the bleeding and had to use sutures, which, according to him, he rarely did.
Five days later, I felt the sutures “pop” on the left side of my throat. I remember my throat just started gushing blood. My mom grabbed a towel to put over and my mouth and immediately took me to the ER, where they stopped the bleeding with ice water.
On December 22, I started having pain in my chest and back. I also had a high fever. I went to urgent care, where they hooked me up to an I.V. While on the IV, my throat started bleeding again. They got it under control with ice water. They couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me, so they decided to give me strong antibiotics that would cover a lot of different infections.
The next day, I had sharp pains in my chest and felt like I couldn’t breathe. My mom called the paramedics, who took me to the ER. The doctors there couldn’t find anything wrong and said I was having an anxiety attack. I was sent home again.
December 24, I was still running a fever. My mom called urgent care and asked why I still wasn’t feeling better after 48 hours on antibiotics. They said that I should go back in for an IV treatment of some stronger antibiotics. The doctor said they knew something was wrong, because of the fever and my rapid heartbeat, but they didn’t know what the problem was.
On Christmas day, I still had a fever and sharp chest pains. I went back to urgent care for another IV treatment. Two hours after getting home from urgent care, my throat started bleeding again. I went to the ER and they couldn’t get the bleeding to stop. After sitting there for 5 ½ hours, my blood count dropped 4 points. They called the surgeon, who came in and said he needed to perform another surgery to close the incisions from the tonsillectomy. I had a second surgery around midnight and went home early the next morning.
December 26, my mom spoke to the doctor, who said I was the worst case he’s ever had. He instructed me to stay down, because he feared the sutures might pop open again. His instructions were to only have liquids for ten days, no food. He advised against going back to urgent care for anymore IV treatments, because he felt it was best that I stay down.
Three days later, I was still having pretty bad chest pains, but I didn’t go anywhere, because every time I did, no one could find anything wrong. I heard I was having anxiety SO many times!
The next day, I was having sharp chest pains and felt like I couldn’t breathe. My mom took me to urgent care, but I couldn’t sit up or walk. My heart rate was 166, which is high. My blood pressure was 60 over 40, which is very low. I remember the doctor saying that based off of my vitals alone, she wouldn’t let me go home. The doctor on call did a blood test called a D-Dimer, which checks for blood clots. It came back positive. I thank God that the doctor working that day knew to run that test. I was in and out of the hospital and urgent care for two weeks and not one doctor that I saw before ever ran that blood test. They called paramedics and had me transferred to the hospital for a CT scan to confirm that I had blood clots.
The hospital ran tests and confirmed that I had pulmonary embolisms, which are blood clots in the lungs and I had them in BOTH lungs. The same doctor I saw before (who said I was having an anxiety attack) was there and apologized for the misdiagnosis. I had been suffering from blood clots in my lungs all along. I was admitted to the telemetry unit, which was weird, because I was the youngest patient on that floor. All of the other patients were in their 70’s and 80’s. I was put on Heparin to thin my blood. The nurses were worried that being on blood thinners would cause my surgery site to bleed again, but I had no choice, because blood clots are so dangerous and can kill you. I was also told it was a miracle I hadn’t died already from the blood clots.
On January 2nd, my throat started bleeding AGAIN at around 10:00 AM and I was coughing up blood clots. This went on all day, literally non-stop. At about 5:30 PM, the ENT surgeon finally came in and said I would have to have a third surgery to try to close the incisions again. He checked my blood count and said it was dangerously low and he couldn’t do the surgery until I had a blood transfusion. The doctor told my mom that I might not make it through surgery, because I was so weak and had bled so much.
While I was getting my blood transfusion, at about 7:00 PM, my mom, stepdad, grandma, and grandpa were there in my hospital room. Honestly, I was so lethargic, but I could hear that my mom went in to the bathroom to cry, because she didn’t want me to know she was scared. There was a good chance I wasn’t going to make it if I had ANOTHER surgery, but I had bled ALL day, so I needed that surgery to get my throat to stop. Either way, I was probably not going to make it.
My grandma came to my bedside and prayed. After about five minutes of prayer, my grandma looked at my mom and said, “Jesus said that there isn’t going to be another surgery.” Within three minutes I STOPPED BLEEDING ON MY OWN and I never bled again. I feel like I need to stress the fact that I never, ever, ever bled again from that point on. I mean, here I was just waiting for my blood transfusion to be done to get that third surgery and my throat had bled for 10 hours!! 10 hours straight!! but MINUTES AFTER MY GRANDMA SAID A PRAYER WITH ME AND TOLD EVERYONE JESUS SAID THERE WOULD BE NO SURGERY, my throat just stopped bleeding.
The doctor was shocked. I never did have another surgery on my throat. It was this miracle that drew me back to church and back to God. To God be the glory!
On January 5th, my medicine was switched from Heparin to Coumadin pills and Lovenox injections, which are both blood thinners.
January 9th, I was finally released from the hospital! I was also told that I could stop the liquid diet and start eating soft foods. I was so happy to be home, but under the circumstances, I was down and upset, because my throat still hurt and I was still very very fearful of dying.
As days and weeks went by, I continued taking blood thinners and almost daily had to keep going to the doctor to have my blood checked.
Still, I was scared ALL the time. I felt like I was going to have a heart attack or I felt like I was going to die. I told my doctor that I was afraid of having a heart attack and all the feelings I was having. He said that I was depressed and suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He said that I went through a terrible thing, but that I was okay now and should try to think positively. He also referred me to a Hematologist to see if they could find the reason for my blood clots.
After several tests, the Hematologist determined that the only reason I developed blood clots is because I was on birth control pills while laying around from surgery. I was told that I can NEVER take birth control pills again, because now that I’ve had blood clots, my body is susceptible to developing them again if I use any birth control that contains hormones. This also made my pregnancies harder, because through all of them (and for a short time after giving birth), I had to give myself Lovenox injections every single day. Apparently, pregnancy produces the same hormones that birth control pills do, so to prevent the possibility of developing blood clots again, I had to have Lovenox injections throughout all my pregnancies.
That whole experience is something that affected me for so long. Like the daily injections while I was pregnant. Which can get expensive, but it also isn’t fun to do that every single day for 11 months. Your stomach starts to bruise and then it feels like there is no other spot for that injection to go, but somehow you do it anyway because it’s important.
But it also affected me mentally. I was SO scared and anxious all the time… ANY time I felt any sort of pain or discomfort, I raced to the hospital because I was sure I had another blood clot. That whole routine of going to the hospital over every pain didn’t stop for awhile either. It happened even after I got married. My husband spent many nights with me in the hospital because I was so scared that I was having another blood clot. It took me a good 4 years before I wasn’t in urgent care or the hospital over every little pain that I thought was going to be a blood clot.
To this day I still worry. Not nearly as bad and I’m definitely not going to the ER every week for every pain…. But if my back hurts (especially if it’s only on one side) I will start to panic a little bit and start asking my husband that infamous question,” what if I have a blood clot?” I’m sure he’s heard that question 807 times (X 20)
And I don’t know what would have happened that day if my grandma had not prayed over me, but I’m so thankful she did. Since then, I continue to see God’s work in my family in many ways; some subtle, some obvious. If you’ve ever wondered if prayer works, I am living proof that it does!