Jill’s DVT felt like a leg cramp.
- Protein C Deficiency
I immediately took myself to the nearest E.R. The doctor there asked me why I thought I had DVT. When I told her about the Internet survey, she and others in the room laughed about it.”
I was sitting at a coffee shop in February of 2002 with one of my sisters when I felt a painful cramp in my left calf. It hurt really badly. But since I’d been working out a lot, I thought perhaps I’d overworked it. That was a Friday. It still hurt on Saturday, and by Sunday morning I couldn’t put any pressure on my leg and almost fell getting out of bed.
I went online, input my symptoms, and the results were something like, “get yourself to an emergency room as there’s a good chance you have DVT.”
I immediately took myself to the nearest E.R. The doctor there asked me why I thought I had DVT. When I told her about the Internet survey, she and others in the room laughed about it. I asked her to please humor me and take an ultrasound of my calf to set my mind at ease. After the ultrasound, my doctor came into the room and said, “I can’t believe it! You have DVT!” They admitted me right then and there.
Initially I was angry because the ER doctor was so dismissive of what was going on, even though I was concerned. But I let them do what they had to do. Since I had no family history of DVT, no cancer or injury, they couldn’t figure out what caused it.
Since then, I’ve had two pulmonary embolisms in addition to DVT. In 2009, blood tests finally confirmed that I have a Protein C deficiency—a genetic condition—that means I’ll be on blood thinners the rest of my life.
Do not dismiss a cramp that doesn’t go away in a day. Even if you’re not exhibiting the “normal” symptoms of a blood clot, that doesn’t mean you don’t have one. Don’t let strange feelings go unchecked for days. If something doesn’t feel right, deal with it immediately. Use online tools to validate what you’re feeling, but don’t let doctors dismiss them so easily. It could mean the difference between life and death.