Gemma’s Story

It started off one Friday morning, September 2020. I woke up for work and I had a feeling of growing pains in my left calf and when I stood up on it felt like my calf was locked. I didn’t think anything of it and thought my leg cramped in my sleep so I went to work and walking on it felt fine after a while. I was on a week’s holiday from work after that so it was plenty of time for me to rest it as the pain came back again that weekend. I made an appointment for my doctor for that next Friday and started resting my leg for the week. I had it elevated and used deep heat and ice because I thought it was a muscular injury because I stand-in work. I went to the doctor on Friday and he told me it was got to do with my Achilles (I had no swelling at the time) and he prescribed me anti-inflammatory pain killers.

On that weekend I started to notice I was a bit more breathless but I thought it was because I was in pain from walking on it so brushed it off. I went back to work that Monday and as I sat down, I felt like my leg was so stiff and tight. I looked down and my whole leg had blown up and looked huge compared to my right leg. I went straight to A&E that night because I was so worried and it had started to turn red. I’d never had a blood clot before but I thought that’s what it would feel like because my leg felt so full of fluids and heavy. After getting blood tests done the doctor confirmed that I had a big blood clot in my calf and I was to be kept in and to be injected with blood thinners. I felt so scared especially with finding out that news alone due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The next day I was brought down for a CT scan on my chest because my heart rate was so high and I mentioned I was a bit breathless. They found multiple clots in my chest with one big one starting to strain the right side of my heart. I cried at the thoughts of it and was terrified at what could’ve happened if I never went to A&E. Later, I was brought down for another CT scan on my stomach and another clot was found in my liver. I was so overwhelmed hearing it all by myself and having to process the changes that were going to happen in my life. I’m only 22 years old and the main reason for my DVT is from the contraceptive pill. I don’t smoke and I would say I’m pretty active so it was so horrible to hear all this. I had heard horror stories about how the pill could cause blood clots but I never thought it would be me. It is so hard to deal with not only physically, but mentally too.

I couldn’t thank Connolly hospital enough though for how well they looked after me and for being so cautious about checking everything for me! They saved my life.