I'm 30 today. I had a Pulmonary Embolism 2 weeks ago. I never would have imagined I would say that , at 30. I never really thought I'd experience any life-threatening illness until I was in my 80s or hopefully later. But now, having experienced a PE (blood clot in my lung) and dead lung tissue because of it, I now realize how fragile my life is.
I was put on birth control pills to regulate my menstruation because it was fairly heavy/long/irregular at about 18. I was a very healthy child and adult. I never experienced any type of surgery, ER stay, no sprained ankles. I never smoked. I work out several times a week. I eat healthfully. I was on and off the pills over the past several years and only began them when my period started to be irregular again.
First week of September I started to feel pain in my left upper chest area when I breathed in. It felt like a sharp pain in that the more deeper the breathe, the larger the area that hurt. However, it seemed to generate in the upper left shoulder area and at the center of my breast. I had that for a few days, went to my doctor who is a Nurse Practitioner. She said she had no idea what my symptoms could be from besides a muscle strain and she sent me off with ibuprofen every 8 hours. I did that and then Sunday rolled around and I had gone a whole week with this pain and it hadn't subsided. My husband took me to the ER because he thought i it was best to go. A chest Xray was clear. My vitals were fine. My bloodwork showed an enzyme which had elevated levels that basically said I had a clot somewhere. A cat scan showed I had one in my lung and it was big enough to warrant a 4 day hospital stay. I went on blood thinners, I had bloodwork taken every 4 hours, I had some pain pills and I was a wreck. I now have to be on blood thinners for the next several months, I have to be monitored with blood work to prevent another one from coming. The doctor said he basically believes the PE was due to the birth control pill. I had a lot of tests completed to determine if there is an underlying cause such as a rare blood disorder or some type of cancer but more than likely that is not the case. In any event, I now have to restrict my diet, be more cautious and not bump into things or get cuts, and have developed anxiety over this entire situation...
Anyway, i wanted to get my story out there. I'm a healthy young woman with no family history of clots and no other risk factors of PE except the fact I took a birth control pill. I personally feel this is wrong and unfair. And to anyone who may have experienced something similar, you are not alone. I am not advocating for someone to not take birth control pills... but what I am saying is that you should be cautious when taking them; knowing your family history in addition to gaining knowledge about all types of BC so you can make the choice that is best for you and your body.