How a pulmonary embolism forced me to reckon with my health

May 20, 2023 0 Comments

When I got to the emergency room I found out I had blood clots in my lungs and I was very lucky to be alive. It was the beginning of a long journey of healing.

It was a true invisible illness, as on the outside I looked fit and healthy, but on the inside I was struggling with the most important element of life: breathing. After my diagnosis, it was scary to ride the train on hot, crowded days when it was hard to breathe. I remember rushing to empty seats, sometimes knocking out elderly people, because I knew that it would be easier to breathe sitting, not standing.

I also didn’t have a significant tendency for blood clots, especially the markers that are tested during pregnancy, when a woman has an increased risk of blood clots. I probably got a clot from taking birth control pills that were associated with increased risk of coagulation1.

When I wrote about my pulmonary embolism on mindbodygreen, I heard from hundreds of women who had either personally experienced a blood clot while on birth control or had a friend, sister, or cousin who had. Many times the consequences were tragic.

I’m not against pharmaceuticals, but we need to talk more about the risks involved. Now I’m much more responsible about researching everything I put in my body.

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