It’s in the moments when you least expect it that life comes at you the hardest. It’s also in these moments that you realize just how strong you are when put to the test. Sharing these moments reminds each of us that we’re never alone in our journeys and as long as we continue fighting, the battle is never lost.
Sharon Singrey, benefits consultant on the Enterprise team, shares her personal wellness story of living with Deep Vein Thrombosis.
I was recently diagnosed with Deep Vein Thrombosis (blood clots in the deep veins in my leg), some of which broke off and traveled to my lungs, forming clots called pulmonary embolisms. I had no idea this had occurred until increasing shortness of breath and what I first thought was a bug bite led me to seeing a doctor.
One look at my leg and a few questions from the provider, and I ended up in the emergency room where ultrasounds and a CT scan confirmed the doctors’ suspicions – I did indeed have Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) as well as a Pulmonary Embolism (PE) in each lung. These clots were directly provoked by an airplane flight from the previous week where my legs were inactive for over an hour.
There are certain risk factors that make developing clots more likely for certain people. However, the more factors present, the more likely you are to experience a clot. Some of these include:
- Any extended travel, as pooled blood after sitting for extended periods can cause clots
- Athletes because symptoms of clots are commonly mistaken for leg cramps
- Estrogen therapy, either birth control or hormone replacement
- Excess weight or pregnancy which increases pressure on the veins in your pelvis and lower legs
- Injury or surgery, which can cause damage to the veins and make them susceptible to clotting
- Smoking which affects blood clotting and circulation, increasing the risk of DVT
- IBS, Crohn’s Disease or other bowel diseases that increase the risk of DVT
I had three of these risk factors, plus a history of varicose veins, which may be a contributing factor as well (that’s still being debated in the medical community). I count myself very fortunate to have listened to my body, sought medical attention fairly quickly, and received the appropriate care and medication. I am now taking a blood thinner twice daily, a regimen I will stay on for at least six months until I’m out of the DVT danger zone.
Because both my blood and my lungs were affected, the clots have impacted my brain function as well. I am only able to work limited hours right now as I am easily tired in both mind and body, and I often find myself struggling to find the most commonplace words like speedometer, pediatric, or even straw.
I am struggling with the healing time. I find myself impatient with my body and brain's inability to get better in my expected time frame, although doctors tell me this is all normal. A full recovery is expected, but it may take a full six months to get there. My doctor reports this to be one of the most concerning conditions she sees in her practice today, because symptoms often go undiagnosed until it’s too late.
My goal in telling my story is that what's happened to me can be avoided. Doctors tell me this condition is absolutely preventable. So I encourage everyone to move your body (especially your legs!) for at least two minutes for every hour you're sitting: not just to help stay fit, it could literally save your life. Let’s all find some work-life balance this Q4!
Sharon Singrey, Benefits Consultant