My DVT Story

By Derrick Ellington

I was a completely healthy 29 year old male living a very active lifestyle. I maintained an active lifestyle my whole life and enjoyed working out, playing basketball, golf, and many other sports. I love fitness and sports and watching as well. I have had numerous physicals throughout the year, visited physicians regularly and took really good care of my body. I also advocate for good health and fitness, because my goal was to be a Physical Education Teacher.

I gradually started having pain in my left leg. I originally thought it was a pulled calf muscle, because I had been speed walking around campus from class to class and using stairs constantly. I then noticed my entire lower leg and foot was red and severely swollen. I made an appointment to see my family practice physician and he was unable to render a diagnosis and urged me to go to the ER. The next day I took myself to the Emergency Room.

As I laid in the Emergency Room, I was hoping for the best, but feared the worst. They immediately did an ultrasound test of both legs. The doctor came back about an hour later and informed me that I had a blood clot in my leg directly behind my left calf muscle. I was completely shocked and disappointed. I remember the tears rolling down my face. The doctor told me that I needed to be hospitalized. I have never been hospitalized in my entire life nor had any adverse health conditions. For the first time, I felt extremely helpless and very sick. I ended up staying in the hospital three days then was discharged.

The pain in my leg was one of the worst pains I have ever endured. I have broken bones, pulled muscles, torn cartilages but this felt like a gunshot to the leg. I could not walk or stand. I needed assistance from family and my wife for almost three weeks. I used a wheelchair at first, and then gradually used a walker. I was on a high dose of pain medicine which causes other health complications as well.

I missed work for over three weeks. I had to withdraw from school and I now will not be able to graduate for the foreseeable future. I incurred enormous medical bills as well. This condition cost me thousands of dollars, lost tuition and wages.

This is a very mysterious condition as well, because I was not at risk for getting a blood clot. I was not on a long care ride, or in a plane. I have tested negative for any blood disorder. I am extremely active too. I am thankful, that the doctors caught this before the clot broke loose and traveled to the lungs causing pulmonary embolism.

I am hoping for a full recovery and wish to put this behind me. I have learned that life is a continued struggle and good health is not guaranteed. Hopefully, this event will make me a stronger person in the future and more cognizant of any other symptoms that might require medical attention.
This is a very dangerous illness that seems to be very common, yet the majority of the American population is unaware of DVT. I hope for increasing awareness and education regarding this condition, so we can prevent this.