“Dear 26 year old Self,
If I had known what was going to happen today I would never have gotten out of bed. But you being the optimist got up, you put your cranberry colored flats on, left a half eaten muffin on the counter, guzzled some coffee, and drove off to work. You just started a new job, a new challenge always gets us excited you were knee deep in learning the ins and outs of repossessions and collections. Because you were knee deep in lets face it we were trying to impress our new boss, so we brushed off our gut feeling that something was wrong.
Since Monday you brushed away the sick feeling, the raging pain, fever, shortness of breath, and everything else you did not have time for. You made it to the Sun Ray shopping center, you started to feel an annoying stab in your lugs, you being you ignored this. The situation did not improve and by the time you reached Saint Paul you could barely breath. Yet for some reason you thought you’d be all right, truth is you were not all right. Something in you made you take the Lexinton Parkway exit and head back to Woodbury.
Turning around was the best decision you made that day. You contemplated going home, the voice in your head said go to the ER, thank God you listen to it. Within an hour you were told that your situation looked bleak, your chance of walking out of there alive was slim. Your oxygen level was below 50%, a massive clot was blocking the main valve to your heart, and not to mention a few of your lung sacks exploded, and to top it off you had a stroke. You my dear almost died five days before our golden birthday.
Year 26 was to be the end of your story, but something in you decided “today is not the day” and you reached down to grab the last shred of hope you had and fought back. You AJ got the best birthday present. It did not come in a box with a fancy bow nor did it have a pretty gift tag, you got a second chance, you got life. There is no greater gift than the gift of life. Smile young lady, you are the 1 out of 5 who got to walk away and live another day.”
Life, it goes on.
There are not enough words in the English language to describe how amazing my survivor journey has been. I have gotten to do a lot of incredible things that would not have been possible without the fast action of the Woodwinds ER team, nurses and staff. I am alive today because they looked past the norm and dug deeper to find out why this healthy young woman could no longer breath.
The clot was found because the Doctor took the time to ask me five little words: “are you on birth control?” Those five words saved my life, because I said yes a d-dimer was order, that test lead to the CT scan that found the massive clot in my left lung. I have no long term cognitive or physical side affects from my stroke because I received the life saving clot busters, they made all the difference and allowed me to walk out of that hospital on my own.
Ever since that day I set out into this world to make sure no other woman had to endure my fate, I have succeeded in this. My story has educated and saved countless lives. “Oh the places a birth control related P.E. and Stroke will take you!” From billboard, to public service announcement, to the steps of the United States Capital building, my story has been heard loud and clear, and my struggles are paving the way so that others can know the sign of blood clots and stroke.
I do not consider myself a victim and I refuse to live in the Nuvaring’s shadow, I am a survivor and Merck can never take that away from me. It doesn’t matter that Merck does not have to accept responsibility for my injury, I know that there product did this me. In away that moment of disaster catapulted me into an amazing second chance that is filled with passion and purpose. Nuvaring almost took my life, it will not take my second chance away from me, that is mine and mine alone.
Life, it goes on. I became a mama to a baby in heaven not once but twice. I got divorced, rented my first apartment ever, adopted a dog, quit my job without a plan, only to find a job that I hands down love, and I managed to find MYSELF. I got to watch my niece take her first steps, hear her little voice yell “AUNTIE” excitedly, and mostly I get to bond with her as I paint her little toes pretty colors. I’ve gotten to reconnect with my parents through crazy little road trips and spent my summers collecting glass on the beach. I fell love only to fall out of it. I miss Charlie every day, but I have to believe that he somehow lead me to Jay, in Jay I found home and soon I will be his wife. I got to meet and hold my nephew Jack, his sweet little chubby cheeks will melt your heart.
If it were not for the Woodwinds ER staff and medical research the fore mentioned would not have been possible. My niece and nephew would be learning about me through photos. Jay and Charlie would never of had the chance to fall in love with me. There would have been no participating in the Go Red campaign, there would have been no participating in lobby days or giving a speech on the capital steps, and this blog would have ceased on 10/22/2009. My Mama would have picked out my urn instead of my 27th Halloween themed birthday cake, and my story would have ended as silently as it started. I am alive today because of RESEARCH, research is what saved me, and I will support medical research for as long as I am standing. Because if you need proof, its right here, I am proof that it does and will continue to save lives.
Words cannot express how thankful I am for the doctors and nurses at WoodWinds Health Campus, that place is more than a hospital, it is where my second story begins and for that I am grateful, grateful that because of the care I received, I got to walk out of the front instead of being rolled out of the back door.
To learn more about Pulmonary Embolisms and Women’s Heart Health Please visit the following sites:
To learn more about blood clots: http://www.stoptheclot.org/
Women’s Heart Health: https://www.goredforwomen.org/
To learn more about strokes: http://www.strokeassociation.org/STROKEORG/
To join us in the fight for a healthy tomorrow: https://yourethecure.org/aha/advocacy/default.aspx
To learn more about the dangerous side affects of the NuvaRing: http://nuvaringtruth.com/
“Educate yourself and safe a life today”