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Living With a Clotting Disorder and Focusing on the Positive

When I was diagnosed with MTHFR A1298C by my hematologist after I had my stroke, I had mixed feelings. On one hand, I was glad to finally have the answer as to why I’ve had clots in my leg as far back as 1993. On the other, I felt like a ticking time bomb not knowing when I’d develop a clot that would cause another stroke or deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

Sure enough, a few years later, I was having issues with both of my legs swelling and feeling pain when I walked. My physician requested STAT dopplers and gave me the news: I had DVTs in both legs. My heart sank. I really thought my nightmare would be over with since I was already on a blood thinner, didn’t smoke, drink, or take hormones for menopause, but that wasn’t the case. I was reassured I was doing everything right to prevent a worst-case scenario. The Greenfield filter was in place to prevent the clots from traveling to my heart/lungs, I was taking medication, wearing my compression socks, elevating my legs when resting, and walking to promote circulation. It was going to take some time before the situation improved, but I was reminded I could still have more clots in the future as it was a genetic disorder.

I couldn’t help but worry about having a second stroke, though. Since my lower extremities were affected, who’s to say my brain wouldn’t be? It just didn’t seem fair that my body was fighting against me when I was doing my best to keep it healthy. So to reduce the chances of having another one, I re-evaluated my daily routine and decided to take away as much stress as I could, made sure to eat foods that didn’t interfere with my blood thinning medication, volunteered more in the community, and surrounded myself with friends who have always stood by my side and are a positive influence on me.

This has taught me to be thankful I’m alive. When I was in ICU after I had my stroke, I didn’t think I was going to make it. The neurologists had me hooked up to IVs, a heart monitor, blood pressure machine, plus they drew blood every few hours and evaluated the side-effects I incurred from being temporarily paralyzed on my right side. I didn’t know if I had anything left in me to recover and resume being a wife, a sister-in-law, an aunt, and a friend. Then I remembered what my niece, Rowan, had told me when we were at a family gathering. She said she looked up to me as her inspiration. How could I let her down after she said that? So I was determined to use all the strength I had in me to get better.

The author with her niece, wearing a Santa hat

Life is not always fair. I can either accept the cards I’ve been dealt and focus on the positive aspects in my life, or I can focus on the negative and miss out on the many opportunities that await me.

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