Real Stories from People Who Have Experienced Blood Clots – Tom Hogan
My name is Tom Hogan and my blood clot story starts back in 1992. While serving on active duty in the Navy, I started having calf pain that didn’t seem to subside. I made an appointment with my medical officer for the command who strongly believed the pain was the result of a sore muscle from a recent bike race I had participated in. I was prescribed 800 mg ibuprofen and told to report back if my pain didn’t get any better as the week went on. On that Friday I reported back saying my leg was really bothering me and that the ibuprofen didn’t really help. After my medical examination, the doctor still believed that the pain was related to a torn or pulled calf muscle. I was told to come back on Monday if it still didn’t get any better. Over the weekend the pain increased but the appearance of my legs didn’t change. On Monday morning I awoke to see my leg swollen in circumference and bright red in appearance. When I stood, I found that I could not bear any weight on that leg due to the excruciating pain. The medical officer referred me to radiology where they performed a venogram, confirming that I had a series of clots ranging from my ankle to my hip. I was immediately hospitalized and placed on a blood thinner. During my hospital stay, my medical team also found a pulmonary embolism during a lung scan. I was told at discharge from the hospital that I was lucky to be alive and probably would not regain full use of my affected leg; but I have.
After six months of blood thinning therapy, I returned to full duty. However, in 1995, I had a familiar pain in my leg (opposite of the one I previously had a clot in). My doctor was pretty sure it was not a clot but ordered a venogram just in case. The test showed I had suffered yet another deep vein thrombosis. In 1996 I was referred to Harvard Medical where I was found to have a genetic clotting disorder called Factor V Leiden as well as elevated homocysteine levels. I remained on a blood thinning medicine for about three years before it was stopped. During this short period of time when I stopped taking this medicine, I suffered several superficial clots. Since 2001, I have remained on low-intensity blood thinning medicine and have not had a clotting episode since.
CDC would like to thank Tom for sharing this personal story.