Blood Clot Awareness Month 2024

March is Blood Clot Awareness Month. Blood clots affect every race, gender, age, and socioeconomic class. Blood clots affect hundreds of thousands of North Americans physically, mentally, and emotionally each year.

This Blood Clot Awareness month our team is raising awareness of the resources for patients who have had a clot. To do this, we asked patients “What’s one thing you wish you knew when you were diagnosed with a clot?” These were their answers.

One Thing I Wish I Knew When I Was Diagnosed Was…

“… that the symptoms would take longer to heal than my doctors said they would.” Patients may be told by their care teams that after a blood clot, they should feel back to normal in a couple of weeks. While this is true for some patients, many patients take much longer to feel “good” again. This can take months and months, which is normal.

Recommended Resource: your doctor. Ask about pain management options including compression stockings, safe exercise plans, or pain relievers.

“… that recovering from a blood clot is just as much ‘mental’ as it is ‘physical.’” Often patients are surprised at how important mental recovery is after a blood clot. Especially for patients who may have been told “you were a ticking time bomb” or “woah, you’re lucky to even be alive” the anxiety and emotional trauma of having a clot is a large obstacle to recovery.

Recommended Resources: support groups, online forums, a support system (ie: therapist), patient stories, or general education.

“… that healing isn’t linear, but overall it trended up.” While recovering from a blood clot, many patients have expressed frustration that one day they feel better or more active, and the next day they feel worse or have more pain. Even though this can feel like a setback, over weeks or months, the “good” days will outnumber the “bad” days as your body and mind recover.

Recommended Resources: support groups and safe physical activity such as stretching or walking to keep healing trends positive.

“… that I shouldn’t feel bad about going to the ER to get checked out—that’s what the ER is for.” Sometimes patients worry that going to the ER will “waste the doctor’s time” or think “what if I go and I’m fine, and it’s all for nothing”. As a general rule, it’s better to be safe than sorry. The emergency room exists for patients to get help, and “identifying if there is a problem that needs to be treated or not” is part of that help.

Recommended Resources for patients who can’t determine if their pain is a blood clot: a nurse hotline or the emergency room.

“… that it’s so frustrating to look ‘fine’ to everyone, but not feel ‘fine’.” A blood clot – especially a pulmonary embolism – can be an invisible condition. While you may look “back to normal” to peers or family, in actuality your body has been through trauma and may take several months or more to fully recover.

Recommended Resource: your doctor. Ask about a doctor’s note, which may help peers understand that even though you may look back to normal, you are still in recovery.

For additional patient support resources, please visit our resources or support group pages.

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