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Caitlin Augustine

My experience with DVT:

 I was diagnosed with several massive DVTs when I was an 18-year-old freshman in college.  By the time they found these clots, which they now predict had been misdiagnosed for 10 years, doctors told my family they were not sure if I would survive.  Despite countless symptoms and many risk factors, my community doctors never even mentioned the idea of a blood clot.  I was constantly in and out of the hospital and even given invasive surgery to find out the source of my pain, but the words “blood clots” or “Deep Vein Thrombosis” were never once mentioned by any doctor I encountered.  I believe that doctors overlooked the possibility of DVT due to my very young age.  While I have made tremendous progress since I was 18, the physical and emotional after effects of this condition are still something I struggle with.

Why have I joined NATF?

I was first introduced to NATF in 2008 after my local doctors were unable to provide answers as to why and how this could happen to a young, active, seemingly healthy 18-year old girl.  My family and I came across an NATF conference happening in Boston and decided to make the trip in hopes of finding out more information on DVT.  I was immediately welcomed by Dr. Goldhaber and the NATF staff with open arms, wanting to learn more about what I had experienced.  It was amazing and life changing to finally be able to connect with other patients who could understand and relate to what I was going through.  Ever since that day I have been working with NATF to raise awareness of DVT/PE, particularly in young women.

What advice do I have for patients?

One of the best things I ever did for myself was connecting with other patients who had gone through what I was experiencing.  I never knew how serious or life altering blood clots could be until I was a patient myself.  While what I was feeling physically was more pain than I could have ever possibly imagined, I found that the real wounds were emotional ones.  Surround yourself with a good support system and find a doctor who takes the time to listen and one that you can truly trust.  Take care of both your physical and emotional needs and pay attention to what your body is telling you.

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