Earlier this week the plus size community lost one of its brightest stars. Mia Amber Davis, a 36 year old model, actress, and producer, died shortly after undergoing knee surgery. Details about her death are slowly being released, preliminary results from an autopsy speculate that she may have died due to a blood clot that formed after her procedure. There has been an outcry online from her friends, colleagues and fans celebrating the life of an amazing woman. A long time friend of Mia, Gail Steinberg ,described her passing as a hole being left in the universe.
Her death brought back the memories of my own ordeal with blood clots just a few years ago. I almost lost my life to pulmonary embolisms in the summer of 2003 while I was living and working in Northern Virginia. Before the embolisms I had been suffering from heavy periods, they were debilitating, lasting 7 days. The first three days were the worst, I would go through the super absorbent tampons once every 2 hours, and in the evenings I had to use tampons, long heavy pads, sleep on two dark towels and even used a protective mat that incontinent people used. Not to mention the cramps, OMG. I was basically on a narcotic and often had to stay home in bed at least 3 days out of the month because I couldn't stand upright. My periods caused me to be extremely weak and I often fainted due to lack of blood. My body just couldn't replenish itself at the rate it was losing blood. I took iron tablets, ate tons of meat, beats and greens but I was still a walking anemic zombie each month. They tested me for fibroid s and all sorts just trying to pinpoint what exactly my issue was. Frustrated and confused, my primary physician suggested I go on birth control pills that would minimize the bleeding and allow me to lead some sort of normal life.
I agreed, seeing this as my only option, I needed some relief, and it was evident during my first period that whatever was in the magic pill was working. My period was light, short, and there was hardly any cramping, this was the life. I experienced 2 bearable periods, before I woke up with a sharp pain in the left side of my chest. I couldn't move my left arm. I thought I was having a heart attack. I called my doctor and when I tried to speak, I couldn't. The words were coming out like I was out of breath, each accompanied by a sharp pain in my chest. Considering I wasn't a smoker, that I was younger than 35 and I had only been on the pill for a few weeks, she dismissed the possibility of it being a clot. She told me to go to the emergency room , she thought perhaps it could be some sort of abrasion on my lung. I went to the hospital across the street for some x-rays and blood test, and then was sent home. My doctor called me about an hour later in a panic, she said they found something and that I needed to call my mother, there were clots in my lung and this could be fatal. Once admitted, they put me on blood thinners. There were 5 clots in my lung and they needed to check my legs to make sure there weren't any other ones. I was in a lot of pain, it was as if I could feel each clot moving through my lungs. They sent me home after two days, complete with a kit of warafin that I had to self inject into my stomach twice a day. I was out of it for a week, my mom and grandmother came down to take care of me. After two weeks home, I was fine and back to work. Life was normal and I was ordered to be on oral blood thinners for a few more weeks. The blood thinners were more trouble than they were worth. My period resumed to its previous madness and I bruised if you looked at me hard. I was a mess!
All was okay for about 3 months until the clots came back. Again, chest pains, arm pain, the inability to talk. This time I was in the hospital for 8 days. They wanted to have me in for observation and make sure the clots actually dissolved completely. They suggested that I be on blood thinners for the rest of my life because they thought perhaps I had a clotting disorder triggered by the birth control pills.
Either way I escaped death twice. Every time I hear about someone losing their life to blood clots it shakes me to my core. I remember shortly after that, there was story of a young girl who died suddenly on a subway platform, they discovered numerous clots in her lungs and linked her death to the birth control patch. I thought that could have been me. I ask why was I so lucky and people like Mia and the young girl in the subway weren't. I think myself to tears about the subject.