Survivor Spotlight: Debra Turner Bryant

 As an Assistant Admin and fellow DVT Survivor, I’d like to tell you a little bit about May Thurner Syndrome, which contributed to my extensive DVT and my ongoing chronic pain. May Thurner Syndrome is a physical anomaly, where the right common iliac artery compresses the left common iliac vein. It usually causes enough of an interruption of blood flow, that it triggers a blood clot to start forming. When I was diagnosed with DVT, I was 11 weeks pregnant and was working full time in an office setting. I’d been having lower back and left hip pain periodically for a few months and thought it was partially due to an uncomfortable chair at work, and the fact that I was 37 years old and early in my pregnancy. Little did I know that those two symptoms are very common among women who have May Thurner Syndrome. DVT can present itself in many different ways, depending on the individual person, the extent and location of their clot, and any other health issues they may have. My DVT presented as my left leg swollen more than double its size, painfully heavy, ice cold to the touch, and was blue. I had severe and constant pain, especially in my hip and groin. I kept trying to research blood clots to gain a better understanding of how my body, and baby, were being affected by this frightening thing invading my body. Upon googling my pain symptoms and that I have a clot in the left leg, information about May Thurner Syndrome was at the top of my search results. I started sifting through the information looking for the most reputable sources for a clearer explanation. Everything was adding up. Upon learning how much my symptoms pointed to May Thurner Syndrome being a culprit for my DVT, I set out to question my doctors on how to treat this so that I could start my recovery and go back to my life. Unfortunately it didn’t work out that way. None of my doctors completely understood what, or how common, May Thurner Syndrome is. Luckily, I was being referred to an Interventional Radiologist at Medical University of South Carolina to remove my IVC filter. I had a phone conversation with this knowledgeable Interventional Radiologist about the plan to remove my filter, but took the liberty to ask him what he knew about May Thurner and the possibility that it could have contributed to my DVT. That’s when everything took a drastic turn for the better. He looked at my most recent ultrasound and noticed an interruption in blood flow as well as a compression of the iliac vein. At that moment, a plan was put into motion. The Interventional Radiologist brought me in for a Venogram, in order to get a better look at my veins and so he could treat whatever issues he came across at that time. I ended up having thrombolysis with tPA and a mechanical thrombectomy with an Angiojet. After the clotting was cleared, a balloon was used to open up the veins that were narrowed, and then two stents were placed in my iliac vein to help alleviate that physical compression of my left common iliac vein, which is also known as May Thurner Syndrome. I know this story is quite long, but this is what happens when you have to advocate for yourself to get answers and treatment for what health situations you are dealing with. May Thurner Syndrome isn’t a well known condition, but it’s also not rare. If you have an extensive DVT, especially your left leg, this could be a potential factor that contributed to it. It won’t hurt to rule it out.

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