On 13 de octubre, 2021, Vayanne Boateng began experiencing an extreme heaviness in her chest. She was having trouble breathing, eating, sleeping and even moving around the house.
Her doctor made a house call to run some tests on her and decided to ultimately call an ambulance. The 16-year-old had already been home sick for three weeks prior to this incident.
Vayanne wasn’t surprised at the hospital when the COVID-19 test turned out to be negative, because she already had the virus a year before and this pain was very different from anything she had ever experienced.
She describes the day as ‘chaotic.’ The scene at the hospital was a blur of testing and scanning. After about an hour, Vayanne’s mom came into the room to inform her that the doctors said she had a blood clot in her lung, known as a pulmonary embolism (PE).
Vayanne was the quintessential teenager, full of energy and athletic ability, playing soccer three times a week with her friends just for fun. Her days and weeks were busily spent being a kid.
However, this new reality was scary for anyone – especially for someone at such a young age.
Vayanne remained in the hospital for a week. At first, doctors thought the cause was from the contraception pill or a lung infection, but both were ruled out. The only thing that was certain was that if Vayanne would have waited too long to get to the hospital that day, she would likely have died.
Unfortunately, Vayanne was sent home without a diagnosis.
Fast forward to a year later and Vayanne still doesn’t have any answers as to the cause of her PE. She continues to visit her doctor twice a month for check-ups and was briefly put on medication up until abril 2022. Her doctors think that she as an illness such as lupus, but they are not sure. She hopes to get a firm answer at her next appointment.
Vayanne says that this entire process has been frustrating. She never even knew that someone her age could experience a blood clot and had always thought it was an ‘old person’s issue.’
Her friends and family were flabbergasted to find out the news. Her community knows her as an active girl – always on the go – so when they heard she was in the hospital, they knew it had to be serious.
These days her life looks a little different.
Vayanne still participates in soccer with her friends, but she says she doesn’t play the same. She used to be able to battle out the entire game without an issue, but now she can only make it less than halfway, needing frequent breaks.
She says that she also has a new purpose in life, to help as many people as possible by sharing her story. She wishes that young people and their parents were more educated about the risks. Blood clots can truly happen to anyone at any age, and at any activity level.
Vayanne says she misses the days where she could go about her busy week as a carefree teen without getting tired. She finds that after just one school day, she is exhausted.
When asked how she manages it all, she says, “I don’t – I just keep going.”