When the emergency room doctor told Janice that the drug she needed to break up Yasmin blood clots could be life-threatening, so many thoughts raced through her head: was her life insurance policy enough to cover the kids’ day care, her funeral expenses? How would her family manage?
“I only took Yasmin for a few months,” says Janice. “One day in January my heart started pounding – it felt like someone was repeatedly punching me in the chest. I tried to lie down but that didn’t help so my sister came over to watch my children and I drove myself to the hospital.”
Janice thought she was overly tired or exhausted, no big deal. So she thought it was okay to drive 20 minutes to the ER – it’s a miracle that she got there. In fact, the emergency room doctor was shocked that she drove herself.
“By the time I got to the check-in desk, I was dizzy and could hardly breathe,” Janice explains. “My heart rate was 140 so they immediately took me to radiology and did a CT Scan and took blood to test for clotting. I was a bit scared. When my husband showed up, the doctor told us that he had never seen a case like this, ever. He also said that, had I waited any longer to get here, I would be dead.”
The tests showed multiple and massive embolisms in Janice’s heart and lungs. How could this be? The doctor asked if she was on drospirenone birth control and said that was most likely the reason. Janice was moved to critical care emergency. She phoned her mother, who told Janice that her aunt had a clotting problem – maybe this could be the explanation. Janice told the doctor but the blood test results ruled out any abnormalities, so it was definitely Yasmin.
Janice was given tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA), which dissolves blood clots. It is also a very dangerous blood thinning drug given to heart attack and stroke victims.
“Needless to say, my family was terrified. And I was wondering if my husband had enough money to cover a funeral, but what about day care? My husband took out a life insurance policy on me but it isn’t the greatest. He would have to find someone to look after our three young children after he buries his wife…”
Janice spent 10 days in the hospital. Her kids asked their dad, “Why has mummy been gone for so long?” He told them that “Mummy is sick and the doctors are making her better.”
“I drove myself here with these clots in my heart, thinking I had just run up the stairs too fast,” says Janice. “Of course I am furious with Bayer for not taking all their drospirenone birth control off the market.”
by Jane Mundy