After a lengthy flight back from Iceland on May 31, followed by some heavy lifting on June 1, I began to notice a severe shortness of breath, dry mouth and a loss of appetite for the next few days. On June 5, I drove from New Jersey to our Vermont home by myself, thinking that I would give myself a few days of rest.
Unfortunately, the shortness of breath got worse--so bad that it actually crossed my mind (for the first time in my life) as I crawled into bed that night, that I may not wake up the next day. Thankfully I did wake up on June 6, and had only one thing on my to-do list that day--driving myself (25 minutes) to the E.R. at the Brattleboro Memorial Hospital in Brattleboro, Vermont.
Thank God I went to the E.R. when I did. After lots of tests, by mid-afternoon they had diagnosed my problem as a large blood clot across the top of both of my lungs--a clot known as a "Saddle PE." I then spent the next three days in an intensive care room where my vitals were monitored 24/7 as I gradually came to grips with just how close I had come to death.
Now for the good news. After hearing from my doctors about the deadly nature of the Saddle PE, I suspected that my WFPB diet-style for the past fifteen years may have saved my life. That thinking was corroborated by one of my follow-up doctors the following week. She stated that my superior (plant-driven) cardiovascular health may very well have prevented a deadly heart attack as my heart tried desperately to pump blood around that huge clot in my lungs.
Saddle pulmonary embolism
) is a form of large pulmonary thrombo-embolism that straddles the main pulmonary arterial trunk at its bifurcation. Its incidence among patients diagnosed with
was found to be approximately 2.6%. (pretty rare indeed)
Want to learn more about pulmonary embolism, visit this page on myheart.net. Here is an image of what it looks like: