I Thought Was Just Dehydrated — But It Was A Life-Threatening Health Event

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Colleen Wachob
Colleen Wachob

mbg Co-Founder & Co-CEO

By Colleen Wachob

mbg Co-Founder & Co-CEO

Colleen Wachob is Co-Founder and Co-CEO astatine mindbodygreen.

May 20, 2023

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While immoderate wellness issues are visible to nan extracurricular world, galore group look chronic conditions that don't person externally visible signs aliases symptoms—also known as invisible illnesses. In mindbodygreen's series, we're giving individuals pinch invisible illnesses a level to stock their individual experiences. Our dream is their stories will shed ray connected these conditions and connection solidarity to others facing akin situations.


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When I was a thirty-something-year-old female moving astatine a fast-paced firm job, I had a life-threatening pulmonary embolism that shaped my life’s trajectory. This acquisition forced maine to get my mind and assemblage backmost into an equilibrium to redefine a well-lived life. I tried everything—from nan champion successful Western medicine pinch NYC’s champion and brightest to holistic treatments pinch shamans and astrologers—to consciousness for illustration myself again. 

The first signs thing was disconnected

In May 2012, I was leaving nan “Strong” people astatine Strala yoga and felt a spot retired of breath. It was a basking Saturday greeting successful New York City and I brushed it disconnected arsenic nan consequence of a sweaty people astatine nan commencement of nan summertime season. I asked my husband, Jason, to meet maine successful nan metropolis and we walked astir nan West Village for a spot earlier I felt nan request to caput home. We took nan A train location and aft I near nan train, I collapsed going up nan station’s stairs. I sewage up, exited nan subway and we called my doctor. 

Unfortunately, I past proceeded to gaslight myself. I downplayed what had conscionable happened and tried to rationalize my illness arsenic dehydration. No 1 ever wants to spell to an ER, but I downplayed very clear symptoms that thing was really, really wrong. I spent nan remainder of nan play wholly retired of character, taking naps, moving very slowly, and emotion very tired. 

On Monday, nan only measurement my hubby would fto maine spell to activity was if I agreed to extremity by nan expert connected nan measurement to nan office. I stopped to spot my wide practitioner, who was beautiful assured that I was having a pulmonary embolism. He recommended I get successful a taxi and caput to nan NYU emergency room.

I was truthful bewildered by this test that my expert gave maine a motion “I’m having a pulmonary embolism.” It was unclear if he gave maine nan motion because he was worried that I would not beryllium capable to articulate nan apt diagnosis, aliases if he was concerned that I wouldn’t make it to nan ER. 


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My diagnosis

When I sewage to nan ER, I learned that I had showers of clots successful my lungs and was very fortunate to beryllium alive. It was nan commencement of a agelong treatment journey.

It was a existent invisible unwellness successful that I looked fresh and patient connected nan outside, but connected nan wrong I was struggling pinch nan astir basal constituent of life: breath. After my diagnosis, it was scary to thrust nan train connected hot, crowded days erstwhile it was a struggle to breathe. I retrieve rushing to quiet seats, sometimes beating retired elder citizens, becuase I knew it would beryllium easier to respire erstwhile seated arsenic opposed to standing.

I besides did not person immoderate important predispositions to clotting, particularly nan markers that they trial for successful pregnancy, erstwhile a female is astatine an accrued consequence of a clot. I apt sewage nan clot from being connected commencement power pills, which person been associated pinch an increased consequence of clotting1.

When I wrote an article astir my pulmonary embolism connected mindbodygreen, I heard from hundreds of women who had either personally knowledgeable a clot connected commencement power aliases had a friend, sister, aliases relative who had. Many times, the consequences were tragic. 

I’m not against pharmaceuticals, but we do request to person much conversations astir nan risks involved. Nowadays, I americium overmuch much responsible astir researching thing I put into my body.

My treatment travel

So really did I heal? It was only erstwhile I knowledgeable this acheronian infinitesimal of nan psyche that I was genuinely unfastened to trying much holistic modalities. I leaned into shamans, healers, astrologers, and different conduits to amended understand my purpose. I journaled. I did each “the things.” As this pulmonary embolism happened astatine a clip successful my life earlier I had children, I was capable to walk a disproportionate magnitude of clip connected treatment and self-care. Not each of it worked aliases was effective, but I didn’t person a roadmap, truthful I leaned into what felt good. 

It was besides nan first clip that I started to deliberation astir my breath. We respire 17,000 to 30,000 times per day, truthful learning really to breathe correctly done my nose had a profound effect not conscionable connected my healing, but connected my life. It connected maine much to my remainder and digest, aliases parasympathetic tense system, to thief beforehand a calming consequence successful my body. 

What would I person done differently? Well, I did a batch of things that didn’t person a immense ROI connected my wellness and well-being. My friend JJ Virgin erstwhile told maine “you person to cook nan barroom earlier you tin put connected nan frosting” and I deliberation it’s a awesome metaphor for well-being. You genuinely do person to conquer nan fundamentals earlier you tin commencement tinkering pinch wellness modalities that aren’t going to importantly move nan needle.

After much than a decade station pulmonary embolism, I’ve shared each that I’ve learned on nan measurement successful my first book, which is co-authored pinch my husband, Jason Wachob, The Joy of Well-Being. If you are looking to weave well-being into your life, alternatively of chasing wellness, past this is nan applicable instrumentality kit I wish I had almost a decade ago. 


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The takeaway

Having a pulmonary embolism was a cosmic footwear successful nan butt from nan beingness that I needed to germinate my life towards nan fundamentals of well-being: connection, purpose, breath, sleep, and movement. My dream is that we tin each amended perceive to nan whispers successful our bodies that thing is disconnected truthful that we don’t person to hold for our bodies to break down to displacement our life path.


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Source Lifestyle