Ester Paglialonga Colom
Palma de Mallorca, Spain
It wasn't long ago that Ester Paglialonga Colom had what many in the sports world would consider one of the best jobs ever - public relations officer for Spain's RCD Mallorca football team. Ester loved her job and put her whole heart and soul into it.
"I worked for seven years in the press office and loved every minute of it," says Ester, who is in her late 20s and lives in what she calls the most beautiful place in the world - Palma de Mallorca, Spain. "But, unfortunately, I had to give up my dream job when I found out that I had a DVT."
A DVT or deep vein thrombosis (blood clot in the leg) caused Ester to suffer pain in her back and leg, but she never imagined it could be due to a blood clot.
Says Ester, "I didn't know what thrombosis was and when I arrived at the hospital my leg was black."
Ester remained in the ICU for one week since her clot was so big. Her doctor told her that he had never seen a clot so massive. She also had a clot in her right leg but it was much smaller.
After being hospitalized for many days, Ester found out that she was suffering from two medical disorders. The first was that she had been born without a vena cava, a large vein which carries deoxygenated blood from the lower half of the body into the heart's right atrium, and she had never realized it. Her second medical problem centered on blood clotting disorders. Everyone has four clotting factors; however, in Ester's case, three of the four were not working properly, making it difficult for her blood to circulate since it's thicker and causing clots to form more easily. Immediately, she was started on medication, but unfortunately not the right one.
"Five months later, I suffered a second DVT," she recalls. "It wasn't a big clot, but it happened because I did not receive the right treatment. Unbelievably, my doctors still didn't get my medication right and I had a stroke."
The road to recovery has not been smooth, as Ester is no longer able to work. A blood clot has now solidified in her left leg, and it has become very difficult for her to do even simple things like climbing stairs or cycling. Recently, Ester found out that she also suffers from claudication syndrome, pain or cramping in the lower leg due to inadequate blood flow to the muscles. Ester's doctors have told her that her pain might even be a chronic condition that she has to manage. Given this news, you'd think Ester's outlook would be bleak, but she remains positive.
"I'm young and feisty, and I won't stop until I find a solution to my blood clots," says Ester. "I want to be able to get back to my old life as a press officer for the football team."
In the meantime, Ester says she will concentrate on helping bring awareness to others about blood clots so they don't have to suffer like her.