Beth Mullan-Feroze (34)
When marathon runner Beth Mullan-Feroze experienced pain and breathlessness during her training, she initially did not give it much thought.
She experienced calf pain and difficulty running at her normal speed, which made her feel frustrated. As the pain and breathlessness intensified, Beth visited her doctor for multiple appointments as they tried to figure out what was causing her symptoms. The diagnoses ranged from a chest infection to asthma—but her symptoms continued.
Beth, who was 31 years old at the time, was at home when she experienced indescribable difficulty breathing, which she thought was an asthma attack. Her husband Pete immediately called an ambulance to rush her to the hospital.
“It’s hard to describe really. It was obviously really scary because you feel really out of it,” Beth explained as she recalls that day. “I don’t have a huge amount of memory of it, but I remember the
ambulance coming in and they thought I was having a panic attack. They tried to put me back into bed. My husband arrived and they took my oxygen levels and saw it was dangerously low.” With this new information, the ambulance urgently rushed Beth to the hospital.
Following multiple tests, Beth was diagnosed with a massive saddle pulmonary embolism (PE) and she was in a hospitalized coma for five days.. Beth remembered that the doctors told her they were “some of the biggest clots they have ever seen.”
Following her discharge from the hospital after a total of 10 days, Beth, who works professionally as a lawyer, took time to recover at her parents’ home as she needed around-the-clock care in the initial weeks.
She had to wait several weeks to begin any type of exercise, and her doctors approved a regime to begin running again about three months after her hospitalization, although recovery times vary by each patient. She also takes an anticoagulant and will do so for the rest of her life to reduce her risk of having another blood clot.
Beth shared the toll that her diagnosis has had on not only her physical health, but also her mental health. She noted that for years she did not like anyone touching her calf and also learned new ways to manage anxiety.
“In some ways, it has helped because I’m a lot more cautious about my health now. If there’s something I want to do, I’ll go out and do it—because of everything that has happened,” Beth said. “But on the other hand, there is always a lot of fear about having another blood clot. I probably still think about it every day. My diagnosis had such a huge impact on my husband and my family. I put on a brave face for them because I don’t want them to worry.”
In the three years since her diagnosis, Beth learned that she has a genetic mutation that increases her risk for blood clotting, and she recently found out a paternal family member died from blood clots. She was also on hormonal oral contraceptives for many years, which can increase a person’s risk for a blood clot.
Today, Beth lives a busy and active lifestyle. She loves to spend time with her husband, family, and friends, and she has resumed her marathon training. In 2022, she completed the London Marathon. She also enjoys spending time with her dog, whom she adopted right after she was discharged from the hospital to keep her company during her recovery. She named her dog Bart—in honor of the healthcare team at Bart’s Hospital in London—whom she credits with saving her life.