From Party Girl To Fitness Fanatic - Holly Fights Blood Clots
From party girl to fitness fanatic: How Holly Barber turned her life around
Holly Barber, from Manchester, was horrified when doctors told her she had thirteen blood clots in her lungs. Source: Picture Media
A PARTY girl who almost died from a melon-sized blood clot after believing that her health problems were a hangover is now a fitness fanatic.
Holly Barber, from the UK, was horrified when doctors told her she had thirteen blood clots in her lungs — she was diagnosed with a Pulmonary Embolism which causes a blockage in the main artery of the lung — and was just days from death.
At first the 25-year-old thought she was suffering from an extreme hangover but when she started coughing up blood she knew it was something serious.
Despite treatment, Holly was rushed into hospital for a second time one year later after doctors found another blood-clot the size of a melon on her right lung.
Shocked Holly sprang into action and is now a fitness fanatic preparing to do the Great Manchester Run and promoting a healthy lifestyle through her diet business — she hasn’t suffered from another blood clot since the end of 2013.
Holly said: “I was so scared when I started coughing up blood, I had no idea what was happening to me but I knew it wasn’t a hangover.
“I used to love partying with friends but after suffering from 13 blood clots, I knew I needed to change my ways.
“A terrifying experience like this gives you a brand new outlook and makes you appreciate things so much more, I’m lucky to be alive.
“A lot of doctors said to me I shouldn’t do exercise because of my struggle with breathing because of the damage caused by the blood clots but I have managed it.
“I’m doing the Great Manchester Run to show other sufferers that it is possible. I enjoy being healthy and it’s become something I’m passionate about. I did like a drink but you have to look at the bigger picture.”
Holly first discovered she was battling with a Pulmonary Embolisms when she was 22-years-old, just a few days after heavy drinking and partying, so she presumed it was just a bad hangover.
It was when she started coughing up blood, struggling to catch her breath and suffering from chest and neck pains that her mum Carol Mack, 54, and step-dad Bob Tomkins, 57, decided to rush her to hospital.
Holly is now dedicated to her fitness and health.
Holly is now dedicated to her fitness and health. Source: Picture Media
A scan revealed that Holly had 13 blood clots in her lungs, which had unusually not spread from her legs, which were clear of any clots.
Despite many tests, nothing could explain what had caused Holly’s Pulmonary Embolisms. The only possible risk factor was the contraceptive pill which she stopped taking straightaway.
She was put on Heparin injections to prevent any blood clots from reoccurring as well as other drugs to reduce the pain.
Holly said: “I had to inject myself every month and I was on pain relief for some months after suffering from my blood clots both in 2012 and 2013.
“I was constantly anxious for a year and I suffered from panic attacks and anxiety.
Because of this anxiety, when she got a similar pain again in May 2013 — almost exactly a year later — she just thought that she was being paranoid and chose to ignore it.
Luckily she finally forced herself to go back to hospital and have another CT scan which revealed that the blood clot she had another clot in her lung.
Holly added: “It was the size of a melon and almost covered my heart, if I had left it any longer I would have died.
Holly will now have to take the anticoagulant warfarin which stops her blood from clotting for the rest of her life.
Since the beginning of last year, Holly has decided to turn her life around.
She said: “I’m so thankful to be alive, I have set up my own healthy lifestyle business called Healthy Fit + which helps others make the right lifestyle choices.
“I have never felt better and I hope my story shows others who have suffered from pulmonary embolisms that they can achieve their fitness goals.”
Holly has been with her boyfriend Steven who works for a solar panel company for nearly four years and they now have their own flat in Manchester together.
She said: “I really want children in the future because I am a maternal person but it would be a high risk pregnancy. I would have to be in a good condition, hence my healthy lifestyle now.”
Dr Noel Snell, Director of Research at the British Lung Foundation, said: “A pulmonary embolism — better known as a blood clot in the lungs — causes a blockage in a pulmonary artery, the blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the lungs.
“Some blood clots can be life-threatening, for example a large clot in the main artery. Sometimes people will get multiple small recurrent blood clots and will notice that they become increasingly breathless and experience chest pains — these can be quite difficult to spot and are often diagnosed late.”