Serena Williams is just happy to be alive after her recent medical emergency.
The tennis star told People that she was shocked and horrified to find out that she had a blood clot in her lungs, which lead to a hematoma.
“I could have died,” she said, adding that she didn’t quite believe the terrifying news when she first heard it. When doctors told her about her pulmonary embolism, she immediately thought, “This can’t be happening to me.”
She was particularly alarmed by news of the hematoma, which occurs when blood breaks out of a vessel and pools in one spot. “I started panicking,” she recalled. “I thought I had a tumor.”
Serena told NBC’s “The Today Show” that had her camp not forced her to go to the emergency room last month, she never would have discovered her life-threatening condition.
“I had a lot of swelling in my leg, which really is a telltale sign of an embolism, and I could not breathe,” explained Serena, who hasn’t been able to play tennis since July. “Other than that I totally felt completely fine. I just thought I wasn’t fit.”
To make matters worse, Serena had been working with a great team of physicians since last year, but none of them were able to detect the problem until February. That’s when doctors at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles had Serena get a CAT scan on her lungs.
Since catching the blood clot, Serena has been taking shots of blood thinners. Although she has to inject herself twice a day, she’s recovering well. “I’m doing better and better,” Serena told “Today” this morning. “I’m just working on trying to make sure I can keep my energy up. I’m not doing much. I haven’t really left the house recently.”
The tennis pro did, however, manage to dress up and step out to attend a few parties for the Academy Awards. Find out why she decided to hit the red carpet when you watch the clip below.
– Sonya Eskridge