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Serena Williams: "I Remember Thinking, I'm Walking But I Cannot Breathe"

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Black Tennis Pro's Serena Williams 2011 Academy AwardsIn her first interview since suffering a pulmonary embolism, Serena Williams spoke with Matt Lauer on Today

"Every day is better and better. I'm not doing much. I really haven't left the house recently."

She recalled that on Feb. 18, she "had a lot of swelling in my leg, which really is a tell-tale sign of an embolism, and I could not breathe." She just thought she "wasn't fit," but went to the emergency room.

Doctors at first,couldn't find anything, she said. But then one ordered a CAT scan of her lungs. "That's when they found several blood clots. They told me they had to check me in immediately or it wasn't going to be a good result."

A week later, she walked the red carpets at Oscar parties. "I had been through so much. I really was kind of low on energy," she said, but wanted to "do something to get my spirits up. I wasn't doing so well mentally. ... I was feeling terrible." So she went out. And wound up in the hospital the next day, Feb. 28, because of a large hematoma in her stomach. A hematoma is a gathering of blood underneath the skin, Lauer explained.

"I'm on blood thinner injections. I inject myself twice a day," she said. "I apparently must have hit something, ... so what started out as a golf ball ended up being the size of a grapefruit." At the hospital she was told it couldn't be drained; it had to be surgically removed.

Did this all stem from her initial foot problem after stepping on glass last year? She said, "Yes, and not moving and doing as much as I normally do and flying back and forth a lot."

What are doctors telling her now? "I'm just taking it one day at a time. My lungs are fairly healthy and I'm on the road to recovering." She said she's still hoping to return to tennis this summer. "I want to come back and be able to do well."

Posted by Shelia

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