Marlee Martin’s Near Death Experience: A Wake Up Call to All Women

When healthy, 22-year-old Marlee Martin started having pain in her leg, no one expected what would come next. This week, Mary Catherine Tomlinson and her daughter Marlee join me to discuss Marlee’s incredible survival story and the faith that brought them through it. 

Episode At A Glance: 

This week, I am joined by my dear friend Mary Catherine Tomlinson and her newly married daughter, Marlee Martin. Marlee shares how they believe a prescription for birth control ultimately led to massive blood clots in her leg, lungs, and heart in the fall of 2021. In this episode, Marlee and Mary Catherine share their journey with Marlee’s health, the details of her life-saving surgery, and how their faith in Christ carried them through it all. After Marlee’s horrendous experience with birth control, she and her mother strive to educate young women on its dangers.

Who Is Marlee Martin? 

Marlee Martin grew up in Birmingham and graduated from Briarwood Christian School in 2017. She then went on to college at The University of Alabama. After graduating from Alabama in 2021, Marlee started law school at The University of Alabama School of Law. Marlee married her husband, Jacob Martin on June 18, 2022. 

Marlee Martin’s Story:

When she was sixteen, Marlee Martin had a cyst removed from her ovaries. Since then, she has been on and off of birth control in order to balance her hormones and prevent future cysts. Her doctor put her on Yaz, one of the strongest and most dangerous forms of birth control on the market. Fast forward to September of 2021, and Marlee started experiencing pain and swelling in her right calf. She eventually went to get an Ultra Sound done on her leg, but the ER doctors told her they could not find anything. Marlee continued to experience pain in her leg, and after the pain spread up her leg she massaged it out with a foam roller. After that, she experienced being severely out of breath and a dramatic increase in her heart rate. When her heart rate reached 190, Marlee called 911 and went to the hospital. Finally, the doctors performed tests and realized that she had clots in her lungs, heart, and leg. Marlee was eventually transferred to UAB, where Dr. Ahmed performed life-saving surgery on her. 

A True Miracle:

After Marlee was transferred to UAB, it was quickly determined that she needed surgery immediately. The doctors removed 36 inches of blood clots (pictured above) just from Marlee’s knee to hip, along with many others. During the surgery, Marlee Martin’s heart stopped. Her doctor called for the life-saving machines to be prepped. However, something prompted her doctor to continue removing the clots from her heart as quickly as possible. This decision turned out to save Marlee’s life, and her heart started beating right after. Marlee and her family know that this was God, directing the surgeon’s hands and sparing her life. After the surgery, countless doctors called Marlee the “miracle girl” because they had only performed autopsies on people with her severity of clots. 

The Faith That Carried Them:

Throughout this entire journey, Marlee and her family depended completely on the Lord to sustain them and comfort them. Days before Marlee’s surgery, she journaled out a prayer proclaiming her trust in and submission to the Lord’s sovereignty and goodness. Mary Catherine shared that Marlee’s surgery showed them how truly trustworthy God is. She shared that as a parent there is always so much she can do for her children. However, during Marlee’s surgery, she could do nothing but depend on God to perform a miracle. 

The Risks of Birth Control: 

After Marlee’s experience, she and her family believe that these clots were caused by her birth control, Yaz. A study that Marlee found said that women who are on that particular birth control are three times more likely to encounter blood clots. When Marlee was first prescribed birth control, the doctor did not share the risks or possible side effects of the medication. Now, both Marlee and Mary Catherine strive to educate young women on these forms of dangerous birth control. 

Questions Answered In This Episode: 

  • What caused these massive blood clots?
  • How did you first realize that something was “off” with your health? 
  • Why did these massive clots go unnoticed at first? 
  • How did birth control contribute to these blood clots?
  • Where are you on your health journey today? 
  • How did your faith impact your journey?

Connect With Marlee Martin and Mary Catherine Tomlinson:

I hope you enjoyed this episode! As always, if you have time to rate, review and subscribe to The SavvyCast on Apple Podcasts, it would be SO appreciated!!! Blessings to you!!!

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  1. Hi Annie, thanks for your comments and for sharing about Factor V Leiden! Did you listen to the episode with ob/gyn Justin Aldred? It is a few episodes before Marlee’s. He had a genetic clotting disorder but I can’t recall if it is the same. It is very important to know family history!!

  2. I am glad the young lady is doing well. This story is very familiar to my family. My brother experience a similar situation in his left calf. He is a runner and thought he pulled muscle. They tan tests and found it is a blood disorder called Factor V Leiden , it is genetic.I was tested and have the disorder as well. I had my children tested and one daughter has it and the other does not. My brother’s son has it as well.
    I would suggest that any person going on the pill be tested for Factor V Leiden. A very simple blood test. It could save a life.
    Thank you for doing this story!

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