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When Caroline Lewis began to feel unwell, she thought she had the flu.

But after the 28-year-old’s symptoms worsened, she ended up in hospital – and was shocked to discover she had a life-threatening condition.

Caroline, from Northumberland, was diagnosed with a blood clot in her lungs, which, cheap female viagra ca if left untreated, can be fatal. As Caroline said, ‘Last year I didn’t know if I would be here.’

The ex RAF and Royal Military Police Officer had already been experiencing ill-health before she ended up in hospital.

She said: ‘I joined the military to challenge myself and travel the world – the people I met and experiences I had were unbelievable.

‘But I started experiencing numbness in my face, arms and legs, I had pain in my neck constantly and difficulty turning my head.’

She was eventually diagnosed with spinal spondylosis – chronic wear and tear of the spine – and as a result, was medically discharged from her duties in June 2022.

But within a month, Caroline started to fell unwell again, this time with flu-like symptoms.

She ended up in hospital, where doctors gave her antibiotics, but she was kept under observation.

It was only thanks to a nurse who suggested Caroline be tested for blood clots that medics realised what was really going on.

Doctors discovered a large volume pulmonary embolism – also known as a blood clot, which blocks the vessels in the lungs, blocking the blood flow. She also had fluid on the lungs.

Caroline said: ‘I had a clot in my artery and my left lung was full of blood clots and the some in my right lung.’

Pulmonary embolism is the third most common cardiovascular disease after heart attack and stroke.

And despite recovering, Caroline found it hard to walk due to breathlessness. ‘I had to spend two months in a wheelchair,’ she explains.

Caroline also struggled with confidence after her illness. ‘There was a part of me that was not happy looking in the mirror,’ she says.

But after scrolling on Instagram, she spotted a competition for Miss Swimsuit UK and decided to enter.

‘I went into the competition thinking I just want to be myself,’ she says.

‘Walking down the runway as me, being completely vulnerable, and being recognised for the way I look was amazing.’

Caroline, who now works in the charity sector, placed fourth overall. Now, she’s been invited to the Swimsuit USA World Finals in October – and has been signed to a modelling agency.

She said: ‘Last year I didn’t know if I would be here – this year, I’m competing in the world finals so it’s a bit crazy.

‘I wasn’t expecting any of this to happen, I started just wanting to boost my confidence and motivate other people, now I’m embracing where the journey takes me.’

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