Samantha Kutter Tells Her Blood Clot Survival Story

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The personal story below is intended for informational purposes only. The National Blood Clot Alliance (NBCA) holds the rights to all content that appears on its website. The use by another organization or online group of any content on NBCA’s website, including the patient stories that appear here, does not imply that NBCA is connected to these other organizations or groups or condones or endorses their work. Please contact with questions about this matter.

Samantha KutterI had zero problems with my health until three years ago, when I was 19, and started on birth control pills to treat acne that did not respond to over the counter medicine.  I am a non-smoker, never had any weight problems, and have not been in the hospital since I was two years old.  My gynecologist did not foresee any problems with my decision to take birth control pills, and it seemed like a good decision at the time.

First, let me present my family medical history.  My mother and one of her sisters, my aunt, told me they had blood clots, although they never saw a doctor to diagnose the clots, nor had any treatment with blood thinners.  Instead, they chose an herbal remedy.  My mother’s family also has a history of heart attacks and stroke.   However, it never occurred to me that blood clots can be hereditary, and I had never heard of a blood clotting disorder.   The doctor who prescribed the birth control pills did not ask me about blood clots in my family.  I recall now that the history checklist I filled out included DVT, but was unaware then that DVT stood for deep vein thrombosis or that it was a blood clot.

Not surprisingly, it came as a complete shock to me when, after a month on birth control pills, I woke up with an immense pain and noticeable swelling in my left leg to the point that I could barely walk across the room.  I was extremely confused and agitated, because I had no recollection of any injury to explain my symptoms.  I looked online to see what it might be, and several sites suggested that my symptoms might be a blood clot, so I had my boyfriend at that time drive me to the hospital.

I wasn’t certain whether my symptoms meant I had a blood clot, and I think the ER staff thought it might be a sports injury.  It took about 6 hours before they determined it was a blood clot, and almost 12 hours before a hospital bed was available.  I was placed in the progressive care unit (PCU) because my blood clot ran the entire length of my thigh, the largest DVT the staff had ever seen.  They gave me shots of low molecular weight heparin right away and medication to minimize my pain.  They moved me to the main floor of the hospital a few days later, because I was doing better.

The doctors reminded me repeatedly that I needed to report any chest pain or shortness of breath since a DVT can cause a pulmonary embolism (PE).  The night they moved me into the regular room, I felt a slight pressure in my chest, and I told my doctors about it the next day.  Two of them brushed it off, but the third one came back and told me to say more about what I was feeling in my chest.  This doctor ordered a CT scan that showed multiple clots in both of my lungs.  They rushed me back to the PCU so they could monitor me more closely.  Just think… I had multiple PEs, potentially lethal, and I did not even know they were there.   As strange as it sounds, I sometimes feel as if I would prefer a visible life-threatening injury, even a bullet or stab wound.  The fact that a blood clot is hidden within my body and can still travel to the lungs is terrifying!

Eventually, I got better and was sent home.  While I was in the hospital, I was tested for many different blood clotting disorders, and tested positive for heterozygous factor V Leiden.  As a result, I will be on warfarin for the rest of my life, because of my risk for developing another PE. Needless to say, I stopped taking birth control pills.

While I wish I had known that I had factor V Leiden, I am glad that our family has this knowledge now.  My mother has not been tested to see whether she is positive for factor V Leiden, and not interested in finding out.  She thinks that there is no sense in worrying about something she has dealt with her entire life.  My father was not tested, but neither he nor anyone in his family had any blood clots.

I also try to write reports at school about factor V Leiden because I want to increase awareness about blood clotting disorders and how they may increase blood clotting risk.  The greatest impact this experience had on me is my choice of career.  I am pursuing a degree in Medical Assisting, but hope to become certified as a pharmacy technician, and perhaps choose nursing in the future.  I want to use my experience to ease the difficulty and fear that others may have in coping with illness, particularly those related to blood clots.
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Author: admin

26 Responses to "Samantha Kutter Tells Her Blood Clot Survival Story"

  1. Pamela
    Pamela Posted on July 8, 2013 at 8:13 am

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I truly appreciate your efforts and I will be waiting for your further
    write ups thanks once again.

    • Joyce Cue
      Joyce Cue Posted on October 9, 2015 at 11:08 pm

      I have one I’m on injection every 12 hours. I didn’t know I had one neither its in my right thigh all the other medicine didn’t work

  2. Emelie
    Emelie Posted on October 15, 2013 at 8:00 am

    Hi Samantha. I came across your story when browsing the internet to find more information about blod clots. My name is Emelie and I experienced the exact same thing with pulmonary embolism as a consequence of a DVT. However the doctors here in Sweden said that i couldnt be tested for this “disorder” while on the warfarin meds. Now the doctors wants me to quit with the meds but i am so afraid i will get it once again. After Reading your story i will definately push for this V Leiden test so i can calm down and get to know if i have this blod clotting gene or not. I hope you are feeling well now Samantha and remember we are many girls in the World that have suffered from blod clots as a result of b-Control pills. I wish you all the best. greetings from Sweden, Emelie

  3. John
    John Posted on November 29, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    Hi Samantha,
    I am much old than you and have always been health and very active. However last year I had a stoke and was in hospital for 3 weeks. I actually recovered 99% i would say, but the doctors had me on 2 Hypertension drugs (which i take one every other day) & the dreaded Coumadin 10mg. Coumadin is the worst drug, feeling cold, tired, going for check ups every 2 weeks and no green vegetable or green tea. This was too much, as i eat a lot of vegetables and so i did a lot of research for a natural alternative. Nattokinase – Japanese supplement discovered in the early 90’s by Japanese scientist working in Chicago. Nattokinase is a derivative of the Japanese food “Natto”, which is a clot buster. there are other natural supplements such as Serrapeptase – from the Japanese silk worm, and Bromalin from Pineapple. Look up Natto NSK. I use a combination supplement called Serracor-NK 2 AM & 2 PM. Good luck!

    • Minnie
      Minnie Posted on November 5, 2015 at 8:26 pm

      John I would like to know if the. supplement that you are taking for the blood clots can be taken if you are taking blood thinners. Do you know?

    • Brittany
      Brittany Posted on February 2, 2016 at 3:18 am

      Hi John! I came across your comment on this forum and it was exactly related to what I was looking for… I’m 25 and I just had a stroke in September. .. the Dr’s couldn’t figure it out and still I’m searching for answers but they did find a hole in my heart that they may believe the clot went through and therefore bypassed it’s regular course leading it to the brain causing the stroke. They just have me on Asporing 81mg and pills to lower my cholesterol which I was told wasn’t high but they’re doing it as a preventative. I feel like the aspirin is just a daily thing I’m taking that yes helps thin the blood but I don’t feel like it resolves the issue with the clot. Do you have any suggestions?

    • tara
      tara Posted on May 4, 2016 at 2:39 pm

      John do you mean you do not take dreaded Coumadin. My son has been put on warfarin. I would like to COMMUNICATE with t some body like yourself as to how to go about using alternatives for blood clots. I very much look forward to hearing from you. Thank you

  4. Dennis
    Dennis Posted on March 8, 2014 at 8:00 am

    Hi Samantha,
    I never heard of factor V Leiden before, but I have had DVT resulting in PE three times and am very lucky to be alive. I am a lot older than you, in my 60’s now. After the first occurrence when I was in my 50’s, I was put on Heparin and Coumadin then gradually switched over to Coumadin (a form of Warfarin) only for about 6 months. Shortly after I went without it, I had PE #2. I didn’t like taking Coumadin, which I refer to as “rat poison” because Warfarin is also used for killing rats and mice, because of the frequent blood tests required and it doesn’t get along with almost anything that you eat or drink. It doesn’t help that I’m a bit overweight and am not overactive, but I do wear pressure stockings.
    I don’t know why the doctors never mentioned anything about factor V Leiden (or some other similar condition) to me because my father was a lifer taking rat poison, too. He never had DVT or PE, but had lots of trouble with Phlebitis.
    Then after taking rat poison for a long time, I had PE #3 while I was on it, so I was referred to a blood specialist who switched me over to a different anticoagulant called InnoHep (a form of Heparin with the scientific name Tinzaparin) that I need to take by injection using a syringe (in the belly area) daily. It seems to be working okay and does not require blood tests often and does not have negative reactions wirh food and other medication, but it is quite expensive. Fortunately, my health care plans take care of most of that.
    One of the problems with being on an anticoagulant is that I would have to go off of it for some medical examinations and almost any form of surgery. Fortunately, this was not the case when I had surgery for my cataracts. That is the main reason why, when I had prostate cancer, I chose radiation treatment over surgery. The surgery may work perfect for getting rid of the cancer, but it may result in me dying from a massive heart attack, since the clots have to get through your heart first before going into the lungs, or PE #4.
    Good luck with your career choice and I pray that your blood clot problems are over.

    • tara
      tara Posted on May 5, 2016 at 2:26 pm

      what are PE 2 and PE3 and PE4

      My son has sarcoma cancer in his left thigh. Due to the tumor the blood flow is disturbed and thus a clot in the calf. He is doing with the cancer. Doctors have put him on warfarin to thin the blood. We are looking for a natural blood thinner knowing the side effects of warfarin and other conventional blood thinner. Can anyone help. I very much look forward to some hopeful replies. tara

  5. Barbara
    Barbara Posted on June 15, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    hi samantha have just found out that I have a DVT 10 days ago Iam on an anticoagulant called Xarelto Iam not having problems with eating but I am having problems with night mares ,your is the first person that has spoken out about this subject , I must say thankyou your story is very much like mine. I am interested in some of the comments made by John and alternative medicines . all I want to know is can you try these things while on medications . and where can I find them


  6. David
    David Posted on October 16, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    Thanks for sharing. I am 52 and have been very active, biking, hiking, etc. But I also have a desk job and sit a lot of the time. After an 8 hour car ride this past week, I began feeling pain in my calf muscle which became very localized, as if I had been kicked there. My doctor thought I had just pulled a muscle and sent me home with instructions to take Aleve. That same day my calf muscle started swelling up and the pain increased. I could not put any weight on that leg. Happened within a few hours of seeing the Doc. Went to the emergency room and they did an ultrasound which discovered the blood clot running from above my knee to my ankle. I have been given Xarelto (today) and am laying flat on my back with a hot pad on the area. Crossing my fingers that I can get over this in the near future. Good luck to you!

  7. Belal Awad
    Belal Awad Posted on January 31, 2015 at 9:19 pm

    Hi Samantha,I’ve been struggling with factor V Leiden for 9 years now.It came from my father’s side of the family.Stay strong and there’s a lot of natural foods that have blood thinning properties.Nattokinase is a miracle dietary supplement that truly helps.Unfortunately I found out about it a little too late.My right leg was amputated two years ago due to blood clots.I wish that I would have known about the Nattokinase earlier.Stay positive please.I’m here for everyone and anyone in need of information on Factor V Leiden.

    • dina forbes
      dina forbes Posted on July 14, 2016 at 5:43 pm

      I just had my third clot and I do not want to be on coumadin.

      I have factor V leiden

      Thanks !

      • SW
        SW Posted on July 14, 2016 at 5:52 pm

        Hi Dina. There are other options for blood thinners besides warfarin/coumadin. It would be helpful to discuss your options with your doctors. You can also connect with other people who have experienced a blood clot in our online discussion community:

  8. Jaci
    Jaci Posted on May 12, 2015 at 5:59 am

    I was told the blood clot runs from below my ankle up to the top of my leg. Doctor said it was the biggest he had ever seen. I really don’t to take threat poison either so I a bit interested in the herbal treatment your other used. Rat poison greatly limits me eating veggies and I am alo glutton to sensitive so it is really hard to find food I can eat. Please if anyone know of a more natural treatment. My next visit to the doc I am going to talk to him about V Leiden. My other has blood clots that originated in her lungs. So she a rat poison lifer. Thanks having a forum like this so we can learn about DVT..

  9. rima
    rima Posted on June 4, 2015 at 12:30 am

    Why not tell us the herbal remedy your relatives used? At the beginning of your story I thought you were going to tell us. Sounds like it could be a good CHOICE for those of us who believe in natural methods.

  10. LaQuanda
    LaQuanda Posted on December 16, 2015 at 4:31 am

    Do you mind sharing the herbal remedy? My 17 year old has chronic pain and I have tried everything any help/suggestions would help please?

  11. Jennifer
    Jennifer Posted on March 6, 2016 at 12:26 am

    My mom has blood clots in her other leg she didn’t have surgury on after car accident. She is on blood thinner and keeping leg elevated. What are her odds of getting better she is 62

  12. Veronica
    Veronica Posted on March 16, 2016 at 7:49 am

    A TV fell on my leg today and the corner of it hit me. I screamed with pain and my leg ended up getting soo hard all around my calf area. Felt as if my leg was going to burst at first, but its been a few hours and pain went down a bit except now i have bruising on the side of my calf where it fell and also bruising on the front of my leg which is kind of weird there. I have a hard lump where it hit me too and my pain isn’t as bad as earlier, but it runs all the way down to my ankle. I’m scared i might have a blood clot since someone told me that could happen. Am i just freaking out or should i go to the doctor? Anything i could do at home. Fyi im also breastfeeding.

    • SW
      SW Posted on March 16, 2016 at 5:20 pm

      Veronica, I am sorry to hear about this injury. It could be related to the TV falling on your leg, but if you are worried about a blood clot, please be sure to make an appointment with your doctor. You can find out more about signs and symptoms of blood clots here:

  13. Veronica
    Veronica Posted on March 16, 2016 at 7:52 am

    Can it be a nerve it hit that is causing the pain to run down?

  14. Robin
    Robin Posted on March 23, 2016 at 11:43 am

    My name is Robin I had a dvt go to my lungs Nov. 30, 2015 , very scary experience . The clot felt like a sore muscle that wouldn’t get better. I was going to call my Dr. The next day for a sonogram . One hour later I was having problems breathing and pains in my chest . Went to emergacare center , they sent me in the ambulance to the hospital . The clot went to my lungs , and was in the hospital two days. I really didn’t get any answers why . They have me on 20 mg. Xarelto for 6 mos. Then their putting me aspirin . Ill have to ask about the factor v Leiden test , never heard of it . There is no family history that I know of . I’m glad I read the stories of other people experiences .

  15. Mimi B
    Mimi B Posted on April 7, 2016 at 2:03 am

    I too have suffered with clots several times in my lungs as well as my heart. I was at the hospital when the clot hit my heart, I coded and they brought me back. It is a true miracle that I am still alive. I am also positive for the V Leiden test. Take Coumadin daily and have for 20 years. I am a 63 yr old female. I am sitting here at the time of writing this with a huge blood clot in my leg. My entire leg is swollen to twice the normal size. This has never happened before…I am scared. I’m not able to get around very well. They want to put me on a different drug. I need some input. I don’t want to lose my leg or my life.

    • SW
      SW Posted on April 7, 2016 at 2:09 pm

      Hi Mimi. Thank you for reaching out – I am very sorry and concerned to hear you are scared. If your leg is swollen, please contact your doctor as soon as you can. If you can’t get to the doctor, please call a friend or family member or 911 to help you.

  16. Pratibha
    Pratibha Posted on August 25, 2016 at 10:12 am

    Hi Samantha,
    I was suffering from DVT in 2013 and diagnosed of PE this month.
    Here in India these are considered rare diseases, but I came to know from your story and other comments that it is becoming common day by day.
    Can anyone suggest some natural treatment, right now I am taking pradaxa 110 mg.

  17. Pete
    Pete Posted on August 31, 2016 at 2:04 am

    I had my 1st DVT after my 1st knee surgery and was in the hospital for a week when I was 25yrs old. I was on warfarin for 3 months. DVT #2 was when I was driving truck when I was 32yrs old. warfarin for a year after that one. DVT #3 was from flying too much and that was the worst one so far it was from my groin to my ankle. The doctor looked at me like I was crazy when I told him it was a DVT. I was giving myself a shot of molecular heparin twice a day for 10 days and got back on warfarin again and they wanted me to be on it for the rest of my life but I didn’t like it and used aspirin. DVT #4, 44yrs old, was from driving too much and now I’m on eliquis. I don’t want to be on it the rest of my life and I would be interested in homeopathic alternatives. I have been tested and I don’t produce protein “s” and protein “c”. I’m open to other ways to combat this.