I am a Survivor, and I am Proud – Kaitlyn Baldwin’s Story

Categories: Patient Stories,Stories

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 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 info@stoptheclot.org with questions about this matter.


I recently had my first encounter witKaitlyn Baldwinh blood clots. I was a rugby player who suffered many blows from both tackling and being tackled. After one particular blow to the stomach, I started having really bad pain in the small of my back, but assumed I had only pulled a muscle. A month later, I found myself on the floor of my kitchen, unable to move. After four hours in the emergency room, I underwent a sonogram that revealed I had multiple blood clots in my left leg. After being transferred to another hospital, they discovered I had even more extensive clotting in my right leg and a pulmonary embolism or blood clot in my left lung.

One week, a different hospital, and three surgeries later, I was diagnosed and told I was missing my inferior vena cava. With this diagnosis, I am no longer able to participate in any contact sports, because running is not a safe option.

I will have to wear compression stockings, and I will be on a blood thinner injections for the rest of my life. I must also spend most of my free time with my legs elevated because my blood has the inability to flow out of my legs, which makes being a full time college student almost impossible.

Most days I am scared I will end up back in the hospital. Other days I’m just happy to be alive. However, every day, I wish that I had known more about blood clots. I believe that if I had been more aware, I would have been more prepared to deal with my new life.

I wish to join the Stop the Clot community and bring awareness to the people around me, so that they can be prepared for anything life has to throw at them. I am a survivor, and I am proud.

Author: L F

6 Responses to "I am a Survivor, and I am Proud – Kaitlyn Baldwin’s Story"

  1. Christine
    Christine Posted on November 20, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    Hi! I too had a similar experience where one day it just kind of hit and I couldn’t walk. It’s really scary and taking daily injections can become a tedious task. But it is something you learn to deal with over time. I’ve been doing this since I was eight. I have been told by doctors to pretty much avoid anything where I am going to get injured. Which is reasonable. But there is so much you can do and accomplish. When I had my most recent issue with clots, I pretty much broke down. But all these experiences have made me a stronger person. You will be able to do a lot more than people say you can. It just takes time to heal.

  2. Jayme
    Jayme Posted on November 22, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    Hi- I wanted to tell you that I too had clots from my ankles to my abdomen in both legs and my inferior vena cava is completely clotted off. I also went through three surgeries and it was two months before I walked on my own. I was told I would never go back to working(I have always worked in restaurants normally 10 hour days on my feet) and most likely would not return to being a runner. I have lived with this for nearly 7 years. I currently work on my feet 10 hours a day seven days a week and am an avid runner. I will always be on thinners (currently taking xarelto, it’s amazing) and wear my compressions every day. I always fear another clot also but don’t let it stop you from doing what you want to do. This isn’t to say I don’t have pain and swelling because I do but I’m thankful every day that I am still doing what I’m doing. It was really neat to read that someone else has a similar situation, just remember that you can always do what you are comfortable doing. My doctor has never told me to stop doing anything and has always encouraged me to do what I’m comfortable with….. Best wishes for you

  3. joselyn
    joselyn Posted on December 3, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    My leg has a blood clot and its so painful to try to walk a little what do i do i dont know anything and the internet wont help me

  4. Ron
    Ron Posted on December 20, 2014 at 4:16 pm

    I have been dealing with a very similar situation…….
    Beginning of October I had a back pain in my lower lumbar area. I thought pulled muscle. Waited a week. still there. Called doctor. They prescribed me pain killers and said stretch a lot. I tried and then began feeling a tingling (almost like when your foot is asleep) in my thigh. Called doctor again and was told it was probably sciatica and stretch more. tried that. 1 week later I woke up and my left leg was completely throbbing down into my ankle. Used a heating pad and ice packs with my leg elevated and pain killers. all of that combined temporarily provided a little relief as long as I didn’t try to walk. the next morning same awful pain. Went to ER. Within 1 hour I had x-ray and CT scan and the radiologist said he was taking me to surgery. 3 days in ICU because of the catheter surgery to bust the clot in my leg and back. They told me that I am missing my IVC and my left kidney. Congenital absence of the Inferior Vena Cava is what it is called. So left the hospital on 5th day with crutches and used those, pain killers, muscle relaxers, Warfarin, and Heprin a couple of weeks,. Weekly INR checks I got all the way to a whopping 1.9. This is the best I will see I think. So now just Warfarin daily and with the blood draw checks it fluctuates from 5mg to 8 mg. Apparently, there is a heart surgery using stints available to recreate an IVC. I will be looking into that for next year. Several doctors said different time frames on life left……..Warfarin is bad for kidneys but I have to have it and I only have 1 kidney so its a lose, lose situation. I can’t find really any information on the heart surgery online so I think it may be a newer idea of how to fix it….. they said it is a 50/50 chance right now but without it my kidney will end up failing.

  5. Jenna
    Jenna Posted on January 13, 2015 at 3:01 am

    It is so good to see a community of people that are going through the same thing! Although this is unfortunate, it is good to see that there is a support group out there!

    I am starting a blog about my experience and would really appreciate it if you could check it out!
    https://bloodisthickerthanwaterr.wordpress.com

    Please do not hesitate to comment/leave feedback
    Thank you so much!!!
    Jenna

  6. Kristen
    Kristen Posted on March 30, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    As a fellow rugby player and blood clot survivor I literally feel your pain. A few months ago they found blood clots in my left leg and in both of my lungs. A lot of people assumed that it was related to rugby because it is such a violent sport, but no connection was ever made. I am a sophomore in college, and doctors told me that after a year on blood thinners I can go back to playing. I cannot imagine being told that I could never play sports again. I hope that the rest of your life is filled with hope and happiness.