The day was February 14, 2017 that I went to the emergency room because something was very wrong. Little did I know that I was just hours away from death.
My NF journey started with a boil on the inside of my right buttock. I've had boils in that area before but this one was different. It was so painful, way more painful than any boil I've ever had. BUT I thought nothing of it. It popped on its own but it wouldn't stop bleeding.
The boil presented itself about a week before I went to the hospital. My husband begged me to go to the hospital then but the stubborn person I am refused to go. I thought it would just get better. Little did I know.
Two days after the boil appeared it was still bleeding and I just packed it with toilet paper. I'm pretty sure I was already getting septic at this point.
On February 9th I was in a car accident with my best friend and was diagnosed with a severe concussion. A day or two after that I started seeing flowers dancing on the wall. I just thought it was from the concussion.
February 13th I went and saw a concussion specialist and I told him he had pretty flowers dancing on his wall. You would think he would have suspected something wasn't right but nope. He just said there weren't any flowers on his wall and let me leave the office.
The next evening, February 14th, my husband left for work and told me to go soak in the tub because I was still having so much pain and still refused to go to the hospital. I don't remember a whole lot after that. I went up and soaked in the tub and when I got out my stepson said it looked like someone was murdered in my bathroom. There was blood everywhere.
The next thing I remember my husband called and said he was coming home and taking me to the hospital. I had no choice at this point.
I don't remember much at the hospital, only that I thought I was going because of the flowers on the wall, still thinking that it was from the concussion. The next thing I remember is they told me they were admitting me. For what, I didn't know. It was very late and I sent my husband home because I didn't know how long I was going to have to wait for a room.
Fast forward a couple of hours and my nurse said she needed to call my husband back to the hospital because I needed emergency surgery. I was so close to death that I wouldn't have made it through the night without surgery. That's when the nightmare began for my husband.
Thanks to a great surgeon and awesome team of doctors they diagnosed me with Necrotizing Fasciitis and went to work. I was in ICU for 9 days. I went into kidney failure. They couldn't keep my blood pressure up. It was touch and go for several days. My next memory was waking up and meeting my surgeon after my 5th surgery.
I was on life support for 3 days. They had to put a colostomy bag on my side. When they finally took me off of life support and I was a little more with it, I asked my son why I was in the hospital and why so many surgeries. He said "You have Necrotizing Fasciitis." I said "What the hell is that?"
I had no idea what he was talking about. I had heard of flesh eating bacteria but that only happened to other people. Or so I thought.
I continued to have daily surgeries, a total of 8, in a 2 and a half week period. I had daily dressing changes that were so painful, the worst pain I have ever felt. My wound was so deep you could put your fist in it. I was cut from the middle of my right buttock all the way down to my knee, and it couldn't be stitched. It had to heal from the inside out. I was told it was going to take me at least 6 months to fully recover from this ordeal. I just couldn't believe it.
I spent two and a half weeks in the hospital followed by another two and a half weeks in a rehab facility because I had to learn how to walk again. They ended up attaching a wound vac to my leg to speed up the healing. That cut my dressing changes from every day to 3 times a week.
I finally got to come home after 5 weeks with a wound vac and home health care 3 times a week for months. The wound vac was my best friend for 6 weeks.
I was only home for a few days and ended up being readmitted to the hospital for a really bad UTI from the Foley catheter that I had been discharged with. I had to have the Foley and colostomy bag because they didn't want to take any chances that any bacteria would get in my wound.
After I was discharged from the rehab facility I had 3 subsequent admissions. One was for the infection. One was for another complication from NF and the third was for my colostomy reversal surgery last April.
The road was long and hard. The battle I fought was the toughest I've ever faced. NF has completely changed my life. I'm completely healed physically but emotionally it's still very raw.
I've made so many friends who are NF survivors and I've also met people who have lost their loved ones to this evil beast. I have a new lease on life. My work here isn't done.
I will never take life for granted again and I always try to live each day like it's my last.
I want to thank you all for reading my story but I want to especially thank my husband and my children for getting me through this journey.