TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR TRAUMA STORY
I am a 54-year-old SEPSIS survivor. I started a new medication and had a toxic reaction to it after 4 days. I was rushed to the ER where I coded 3 times within 30 minutes after arriving. I was in anaphylactic shock. I was then intubated and in a medically induced coma. I was in multiple organ failure when they used pressers to block the blood flow to my heart to keep me alive. In doing so, I lost the blood flow to my extremities and in turn my legs and hands turned black. My family was told that I had a less than 9 percent chance of surviving. In November of 2016 I became a quadruple amputee.
This has certainly made me stronger and I love sharing my story and helping others. I love spreading sepsis awareness and I love being the light for others!
I feel this is the life I was meant to live and will continue sharing my experiences and knowledge with the world. I live on my own with my 3 dogs Peanut, Paisley and Stormy. I drive a regular vehicle with no adaptive equipment. I love to cook. I want others to know they can do it. Positivity, strength, and determination is what will help you succeed in anything you try to do.
I want to share my story of surviving sepsis to hopefully save the lives and limbs of someone else. I advocate for others and with our legislators to ensure we have the necessary equipment to live a productive life. I have become a certified peer visitor with The Amputee Coalition and with The Hanger Clinic. I volunteer at rehab centers and I am now working on doing presentations at hospitals for sepsis awareness. I’ve started my own 501 (3) (C) “YLimbitYourself” along with another friend who is also a sepsis survivor to help educate, support and assist others who do not have the necessary needs to live a productive life. I have also published my first book “Living Life With No Limits”!
Even though we have faced tragedy it does not mean our life is over. I live life now like it is my last and I go out of my comfort zone to prove it can be done. If people can look at me and see how strong and confident, I am and how my positivity exudes through me then they most definitely can do it too.” We do not always get to choose the circumstances that happen to us...but we do get to choose what comes next!
We all have the strength and resilience to appreciate what we have and who we are. Each one of us has the strength and determination to succeed. I always say, “I am not what happened to me but what I have become."
WHAT WAS RECOVERY LIKE?
It was extremely hard a first because I did not know what my life was going to be like and if people would accept me. Rehabilitation was my safe place. I had a rigorous physical therapy because I had been bed ridden for 10 months. I had to prepare my body and strengthen myself to be able to get up on these stilt-like legs. I worked hard every day. I was finally fitted for prosthetics at the beginning of December 2016. I took my first steps on December 28, 2016. I was terrified, crying happy tears and it then motivated me to work even harder. I walked out of there when I was released on February 3rd, 2017.
My occupational therapy was just as hard. I had to learn everyday life skills so that I could take care of myself. I learned to make my own bed, cook, do my hair, do my makeup, leash my dogs, and farm animals, shower and wash my own hair. I also was able to learn to wash, dry, fold and hang up my own clothes, feed myself, toileting and doing my own grocery shopping. I was also taught how to write again.
WHY DID YOU WANT TO GET INVOLVED WITH THE TSN PROGRAM? OR WHY DO YOU WANT TO SHARE YOUR STORY WITH OTHER SURVIVORS/LOVED ONES?
TSN is an amazing network. It shares amazing stories of people who have survived tragedies and triumphs. I want to share my story to not only raise SEPSIS awareness but to show that no matter what you are faced with you can sill live your life as you did before with adaptations. To show there is strength inside you. Sometimes you just have to dig deep to find it again. I want to show how I turned a tragedy into a wonderful triumph!!