Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Survivor



February 21, 2013

Many people ask me about being a survivor of Necrotizing Fasciitis (otherwise known as ‘the flesh eating bacteria’).  Ten years ago, when I was pregnant with my son, my water broke two month early.  It was never explained to me, other than “These things happen” why my water broke so early.  
After a week of grueling bed rest, the doctors said that we would have to induce labor, because I had started to run a low grade temperature.  Meanwhile, I had all sort of different tubes and such (where it wasn’t very comfortable!).  I was administered, unsuccessfully – two epidurals.  The emergency cesarean was traumatizing, leaving me with busted eye vessels from screaming.

While my son was air lifted to another hospital that could care for his conditions (there was no evidence that anything was wrong with my pregnancy, until my water broke).  He was born with a TEF (tracheal-esophageal fistula).  I had to remain in the hospital to recover; I was still running a low grade temperature.
The hospital was never able to locate the cause of the temperature.  I was eager and very anxious; I wanted to be with my son.  I was discharged about two days later and would have to be readmitted shortly after for an infection of the C-section site (original diagnosis). 

Immense, traumatizing, unimaginable pain ensued.  Finally a doctor recognized what I had as Necrotizing Fasciitis; and before we knew it I was being prepped for surgery.  I’ll never forget being wheeled away toward the operating room.  I watched my mother as she started crying, not knowing if this was the last time she would see her youngest.  I remember being worried about her finding her way back to the family waiting area, and was comforted by the image of a nurse coming to her aide.
When I woke up from the drug-induced coma, I had no clue what had happened, or what was going on.  I saw my mother sitting by my side and felt instant relief.  I could feel soreness, burning sensation resonating from my stomach and nether region.  It wouldn’t be until later; when my family had gone that a nurse brought me the information on what I had just survived.  A heat bubbled from my chest toward my head as I began to cry.

The disease would claim some of my abdominal muscles.  The doctor’s actually said that I was lucky to have had some meat on my bones, otherwise the disease would have reached my organs and I would not have survived.  I was in the hospital for over a month, and endured numerous debridement’s (where they cut out the dead/black/infected skin) and a wound vac (a vacuum that is connected to the wound to suck out moisture to promote healing).
Needless to say I am left with severe scar tissue and damage.  Along with massive nerve damage and I was also diagnosed with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).  I try not to complain, understanding that there are those that have to deal with worse than me.  My son for example is quadropolegic (cerebral palsy) he has epilepsy, CHARGE syndrome, a trach, and j-tube.  His strength when he smiles lightens my heart and I can feel not only his love, but God’s as well.

I think that is it for today.  Please feel free to share or submit your questions, comments or concerns.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Until next time or the next… dream!

K.E.Nowinsky

**Warning** The following pictures are very graphic.  Only proceed if you would like to see pictures that were taken of me while I was in the hospital.
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