Alyssa W.


My name is Alyssa and I am a sepsis survivor. Back in 2018 when I was 21 years old, I was sick with what I thought was the flu. By the third day, it hurt to even breathe. My mom took me to the ER for a chest x-ray because we assumed I had pneumonia. What came back on the chest x-ray was not pneumonia, but a tumor the size of my fist. It turned out that I had Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

I was admitted to the hospital so they could run tests and do a CT. In that CT, they found pneumonia so deep that it wasn’t picked up by x-ray or stethoscope. (Sepsis and Pneumonia, Sepsis and Cancer) While in the hospital, I continued to have fevers, threw up multiple times, received respiratory treatment and got my heart rate monitored (it wouldn’t go below 130 bpm). I noticed that a nurse came in every 4 hours to take my blood, but I wasn’t sure why. The next time she came in, I asked and she said they need to test septic blood every 4 hours. I was surprised because no one had told me I was septic! I can clearly remember my mom asking, “is she septic” and the nurse, very bluntly saying “yes”.

Had the doctors not found the tumor on the chest x-ray, they never would have done the CT and the pneumonia would have continued to go untreated and I most likely would’ve died from sepsis. I am beyond thankful to my doctors and nurses that helped treat me and especially to my mother, who never left my side or stopped advocating for me. Remember to always listen to your body, it could be the difference between life and death.

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