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Brooke E.

Survivor

It was August 2020 and I remember feeling unwell, but couldn’t quite figure out what was wrong. I thought I had COVID, but I had a negative covid test a week prior. A few days later I developed a “doubling over” pain in my abdomen. I went to the doctor and had no signs or symptoms of an infection, or really anything being wrong with me so I went home and rested.

A few days later I was in so much pain and so fatigued that I couldn’t get off the couch without help. I went to the emergency room, but there was still no sign of infection or anything else wrong with me so I was discharged. One day later, I returned to the emergency room. This time I was admitted, so I knew something was wrong. I was being treated for an aggressive infection, but we couldn’t find the source of my symptoms. I had a CT done, and we discovered that I had two grapefruit sized abscesses on my uterus that had formed from my IUD perforating my uterus.

I had surgery to remove the abscesses and thankfully did not have any complications from the surgery itself, but I was still so sick and my infection was getting worse. For a week my heart was racing, my blood pressure was dangerously low, and I felt like I was going to have a heart attack or pass out. I couldn’t walk, I was on supplemental oxygen, I wasn’t holding food down for weeks at this point, and I had a nasogastric tube. There were a few times that I questioned if I was going to come out of this ok. I couldn’t have any visitors because of COVID, which made this so much harder. By the end of my second week in the hospital, I was able to walk with a walker and I was considered stable enough to be discharged.

I thought my life and health would go back to the way it was before upon being discharged, but it took months for me to feel myself again. It felt weird to celebrate little victories like being able to walk a mile when I was so healthy before having sepsis. I still experience unexplained fatigue, nausea, and heart palpitations from time to time. Whenever my body isn’t feeling 100%, I’m always scared that I somehow have a life threatening infection again. This disease disables so many people, and I am so lucky to have come out of this experience without any major complications. Sepsis is sneaky and its symptoms mimic other illnesses like the flu which makes it so easy to ignore. One day you are practically asymptomatic and feel “off” and the next you are fighting for your life. It can happen to anyone and I am so grateful that I ended up ok.

Source: Brooke Emery

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