Cynthia Ellis


I am 48 years old. I am in excellent shape. I walk 4 miles every day, I’m not overweight. I don’t smoke or drink. This is my story of survival.

I had just been released from hospital after a simple (total/both breast removal) mastectomy; as I was suddenly diagnosed with high grade spindle cell sarcoma (a rare cancer, which I can get self contained tumors within soft tissues of my body at any time). (Sepsis and Cancer)

All was well for the first 2 days when I suddenly just didn’t feel very well. I felt flushed and exhausted but checked my temp and I didn’t have one. I was tired and just uncomfortable. I brushed it off as just the surgery and my body trying to heal. By diner my legs started feeling cold on and off. Waves of mild flu-like symptoms and the sudden flushed feeling came and went. Still no temperature. Perhaps it was because I didn’t take my estrogen pills; I brushed it off and went to lie down.

I didn’t sleep/rest at all that night. I was freezing! Nothing I would do would warm me. I started to sweat but was cold. Temp was still showing normal. My husband brought me a heated blanket that seemed to help. Then as fast as it came, it was gone. I started to feel a bit of heat radiating on one side of my incision. Upon inspection, it was a bit inflamed but nothing out of the ordinary. (Sepsis and Surgery)

The following morning I felt horrible. My inflamed incision was now bright red, swollen and hot to the touch. I was woozy and hot-flashing. This time I had a temperature of 102.7. I took Tylenol right away and I called the ER hotline my surgeon gave me. They told me to go to the hospital right away. (My fever broke within 20 min after Tylenol)

My surgeon met me at hospital. I was worried it was Covid but it was just as bad. I had been confirmed septic. I was also tested and confirmed positive for MRSA strep. (Sepsis and MRSA) My surgeon said I was minutes away from going into shock. (Believe me I felt like it).

I have NEVER fought so hard in my life to beat this. It took absolutely everything in my being to fight back. I could literally feel it fighting against the meds in my IV. I didn’t say it out loud to my husband but I knew there was a chance I may not make it. What kept me fighting was our son, our 20 yr old Marine deployed in Kabul, on his way back to us, who had no idea I was going through this. I kept thinking to myself, “I can’t die! That’s not how I want our son’s homecoming to be!”

I was a week in hospital. I had to have a PICC IV line in my upper arm directly into my artery to my heart for IV meds. It was a terrible process getting the PICC line in. And ohh the headaches! They were horrible! I’ve never experienced migraines like those I endured at the hospital! One side of my incision festered open. They glued me back together to no avail. I was oozing nastiness out if all my drains. It was pure hell for a week.

Upon my release, I had to have a in-home hospital nurse come to my home to check on my condition. I needed IV medication 2X daily. My incision had to heal as an open wound. Every other day I had to travel to the infectious disease doctor for tests, evaluation and further IV meds. I was a human pin cushion for the next 8 weeks.

Sepsis and MRSA took a lot from me but not my life. I’m fully recovered but not the same. I’m suddenly exhausted for no reason at all. Constantly. I still get headaches, though not as severe as the ones at hospital, but bad enough. I still walk but not to the extent I used to. Some days I can’t muster the energy to walk to my kitchen let alone 4 miles. But, I’m alive. My son is stateside and I’m getting stronger every week. For that I’m grateful.

Please, if you don’t feel well don’t wait. Better safe than sorry and I was almost beyond sorry.

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