Evie DiPiazza

Survivor

I am a 57-year-old professional Life and Business Coach with 3 sons and 4 grandchildren.

On Sept. 13, 2015, I woke up with a severe sore throat and swollen left side of my neck. We went to a local medical center that indicated I did not have strep throat but was very sick. I was given a z-pack and sent home. I slept the entire day.

Waking the next morning, it appeared as though I had a baseball growing on the front of my neck. I woke my husband and said we needed to go to the ER right away. By the time I got there I was gasping and light headed. They took me in the back and drew blood and cultures immediately. I asked for a ENT who I was familiar with and within 20 minutes, I was put on a ventilator with diagnosis epiglottis. I was moved to CCU. It was a Monday and as the day progressed, I was totally out of it. On Tuesday they told my husband I was septic, had extremely low blood pressure and they were not certain I would make it through the night. My 3 sons all came, one from NY. I did go into organ failure and needed dialysis and chemotherapy.

I saw a picture of myself with 18 IV bags and 9 pumps. My husband said I would never have believed what I went through. I remember very little from the first 6 days. The infection was Haemophilus influenzae. (Sepsis and Flu)

I learned to communicate by writing to my family for the next 4 days while I was in CCU. Because of the swelling, they were not able to remove the vent until day 10 and even then, they took me to the OR to do so in case I needed a tracheotomy.

On the 11th day, I was moved to a regular room very weak and unable to walk. Day 15 I went home with a walker. I was not able to do much care for myself. I needed physical, occupational and speech therapy. It was a long road back and filled with gratefulness. I was told to give myself time, it could be up to 6 months to be whole again.

At two months I went back to work but was only able since I work out of my own home.

I am now at 3 months. The skin on my feet has completely peeled, my hair is falling out by the handfuls. My psoriasis that had completely left due to the high levels of steroids they gave me, is now returning. I have had challenges with bladder infections, anxiety and generally feeling ill. My voice continues to crackle and be hoarse.

I am so grateful to be alive.